Sony: PlayStation Home is the 'easiest point of entry' for indie console development

Why do developers make games for PlayStation Home? Director Jack Buser told me that "A lot of developers start at Home" because "Home tends to be one of the easiest points of entry for content creation on PlayStation."

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PlayStation Network has a lot more indie games than you might expect. For example, Steam/iOS darling Cogs is available as a completely free-to-play multiplayer game on your PS3. The only thing is, it's hidden within the confines of PlayStation Home. Gaming is a big push for Home, especially with its upcoming redesign. However, I had to ask Jack Buser, director of Sony's PS3 social network, why developers would even want to make content for Home in the first place. Wouldn't chasing PSN and the Pub Fund be the wiser choice? Buser told me that "A lot of developers start at Home" because "Home tends to be one of the easiest points of entry for content creation on PlayStation." "Home is all scripting (LUA), and all the 3D stuff is being done in Maya. So it's super-easy," Buser explained. "You can have teams of literally one person. Usually team sizes vary between 5-10 people. You can create a full-on game the scope of Sodium in six months. That's just not possible in traditional console development." And sure, approaching the broader PSN market would be more lucrative, the audience of Home is rather sizable. "We've had 23 million downloads of Home. It's a very active service, so the traffic is extremely high. And we just point that traffic to whatever game is featured at the time." At any given time, Home is promoting a game through multiple points of entry, including the What's New icon on the XMB. By clicking through, you'll be able to bypass most of Home's intimidating menus and go directly to game content. "We're a managed platform, we make sure that if you take the time to build a game on our platform, we tell people to go play that game." The business model is entirely different on Home, with most games opting for a "freemium" model that allows users to play for free, but augment the experience with add-ons. Buser calls development on Home "data-driven," where user feedback is implemented almost immediately, thanks to Home's weekly update schedule. "It's a model that's really common on the open internet, like Facebook games," Buser said. And the results? "You can see traffic and revenue increase over time." Buser is confident that the Home team will continue to draw the attention of indies to the platform. "You're not writing any assembly, no C. So your cost of development is very low," he said. However, there's an even more lucrative opportunity: getting paid by Sony directly for content. "We do investments ourselves, strategically. If we see a developer with a game idea that we really want, we can invest in those games. We'll actually buy some games outright." "We can go to a developer and say 'we need a first person shooter built,' we'll just pay them outright to do it." That may be how the ambitious free-to-play FPS Bootleggers found its way into Home. With the impending re-launch of Sony's evolving online community, it'll be interesting to see what other games it will play home to.

Bootleggers, a F2P FPS for Home

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 10, 2011 2:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Sony: PlayStation Home is the 'easiest point of entry' for indie console development.

    Why do developers make games for PlayStation Home? Director Jack Buser told me that "A lot of developers start at Home" because "Home tends to be one of the easiest points of entry for content creation on PlayStation."

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      October 10, 2011 2:36 PM

      LOL

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      October 10, 2011 2:50 PM

      apart from 5 minutes tooling around in it, i haven't loaded up home in like a year. worth checking out again?

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        October 10, 2011 2:52 PM

        Nope. It's still people arkwardly walking around and taking 20 minutes to have a conversation.

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          October 10, 2011 4:44 PM

          And trying to text-rape you if you have a female person-thing.

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          October 10, 2011 11:40 PM

          I loaded up the US version one when it came out, and it felt like I was in a prison yard. The molesters were in one corner raping each other, and the gangs were in the other blasting bad hip-hop through their bluetooth speaker

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      October 10, 2011 3:12 PM

      That was the previous company that I worked for's plan. It seems to be paying off pretty well for them so far.

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      October 10, 2011 3:13 PM

      This post is over 41 years old!

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      October 10, 2011 3:55 PM

      I resent the design of statements like this:

      We've had 23 million downloads of Home. It's a very active service, so the traffic is extremely high."

      The reader is led to believe that not only is it active, it's 23 million users active!

      I downloaded it, sure, and I removed it the same night. I laughed and shook my head at the reality that I had to stand in a virtual line to play a game at the arcade.

      I am willing to give Home another shot when they roll out the updated version, but only to see if they actually get it now.

      As for indie developers... they're still going to have to learn more complex languages than LUA if they want to reach a larger audience.

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      October 10, 2011 10:26 PM

      Some people oughtta give it another shot before trash-talking. There's a ton of stuff on there now.

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      October 10, 2011 11:47 PM

      Anybody else read Jack Bauer?

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      October 11, 2011 12:56 AM

      Aren't PS3 dev kits like 10k bucks? That seems like a pretty fucking high barrier of entry for single man or small team indie devs.

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      October 11, 2011 1:02 AM

      lolfest 2012

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      October 11, 2011 7:58 AM

      Dress a doll and wander around for 5 or 10 minutes to find a game, while being stalked and asked to pay for stuff the entire trip, that was my experience after loading it up after the whole psn fiasco.

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      October 12, 2011 2:05 AM

      If its so easy, then how about letting me dev for it?

      I can dev for 360 for $99. Android for $25

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