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Drinkbox comments on potential iterative consoles.

Saty

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Part of a GI.BIZ interview:
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2016-04-29-drinkbox-cuts-through-the-noise

These are the developers of Guacamelee and Severed.

And if that latest generation of consoles is an incremental upgrade--such as a hypothetical PS4K or Xbox One.5--Harvey said it doesn't make too much difference.

"For a big developer, they might not necessarily be overjoyed about it because of additional work that may have to go in to support different hardware SKUs, but as an indie developer, it's not really that big a deal," Harvey said. "Our games are not exactly pushing the edge of the devices anyway. So from our perspective, there might be some additional certification stuff to make sure it works, but it's not going to fundamentally change how we develop our games for the consoles."

But even if Drinkbox's work doesn't demand a new hardware generation every few years, Harvey's still happy to see it. You can always use more power, he said, but the benefits don't end there.

"There's kind of a reset on the storefront, so if you can put out games there early, there's an opportunity there to get a lot more eyeballs," Harvey said. "And that's part of the reason we shipped Mutant Blobs Attack as a launch title on the PS Vita. We knew from experience. Pseudo Interactive had done a couple of games that were basically launch titles, and we knew from talking to people internally that they always viewed that as a very positive opportunity. As developers, there's no objection to more power. And from a business standpoint, if we can get in there early, we'd see a big benefit to that hardware reset happening every few years."
 

RowdyReverb

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I just figured it would suck for indie devs because now they'll have to run twice as much QA since the number of platforms suddenly doubles
 

Inuhanyou

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Too bad most people wont care to upgrade every three years.
The point is, you don't have to, and its not necessarily even going to happen again to begin with. But for those who will upgrade to PS4K, its an opportunity to take advantage of the hype for many developers is what drinkbox is saying
 

Noobcraft

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Except there isn't going to be a reset on the storefront this time since the thing is an upgraded PS4 and not a new platform with no titles.
 

Corpekata

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I wonder what a "neo mode" that's supposedly required according to early rumors would even be for something like Drinkbox's games? I guess downsampling maybe? IIRC one of the Trine games was downsampled on PS3.

But realistically, I don't see this affecting devs like Drinkbox much. They could be more ambitious graphically than their current output, but they could have done that already anyway.
 

Lady Gaia

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Too bad most people wont care to upgrade every three years.
Why would it matter? People can upgrade every three, six, nine years or not at all. Whatever fits their budget and interests. If you at historical purchasing trends you don't see a huge glut of purchasers when a new console launches, you see gradual adoption over time with fairly steady console sales year after year. If this becomes the new normal purchasers will have the option of a premium console or a compatible but more affordable option.

That's arguably a step up from where we've been where the options have been further apart in technology and less compatible.
 

KingBroly

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The point is, you don't have to, and its not necessarily even going to happen again to begin with. But for those who will upgrade to PS4K, its an opportunity to take advantage of the hype for many developers is what drinkbox is saying
Developers are going to force the issue, me thinks. Especially when you consider there's an increasing amount of games that are having glaring framerate problems.
 

True Fire

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Too bad most people wont care to upgrade every three years.
That's the entire point. It's optional, and it's a way for Sony and Microsoft to get a more powerful console through the front door without forcing everyone to upgrade.
 

Theonik

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Too bad most people wont care to upgrade every three years.
You say this but people buy slim systems all the time and many people jump on platforms later down the line. This ensures continuity going into the future where platforms constantly evolve. People also don't have to upgrade. That's part of the point. Ideally old systems will be easily supported and be forwards compatible for as long as developers want.

We kinda saw this with cross platform stuff for the early part of this gen. If we can streamline this process with a single SKU for all platforms that are supported at least transparent to the consumer it will be a big win.
 

Elfteiroh

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I fear that the incremental shift will make the "reset" he is speaking of disappear. I mean, if it's just incremental, the previous console's games should still be playable and in the shop... So less visibility. For consumers and console makers, it's great because there won't be any time when the game catalog is small. But for small indies, it destroy one opportunity. See Steam and iOS... Nowadays, only the high sellers get to sell, the median is getting lower and lower, because if you can't make it big (either by chance or marketing), you won't sell anything. My studio is closing down because of that (we have a great metacritic, but we barely sold a couple of thousand copies). :(

So yeah. Really hope the console holders will manage to keep a bit of this advantage somehow, but I can't say I'll hold my breath.
 

The God

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The point is, you don't have to, and its not necessarily even going to happen again to begin with. But for those who will upgrade to PS4K, its an opportunity to take advantage of the hype for many developers is what drinkbox is saying
You think these new consoles are going to be a one time thing?
 
Sep 2, 2011
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I just figured it would suck for indie devs because now they'll have to run twice as much QA since the number of platforms suddenly doubles
its not a new platform. Only in rare cases would the QA for a PS4 game not cover a PS4k one.

If the dev had very specfic performance goals for each version then maybe, but outside of that, no.
 

Withnail

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I just figured it would suck for indie devs because now they'll have to run twice as much QA since the number of platforms suddenly doubles
Indie devs don't seem to struggle with the PC and that has uncountable hardware configurations.


You think these new consoles are going to be a one time thing?
I agree with him that some people are getting carried away with the whole iterative consoles thing. It makes sense for Sony to do it at this moment in time because UHD is strategically important for them. We don't know what MS is doing but for all we know it could just be the XBO Slim. One data point doesn't make a trend.
 

Nzyme32

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Too bad most people wont care to upgrade every three years.
The point isn't for everyone to upgrade every three years.

Instead it is to make sure that the people that do want to upgrade, can do that. Similarly it also makes sure that newcomers can purchase something more competitive to competing systems / ecosystems, while they can keep advertising being an ecosystem that is competitive with others.
 

DavidDesu

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Guaranteed there WILL be an option on the PS4K store for games with a Neo mode. Of course going forward all games apparently will need to have one, but for older games it gives them an opportunity to join in the hype and possibly get bought, or rebought, by people just wanting to play their older games again with the extra polish or frame rate, whatever.

There will definitely be some more sales and people trying their old games again which means another opportunity to sell DLC or even promote an upcoming sequel too.
 

Fisty

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If the hardware is truly iterative, then yeah indies wouldnt be hurt too much by this. Test with 4x AA and 8x AA, theres your PS4 and Neo games.
 
Sep 2, 2011
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Too bad most people wont care to upgrade every three years.
Maybe. But Most people dont like to buy consoles at launch either.

Thats the biggest irony of this whole thing. While people on forums have been crying into their beers over the loss of their "5 year generations" the majority of console buyers who buy in year 2 or 3, never get that.
 

The God

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Indie devs don't seem to struggle with the PC and that has uncountable hardware configurations.




I agree with him that some people are getting carried away with the whole iterative consoles thing. It makes sense for Sony to do it at this moment in time because UHD is strategically important for them. We don't know what MS is doing but for all we know it could just be the XBO Slim. One data point doesn't make a trend.
We'll just have to wait and see, but thinking Microsoft won't respond to this or at this whole thing is just a one off is wishful thinking IMO. Especially after the things Phil Spencer has said.
 

Squire

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I wonder what a "neo mode" that's supposedly required according to early rumors would even be for something like Drinkbox's games? I guess downsampling maybe? IIRC one of the Trine games was downsampled on PS3.

But realistically, I don't see this affecting devs like Drinkbox much. They could be more ambitious graphically than their current output, but they could have done that already anyway.
I expect most mid-budget/indie games NEO mode will be a res bump and nothing more, honestly. And that's assuming the games aren't hitting 1080p. They'll be scrounging around to figure what to add, but it won't be much.
 

Stormblessed

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You say this but people buy slim systems all the time and many people jump on platforms later down the line. This ensures continuity going into the future where platforms constantly evolve. People also don't have to upgrade. That's part of the point. Ideally old systems will be easily supported and be forwards compatible for as long as developers want.

We kinda saw this with cross platform stuff for the early part of this gen. If we can streamline this process with a single SKU for all platforms that are supported at least transparent to the consumer it will be a big win.
The slimline consoles were also released alongside a price cut in almost all instances - people jump on when the price reaches a level they deem acceptable, not after an arbitrary number of years has passed. Iterative consoles keeps prices high and punishes the early adopters that you need evangelising for your hardware.

Phones get away with it because they become less usable over time and the cost is spread over time. One hopes the former won't be true of current gen consoles, and there's no indication consoles will move from a single upfront payment for hardware.
 

Dubz

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Maybe. But Most people dont like to buy consoles at launch either.

Thats the biggest irony of this whole thing. While people on forums have been crying into their beers over the loss of their "5 year generations" the majority of console buyers who buy in year 2 or 3, never get that.
But they're still buying consoles every 5 or 6 years.
 

jroc74

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Too bad most people wont care to upgrade every three years.
To add on to what most have said in response to this...

Purely anecdotal:

I am in the market for another PS4. My cousin got an XBO last Christmas.

I told both him and my son about the Neo and XBO.5.

Son: Doesnt really care, he wants to play TLoU again right now.
Cousin: He just got his XBO, he doesnt care

Me: I wanna wait to see what the consoles will be before deciding what to get since I have neither a PS4 or XBO. And if I did have my PS4 I would probably sell it for the Neo. I would have got a revision anyway, why not get the Neo?

So thats 2 against one that dont care.

And thats the entire point. It will only entice those that want it. Those that dont nothing changes. Sony will hope it will sell enough that they made a worth while move. If not, they will probably act accordingly. Either way they will watch the results and act accordingly.

And the world will go on.
 

im_dany

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I still don't like the idea of the same console being upgraded. More power would just ensure worse optimization from the devs. With 5+ years for gen, the devs have time to take advantage of the closed hardware. Just look the differences between the first Gears and Judgment, or between the first Uncharted and Uncharted 3, or between Bully and GTA5, the differences are incredible.
Now, console upgrades every 2-3 years? We won't have the "quantum leap" anymore. Games will look the same, just with a slightly higher resolution/framerate. They'll make it rock solid on the Neo/1.5 and barely playable on the base console and call it a day. Why? Because there's no need to optimize. Just tell people to throw another 400$, it already happens on PC.
 

Orayn

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This closely mirrors what my friend at another small indie studio said. Upgraded consoles are quite easy in terms of implementation, the only annoyance is the added workload of testing the game in two different modes.
 

biglittleps

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I still don't like the idea of the same console being upgraded. More power would just ensure worse optimization from the devs. With 5+ years for gen, the devs have time to take advantage of the closed hardware. Just look the differences between the first Gears and Judgment, or between the first Uncharted and Uncharted 3, or between Bully and GTA5, the differences are incredible.
Now, console upgrades every 2-3 years? We won't have the "quantum leap" anymore. Games will look the same, just with a slightly higher resolution/framerate. They'll make it rock solid on the Neo/1.5 and barely playable on the base console and call it a day. Why? Because there's no need to optimize. Just tell people to throw another 400$, it already happens on PC.
Those developers (first party and some 3rd party) who pushed last gen on PS3 and XB360 will do same this gen also even though Neo/X1.5 exists as they are talented, but others (3rd party developers) who did worst job will be same mostly as you saw from some of the PS4/XB1 games already (at least we get some better performance on Neo/X1.5 from their games).
 
Jul 6, 2015
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Maybe. But Most people dont like to buy consoles at launch either.

Thats the biggest irony of this whole thing. While people on forums have been crying into their beers over the loss of their "5 year generations" the majority of console buyers who buy in year 2 or 3, never get that.
Who cares when those people buy the console? They could buy the consoles on year 5 it doesn't matter they still have 5 years worth of games available to them.
 

oti

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Except there isn't going to be a reset on the storefront this time since the thing is an upgraded PS4 and not a new platform with no titles.
"Better with PS4 NEO" will be its on section, which kinda is a reset.
 

ClayKavalier

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Makes sense, the first thing I thought when I saw the thread title was "Why would they care, their games will run at 60fps/ 1080p on anything."
 

RibMan

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So from our perspective, there might be some additional certification stuff to make sure it works, but it's not going to fundamentally change how we develop our games for the consoles.
This sounds good! I'm definitely interested in hearing what other developers think -- especially guys like CD Projekt RED, Double Fine, and Crytek.

Except there isn't going to be a reset on the storefront this time since the thing is an upgraded PS4 and not a new platform with no titles.
Everything right now is speculation, assumptions, and conjecture. All we know is there's a new PlayStation coming with better specs. I assume the developers know more about what's going to happen to the storefront (and the changes behind the scenes) than you and I do. I think it would be wise if we took a wait-and-see approach instead of making definitive statements about a new class of product this early.
 

Lady Gaia

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They'll make it rock solid on the Neo/1.5 and barely playable on the base console and call it a day. Why?
Evidently because they think catering to a small number of customers while ignoring 40 million PS4 owners makes good business sense. Your hypothetical developer was doomed from day one with an attitude like that. Reviews and word of mouth would call out these problems in a heartbeat.

This is essentially the "lazy developers" line of thinking with a thin coat of paint.
 

Wulfram

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Wouldn't iterative consoles reduce the impact of the storefront reset he says he benefits from? Since they'll mean that the stores will be from the start full of "last gen" games?
 

hawk2025

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Their point regarding getting eyeballs is a good one.

Drinkbox has been very perceptive in exploring niches where they can even when they were completely unknown.

They got Tales From Space as a Vita launch title (I'd argue the second best Vita launch title after Wipeout), they explored the at the time still-underserved Metroidvania market on the PS3, and got all the Vita attention to themselves with Severed on the Vita right now -- which also seems like a smart game choice, by combining genres that are the most prolific and healthy in the Vita right now with its own unique features.

I'd get basically anything these guys release at this point :p


Wouldn't iterative consoles reduce the impact of the storefront reset he says he benefits from? Since they'll mean that the stores will be from the start full of "last gen" games?
To a point, but they will surely feature "enhanced" games front and center.
 

Clear

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Wouldn't iterative consoles reduce the impact of the storefront reset he says he benefits from? Since they'll mean that the stores will be from the start full of "last gen" games?
Yeah but there'll be a new "Neo enhanced games" tab, which will give a visibility boost to early adopters.