Good old days weren’t so good – Mark Cerny

PS4 architect says indie scene not like his start, talks about massive Atari infrastructure, making “shovelware” for Sega.


Between creating Marble Madness and helping design the PlayStation 4, Mark Cerny has seen the process of making games transform time and again over his career. And while the growing popularity of independently developed games is bringing some development team sizes back to where they were when he first started, Cerny told Game Informer the parallels between the two eras pretty much end there.

“It is absolutely not like us back in those days,” Cerny said when asked if current indie studios reminded him of his early years. “So Atari was one-person teams, or two-person teams. But because it was coin-operated games, there was dedicated hardware, and those cabinets cost $3,000.”

As a result, there was a huge amount of infrastructure built up around each game, Cerny said, with multiple levels of management tracking and green-lighting the work from a single programmer. Developers were similarly stifled at Sega, where Cerny worked on games like Kid Chameleon and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

“If you look at what we were doing at Sega, that was, in some sense, I hate to say it, shovelware,” Cerny said. “It was one programmer, one designer, three months, and you just shipped it. And the quality was low and they didn’t care. That is so far from what we call indie today, which is a labor of love and you never know when it will be done. It’ll be done when it’ll be done, when it achieves the creator’s vision.”

As system architect for the PlayStation 4, Cerny was also asked about any misconceptions regarding the soon-to-launch system that he would like to clear up.

“John Carmack came out recently and said that the [Xbox One and PS4] console hardware seems to be about the same level of performance,” Cerny said. “I think that probably the power of the PS4 is a little bit underappreciated there in that statement. But you have to take it from John Carmack’s perspective. This is a man who builds spaceships, right? So from his perspective, he’s 20 years out in the future looking back, and they all kind of look the same.”

Cerny didn’t seem to take the slight too personally, calling Carmack a “true genius,” citing his work on engines as evidence of an “unbelievable” level of vision.



Sony’s Gara: PS4 “feels like a bit of a rebirth”

Meet the man that every UK games retailer has on speed dial.

Sony's Gara

Fergal Gara is VP and MD of UK and Ireland at Sony Computer Entertainment and he’s just about to face his first console launch. He’s had experience of retail before with nearly six years with Asda, but the PlayStation 4 puts him firmly on the other side of that fence, marketing a huge product launch at his erstwhile colleagues and contemporaries.

GamesIndustry International sat down with Gara the morning after Sony’s Gamescom press conference to talk about the PlayStation 4’s success in the pre-order market so far, why Vita is still an essential part of Sony’s offering and why it’s an emotional time to be a console manufacturer.

Q: Sony as whole seems to have been very open about the details and features of the PlayStation 4 from very early on, was that a conscious decision?

Fergal Gara: For me that goes all the way back to February 20 and Mark Cerny who said it was a five year project in listening to developers in particular: what did they need to make life easier, to get the toolkit that gave them the most creative scope? And therefore it’s been a project of opening up and embracing the development community, big and small.

I think what you saw last night was a great, rich example of the sheer breadth that comes out of having such a policy. I think we just further underlined the points that have been there since February really, of which there are more and more examples. It’s great to see that diversity, we want to be the ubiquitous home for gaming, gaming for everybody and that means every kind of user, every kind of gamer, but also every kind of developer.

Q: It does feel that with this console launch Sony have got things right. Is that how it feels internally? Do you feel confident?

Fergal Gara: There’s nothing better in any form of business than when customers are rewarding you with their custom and it’s absolutely true to say, particularly since E3, that gamers have been rewarding us with their commitment and their pre-orders. That does have a motivational effect on the team so people are more chipper, they’re more focused, they’re more upbeat and it is fantastic that the key strategies that have been laid out and planned way back, we’ve been able to not deviate from them whatsoever. It does feel like we’re getting a lot of things right and that’s helping the teams be even more motivated and even more focused on doing the best job that they can.

Q: Pre-orders must help when you’re making deals with publishers and developers too?

“Success is contagious, but we don’t allow ourselves to get smug or complacent”

Fergal Gara: Success is contagious, and it does feel like a lot of things are clicking into place now nicely, but we don’t allow ourselves to get in any way smug or complacent. But yes, we’re feeling confident and that’s a good place to be.

Q: You’ve announced the release dates now – why that particular timeframe and was that always where you were aiming for?

Fergal Gara: Yes. The release target window has been there or thereabouts for a very very long time. What’s happened in recent weeks is that confidence on the production side of the equation has grown as units have started flying off the production lines. Now we can start to allocate the volumes and calculate the volumes needed by region, by territories, so that’s allowing us to communicate the date with greater confidence.

Q: Do have any idea how many units have been allocated to the UK?

Fergal Gara: Yes, but I can’t share it with you I’m afraid.

The only thing I would say is Andy [House] quoted a number last night for pre-orders, in fact he quoted a low end number, he said ‘in excess of.’ What I will say is that the UK represents a significant proportion of that, we’re talking unprecedented levels of pre-orders that we haven’t seen in 20 years in this business.

The pre-order phenomenon is a reasonably recent one, or certainly growing in recent years – but it does mean that demand is well ahead of our expectations as they were earlier in the year so our internal conversations are now all about securing volume to maximise the number of gamers we can satisfy on that day one or close to day one. It’s a problem but it’s a good problem to have.

There will be some frustration around it and we know that we’ll have to do our best to satisfy the demand and outside of that manage the frustration that may result if we’re not able to meet all of it immediately. It’s a good problem to have but a problem, and we don’t like to let anybody down.

Q: And how are you preparing with retail for the launch? PlayStation 3 was huge with free TVs and crowds, will we see that sort of thing again?

Fergal Gara: We haven’t pinned down the precise plans for what happens around the launch but I don’t see it being low key. I think it’s a big big moment for us, it feels like a bit of a rebirth to be honest in a big way so we will mark the occasion but precisely how we do it we’re working out. There’s the whole PR side of things, there’s the retail side of things, how do we bring those things together? But it’s a big moment for us so we won’t be trying to gloss over it, that’s for sure.

Q: You must be quite a popular man with retailers at the moment?

Fergal Gara: Oh yes, the phone is ringing quite a lot with one particular subject matter taking up the calls. They’re great conversations to be having, but there is an edge of frustration in there which is everybody wants more than we’re likely to be able to give them for that day one. We have to get every last unit we can into the best places we can, the most balanced route to market we can achieve, so a lot of retail planning is happening on that front.

Q: Is online retail more of a consideration now than it was when PlayStation 3 launched?

Fergal Gara: It definitely is, and one thing online does extremely well is that it’s the channel that is the king of instant reaction. So never before have we seen such an instant reaction at one moment than the E3 press conference, what happened in the 24 hours post that, particularly in the online channel, with a slightly delayed reaction but also an incredibly strong one for the traditional retail channel, was profound.

Q: Has Microsoft’s changing strategies regarding pre-owned games or independent publishing made it harder to focus your strategies for the PlayStation 4?

Fergal Gara: We can’t comment directly on the competition but what we can say is what I said earlier really, we’ve stuck to our plan. There have been no deviations, not in dates, not in times, not in business policies, not in price, nothing. So all we’ve done since February 20 is flesh things out and add the relevant details as and when it was appropriate to pin them down. So last night culminating with the date, the date was the last one of most people’s list so that slotted into place. That clearly wasn’t guided by anyone else’s communication because no one else has put their date on the table. That was when we felt was the appropriate time to pin it down and when we had the confidence to communicate it.

Q: Is Microsoft’s relationship with EA a concern? You seem to have chosen Ubisoft as a big partner for this launch…

Fergal Gara: Yes there can be some edges of competitive advantage carved out by having close associations with certain publishers or certain franchises. The way I feel about our portfolio is… well first of all the Ubisoft one is a pretty long term one. Really it’s just going on to the next chapter and I think it’s just underlined by the PS4 plan. I think it’s wonderful that they have one of the most anticipated launch titles in Watch Dogs, I think that’s hugely helpful to PS4 launch. But I think it’s also really material that we’re growing a relationship with Activision, and Destiny looks like another one, a little further off, but nonetheless one of the most anticipated next gen titles.

So how do I feel? I feel our portfolio of alliances has evolved, but I don’t think it’s any worse, maybe it’s better in terms of strength. We’re all trying to give ourselves an edge in the content front and that is one competitive landscape. I feel pretty good about the portfolio that we’ve got – whether it be the clearly truly differentiated first party titles or those close alliances that give us a bit of an edge, I think it aligns with our ‘by gamers, for gamers’ strategy in that some of those titles are the most gamer-y titles. Watch Dogs and Destiny are two big ones I’d pick out.

Q: And not feeling the need to give away a free game after Microsoft’s free FIFA 14 offer?

Fergal Gara: Well we are throwing free games at people. PlayStation Plus is a fantastic way of offering games included within the subscription and the value of that package we’re very very proud of. It’s been a little bit of a sleeping giant, very fast growing over the last year or so, but certainly nothing like its full potential. I think PS4 will take us there and it will actually underline and demonstrate the value for the other platforms as well, PS Vita and PS3, so I think there’s a tremendous content value proposition there already.

We’ve got every confidence in frankly selling out on day one, our pre-orders are incredibly healthy.

“Vita’s rate of sale has more than doubled over the course of the last few months and it’s now in solid year-on-year growth territory”

Q: It feels like Vita has been a sort of slow burn, will PlayStation 4 give the machine a bit of a sales boost because of the remote play features?

Fergal Gara: I think there was great news for Vita last night and first of all the context… yes it’s not the biggest seller in the gaming market, but its rate of sale has more than doubled over the course of the last few months and it’s now in solid year-on-year growth territory so that’s pleasing.

There were two major pieces of news last night. One is around price and the second is further developing and expanding upon the story around remote play, which looked incredibly slick, as demoed last night. Is that attractive? I think so, particularly when you bring in PS4 at an attractive opening price point, and then put Vita alongside it at its most attractive price point ever…It’s quite a powerful combo. Of course there’s no premium on the software when used for that remote play purpose. But it also services as a standalone and self contained console.

So you could buy PS4, PS Plus and PS Vita and then selected blockbuster titles for example, and actually have quite a lot of content. So you get your Vita specific download games through Plus, you get remote play and your blockbuster titles, you get additional games for PS4, so that alone gives you a lot for quite a competitive total price package. So we’re excited about that, it is bringing a PlayStation difference together for us.

Q: It feels as though gamers have come to Vita, just in their own time…

Fergal Gara: It definitely entered a much more complicated market than was expected when it was conceived and the design process started. There’s no doubt about that. And comparative value around content is one of the big issues, because there are so many freemium games out there for other portable devices. So you’ve seen a major concerted effort to address that.

First of all remote play gives you access to high end experiences at no extra cost, the Mega Pack programme that we outlined last night gives tremendous value in portable gaming and PlayStation Plus gives you more, so it’s not just a £40, £50 or nothing kind of portable gaming experience. There are tremendous value opportunities in and around it. So I think we’re slowly, or quickly actually, we starting to find its feet and of course PS4 was part of the vision for Vita long before anybody knew about PS4, so there’s a lot of things clicking into place now.

Q: The Mega Packs, are they aimed at new consumers?

Fergal Gara: What we’re seeing now is most new Vitas are being bought with a Mega Pack at the moment, so it was quite a relevant summer promotion, quite a young focus in terms of the titles that were there: summer portable fun made that promotion very relevant. As we go forward now over the coming months the likes of Killzone Mercenary clearly takes us a bit more squarely back into gamer territory, Tearaway is quite a crossover title – good for gamers, good for a broader audience too. So we’ll continue with the Mega Packs and addressing that wider audience, but we’ll tip it a little bit more towards core gamers as we come into the back end of the year.

Q: You also announced LittleBigPlanet Hub, which will have a microtransactions element. That’s an area you played with before thanks to Home and Free Realms, is it a major pillar of your business now?

Fergal Gara: Microtransactions definitely play a key role in the gaming market overall and in fact some of the third party publishers are probably the leaders in this space really. FIFA Ultimate Team is a classic example of microtransactions that are used to a very large degree. Call Of Duty is an example of where microtransactions can feature.

So is it a passing fad? Is it the future? I don’t know the answer, but it’s well worth reaching out and embracing it and seeing where it can take us, how big is freemium going to be on console? We don’t know but it seems wise to test it and if it doesn’t work, if there’s not enough transactions or no interest whatsoever then fine, we move on. What we’re doing here is playing with a whole variety of new business models and I think that gives consumers some great options and great value. Some of them will become the future, some of them might fade.

“Vita definitely entered a much more complicated market than was expected when it was conceived and the design process started”

Q: So you’ve got a few months before launch, with Tokyo Game Show coming up in September, what are you going to be using that time for in terms of marketing and behind the scenes preparation?

Fergal Gara: As a team first of all, of course November 29 is an incredibly important focus point for us, but we’ve got three children and we love them all equally, so one of my big focus points is making sure that PS3 plans are not overlooked and they’re in the best possible shape. With titles like Beyond: Two Souls and Gran Turismo 6 to come it still represents an incredibly strong proposition, so you’ll be able to get a stack of value for under £200 in PS3 land depending on which model you go for and which combination of games, and things like GTA 5 giving an enormous tail end boost current gen.

So all of that is hugely important to us and a lot of work is going in there to keep it going, because it deserves to be kept going and it deserves to be kept in the limelight.

And of course Vita as well, which plays nicely into the PS4 story.

But as for PS4 it really is into the detailed execution on stuff, media planning, launch night and thinking that through, pinning that down, and of course the retail plans are incredibly important and sort of emotional when you’ve got a position which is very high demand and finite stock. So that’s what we’re into now, lots of nitty gritty, but fast paced, exciting, stuff.



Cerny: 3 or 4 years before devs will get the best out of PS4

The PS4 lead architect says console’s GPU customisation will offer more performance

Mark Cerny

PlayStation 4’s lead architect has suggested that it could be a few years before we see developers really making the most of the consoles technical abilities, and revealed the PS4 has ten times the power of its predecessor.

“We set our target at 10 times the PlayStation 3’s performance, because that’s what we felt we needed to achieve in order to differentiate the titles,” Mark Cerny told Polygon.

“I believe we are at that level of performance. I mean, the million pre-orders we have is, I think, speaking to that.”

During its PS4 reveal Sony was keen to point out that conversations with developers had played a significant role in the design of the machine with the aim of making it easier to develop for than previous Sony consoles.

“It’s a supercharged PC architecture, so you can use it as if it were a PC with unified memory,” he added.

“Much of what we’re seeing with the launch titles is that usage; it’s very, very quick to get up to speed if that’s how you use it. But at the same time, then you’re not taking advantage of all the customisation that we did in the GPU. I think that really will play into the graphical quality and the level of interaction in the worlds in, say, year three or year four of the console.”



Escaping the Cell: Are Developers Sold on PS4?

From indies to triple-A developers, we get the reaction to the PlayStation 4 from those making games

Are Developers Sold on PS4?

Sony’s initial pitch for the long-awaited PlayStation 4 is that it’s developer-centric hardware, designed with the intention of reducing financial, technical and administrative barriers to publishing on home consoles. The PlayStation 3 was famously obtuse, but according to new system architect Mark Cerny, Sony has built the PlayStation 4 as “a platform by game creators, for game creators.”

GamesIndustry International approached developers with real-world experience of creating games – from indie to triple-A, mobile to console – to gauge their initial reactions to the specifications, services and software from a company finally lifting the lid on its next-generation gaming ambitions.

Our panellists were:

  • Dominic Matthews, Ninja Theory
  • Matthew Seymour, Heavy Iron Games
  • Robert Troughton, Pitbull Studios
  • Will Luton, mobile and free-to-play games consultant
  • Simon Barratt, Four Door Lemon
  • James Brooksby, Born Ready Games
  • Mike Bithell, indie game developer
  • Simon Prytherch, Fluid Games
  • Martyn Brown, Insight for Hire

What were the standout features of the PlayStation 4 reveal for you?

Dominic Matthews: I think it got glossed over a little, but hearing Sony’s intended commitment to self-publishing on PlayStation 4 sounds very promising. The lower the barriers to entry the more diversity and creativity we’re going to see in video games. It was also very interesting to see Sony not only talk about the strong social aspect of future gaming but actually go as far as integrate a Share button into the control pad. A big step in recognising how players want to interact with each other outside of gameplay.

“Many of the past pledges that came from all the first-party manufacturers on their current generation systems look like they will now become realities”

Matthew Seymour

Matthew Seymour: The standout was the whole and very comprehensive PlayStation 4 package. Many of the past pledges that came from all the first-party manufacturers on their current generation systems look like they will now become realities with the release of the PS4. You’ll have the horsepower to create eye-popping games with amazing physics while offering up varied interface opportunities but also the robust connectivity to play what you want, when you want, on any Sony device you may have. It’s really all about the one-stop shop if you want to succeed these days, just ask the folks at Apple and Amazon.

Robert Troughton: I loved that it was gaming-centric. They’ve chosen components which should allow them to release an affordable console that is still a big leap from the last generation. For me, I think the standout feature is going to be the near-instant play where gamers won’t need to wait for lengthy installs – a huge problem on PS3 – or long downloads. There are still the gimmicks there – the touch control on Dual Shock, the PlayStation Eye stuff, I’ll be interested to see how those are brought into games – but those do still seem like unproven gimmicks to me.

Simon Barratt: It was great to see the specifications coming out from Sony, as exciting as the leak stories all are for people it does hurt a lot of small and medium developers as the platform holders for obvious reasons try to tighten up the people who ‘need to know’ ahead of announcements.

New PS4 ControllerThe Share button. A big step in recognizing how players want to interact with each other outside of gameplay.

On the technical side of things the 8GB of GDDR5 confirmation was really exciting, the number of parallel cores and the speed of the memory containing the data that those cores operate on is the most important thing for modern games, be it more ‘out there’ indie games, big all action first-person shooter games or somewhere in between. I think people quickly jump to the conclusion that somehow that doesn’t matter for certain innovative games but the quicker and easier it is to have a performant game running on a platform the more focus can go into the gameplay iteration, polish and overall feel.

Feature wise, I’m really excited about the Gaikai integration, / ustream and also YouTube channels covering Minecraft and such have become a massive part of a lot of gamers lives. I had a lot of fun even with the initial social gameplay aspects in OnLive and it’s great to see Sony make this a core part of their new offering. It was also good to see them acknowledge the need for gamers to get up and running quicker, while it’s great to be able to get content updates and patches all the time I see and hear a lot of frustration regarding updates from gamers on all major console platforms.

James Brooksby: As a developer, the standout feature is the ease of which we will be able to develop for this new system compared to the previous generations of console machines, that have slowed fast paced and iterative development; a wise move indeed. Secondly, the social aspects of the PS4 are going to be great; watching and interacting with others gameplay streams is going to make playing and sharing really fun.

Mike Bithell: I found myself getting far more excited about the service-side stuff than the games. The integration of Gaikai has been handled really smartly, and I think that video record/upload stuff is going to be something of a Trojan horse. I prattle on to anyone who’ll listen about how big a part I think YouTube plays in indie game success nowadays, and putting that element of performance and sharing front and center is a great statement of intent.

“I prattle on to anyone who’ll listen about how big a part YouTube plays in indie game success, and putting that element of performance and sharing front and center is a great statement of intent”

Mike Bithell

Will Luton: It was always going to be what David Perry had to say – I have a great deal of respect for him. Gaikai and the cloud are the best link Sony has to the future of games: moving away from expensive iterative hardware launches to make PlayStation a service. The money is always in access to content, expensive specialist hardware is a barrier.

Looking at the early technical specs and services, how does this change the type of games you’re able to create? Can we expect significantly better or alternative gaming experiences?

Jonathan Blow’s The Witness. ‘A pretty big statement,’ to indies like Mike Bithell.

Dominic Matthews: Aside for the more powerful hardware which will obviously allow us to make better looking, smoother experiences, it’s clear that the PlayStation 4 isn’t just about power. I think the PlayStation 4 will ask different questions of developers, such as “how do people play together,” “how do players engage with the game away from the main console,” “how are you going to take advantage of the streaming technology.” Ultimately, the aim is to make gaming more fun, which the answers to these questions have the potential to do.

Matthew Seymour: The types of games we can make for the PlayStation 4 go right back to the wide range of opportunities seemingly built into this new and accessible system, and Sony’s efforts in streamlining the publishing pipeline for the establishment and independents alike. From the looks of things right now, they’re building it and if the audience comes along for the ride, there is nothing stopping us from creating and publishing what we believe they’ll want to play and enjoy.

Robert Troughton: With the improved hardware, as well as improved tools offered by such as Unreal Engine 4, I believe we’re going to see another big leap in quality. Environments will undoubtedly become less static, characters and objects will be much more dynamic and reactive to player interactions. It’s going to be fantastic to see what developers do with all of this.

“The games on display were nothing that couldn’t be done on other hardware and indeed were, for the most part, the same old staples of AAA”

Will Luton

Simon Barratt: As much as I fondly think back to Vector Unit programming on the PlayStation 2, having a PC-like architecture is great news for everyone especially smaller teams who don’t have the time or resources to focus on lots of unique hardware designs. This means we can focus more on the gameplay and the player focused aspects of the game. Players don’t really care what is going on in between the game and the hardware only what they see and feel on the game-to-player part of the equation. This architecture removes that headache and lets us get on with spending our time where we want to be, which will bring more polished and interesting gaming experiences from studios of all sizes.

We’ve also seen some really great development tools from Sony both as the PS3 has developed and with the Vita which many developers say are some of the best tools we’ve worked with as an industry. Again, this is an important aspect in increasing the time we spend on the game rather than fiddly things that gamers just don’t see.

Will Luton: The games on display were nothing that couldn’t be done on other hardware and indeed were, for the most part, the same old staples of AAA. Even whatever it was that Media Molecule were demoing, used the Move. Hardware we already have. There’s possibly new gimmicks in having players jump in to your game via Gaikai, but the video sharing elements have been done software side for a long while. Screen sharing with Vita is neat, but again, it doesn’t make new experiences possible – it apes the Wii U and the other console-handheld link ups in history.

However, what is very heartening is the ostensible opening of the platform for smaller developers. Sony needs to drop the barriers and let small devs create what they wish. The mentality is to protect the platform from dross, yet open platforms with a content meritocracies have been producing the exciting outlier hits, like Minecraft and Angry Birds, amongst the crap which mostly gets little visibility. Consoles need this content first, not years down the line.

It’s still very much an unknown how this new openness will work. [The initial contact] for indies to register interest still goes to a page asking for NDAs, company information and tools loan agreements.

“Bigger games will take longer to make and with bigger teams, leading to more risk at publisher level. That just means publishers will have no other choice than mitigate those risks and play safe”

Martyn Brown

Martyn Brown: I’m still not sure people want alternative or new experiences. Dealing with the mass market tends to ensure everyone dials down to the lowest common denominator. I wouldn’t expect much more than similar successful genres and titles to any other generation, albeit more socially connected.

I’m not sure I really agree that more polygons and bigger worlds equal better games. Certainly bigger games will take longer to make (especially encompassing all the new features) and with bigger teams, leading to bigger budgets and more risk at publisher level. So I think that just means largely those publishers will have no other choice than mitigate those risks and play safe. Especially in a marketplace with serious questions being asked about the viability of the retail sector and a background given that broadband internet is not ubiquitous as yet. The mass market speed (up and down) will dictate if this works or not, I just hope it’s not too premature in what it’s trying to do.

Simon Prytherch: The exciting thing for us is the track pad for touch screen-like control mechanics of swipe, drag and draw. There is also mention of an iOS and Android app for second-screen and secondary controls. This combined with the integration with cloud and Vita should make for some great connected experiences and games with swipe and draw control mechanics.

Bungie’s Destiny. ‘It’s interesting to see that some of the old Xbox-exclusive developers are working on PS4 now,’ says Troughton.

The instant sharing will have a big impact on the social nature of how we play games. I’m interested to see how your friends will be able to interact with this feature and how it will help to market your game to a new audience.

Mike Bithell: There were some interesting tidbits there. Vita as a second screen, the 3D camera to detect room and controller precisely, there are definitely some possibilities there. I’m just crossing my fingers that the new layout hasn’t broken the DualShock magic. As for system spec, we’re seeing a smaller jump visually, but at my end of the scale, that just means less framerate headaches. I’ll not be making David Cage-beating visuals any time soon, it’ll serve my stuff nicely.

Did the PS4 presentation make you feel more or less excited about the future possibilities for PlayStation gaming? Do you personally see a new opportunity to develop on Sony platforms?

Robert Troughton: I felt much more confident about Sony going into the next generation after watching this. The Vita, for me, was a disappointment. So it’s great to see that they have their mojo back. It’s interesting to see that some of the old Xbox-exclusive developers are working on PS4 now too. I think with the Xbox 360/PS3, that was a big part of the war – more so than the hardware itself – so I’ll be looking forward to Microsoft’s announcements and follow ups from Sony about which developers each have coerced into complete or timed exclusives.

James Brooksby wants to see Sony ’embracing the gamers that got them to the top and not being distracted by non game opportunities’.

Matthew Seymour: I’m excited about the future and the new opportunities with Sony because it seems the truly accessible hardware and connectivity is in a place where all those promises we all made in the past to our gaming audience can finally be realized.

Mike Bithell: It’s a strong console, with a very impressive service attached. The appearance by Jonathan Blow is a pretty big statement to guys like me too. Sony are already doing a lot to get indies on to their hardware, I’m sure that’ll continue, and I’d love to be a part of it.

Dominic Matthews: I’m excited by the PlayStation 4, but at the same time I recognise the need for console gaming to change. Mobile gaming has overtaken console gaming in the way that it engages players, offers them experiences suited to their lives and allows them to connect with friends easily and without barriers. Aside from making large scale, spectacular power harnessing games for the PlayStation 4, I see the PlayStation 4 as an opportunity to change the types of games that we all make and think more about the player and not just the game.

“I would love to see Sony fully embrace digital and allow developers to set prices – the days of every console game costing $60 are surely coming to an end”

Dominic Matthews

James Brooksby: My family and friends and I have had some of the greatest gaming experiences on PlayStation platforms over the years. What I have seen and believe to be coming made me very excited about the future of PlayStation in all its guises. For us, it’s definitely opened up a new opportunity as PlayStation is a platform that we can publish our games directly on it will be much easier to develop for than previous consoles.

Will Luton: It’s hard to tell at this point. We got a bit of a sales pitch on lots of the things we’ve seen before – more teraflops, physics demos, slightly-closer-to-photorealism – it’s diminishing returns. That wasn’t exciting to me, but it is to some.

What else would you like to see Sony do in this new generation of video gaming?

Robert Troughton: Pricing is going to be very important. Will the consoles be subsidised by games, subscription to services or suchlike? Will they be released making a loss again? Consumers’ pockets are even tighter this time around so I do feel this is going to be a very important factor in the success of any of the new consoles.

Mike Bithell: Hunker down and serve the gamers. As it stands, and at the price at which it’s likely to be placed, the casual audience are unlikely to make the jump. For the next few years, Sony needs to keep on serving the kinds of people who stayed up to watch the video. This is a strong start, and I’m looking forward to standing in line for one this winter.

“Pricing is going to be very important. Will the consoles be subsidized by games, subscription to services or suchlike? Will they be released making a loss again?”

Robert Troughton

Matthew Seymour: Without going into more crazy things like VR helmets, the big thing I’d like to see to ensure the success of Sony and the gaming industry as a whole in the near future is to keep the price point reasonable for both software and hardware. And the better incorporation of broadcast TV viewing in the form of tightly and elegantly integrated electronic programming guides.

James Brooksby: I would like to see Sony embracing the gamers that got them to the top and not being too distracted by non videogame opportunities that may drag the PlayStation away from doing what it does best: play games. And I want to see Sony do well. Diversity is good, different ways for people to discover and enjoy games is good.

Will Luton: The problem with console gaming is that people who buy them are self-identifying “gamers” – they have to be. It’s a slowly growing demographic. The opportunity for games in the future is in platforms that, like social web or mobile, are in front of everyone and offer experiences that are wide appeal and cheap, if not free. People didn’t buy iPhones for Angry Birds or join Facebook for FarmVille, it’s something non-gamers found whilst they were there.

I’d like to see Sony abandon the hardware refresh mentality and transform PlayStation in to a service for games (also music, film and TV) included in every television or box they or anyone else sells, with new and interesting content that is long-form and narrative-driven but offering something other than Übermensch violence. There’s a great deal of talent in games and I’d like to see it put to use on something new, giving the cinematic experiences they make to everyone and letting games compete culturally with all the other media art forms.

Simon Prytherch wants to see ‘deeper integration of the PS4 with both mobile and Vita, so that players can take their game with them’.

Martyn Brown: They’ve made a lot of bold statements about how things will work, so I’d settle for seeing all that happen quickly. I got the impression that a lot of this stuff will be phased in over time, not out of the box, which was a problem for PS3 initially – especially for the PSN service. Developers used to complain about games being patched on day one, now it’s hardware.

Simon Prytherch: I’d like to see deeper integration of the PS4 with both mobile and Vita, so that players can take their game with them when they are not at home. Social network integration, Gaikai and the cloud services are just the first steps.

Dominic Matthews: I would love to see Sony fully embrace digital and allow developers to set prices – the days of every console game costing $60 are surely coming to an end.