PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox 720: Developers Are Running To Sony PS4, Away From Microsoft

By Jordan Mammo , Apr 09, 2013 10:31 AM EDT
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Microsoft hasn't even officially unveiled the Xbox 720, but it already finds itself dealing with some negative feedback. Rumors of an always-online requirement have turned many video game enthusiasts against the company — could game developers themselves also pivot away from the Xbox brand and toward Sony and the PlayStation 4?

It's no secret that Sony has made a concerted effort to try and lure developers toward the PlayStation 4. It consulted them when it came time to build the PS4 technology, it's breaking down publishing barriers so indie designers can get their games on PSN more easily, and so far, it seems to be working. Though some indie teams have voiced concern, many of them have generally positive things to say about the PS4's future.

Microsoft and the Xbox 720, on the other hand, might be in some trouble. According to a new Wired piece, the company generally made things difficult for indie developers on the Xbox 360, and that bad reputation is making some of them turn to the PS4.

"Microsoft treats independent developers very badly," said Jonathon Blow, creator of the hit indie game Braid and the PS4 game The Witness. He told Wired in an email that Microsoft tries to "put you through as much pain as you will endure in order to extract whatever [they] feel like this week."

The developer of Retro City Rampage, Brian Provinciano, meanwhile, relayed that Microsoft actually cancelled his game when he criticized some of its inefficiencies and made him resubmit the title in an even more strict approval process. Sony was the polar opposite.

"Sony's been incredibly supportive and promoted the game very well," said Provinciano. "It's received a generous amount of promotion at no cost to me, from [advertisements] on the PS Store to events such as E3 and even having it playable on kiosks at every Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop, Target and Future Shop across North America."

"Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected this to happen."

As more and more developers describe themselves as indie, it's become especially important for Microsoft and Sony to appeal to them instead of thinking developers will concede to all of their demands. If Microsoft doesn't make the Xbox 720 appealing to develop for, it might end up simply driving creators towards the PS4.

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