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Yoshida: I don't understand people who only want AAA

Yoshida: I don't understand people who only want AAA

Wed 02 Jul 2014 2:02pm GMT / 10:02am EDT / 7:02am PDT
DevelopmentGamelab 2014

Shuhei Yoshida on the role of blockbusters in the new generation, and the potential and pricing of PlayStation Now

Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment is a Japanese videogame company specialising in a variety of areas in the...

playstation.com

Another E3, another victory for Sony in its battle with Microsoft. In the past, it has been easy to dismiss the so-called 'console war' as a confection; a narrative created by and played out in the media to keep its audience engaged. There may still be some truth to that idea, but in both this E3 and the last Sony has been all too happy to compare and contrast its policies to those of its rival, even as the team in green largely abstained from doing so. As a journalist, you get used to companies refusing to comment on their rivals as a matter of policy. Well, not any more. It may not be a war, exactly, but whatever it is Sony has a strong sense that it's winning.

Despite Sony's ongoing supremacy, however, the E3 press conferences were met with a good deal of criticism, with the levels of violence and brutality on display chief among the concerns. Even the most cursory Google search returns rants and jeremiads from Polygon, Game Informer, the San Jose Mercury and GamesRadar among many, many others. This sort of analysis seems to have intensified in the last few years, but when I put that idea to Sony's Shuhei Yoshida, president of Worldwide Studios, he just smiles and shakes his head.

"I do realise there are certain reactions like that, but that's nothing new to me. What's important is the variety that we're offering," he says, still buoyant after being presented with the Award of Honour at Barcelona's Gamelab conference the previous night.

"We are concerned a little bit when we work on a game like LittleBigPlanet 3, because people want those big-budget, realistic, military shooters"

"I was very happy to get a very positive reaction when we announced LittleBigPlanet 3. We are concerned a little bit when we work on a game like LittleBigPlanet 3, about how people will react, because people want those big-budget, realistic, military shooters. But there were lots of cheers, a lot of affection.

"And the reaction to Nintendo's games in general, or a game like Splatoon. If you look at the whole industry, and you consider Nintendo, I think the balance is actually better than past years."

Amidst the hand-wringing over the ratio of severed heads to female presenters it's easy to lose sight of the kind of games that now occupy space on Sony's stage. Would No Man's Sky have been given the opportunity to steal column inches from the likes of Call of Duty and Far Cry even three or four years ago? Go back another four and it's worth asking if something as peaceable and sanguine as Hello Games' widely lauded space exploration title would have existed at all. For Yoshida, gathering and understanding the complaints of the press and public has always been a part of the job, but, in general, he sees more reasons for console gamers to be cheerful than ever before.

2

Nevertheless, 'better' doesn't necessarily mean good enough, and the sheer ubiquity of communication channels has made it easier than ever for the press and the public to air unvarnished, unbridled criticisms. The apparent dissatisfaction with the prominence of violent games at the E3 conferences speaks to a larger perceived problem with AAA games on the new generation of consoles: in simple terms, there aren't enough of them, certainly not from Sony and Microsoft's first-party studios, and those that are coming feel all too familiar.

In that sense, Sony's very public outreach to independent developers has proved invaluable. At this point, just how smart a purchasing decision would the PlayStation 4 seem without Transistor, Don't Starve, Outlast and their ilk? Indeed, with Uncharted 4 and The Order: 1886 - arguably the most anticipated of the PS4's AAA exclusives - not due for release until some time next year, it's worth asking whether Sony's concerted effort to push indie content over the last 12 months was in part down to filling the gap. Once again, Yoshida shakes his head and smiles.

"I do realise that some people are only interested in big-budget AAA games. I don't really understand those people"

"That's not why, but that's the end result of having great indie games as well. Almost every week you see an indie game coming out digitally on PS4. Some of them are really, really interesting, beautiful games," he says. "We're fortunate that they're creating games on PS4, and some of them are choosing to launch their console versions on PlayStation first. It's fortunate. It really helps.

"When you compare it to the launch of PS3, we had a very small number of digital games. They were very limited in terms of numbers, and many of them were arcade classics at that time. Now, they're original concepts.

"I hear complaints [about the lack of AAA games]. I do realise that some people are only interested in big-budget AAA games. I don't really understand those people. I don't know if they've tried some of the indie games and decided they're not interested. Maybe they haven't even tried. That's a key question. With Resogun, which we offered for free for a long time on PS Plus, not every PS Plus member downloaded it, and that's a great, great game. That's a key question for us."

New hardware implies new experiences, and while we're used to looking to the biggest, most expensive games to find that originality, there's a growing sense that, this time, the new experience will be more fundamental. As I talk to Yoshida, the most distinctive new experience of this generation seems to be choice: what to play, how to play it, how much it costs, and who you share it with. The games may well be familiar, but the structure around them has changed irrevocably.

With that in mind, PlayStation Now seems like a gilt-edged opportunity for Sony to pull even further away from the pack, offering its users a breadth and immediacy of choice that neither Nintendo nor Microsoft has any obvious plans to rival. Already in closed beta and scheduled to enter open beta in the US and Canada at the end of this month, the nascent cloud service has the seductive potential to be the Netflix or Spotify of gaming. At the very least, Yoshida says, that is Sony's intention.

3

"We have the vision of bringing hundreds and thousands of PlayStation games to every screen," he says, cautiously. "That's the vision, but we're taking one step at a time. There's investment in the server farm, the tech, internet latency and bandwidth. We have to start from somewhere.

"Wifi is a challenge. Typically, we recommend 5mbps for 720p quality. That's a challenge, especially in some markets. But we also view it as a matter of time, because the infrastructure just gets better and better."

"People are jumping to conclusions. I saw some people saying that PS Now is dead on arrival."

That's almost certainly true, but PlayStation Now's business model remains a prominent and potentially ruinous issue. Reports of pricing in the beta could be charitably described as "schizophrenic," varying from game to game and with price-points for everything from a few hours to three months' rental. In the most egregious examples, renting a game for a few months actually costs more than buying it outright on the PlayStation Store. Yoshida quite rightly describes PlayStation Now as a work-in-progress, but even at this early stage it's clear that a lot of work needs to be done, and, with publishers heavily involved in setting the prices, there is reasonable doubt over whether the industry has the courage of its convictions.

Spotify and Netflix have proved that, when it comes to entertainment streaming services, there's a huge audience out there for the one-price, all-you-can-eat approach, and it seems unlikely that games will be treated as a special case. To put it bluntly, the market may already have spoken, and Yoshida insists that Sony is listening.

"We don't know yet," he says about the possibility of a Netflix-esque model for PlayStation Now. "We have been saying that we're looking at doing a subscription model, in addition to rental. Or vice versa: rental in addition to subscription. We're calling it a beta still, and we'll call it that even after it launches in the US and Canada at the end of July. It will still be called an open beta, because we expect it to keep changing in many ways. People are jumping to conclusions.

"I saw some people saying that PS Now is dead on arrival," he laughs, then there's that shake of the head again. "So... it's feedback. This is a long-term strategy for us, and every reaction is valuable."

45 Comments

Jordan Lund
Columnist

24 59 2.5
The reason people want AAA games is because when they hand you $400 of their hard earned money for a console or $200 for a hand held they expect to get their moneys worth.

I bought a PS1 day one on 9/9/1995 and felt immediately I got my moneys worth with the games available at launch and shortly after launch. So far, that isn't happening with the PS4 and it has not happened with the Vita.

Nothing against Resogun, it's a beautiful little game. It's also, at it's heart, a Defender clone. A game that I played the heck out of 30 years ago. I didn't spend $400 on new hardware to play a game that is an update from 30 years ago.

The same goes for the indie games on the Vita which seems to be all we're getting now. The Vita is capable of much, much better games than Hotline Miami, but if all you're interested in are games that look like they're 30 years old I guess the indie platform is for you.

Posted:A month ago

#1

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,017 1,463 1.4
The problem with LBP3 isn't that it lacks guns and muscly men, it's that it's actually LBP5, only 6 years after the release of the original LittleBigPlanet.

Posted:A month ago

#2

Kevin Hillary
writer/videographer

8 7 0.9
Maaaan sony better get it together before they lose this race. They're slacking in updates, games are scarce this year, and they're having this belief that the triple A games aren't that big of a deal (from how it comes off as being implied). I will say this. If they keep this attitude Microsoft will surely surpass them down the line. That hype for the console will die if they don't maintain that excitement.

Posted:A month ago

#3

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

263 988 3.8
Popular Comment
Too many people seem to equate AAA with automatic quality and value for money, and write off indie games. Hopefully that's an outlook that will change, because I for one find far more innovation, quality and actual craft in the indie scene than in AAA.

Posted:A month ago

#4

Reza Ghavami
Marketing Analyst

22 10 0.5
I traded mine in for the Wii U Mario Kart 8 deluxe set. "Greatness Awaits," they said. Still waiting. $400 is not a fair investment for the likes of Resogun and a share button.

Posted:A month ago

#5

Nick Wofford
Hobbyist

172 181 1.1
@Jessica
I'm super pumped for No Man's Sky, but it's pretty accurate to say that a TON of indie games are retro-style titles, and that's something I can get on my legacy systems.

@Kevin
That's quite possible. The 360 started with a fat lead last generation, but the PS3 closed it. A few million units is never something that a platform maker should consider "comfortable."

Posted:A month ago

#6

Justin Shuard
J - E translator

42 167 4.0
Kind of agree with Kevin actually. Sony really need to shift up a few gears if they want to keep their early lead. I'll probably still end up picking up a PS4 just to play Bloodborne, but their lineup looks fairly barebones after that. Hopefully they'll bring out some big guns at Gamescom or TGS to make me change my mind.

Posted:A month ago

#7
Am I missing something here? So far Sony's first party had been the only entity producing next gen AAA games. Killzone Shadow Fall, Infamous Second Son, the upcoming Drive Club, The Order 1886, Blood Borne, and Uncharted all starkly overshadow competing next gen titles from all other developers: Nintendo, Xbox studios, and third parties. If you're looking at the technical standard of AAA, then there simply isn't any basis of criticism for SCEA at all. Looking at frame rate, resolution, texture quality, graphical effects, and animation---across the board their games are setting the standard for the industry. They have more of these expensive titles in development than Microsoft and Nintendo combined. If it weren't for the titles they were releasing, this latest generation so far would be almost completely a rehash of dated engines.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 3rd July 2014 12:55am

Posted:A month ago

#8

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,017 1,463 1.4
@ Bill, apparently you have a different definition of quality than the majority of the industry. When we talk about AAA we are talking about investment, but it means little if the quality isn't there. Killzone and inFamous both disappointed, and neither DriveClub nor The Order 1886 had particularly positive receptions at E3 this year (The Order isn't even releasing until 2015 anyway).

As unscientific as it is, if we pop onto Metacritic and you go by exclusives (games you bought the console to play, hopefully) the PS4 only has two games of generally highly regarded quality that can only be played on the PS4 alone (Resogun and inFamous Second Son). Meanwhile, the Wii U's list of exclusives in the 8s and 9s ranges on Meta is six games long.

There are just a lot more games that can be only played on the Wii U than only played on a PS4. The majority of the PS4's well-received games are indie titles that are also on PC, Wii U, Xbox One, PS3, etc. While they have a lot of positive energy behind them from a very consumer friendly hardware price point and great hardware performance, all the numbers in the world mean nothing if you don't have the games to back it up. Ironically, that's Yoshida's point, and it's his console's greatest weakness right now.

The great joke for me this year has been my Wii U and my PS4. I had very little excitement for a Wii U. I bought it to play big Nintendo games, and found the vast majority of 2013 to be disappointing for me. The PS4 on the other hand had me incredibly excited, but since the launch of the PS4 I have bought FAR more Wii U games than PS4 games. Indeed I have purchased just a single PS4 game this year, inFamous: Second Son, and found it disappointing compared to its PS3 predecessors, despite the graphics.

So maybe the big secret of the current generation, of any generation, is talk is cheap, and hardware is a paper tiger. What really matters is the games. Show me the games, and Sony is not doing that. Not yet.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 3rd July 2014 1:21am

Posted:A month ago

#9
@Nicholas
Actually if you ask any professional developer and not "editors" for "VCChartz" (... dear lord) they will openly praise SCEA studios' incredible technical leadership on next gen titles. You can not say 1. The PS4 is bad because it has no AAA games which justify the hardware expense, and 2. The PS4 is bad because it has AAA games instead of "quality" games like the WiiU. Again, this is a bunch of nonsense from arm chair CEOs who have little insight to offer.

Nintendo is porting 3DS games to the WiiU and alienating developers left and right. Microsoft is scrambling to raise its internal development up to modern standard, after essentially closing up shop halfway into the 360's life cycle. Ubisoft's and Activision's next gen games have recycled technology, and demonstrated poor optimization so far. EA barely has anything in the pipeline. Meanwhile Sucker Punch, RAD, Evolution, and Naughty Dog are successively setting standards for what a AAA game will look and feel like in this generation of consoles.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 3rd July 2014 2:04am

Posted:A month ago

#10

Nick Wofford
Hobbyist

172 181 1.1
Bill, I think you're being a good bit disingenuous here. You say that Sony's offering is unmatched, but for Bloodborne, MS can raise Scalebound. Infamous: SS? Crackdown 3. Drive Club? Forza 5 AND Forza Horizon 2. Killzone? Halo (the game that Killzone has never beaten). The Order? Gears of War. Nintendo can't do the same in genre parity, but they've definitely got more than that released or in the pipeline in their own genres.

If the CEO of Sony is saying that they don't have that many AAA games on their console, it's probably safe to say that they don't have that many AAA games on their console. This is Sony; they have a ton of departments in their corporation, but a Humble Department certainly isn't one of them.

Posted:A month ago

#11

Justin Shuard
J - E translator

42 167 4.0
Popular Comment
Meanwhile Sucker Punch, RAD, Evolution, and Naughty Dog are successively setting standards for what a AAA game will look and feel like in this generation of consoles.
Good god I hope not! Run forward - cutscene, run forward - third person shooting section, run forward - QTE.. It's great that these games exist for the people that like this type of interactive cinema, but give me Nintendo-style gameplay any day of the week! :)

Posted:A month ago

#12
Bill, I think you're being a good bit disingenuous here. You say that Sony's offering is unmatched, but for Bloodborne, MS can raise Scalebound. Crackdown 3. Forza 5 AND Forza Horizon 2. Halo Gears of War.
I would say you're being disingenuous, as you've assembled a list of competing franchises---not titles that have materialized yet. You've also conveniently included CGI content, which I guess we are to assume authentically demonstrates the power of the Xbox One? Well, then. I guess you bought into the PS3 Killzone trailer as well.

And raising Forza 5 as the paragon of next gen technology? Hardly. You may as well call The Last of Us Remastered a next gen AAA title. Where as Forza 5 was little more than an HD port, Drive Club was built from the ground up with a new engine for next gen hardware.

Again, it is disingenuous to claim that SCEA lacks in AAA development, when it is objectively clear that they are dragging the entire industry into the current generation. Where as most publishers would like to continue cashing in on old technology, SCEA has met the task of demonstrating what next gen hardware is for.
Nintendo can't do the same in genre parity, but they've definitely got more than that released or in the pipeline in their own genres.
This is nonsensical fanboy talk. I see no reason to entertain it. It only undermines your argument. If you want to accuse next gen developers of not living up to the promise of next gen hardware, then you can not also defend buying a whole new Nintendo platform just to play more variations of Super Mario Land.
If the CEO of Sony is saying that they don't have that many AAA games on their console, it's probably safe to say that they don't have that many AAA games on their console. This is Sony; they have a ton of departments in their corporation, but a Humble Department certainly isn't one of them.
I believe Yoshida's quote is in defense of the myriad of non AAA titles on the platform. His phrase was "only AAA." Again, you can not have it both ways. You can't be AAA game aficionado, AND SonicSammy7 caught in a stunted immature state. You can claim to want AAA games for their utilization of hardware you bought. You can hold "graphics" in contempt over Nintendo's slate of cartoon characters. But you can not claim to be both.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 3rd July 2014 4:06am

Posted:A month ago

#13
Good god I hope not! Run forward - cutscene, run forward - third person shooting section, run forward - QTE.. It's great that these games exist for the people that like this type of interactive cinema, but give me Nintendo-style gameplay any day of the week! :)
Right, and if you would like to spend $300 on hardware that is marginally more powerful than the equivalents that came out 7 years ago, and now cost a fraction of that price---then you are welcome to.

You can throw your lot in with overpriced undervalued hardware---all in the name of "fun," "player agency" or whatever other psuedo intellectual theory of design you want to make up that convince your maladjusted inner-child that Nintendo's cartoon characters are not just commercial entities.

You can refute the responsibility to push the industry forward. But what you can not do is then criticize others who are actively fulfilling that responsibility, for not fulfilling that responsibility. You can not say "I am a vegetarian" and then protest at McDonalds because their burgers don't taste as good as the ones you make at home. These ideas are not compatible.

Again, the ostensible complaint here is that SCEA has not put enough titles in the pipeline that realize the PS4's processing power. By just about any measure, that is patently, objectively untrue. The PS4 is nearly a year old---they've published 3 first party titles, are publishing another this October, and have 3 more in development with actual real time footage, and release schedules---not imaginary concept videos.

On the sheer basis of quantity 7 AAA titles for a first party publisher is a large amount, not a small amount. It is more than what Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, and Microsoft are doing. Not less. That is what the numbers say. There is no debate to be had there.

From the standpoint of quality technology, the visuals in Second Son, Killzone, and Drive Club are more cutting edge than anything else in the industry. Call of Duty Ghosts and Titan Fall did not look as good as Killzone. Forza 5 did not look as impressive as Drive Club. This does not require a subjective judgment on how "good" they are, just an assessment of what the games engines are doing technologically.

Edited 12 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 3rd July 2014 4:33am

Posted:A month ago

#14

Christian Keichel
Journalist

640 876 1.4
@ Bill
On the sheer basis of quantity 7 AAA titles for a first party publisher is a large amount, not a small amount.
What 7 AAA titles do you talk about?
Nintendo is porting 3DS games to the WiiU and alienating developers left and right.
I am not sure, what you are talking here about, maybe you talk about the new Pullblox game, but that's not a port, it's a new entry in a series, besides this Nintendo released an enormous number of AAA games in the past 12 months, both on console and on handheld.
- Mario Kart 8
. Pikmin 3
- Pokemon X/Y
- Super Mario 3D World
- Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
- The Wonderful 101

Additionally they released some games, that are on a smaller scale, but definitely not as small as Resogun like
- Yoshi's New Island
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros
- Mario Golf World Tour
- Tomodachi Life
- Super Luigi Bros U
- Wii Sports Club

And finally, there released some smaller games like
- Pokemon Art Academy
- Pullblox World
- Pokemon Rumble U
- Art Academy Sketch Pad
- Nes Remix 1&2

That's 18 games in 12 months (at least, I may have skipped some). I am not aware of any other publisher with such an enormous output of games within 12 months besides Nintendo and a fair share of these titles is clearly in the AAA department.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 3rd July 2014 8:59am

Posted:A month ago

#15

Christian Keichel
Journalist

640 876 1.4
You can refute the responsibility to push the industry forward
The AAA industry that came to life with the PS1 is in a crisis for years now. Rising budgets lead to a risk aversive, sequel driven, DLC addicted industry model, that is collapsing right now, because it fails to generate a profit for many publishers.

The current rise of independent games and all the love they get from Sony and Microsoft is a direct result of this collapse. Both publishers need content for their boxes and they are not able to put out enough games out by themself, because games have become to expensive to be profitable any more.
Here is a list of studio closures since 2006, browsing this list you will see, that about half of the closures took place in 2011-2013 and if you look at the names on the list, you will see, that many of them were in AAA space as well. Sony closed studios themself, it's not like they are immune to the problems of AAA development.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 3rd July 2014 9:01am

Posted:A month ago

#16

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,072 1,007 0.9
The more developers realize that they can make any game they want and find an audience, instead of making the game the publisher wants them to make, the more brain drain AAA developers will suffer from. It seems Sony is counting on that to continue to happen.

Six games for $10 currently tend to offer way more than most games sold at $60.

Posted:A month ago

#17

Andreia Quinta
Creative & People Photographer

214 535 2.5
Popular Comment
Bill, not wanting to sound rude, but first I'd recomend taking a pill for what seems to be a severe case of fanboyism, it's afecting the respect I'm sure you have from other comenters that may or may not know more about the industry than you do.


Secondly
From the standpoint of quality technology, the visuals in Second Son, Killzone, and Drive Club are more cutting edge than anything else in the industry. Call of Duty Ghosts and Titan Fall did not look as good as Killzone. Forza 5 did not look as impressive as Drive Club.
You seem to be assuming visual appearance = overall game quality, which is in fact flawed.

Posted:A month ago

#18

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,017 1,463 1.4
Popular Comment
@ Bill VGChartz is my employer, I'm an editor at gamrReview.com, a gaming news and review site which is a subsidiary of VGC. It's incredibly inappropriate for someone on this site to insult people's careers. This is not a random internet forum, membership is required here for a reason. Please discuss respectfully.

Posted:A month ago

#19

Robin Clarke
Producer

300 684 2.3
The same goes for the indie games on the Vita which seems to be all we're getting now. The Vita is capable of much, much better games than Hotline Miami, but if all you're interested in are games that look like they're 30 years old I guess the indie platform is for you.
Hotline Miami is one of the very best games available on any platform. If your measure of quality is based on how hard the hardware is being pushed, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

Posted:A month ago

#20

Payton Liu
Production Support Analyst

15 23 1.5
AAA titles make people (who are currently undecided) to choose which console to buy, they are the deciding factors for those sitting in the middle. Of cause, those who buy everything are not considered here.

Well, I think a close comparable media could be blockbuster movies.
We can see very similar points here:
* Big budget - measures in millions of dollars
* Best special effects compared with AAA's money in tech investment
* Marketing - both spent millions yet again
* Not always successful - no guarantee on return of investment
* Usage of universally accepted formulas - story settings, risk avoiding methods, etc.
(This list can go on much longer...)

My point here is that there's always people who like/enjoy something more than something else.
Should you criticize gamers for playing AAA titles only?
Should you blame people who only watch blockbuster movies?
I doubt that.

So Mr Yoshida, it's quite OK that you don't understand people who only want AAA games. It's just the way of life. :-)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Payton Liu on 3rd July 2014 2:17pm

Posted:A month ago

#21

Al Nelson
Producer

32 47 1.5
You know when I only want AAA games? When I just bought the latest next-gen console or when I just finished building my new fire-breathing, gaming PC. I don't really want to play Peggle. I want to see where the money went. I want to know where the red-line is, not the idle.

Posted:A month ago

#22

Daniel Hughes
Studying PhD Literary Modernism

436 496 1.1
If your measure of quality is based on how hard the hardware is being pushed, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
That's spot on, Robin, and it's something Yoshida alludes to across his fairly diplomatic responses. At this point I can understand the disappointment from some people that PS4 and Sony haven't yet delivered on the promises they made and the potential evident last year. I was put off buying hardware at launch by 3DS, which didn't deliver grounds-up, must-have experiences until it had been on the market for 9 months. Waiting twelve months to buy a Wii U has meant I've had an enormous amount of quality gaming time on it in the last six months. I could catch up on existing titles that didn't scream "must-have", but were worth buying once the must-have title (Mario 3D World for me, though Wonderful 101 is really quite something) appeared. Once I had that incentive to take the leap, I found more and more content at retail and through eShop that's keeping me busy.

The issue being expressed here, first and perhaps best by Jordan, is that those singular experiences (the titles that convince consumers to leap onto a device and then, through owning the device and actively looking for their next purchase, discover more reasons to use their hardware) have yet to emerge. Yoshida's right to argue against only wanting 'AAA' titles on a console, and he's right to argue that the indie boom on consoles is great for format holders and great for gamers. But it's the folly of previously pursuing AAA titles at the expense of everything else that's now coming back to haunt the console industry. Sony and Microsoft were at the forefront of that push, along with the major Western publishers, which effectively eliminated middle tier publishing and development, as well as large or medium scale independent development.

I think the issue that needs to be addressed is that for many consumers, the choice on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, for the near future at least, seems to be a smaller number of AAA titles than previous years, and more indie titles that ever before. Now the problem for me isn't that there are a lot of indie games, it's that the pursuit of AAA has left nothing between indie and the "top-end". Despite an ever increasing array of delivery options, pricing structures and business models, software on consoles is seemingly in danger of splitting into a choice of indie or AAA. It's a reflection of tumultuous change in gaming, and partially a reflection of publishers and manufacturers failure to build on the success of Wii/DS in attracting new consumers to consoles (I include Nintendo in that failure), that there's now no middle-ground. Maybe it's just part of this tumultuous change; maybe the bigger success stories of the indie boom will be the medium sized developers and publishers of tomorrow. I just think that for the console industry to move out of the contraction it's mired in, we're going to need more than a dichotomy of indie and AAA.

Posted:A month ago

#23

Jordan Lund
Columnist

24 59 2.5
Hotline Miami is a throw back to games like Loaded and Re-Loaded which were fine back in 1995 and 1996 when they came out, but throwing a skin on it that looks like 1985 because it's hip and edgy to make indie games look retro doesn't make it a good game.

I guess I'm biased since I've been playing games now for close to 40 years. I remember ye olden days and have no desire to spend money on new hardware to repeat them.

This isn't a slam on indie games in general... No Man's Sky was THE stand out game at E3, it just seems like the majority of indie studios don't have that kind of ambition.

Posted:A month ago

#24

Neow Shau Jin
Studying Bachelor in Computer Science

52 81 1.6
I think what Bill meant is that you don't need next-gen hardware to innovate. The only thing a more powerful hardware that can add to gameplay is a result of larger maps, more character on-screen, more complex AI and a new controller/means of interaction. That leaves the logical upgrade for AAA in next-gen is the visuals, and that is what the early adopters seek, and Sony delivers on that in the next gen games they released so far. Innovation can happen in last-gen hardware and, what is made evident by Indies, everywhere.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Neow Shau Jin on 3rd July 2014 5:05pm

Posted:A month ago

#25
Bill, not wanting to sound rude, but first I'd recomend taking a pill for what seems to be a severe case of fanboyism, it's afecting the respect I'm sure you have from other comenters that may or may not know more about the industry than you do.
I'd recommend rereading my posts and finding more intelligent arguments than ad hominems.
You seem to be assuming visual appearance = overall game quality, which is in fact flawed
That's actually not what I said at all! There is a specific grievance about AAA game development. Look at the first comment in this section. It is one of the most upvoted comments, and the basic gist is that you need AAA games that validate the hardware you're investing in.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 3rd July 2014 6:49pm

Posted:A month ago

#26
@ Bill VGChartz is my employer, I'm an editor at gamrReview.com, a gaming news and review site which is a subsidiary of VGC. It's incredibly inappropriate for someone on this site to insult people's careers. This is not a random internet forum, membership is required here for a reason. Please discuss respectfully
I don't have to respect your position in this industry. You have claimed authority in our discussion based on metacritic and the conventional wisdom of game reviewers. Sorry, but I find 90% of game reviews to be banal and shallow. If you don't want me to insult your employer, don't use an authoritative argument that hinges on your employer.

Posted:A month ago

#27

Christian Keichel
Journalist

640 876 1.4
That's actually not what I said at all!
You didn't?

Bill Garrison:
If you're looking at the technical standard of AAA, then there simply isn't any basis of criticism for SCEA at all. Looking at frame rate, resolution, texture quality, graphical effects, and animation---across the board their games are setting the standard for the industry. They have more of these expensive titles in development than Microsoft and Nintendo combined. If it weren't for the titles they were releasing, this latest generation so far would be almost completely a rehash of dated engines.
Nintendo is porting 3DS games to the WiiU and alienating developers left and right. Microsoft is scrambling to raise its internal development up to modern standard, after essentially closing up shop halfway into the 360's life cycle. Ubisoft's and Activision's next gen games have recycled technology, and demonstrated poor optimization so far. EA barely has anything in the pipeline. Meanwhile Sucker Punch, RAD, Evolution, and Naughty Dog are successively setting standards for what a AAA game will look and feel like in this generation of consoles.
And raising Forza 5 as the paragon of next gen technology? Hardly. You may as well call The Last of Us Remastered a next gen AAA title. Where as Forza 5 was little more than an HD port, Drive Club was built from the ground up with a new engine for next gen hardware.
Where as most publishers would like to continue cashing in on old technology, SCEA has met the task of demonstrating what next gen hardware is for.
From the standpoint of quality technology, the visuals in Second Son, Killzone, and Drive Club are more cutting edge than anything else in the industry. Call of Duty Ghosts and Titan Fall did not look as good as Killzone. Forza 5 did not look as impressive as Drive Club. This does not require a subjective judgment on how "good" they are, just an assessment of what the games engines are doing technologically.

Posted:A month ago

#28

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,520 1,313 0.9
Edit:

I think I'm backing out of this thread. I think it's a little too... unnecessary in places.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 3rd July 2014 5:24pm

Posted:A month ago

#29
What 7 AAA titles do you talk about?
Knack, Infamous Second Son, Killzone, Drive Club, The Order 1886, Bloodborne, and Uncharted. That is 7 AAA next gen titles at a technical caliber beyond what other studios have or are doing on the next gen platforms. Again all these games are dedicated to next gen hardware---not rehashing old engines, or attempting multi-generation releases. There is no basis for accusing SCEA of not having a large slate of AAA next gen games. Again that is just reality.
Nintendo released an enormous number of AAA games in the past 12 months, both on console and on handheld.
- Mario Kart 8
. Pikmin 3
- Super Mario 3D World
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
- The Wonderful 101
So this is the list edited down to what is on the WiiU. You are working with a completely different definition of what a AAA title is---which is simply titles that sell well, are popular, have high metacritic scores, or are ammo in the fanboy wars. Super Mario and Donkey Kong are not WiiU caliber AAA titles. They are 3DS games upscaled to fill out the WiiU's sparse library. You're talking about a side scrolling game, and a top down platformer.

And as I've said, if you're a Nintendo fan---that is great. You are abdicating the necessity for AAA titles in general. That is not what this discussion is about. The question is "Is SCEA making many AAA games for the PS4?" Nintendo's latest titles is totally irrelevant to that question. Nintendo first party games and AAA Xbox One and PS4 titles are operating on totally different scales of production.

Posted:A month ago

#30
You didn't?
I absolutely did not. You are quoting a post with no analysis or context. This is the first post in this comments section.
The reason people want AAA games is because when they hand you $400 of their hard earned money for a console or $200 for a hand held they expect to get their moneys worth.
So the premise is not that more polygons and textures inherently increase a game's quality. It is that those production values that go part and parcel with AAA games validate the purchase of new hardware. The point of releasing new hardware is to gain computation performance. You can bleed your gamer heart all over the place, but the progression of technology is essential to how this industry sustains itself.

Again,, the question is, where are the next games that validate the PS4 as a piece of technology. It has nothing to do with AAA games being inherently better. Yoshida's whole point is that people shouldn't complain about receiving indie titles. That said, SCEA's internal development has outpaced the rest of the industry. That is just an objective truth. It is not a value judgment on SCEA's games. It is an empirical observation about the technology they are able to use so far. It is risky, and not as profitable to push development into next gen so early.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 3rd July 2014 5:50pm

Posted:A month ago

#31

James Brightman
Editor in Chief

226 266 1.2
@ Bill, I suggest you start respecting other commenters on this site, or else you'll no longer be among them. You need to settle down. You're not exactly painting DigiPen in a great light with your behavior.

Posted:A month ago

#32

Derick Ballard
3D Artist

3 7 2.3
@Bill
You can bleed your gamer heart all over the place, but the progression of technology is essential to how this industry sustains itself.
I tend to disagree with this statement. Can innovations not be made endlessly in one medium? What exactly does the progression of technology do to keep the industry afloat? I can't imagine the industry just going away if our technological breakthroughs bottomed-out for awhile. The people creating the innovations are still here and there are no lack of gamers in the world. Comic book artists have been innovating for years with the same medium, no?

Regardless, I like the thought you're putting into your opinions here, but I think everyone would appreciate it if you scaled down the degrading comments a tad. Some of it is borderline disrespectful at times. It shows a lack of respect for an industry you're about to be in. It sheds a bad light on the institution you are in as well; the same institute I am a proud alumni of. Lets keep the discussion civil and have some fun debates! :)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Derick Ballard on 3rd July 2014 6:08pm

Posted:A month ago

#33
@ Bill, I suggest you start respecting other commenters on this site, or else you'll no longer be among them. You need to settle down. You're not exactly painting DigiPen in a great light with your behavior.
I haven't disrespected anyone. I'll continue to express my views in an unvarnished manner. I am entitled to my own opinions. If you want to ban me from your website because you don't like I have to say you're free to. If you think you can intimidate me with threats though, you're mistaken.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 3rd July 2014 5:54pm

Posted:A month ago

#34
I tend to disagree with this statement. Can innovations not be made endlessly in one medium? What exactly does the progression of technology do to keep the industry afloat? I can't imagine the industry just going away if our technological breakthroughs bottomed-out for awhile. The people creating the innovations are still here and there are no lack of gamers in the world. Comic book artists have been innovating for years with the same medium, no?
There's merit in reinventing old concepts, but I don't think you can extricate the artistic innovation from the technological aspect. Comics are on paper. Games are on ever changing chips and screens. The scope of innovation would stagnate, and rely more on novelty. That's basically the mobile games sector. A lot of novel experiences, but a largely devalued product.

It depends on what baseline you're working from though. Certain art styles can be used that are less production heavy, and if the IQ is clean, then it can definitely work I think. If you look at the popularity of the Dolphin emulator for instance---take Wii games with more expressive rather than realistic art styles, and clean them up with higher resolutions, you have a product that can theoretically work in a contemporary setting, regardless of the tech.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 3rd July 2014 6:22pm

Posted:A month ago

#35
Popular Comment
Bill, I feel compelled to point out that Metacritic isn't owned by VG Chartz. Just like GameSpot, CNET, and Two and a Half Men, it is a CBS property.

And yes, you clearly disrespected a fellow commenter. I'm temporarily silencing your account. Drop a line next week or whenever you think you're ready to abide by a different standard of conduct and we'll see about reinstating you; you can just use the "send us news" link below.

Posted:A month ago

#36

Derick Ballard
3D Artist

3 7 2.3
Strange, that's definitely something we don't agree on fundamentally. I see new concepts and innovations made left and right nowadays and I don't see how new technology has anything to do with it. A lot of these games nowadays could be made on older hardware. Would they look as good? Most certainly not, but the intangible feel of the game would still be there. The universe created would still be there. The basic concept of the game would still exist. Take a game like Mass Effect. I could see that game recreated on almost any platform/medium imaginable. From pen and paper rpg, NES, PS1, etc. The game would still be what it is and I don't think technology really did anything except change the way it was presented. Anyway, I don't believe innovation would stagnate is all I'm getting at.

As far as mobile games being a devalued product, I think that's kind of a bold, blanketed statement, but also quite true. There is a LOT of potential in the mobile industry. There is no reason that these large, memorable games couldn't be created on this platform. But the fact is, it makes more sense to create a lot of short, novel experiences. Not all are though, mind you. I played my fair share of bookworm back in highschool. It's not as if memorable games don't exist on this platform.

Posted:A month ago

#37

Nick Wofford
Hobbyist

172 181 1.1
@Brendan
Thank you.

Posted:A month ago

#38

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,076 0.5
Can't we all just get along? It's possible to be fan of AAA to "Z" grade games if you have fun with what you buy and maybe spread the word about stuff that flies under the radar. I've introduced more skeptical folk to indies and non-"AAA" games simply by showing or loaning them out. Sometimes it's to a guy who's all "Oh, I won't play this at all" or "I only play _____ (insert name of yearly cash cow franchises)" I tell them, "Oh, just give it a try when you have the time - we'll see..."

All that and this: if you ONLY buy games for super HD visuals and the latest tech-ed out specs, you may also have owned a lot of not so good (but really good looking) games. Eh, to each his own. Of course, graphics are subjective (to a point), but you can't deny quality when it's shaking itself in your face in a 2D or 3D game that also has tight gameplay to hook you in more than the visuals.

Amusingly enough, I overheard some guys in a game shop the other day saying No Man's Sky didn't "look good at all" compared to shooter X (no names here!) and I think the top of my head landed in a bin of used games somewhere. Three people need some eye surgery and some art appreciation classes, I'd say...

Posted:A month ago

#39

David Serrano
Freelancer

299 270 0.9
@Jessica Hyland

I don't think people are writing off indie games per se. I think since most consumers in the market have no exposure to indie games (or to news - reporting about them), they're simply not aware the games exist.

Posted:A month ago

#40

David Serrano
Freelancer

299 270 0.9
I do realize that some people are only interested in big-budget AAA games. I don't really understand those people.
He should have been much more specific. First, what does he define as a "big" budget? The budget for Gears of War 1 was $10 million dollars while the budget for GTV V was estimated at $250 million. Would he define GOW 1 as a "big budget" game?

Two, does he not understand why some people only want to play FPS / TPS and sports games when higher quality, higher overall value games like Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 1, Skyrim, etc... are on the market? Or does he not understand why some people prefer huge, immersive games like Red Dead Redemption over indie or arcade games?

And besides me, who would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Sony board members learned the President of their entertainment division told the press that he really didn't understand the preferences of a group of consumers in a major market? That's the kind of reality TV I want to see!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by David Serrano on 6th July 2014 9:40pm

Posted:A month ago

#41
People, they just want to be entertained. Are you entertained? If so, job done!

Posted:A month ago

#42

Robert Oelenschlager
Independent Game Developer

21 18 0.9
I just want to weigh in on the talk about the PlayStation Now discussion toward the end of the interview; If the service does not take an "All-you-can-game" approach to its offering, I don't see much potential interest in the service. This is the obvious direction of the streaming business, which killed Blockbuster, a slow to adapt rental giant before its fall. Some of the situation is naturally different, but I think the trend is still the same.

Posted:A month ago

#43

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