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PSN praised for allowing closer relationship with consumers

Wed 29 Apr 2009 2:15pm GMT / 10:15am EDT / 7:15am PDT
Development

Burn Zombie Burn studio working on DLC tailored to console gamers needs

Sony's PlayStation Network is allowing developers to get much closer to the consumer, and tailor content to specific needs and requests, according to Doublesix studio boss James Brooksby.

Doublesix has worked with both Microsoft's XBLA and Sony's download service, but the team has been able to have a better dialogue with players through PSN release Burn Zombie Burn.

"There are different models for different platforms," said Brooksby at last night's BAFTA digital distribution panel. "South Park we're making for Microsoft, and that's a relationship where they are working on almost a standard model. We're developing it for them and it's their relationship to take to the consumer and carry on.

"With Burn Zombie Burn for PSN the relationship we have is different. Sony sees itself much more as a channel, they have a store and they take a percentage for providing that channel, but you have a great deal more you can do within that channel. There are some very interesting models we can do in that space."

Community feedback helped Doublesix on the first patch for Burn Zombie Burn, with user suggestions to be incorporated into the first batch of downloadable content, and the franchise going forward.

"We listened to what people were saying and when we do our first patch it will have features that people have asked for. And then we do our first expansion pack it's actually tailored according to what people are looking for," offered Brooksby.

"And we can do that in a very short turnaround as well because the game has been developed with that in mind. We started along the route with a good relationship with the consumer, and it's going to get better with time. Games as a service is the right phrase. It's early days but that's exactly where we want to go with this. We've got a large amount of plans in the works for our next game, and what we'll do with the Burn Zombie Burn franchise going forward in terms of becoming more of a service."

Working with smaller teams on digital titles can be lucrative, said Brooksby, so long as staff are prepared to take on extra roles. And without meddling from middle management, small teams should be prepared to turn projects around at a much quicker rate but also be directly responsible for the finished product.

"We have to scale it down a bit, we have to be very ambitious. You need really enthusiastic and talented staff who may be the game designer but they may also be the community manager. It sounds really clichéd but it does go back to the old days. It does feel as though everybody has got an influence over the game."

He continued: "And that's how you can create games in a shorter space of time with a smaller team, because we don't need committee meetings or lots of people influencing from high. We're the team and it's our decision. If the game is rubbish, then it's us who made it rubbish."

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