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8th July 2021

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Schafer questions Double Fine's place on next-gen consoles

New consoles must open up to remain "friendly" to smaller, independent develolpers

Tim Schafer is unsure whether independent companies like Double Fine will have a place on the next generation.

Speaking to Polygon, Schafer claimed that Double Fine would be unlikely to return to the $40 million investments required to make a game like Brutal Legend. The company has enjoyed great success launching smaller IPs and its back catalogue on Steam, and the numerous costs involved in developing for consoles - even online services like Xbox Live - no longer make sense.

"Our fear was that next generation was going to be only big AAA games. It was only going to be a place for Call of Duty and Halo,” he said. “But we've talked to [the console manufacturers], and told people what things would be hard for teams our size with regards to consoles.”

Schafer highlighted the hidden expenses associated with self-publishing on consoles: certification, patches, TCRs, and so on. For the next generation of consoles to remain viable marketplaces for companies like Double Fine, they will need to adopt certain aspect's of Steam's open approach.

“We'd still like to be active in that space, we care about consoles, but unless they open things up a lot more like what we have on Steam... if they opened things up more it would be a more friendly place from our perspective.

"We've talked to them about this stuff, and you know, they hear us. They're big companies and they can't make changes overnight, but I think they're taking all of that stuff into consideration. We'll have to see what happens."

Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry

8th July 2021

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Latest comments (5)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
We already know one of them did open things up. I'd be surprised if Sony and MS didn't as well.
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Roberto Bruno Curious Person 8 years ago
"I really hope they don't. It is those TCR/TRC that stop the marketplace being flooded with unstable crap."
This argument is moot.
First, XBLA is already flooded with an unbelievable amount of shovelware, probably more than you will ever find of Steam.
Second, making post-release support prohibitive in costs for a developer is never going to improve the user's experience, no matter how many times people like you are going to spread this baseless narrative.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
I've loaded many PC games where it was unplayable for the best part of a year. Never had that on a console.
*cough* PS3 Skyrim save issues? Not a year, no... Only 3 months to roll-out a fix.
Plus on Steam you patch so frequently that it seems I'm updating more often than playing at times.
Very few of those patches are related to bug-fixes and bug-fixes alone. A lot revolve around improving gameplay. Sword of the Stars 2, for instance, has had a massive number of patches, which involve balance tweaks and improvements to general play.
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Rey Samonte Sr. Technical Game Designer, Trion Worlds8 years ago
"I really hope they don't. It is those TCR/TRC that stop the marketplace being flooded with unstable crap."

Maybe. But if a game is that buggy and unstable, will the developer really sell their games? I think any developer who wants to be successful knows they need to make a solid game. Otherwise, the gamers will judge with their wallets.
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Spot on Tom - the independent developer such as these will help drive the Steam/Box and that's that.

Face it - Sony and MS have messed around with the logistics so much that only certain publishers will feel comfortable on their Gen-7 / 8 platforms. As for Nintendo, they have no love or care for developers that they do not control - just read the history of Rare, to gain a incite into their methodology and flawed (but profitable) business practice.

Fundamentally the consoles, linked to greed from publishers, have screwed their business - the PC's and independent platforms, linked with unique AAA-titles will be able to rule the roost - while the rest will look at the PC and mobile-PC units as their future. This could mean an implosion of the consumer game universe, but whatever happens, EA, THQ, Atari, Ubisoft and Activision are in a serious dilemma- bloated with executives and hangers-on and no real IP talent outside of sandbox and fps concept!

No wonder some were scared of Kickstarter funding independent gaming!
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