Why Blow chose PlayStation 4

Braid designer on making The Witness a timed exclusive

Indie developer Jonathan Blow has revealed why he's decided to make his next game, The Witness, a timed exclusive for the new Sony PlayStation 4 console, citing technical and personal reasons.

"I've had a bad time working with Microsoft in the past," he explained to Edge.

"Maybe not super bad, but a moderately bad time in terms of business relationships. Other developers who are friends of mine have had a horrible time, so the idea of signing up again with Microsoft isn't something I'd have ruled out, but there's a certain amount of dread I have about doing that again. I don't have that with Sony. Who knows, maybe it'll turn out to be just as bad at the end! But I don't think so. The people we're talking to on a daily basis there are just really good people, and we're happy to work with them. We'll see how it goes."

Blow also said that the technical specs of the next Microsoft console, which were leaked last year, were a factor in the decision.

"To me they talk about a console that is not strictly about games. It's trying to be the centre of the living room device, which is fine and maybe it's the right thing for Microsoft to do, business-wise. I don't know; I actually don't think it is, but they've certainly thought about it more than me! As a place to put the best, highest performing version of our game on, it doesn't seem as good a choice."

He also cited Sony's attitude towards digital content and developers as important, praising it for realising the growing popularity of downloadable games.

Blow was just one of the developers who appeared at Sony's PlayStation 4 announcement, and The Witness is due for release this year.

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Latest comments (12)

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
Not really sure I see the wisdom of bad-mouthing a partner you haven't ruled out working with again in public.
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Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent4 years ago
I'm feeling an ambivalent cocktail of admiration and confundity
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Francis Cermak Website Administrator, HeavenGames LLC4 years ago
He's probably just mad he didn't get more money out of MS and is trying to publicly shame them into a better deal.
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Show all comments (12)
Tom Kleinenberg 3D Artists 4 years ago
I'm a little confused about bad-mouthing the hardware.Witness didn't seem that graphically intense - I struggle to see how its maxing out either console.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
Well, I don't see the issue with public critcisim if one's experience wasn't good. I publicly criticise companies that I feel have done wrong or not given me quite the customer service I expect.

It doesn't necessarily make the said company terrible but they have not met a customer's standard, the customer as an important individual should be impressed and catered for if possible and feedback used to make the product or service better.

Besides, its not really as if they (Microsoft Corp) would be able to discriminate against him should he wish to release titles through the usual process like any other studio.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 12th March 2013 10:28pm

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Paul Jace Merchandiser 4 years ago
Well it's only a timed exclusive so eventually it will be releasing for other platforms. But rather the next box is one of those platforms remains to be seen.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
I agree with Adam. A lot of indie developers have had really bad experiences working with Microsoft on XBLA so I don't see why it's a shock to see another make similar comments.

As for Blow's game, just an FYI it's not actually timed exclusive to PS4. It's releasing simultaneously on PC. It's a timed console exclusive to PS4, which is rather like saying "I'm the the smartest kid in my school, if you don't count the advanced kids."
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
He's not a customer, he's a development/business partner. This business involves lots of support from platform holders, negotiations and working together, so criticising someone you haven't finished working with isn't going to help anyone.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 4 years ago
Is no one else shocked that the Wii U wasnt mentioned? Surely considering the gameplay of The Witness it would have beeb a more suitable fit?
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Aaron Brown BA Computer Science Student, Carnegie Mellon University4 years ago
He forgot to mention the check that came with making the game a timed release. That probably made a bit of a difference...
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 4 years ago
He's not a customer, he's a development/business partner.
It makes little difference. Treating badly the partners whom you rely on for making your product attractive to customers is just as bad for your business as treating your customers badly. In fact, it is treating your customers badly. It's MS's responsibility to do what they need to do to get good games on to their console, and not to do a good job of this is a disservice to people who own that console. criticising someone you haven't finished working with isn't going to help anyone.
I utterly disagree. But putting pressure on those in MS who are making decisions that reduce the number of games available on their platform, this may help everyone: developers, Xbox owners and MS themselves.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago

Getting distribution of your games, submission processes, dev kits etc aren't free. There comes a point where you have to pay a major corporation money and invest your time to get through their processes.

Microsoft are selling a platform and a service so to me it doesn't sound right to say he's not a customer. Those who buy the platform to play those games are also customers.

I have to re-enforce that he's nowhere near the first to be critical of a platform, console or software. Its these criticisms that make the service better. Many will be asking questions about what might be making PlayStation easier to get games out to compared to an Xbox. Of course, experiences vary but internally this won't be ignored. Usually these types of statements come from years of complaining and frustration building up. The publicity pushes for change.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 14th March 2013 10:08am

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