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Sony: Developer freedom key to success of PSN

New digital head Jack Buser puts self-publishing and new business models at the centre of future strategy

The new head of Sony's PlayStation Digital Platforms division, Jack Buser, claims that Sony can compete with Xbox Live, Steam and other digital services by offering developers greater freedom.

Speaking to our sister site Eurogamer at GDC, Buser cited the "ecosystem" of devices that support the PlayStation Network as a key strength: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and an array of non-Sony devices through PlayStation Suite.

While Buser didn't name any specific companies, his consistent references to the closed, controlled nature of "other online game platforms" seem to be allusions to Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade - a superior service by general consensus, but one that has been criticised by independent developers.

Buser claims that Sony will "really open up a lot of [its] policies" compared to competing services, with a particular emphasis on making self-publishing as simple as possible.

"I think one of the most significant things we do on PSN that isn't really talked about a lot in the consumer press is the notion that game developers - specifically independent game developers - are able to publish their own games," he said.

"If you look at some of our competition they actually force independent developers to go and find big publishers that eat into the money that they would otherwise make, which to us seems crazy."

"If someone wants to make a great game and publish it themselves then let them do it."

This also extends to new business models, as evidenced by CCP Games' forthcoming free-to-play shooter Dust 514.

"This notion that you have this amazing experience that is totally free to play, it's such a huge innovation that is really only possible on PlayStation Network," Buser continued.

"If you look at some of our other competitors in this space, there's no free anywhere. Forget free-to-play, because you're paying just to get on the network. With PSN you're able to do full-on free-to-play models, which is why you see games like Dust 514 exclusive to PSN."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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