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Sony isn’t worried by XOX, devs aim for “lowest common denominator”

by Joey Davidson | June 15, 2017June 15, 2017 6:00 am PDT

It doesn’t sound like the folks at Sony are all that worried about the power boasted by the Xbox One X. It’s absolutely the stronger console when compared to the PlayStation 4 Pro, but PlayStation Global Sales and Marketing boss Jim Ryan isn’t phased.

His reasoning? He looks back towards the PlayStation 3 and indicates that developers and publishers make games for the lowest common denominator. That is, they make games for the lesser platform so that all players have a strong experience.

Here’s what Ryan told Eurogamer when asked is Sony’s cut any deals to keep game design parity in place. He says a lot, and we’ve kept it all intact with one jump. Dig in:

“I’m not going to go into the detail of what’s embedded into individual contracts with publishing partners. What I would do is cast our minds back to the PS3 generation, where we had on paper more impressive specifications than our competition, and in some areas by quite a considerable margin.

Now, that didn’t play out the way we had anticipated it would – and this is nothing to do with co-marketing deals, this is just general developer and publisher dynamics.

What happened was that developers, maybe at the behest of publishers, developed up to the lowest common denominator and stopped there. And in very few cases took advantage of the additional horsepower of the PS3.

Now, I’m a big believer of learning lessons from history. History doesn’t always repeat itself. But if you’re a publisher of video games, that is a perfectly commercially rational approach for you to take,” he said. “Because you only do one set of work. You don’t do one set of work to get up to one level and then a different amount of work and consequently may need to go further….Well, we’ll see when they launch in six months’ time…There will be hundreds of games published this year and those games, market forces will prevail. If a developer or publisher wants to take advantage of the supposed power of the X, they will do that. If they don’t, they won’t.”

…Well, we’ll see when they launch in six months’ time…There will be hundreds of games published this year and those games, market forces will prevail. If a developer or publisher wants to take advantage of the supposed power of the X, they will do that. If they don’t, they won’t.”

Certainly, there’s something to be said for the notion that developers tend to aim for the lesser platform in order to hit all the market’s needs.

I’ll counter that one of the reasons the PlayStation 3 saw lesser software when compared to the Xbox 360 is that it was a notoriously difficult console to make games for. The Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro are, largely, the same to make games for.

We’ll see if that makes a difference once the XOX is on the market.

Eurogamer

Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...

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