PS4 Dev Kits Being Loaned Out To Developers
No, Sony is not becoming a bank. This is part of their sustained efforts in recent months to become really, really friendly with indie developers. A number of sources on Polygon have stated that Sony is allowing some developers to “loan” PS4 dev kits for a year without paying a penny.
The console may retail for $400 but the dev kits go for about $2500 so it’s rather great that Sony is making the hardware so accessible to developers. The news is corroborated by Sony’s “Become a Registered Developer” website. Various development sources on the article said that no dev kits have been sold as of yet. “All the indies I know got them for free,” said one developer. “Sony has been amazing about kits and development thus far.” Another developer stated that the company is “handing them out like candy”.
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A Sony spokesperson pointed out that the act of self-publishing was available on PlayStation platforms for over five years. “With self-publishing, we keep things really flexible for developers and give them lots of options, including funding through the Pub Fund, which is back-end funding paid upon completion of the game, we waive patch fees for indies and all digital titles and we embrace new business models like F2P, episodic, and subscriptions. We’ve had more than 500 games self-published on PSN.”
Sony has been making a concerted effort to bring indie developers on board the next generation of PlayStation as has Microsoft with Xbox One. Both have made a bigger deal of indie than before and have implemented a self-publishing system to make it that much easier to get your games out there. They’re even looking to have quarterly developer events.
As a matter of perspective, while Sony wasn’t against indie on PS3, dev kits fetched for between $1000 and $10 000 depending different levels of debug functionality and pricing. The PS3 was also very alien to develop on whereas PS4 and Xbox One both have x86 architecture which is easier to work with.
Call me crazy but does it seem as if Sony is wooing indie developers just so that at the opportune moment they can reign the studio in and never let go? Regardless, this is a great move from Sony and while it’s likely got a lot more to do with winning the favour of developers, it is a genuinely good thing to do.