Happy Birthday PSN!

November 17, 2011Written by Sebastian Moss

With today marking the fifth birthday of the PS3 in the US, it means that it is also the 5th birthday of the fully-fledged PlayStation Network on the console. To celebrate the momentous day, we chatted to a trio of indie developers who have created, and are working on, some fantastic games for the service.

We asked the developers about their thoughts on how the PSN has evolved over time, and how important they think the PSN is to themselves and other games developers:

Eitan Glinert, Fire Chief at Fire Hose Games:

PSN started off as a small experimental haven; a place where new developers could try out ideas for novel games that wouldn’t normally be able to find a home commercially. These games tended to be artistic, thoughtful, and fun new experiences. With the growth and maturity of the platform we started seeing bigger, better, and deeper titles available on the service, and nowadays I’d say that the games you see on PSN are almost on par with ones you buy on disc at retail. On a personal note PSN was tremendous for us when it came to releasing our first game, Slam Bolt Scrappers. Sony and Sony Online Entertainment were especially good to work with and really helped us get the word out, which is important when you’re a small indie dev. We can’t wait to see how PSN grows in the future – I think the line between downloadable and retail games will blur even more, and we’ll see even more creative new developers (like us!) coming out with fantastic new titles.

Fire Hose Games developed the crazy Slam Bolt Scrappers, and are hard at work on the even crazier PSN game Go Home Dinosaurs.

Graham Smith, Co-Founder and COO of DrinkBox Studios:

We really enjoy working with Sony, and find PSN a great platform to work on. PSN gives us access to millions of homes without requiring a publisher to be involved. Sony is constantly adding new features for developers to take advantage of. I also love how they provide their online services free to gamers. The day I cancelled my Xbox Live Gold membership was a happy one. The recent outage was unfortunate though. I think the way they handled it from the consumer’s perspective was very good, but I do think some developers were hurt by the outage.

DrinkBox Studios created the wonderful Tales from Space: About a Blob, and are now developing the PSN Vita title Mutant Blobs Attack.

Matt Gilgenbach, Co-Founder of 24 Caret Games:

Sony has worked very hard to constantly evolve PSN, and they continue to do so. Sony has been diligently adding new and interesting features, such as cloud saves, trophies, cross game chat (on Vita), and much more creating a great platform for gamers.

PSN is very important to us, and I think it’s very important to game developers. Sony has significantly lowered the barrier of entry for independent developers trying to reach the console market. Unlike XBLIG where indies are forced into a second tier marketplace and must use a small subset of the development tools, independent developers on PSN are allowed to self-publish on the normal PlayStation store alongside huge publishers and have full access to all of Sony’s award winning development tools.

Bringing down the barriers for developers is a big win for consumers because that means a greater variety of games  will be available. If you look at more open markets like PC and iOS, developers have created really terrific games that might not have been possible in a more closed marketplace. PSN is moving towards a more open future, and Sony continues to lower barriers like with its recently announced PlayStation Suite software framework.

24 Caret Games are currently developing the PSN-exclusive Retro/Grade, which has already won the Audience Award at IndieCade 2010.