Sony Reinforces Next-Gen Customization
According to Michael Denny, vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studio Europe, "next-generation games will need to provide a variety of add-on options and keep on developing after their release to survive." Denny, speaking at the London Games Summit yesterday, attempted to reinforce the company's position that customization is the key to success.
Sony wants developers to recognize the need for post-release consumer options, because they believe gamers want the chance to personalize, customize, and download game content. "We face more than just a console generation transition," Denny said. "An 18-year-old today has never known a world without broadband, mobile phones, or MP3s."
Citing the existence and popularity of websites like MySpace and YouTube, Denny believes the next generation ushers in more than just prettier games. Due to the explosion of online communities in the past five or six years, this has a drastic impact on how people interact, and can additionally impact the success (or failure) of future games."Today's games are competing for time share even more than cash," Denny noted. "Consumers today have more choice, they have more and better things, and they have louder voices. And the future consumer will have an infinite menu."
From network connectivity to downloadable custom content to simple onlilne multiplayer, Sony wants developers to give the gamer one thing above all: options. Granted, when creating a top-quality game, the add-ons shouldn't be the highest priority, but ignoring the customization aspect could be fatal.
"Today's gamer wants to customise their games to fit their own personality and style and [wants] games to be more interactive than ever before," Denny said. "Today millions of ordinary people have the tools and the role models to become amateur producers. It is the desire to participate and create that becomes the enduring entertainment experience itself."
In conclusion, Denny said the best way for Sony to achieve their goals is to sustain interest in those big-budget titles. Timing will be important for all those extras as well as the content itself; gamers want new levels, characters, and other goodies not long after the release of the original game. And furthermore, Denny expects player interaction to be taken to the next level.
"Imagine a physical gameworld where the player can place and design new objects to help create new and emerging gameplay," Denny mused. "Imagine not just personalizing the look of the game, but personalizing the content in such a way that makes the gameplay more relevant to a particular player or group of players."
10/5/2006 Ben Dutka