A former employee of a Sony studio decides to enlighten gamers on potentially problematic development issues that could stem from new Sony and Microsoft consoles.
By now, it appears that Sony and Microsoft are both part of the video game industry’s worst kept secret – an arms race to announce and release new consoles before the end of the year. Although neither company has confirmed the existence of these rumored new consoles, enough evidence has surfaced that it seems impossible now for either device to not actually exist. The Xbox Scorpio, which is four times more powerful than the Xbox One, and the PS4.5 or NEO 4K, Sony’s own upgrade on the PS4, seem likely enough at this point that it will be a surprise to most if both aren’t unveiled during the E3 2016 week.
What gamers haven’t heard about, however, is what these potential new releases might mean for developers. Kenny Linder, a former employee of now defunct Sony UK studio Bigbig, has spoken out about the challenges of developing for multiple PS4 and Xbox One SKUs, and his comments come across more prophetic than hyperbolic. Linder, responding to a commenter on the NeoGAF forums who thought that QA testing would become much more difficult, suggested that:
“Yep, that will be where the main issues will lie. Additional TCRs and testing requirements.”
TCRs, or Technical Certification Requirements, are essentially what game developers must get in order to ship a game for a company. That process might be harder now, however, as many believe Sony wants PS4 and NEO versions of games to ship at the same time once the PS4.5 is confirmed and a receives a release date. That’s not a bad thing on its own, but getting multiple SKU versions of a game certified takes longer than getting something certified for just one version of a console.
Linder was quick to point out, though, that just because new SKUs could present developers with more of a challenge doesn’t make them a bad thing. When another commenter speculated that developing on multiple SKUs of one console would be a terrible idea, Linder simply stated, “It’s no different to working on PC or mobile.” That’s because on mobile, for instance, there are many different versions of Android or iOS software for which to develop.
Of course, all of this is founded upon what is still speculation that the Scorpio and NEO are in development. While it seems highly likely, gamers will need to pay close attention to Sony and Microsoft’s E3 2016 presentation schedules to find out for sure whether Linder’s comments about prolonged certification periods hold any weight.
What do you think about the possibility of longer game development periods because of the Scorpio and NEO? How do you feel about current gen console upgrades so soon in general? Let us know in the comments below.