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Devs want Xbox 720, PS4 to be 'more open development platforms'

Game makers hopeful of being able to update their worlds on the fly

A number of developers have expressed hope that Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4, or whatever Microsoft's and Sony's next generation consoles are called, will be more open development platforms than their predecessors.

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While PC games can largely be updated on the fly relatively inexpensively to offer new content or fixes, making changes to console titles often requires cutting through a lot of red tape. Ultimately, the argument goes, these issues can affect the quality of the game and console owners get a rough deal.

"It's sometimes expensive, there's an awful lot of bureaucracy, even when you want to do quite small things," David Polfeldt of Ubisoft Massive, the studio behind Far Cry 3's multiplayer component, told Gamasutra.

"If I agree with [a suggested fix], I start to think 'Oh yeah, to change that I would have to -- oh shit, it's just too much work.' And I won't change it even if I think [the feedback] is right."

Crytek's global business development director Carl Jones agreed: "I think that'd be really helpful [if the consoles were more open], because certainly we're seeing a change in models in games toward more freemium content, and a quicker response to your community.

"We're always going to need quality control," he added. "We're going to need a decent submission process, to get the first version of a game out, and make sure it's solid and everyone gets a good experience. But during that period, if developers can be generating content that they know they can shoot out really quickly, on demand, well, I think the tail of that game becomes longer, the overall revenue from that game becomes higher, and everybody wins."

Capcom senior vice president Christian Svensson commented: "I'm hoping for a much more fluid means of providing updates to consumers, being able to have a much more rapid turnaround in between when content is submitted and when content goes live to consumers, to provide a higher level of service to them.

"I'm hoping that the networking and the processes in the future are built with that in mind. I'd like to see more server-based backends that are more under publisher-developer control, rather than being forced through systems that are bit more pre-defined by the first-party. That would enable experiences online that are not currently available in today's console marketplace."

PS4 and Xbox 720 are rumoured to be in line for release next year, and both are said to feature inbuilt anti-used games measures.

Microsoft's most recent comment on Xbox 360's as-yet-unannounced successor is that "there will be no talk of new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon".

Asked last month about Sony's plans for new home console hardware, US PlayStation boss Jack Tretton played down the chances of the company launching PS4 any time soon.

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