Team Meat 'not interested' in developing for next-gen consoles

McMillen and Refenes say console market cursed by "diminishing returns"

Two indie developers who reached a career breakthrough with their debut console game are now saying they have little interest in working on new home systems.

Tommy Refenes [Image: Official GDC Flickr]

Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes of Team Meat have said that the developer obligations attached to console game publishing have become prohibitively expensive and time consuming.

"The overhead cost of just developing for those consoles is insane," Refenes said in an interview with Eurogamer.

"It costs zero dollars to develop on Steam if you already have a computer. When you look at PlayStation and Xbox and Nintendo you have to buy thousand dollar dev kits and pay for certification and pay for testing and pay for localisation - you have to do all these things and at the end of the day it's like, 'I could have developed for other platforms and it would've been easier.'"

When asked whether Team Meat would consider developing for platforms such as the Wii U, the Next Xbox or the PlayStation 4, Refenes said "not really".

He added that working on non-console platforms has been gentle by comparison.

"We know the stress associated with going into console stuff. When you look at the stress that comes with Steam and iOS and the Google Play store, you look at those and you look at which hoops you'd have to jump through to get on any one of the consoles, it's like, 'is this worth the time? Is this worth the headache?'

"A couple years ago it was definitely worth it because that was the outlet where people like Ed and I and [Braid creator] Jon Blow could put their games because that was the only outlet. But that's not the only outlet anymore and those seem to be the more difficult outlets than just contacting Steam and just putting your game on there and supporting it easily."

Jon Blow has, however, already declared his enthusiasm in developing on next-gen systems. He has signed a console-based timed exclusivity deal with Sony for his next game, The Witness.

"Diminishing returns"

Refenes went on to claim there is an inherent bankruptcy in the current hardware business models, and suggested - like many non-console developers have - that the next console cycle will be one of the last.

"I don't feel there's a need to have anything more than what's out right now," he said.
"An iPad comes out and does a year's worth of console sales in a weekend."

The most iPads that Apple has sold in a quarter is 23 million - a feat achieved during the last thirteen weeks of 2012.

"I don't feel confident there's going to be a PlayStation 5. I don't feel confident there's going to be another console after the Wii U. There probably will be, but it's totally diminishing returns," Refenes said.

"It's sad. I like the consoles. And I prefer playing something in my living room. But I'm also not in that range of consumer that actually sort of dictates trends at this point."