Train2Game news: Sony – ‘Time still not right’ for download only consoles

Train2Game students will be aware of the growth of digital distribution in the games industry, with games available to download via services including Xbox LIVE, PSN and Steam.

And while the Train2Game blog has previously reported that some believe future consoles won’t use discs at all, Sony don’t believe this will happen any time soon.

“We believe, for some consumers, the time is [right], but for other consumers, the time is still not [right],” SCE Worldwide president Shuhei Yoshida told Edge in an interview about the PlayStation Vita

Sony officially revealed their new handheld console at E3 earlier this year.

Yoshida said that current internet connections mean that it’s not yet time for a console to go digital only. This is despite Sony attempting a download only console with the PSP Go.

“So we believe the time is still not right to go download-only as a platform. Some PS Vita titles, like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, will be close to 4GB in size, which could be too large to download for consumers who do not have a fast broadband connection.”

Yoshida added that some consumers will appreciate being able to go to a retailer and pick up a physical copy of a game.

“Also, some consumers like shopping in retail stores, talking to knowledgeable store clerks, buying and playing games on the spot. We do not want to remove that capability from consumers.”

Sony are also aware that downloads haven’t taken off in every part of the globe.

“There are consumers in parts of the world – this is a global device – where the digital model has not yet fully been embraced,” added SCEE CEO Jim Ryan.

Last month, the Train2Game blog reported that Crytek don’t believe that the industry is ready for digital distribution via cloud gaming.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Sony’s remarks about digital distribution? Can you see consoles going download only?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Edge via Industry Gamers]

Train2Game news: Ninja Theory – Triple A doesn’t let developers take risks

Train2Game blog readers may have seen a post last month in which Ninja Theory Creative Chief Tameem Antoniades praised the ‘digital revolution’ and the creativity it brings.

Perhaps understandably, he also believes that the traditional Triple-A retail model is in fact harming creativity in the games industry.

“If you’re paying 60 bucks for a game, you want it to give you everything under the sun,” Antoniades told Gamasutra.

“It seems like Hollywood’s got much more diversity than the games industry has. And I don’t know exactly why this is, but I suspect it’s the publishing, retail model of 40 pounds, 50, 60 bucks a game doesn’t allow players to take chances with their money.

“It doesn’t allow publishers or developers to take risks. And the only way you can be sure to sell to someone is to sell them something familiar.”

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, Ninja Theory’s Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was critically well received, but failed to make the impact needed at retail. As a result, the game won’t be getting a sequel.

However, the Ninja Theory chief believes that innovative games do sell, but the current retail and publishing model makes it difficult.

“I think that ultimately innovation does sell, and messaging is needed,” he said.

“But somehow there’s not enough diversity, I think, in our business models to create interesting, alternative games. At least on the triple-A side of things, the top end market. You’re not seeing very high end innovation happening.” Antoniades concluded.

Yesterday, the Train2Game blog reported that Bioware believe mobile games do let game developers take risks.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Antoniades comments? Is the traditional retail model and the need to be successful stifling creativity in the games industry?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Gamasutra]

Train2Game news: Consoles will continue to be the ‘gold standard’


Train2Game students will be aware about the huge increase in digital gaming over the last few years, with smartphones, Steam and as seen at the Eurogamer Expo, OnLive, all giving consumers ways of downloading or streaming games.

And as reported by the Train2Game blog, some have even speculated that there will eventually be no place for traditional consoles.

However, retailer GameStop believes that consoles are very much here to stay and for a long while yet.

“We continue to believe that the console is a strong platform and will continue to be the gold standard” GameStop President Tony Bartel told Industry Gamers

And he believes that digital content will become an increasingly important area for consoles.

“People will begin to digitally download first a lot more downloadable content. Eventually, full games will become more relevant to some consumers who want to do that”

“Then we think that streaming will continue to grow. As you get additional bandwidth, we think that it’s going to become more prevalent over time, which is why we’ve invested in it.” Bartel concluded.

The increasing importance of digital to consoles echoes comments made by THQ CEO Brian Farrell. As reported by the Train2Game blog, he believes future consoles won’t use discs and this will only be a good thing for game developers.

Meanwhile, Crytek believe that the games industry isn’t quite ready for an all digital cloud gaming way of working.

So Train2Game, do you believe consoles will always be a part of gaming? Or does the rise of digital mean that they have limited time left in the spotlight?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Industry Gamers]

Train2Game news: Team Meat on how to get your game on Steam


Super Meat Boy developers Team Meat recently featured on the podcast where they discussed their projects and various aspects of game development.

Perhaps of most interest to Train2Game students is Team Meat’s advice about how to get an indie game onto Steam.

As Train2Game students will know, the Steam digital distribution service can be very beneficial for indie developers, with Frozen Synapse developers Mode 7 Games labelling it as essential.

So how does an indie studio get their game on Steam?

“If you can get a lot of attention, and get people to care about your game, try to do interviews, show what your game’s about”  Edmund McMillen, one half of Team Meat told

“And if Steam keep saying no, then just release it, and then if it does really well, then show Steam.”

He added that Steam is giving indie games more publicity because it’s been a successful venture for them.

“I think Steam is getting more accepting of indie games because they’re doing really well with indie games. Indie games are doing really fantastic on Steam”

“So yeah, persistence… make the best game you can, and talk about your game.” He added.

McMillen also argued that being prepared to go the extra level to get your game published on Steam, and not giving up at the first hurdle is also very important for indie game developers looking to get their games on the service. Getting there could be tough.

“But don’t give up too — that’s like a big thing. We used to hear of a lot of people saying “I emailed Steam and they didn’t get back to me”, and then they just fucking give up.” he said.

“If we gave up, we wouldn’t be on anything. We had to fucking fight. You have to fight for these things.

“I would say persistence and drive are the two most crucial things about being a successful indie developer.” Added Tommy Refenes, the other half of the two-person Team Meat team.

Last time Team Meat featured on the Train2Game blog, they labelled Kinect ‘garbage.’ The statement was controversial to say the least and drew both support and opposition from Train2Game students.

What are your thoughts on the advice from Team Meat? How important is persistence to game developers? And do you see Steam as an avenue to publish your games through in future?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Gamasutra

Train2Game news: ‘Digital revolution’ encourages creativity say Ninja Theory


Train2Game students will be aware that when compared to the traditional retail model, digital distribution provides game developers with a better opportunity to get their titles out there.

Not only does the digital business model knock down the wall of needing a publisher, it also arguably allows developers to take more risks when developing the games. Both of these could potentially be advantageous to Train2Game students.

Indeed, as reported by the Train2Game blog, indie developer Mode 7 Games believes the Steam digital distribution service is ‘essential’ for indie developers.

And in a recent interview, Ninja Theory  Creative chief, Tameem Antoniades also praised digital distribution model, stating it’s good for creativity in the games industry.

“There’s always an opportunity between projects to explore things, a lot of team members are hobbyists, they create their own iPhone games and things like that so I can see us kind of taking a punt with that. It can’t come soon enough” Antoniades told

For more on iPhone development, see the recent Train2Game interview with indie studio Hogrocket. They recently released their first game for the platform, Tiny Wings.

The Ninja Theory Chief Designer suggested that the traditional retail model is on the way out, and that it’s a positive thing for game developers.

“The whole digital revolution is happening now and it can’t come soon enough. The model we’re under, the big retail model, is creaking” he said,  before arguing that need for games to be successful at retail in its current is stifling creativity because consumers don’t want to spend large amounts of money on an unknown entity.

“It’s such an opportunity for fun creative games to reach a target audience, there’s this stranglehold that the AAA retail model has which I think is just crushing innovation and access to creative content.”

“If you’re paying that much for a game, you don’t want to take chances. You want everything to be there, all the feature sets. You want it to be a known experience, guaranteed fun. That’s not healthy.”

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, Ninja Theory’s original IP Enslaved: Odyssey to the West failed to be particularly successful at retail, with publisher Namco Bandai suggesting poor release timing was to blame.

Even if Enslaved wasn’t very successful, Train2Game students would do well to read about the Enslaved Developer Session with Ninja Theory’s Tameem Antoniades at last years’ Eurogamer Expo. Expect more insight into how game developers operate as Train2Game will be reporting from the 2011 expo later this month

What are your thoughts on the comments from Antonides? Do you agree that digital distribution encourages creativity? Would an all digital model be good for the industry?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.


Train2Game students entering a “fundamentally changed” games industry

Many Train2Game students are waiting in anticipating to hear news of the next generation of games consoles, but EA’s John Riccitiello believes the traditional console cycle is over.

While speaking to investors, the EA CEO argued that the games industry has “fundamentally changed” in recent years.

“Most of us recognize that the industry has radically changed and the pace of change has accelerated dramatically,” he said “Gone forever is the four-to-five year console cadence that gave developers ample time to invest and retool for the next big wave.

“Consider that just 18 months ago, there was no iPad, Google was just experimenting with Android and most big games were limited to a single revenue opportunity at launch. Consider that each of the major consoles now has a controller that encourages users to get off the couch and get into the action.

“On smartphones and tablets like the iPhone and iPad, the top paid apps are all games. Recognize that the fastest-growing revenue streams for console, PC, smartphones and tablets are all digital, and that EA is partnering with its retail and platform partners to help jointly grow these digital revenue streams.

“While the game industry has fundamentally changed, games are reaching a far larger audience base than ever before.

The Train2Game blog has previously reported that EA are committed to digital games, with John Riccitiello stating at the start of the year that digital distribution is set to overtake traditional retail this year.

Last month, the Train2Game blog also reported that Riccitiello believes the future of the games industry is already here

Train2Game students will surely agree with the EA CEO in that the games industry has fundamentally changed in the last couple of years, but has the traditional console development cycle come to an end?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: MCV]

Train2Game news: Steam ‘essential’ for indie devs say Mode 7 Games

Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 Games is published through Steam

Train2Game students with plans to develop PC games will almost certainly be familiar with Steam, the digital distribution service from Half-Life, Portal and Team Fortress 2 developer, Valve.

Now, Mode 7 Games, the team behind indie title Frozen Synapse, have praised Valve and the way they go about promoting indie games, while keeping a hands off approach.

“That’s one of the best things about Valve, they won’t say ‘you are doing this’ – which they could do very easily – they’ll say ‘this is the kind of thing we want to do, this is why, how do you want to go about it?’ It’s great, it lets you try stuff.” Mode 7 Games co-founder Paul Taylor told

“We’re doing some stuff on Steam that people don’t normally do, like the free key for a friend thing, or offering the soundtrack as a separate thing you can upgrade to.”

“They’re quite different, and Valve had to do some actual system-related stuff to allow us to do that. For an indie game that doesn’t have a lot of clout, they’re surprisingly flexible and that’s great.” He continued.

“When you’re a company with that much power and that size, you have to strike a balance between doing things that benefit you and things that create a good eco-system for everyone,”.

“I think they’re pretty good at that, and they think very seriously about it. It is astonishing just how important they are in terms of the PC. Steam is really essential for indie games at the moment.”

The recent Steam Sales will probably have helped many smaller studios sell their games too.

Of course this isn’t the first time the supportive nature of Valve has been mentioned on the Train2Game blog, regular readers will know that community developers receive revenue from in-game items they’ve produced for Team Fortress 2.

So Train2Game, do you agree that Steam is ‘essential’ for indie PC developers? Would you attempt to get a game on Valve’s distribution system?

As usual, leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.


Train2Game news, Retailers not good for dev creativity say Paradox


Many Train2Game students have aspirations to work on the Triple A games that get stocked on shelves in shopping centres and supermarkets, but this area has not been good for creativity in the industry.

That’s according to CEO of Paradox Interactive, Fredrik Wester who revealed that the strategy title specialists generate most of their revenue through digital downloads.

“This year we’re close to ninety percent of our revenue being digital” he told PC Gamer.

“Retail sales are like a bonus for us now. We don’t really need retailers any more and that is a release because retailers have not been good for the industry. They’ve not been good for the creative part of the industry, for finding new cool games.”

“People complain to publishers that there are only sequels on the market, but that’s because retailers want to see sequels, because they can do their chart diagrams for how things sell and things like that. So one of the things preventing more creative gaming has been the retail challenge.”

“I can only say this now because we’re not depending on them, so it’s really relieving to be able to say that.”

Paradox’s main digital partner is Steam, with GamersGate also a big parter. Recently, the company had success publishing indie title Magika, which has been downloaded over 600,000 times. It’s proved to be a popular game on the Train2Game forum.

It also offers inspiration to Train2Game students in that Magika was developed by students at a Swedish University who’ve now got a hit game on their hands!

Essentially, Paradox suggest that digital platforms allow developers to self publish and take creative risks that retailers may not want to be a part of. Self-publishing could also potentially allow Train2Game students direct access to a market for their games.

Earlier this year, the Train2Game blog reported that Alan Wake developer Remedy sees an all digital future.

So Train2Game, do you agree that digital distribution allows game developers to be more creative? Would you publish in that way? Or is seeing a game you’ve developed on store shelves the ultimate goal?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: PC Gamer]

Train2Game students will be happy, Over half of UK population plays games


If Train2Game students ever needed something to remind them about what reach the games industry has, this is it; over 50% of people in the UK play games.

That’s according to a report from games market research firm Newzoo, which suggests estimates the 31million people in the UK, or 52% of the population, spend money on video games.

Train2Game students probably aren’t surprised to hear that its consoles that bring in the most money, with an estimated £1.6 billion to be spent on the various consoles and their games this year.

Other estimates suggest that £450 million will be spent on physical copies of PC & Mac games, £400 will go on casual games, with£350 million being spent on MMOS. Digital downloads of PC and Mac games through programmes such as Steam will see £330 million being spent on them, while Brit is will spend £300 million on mobile games.

The average person in the UK plays games on 3.9 of the above platforms, with casual gaming websites proving the most popular. Consoles are the second most popular means of playing video games. People spend an average of 43 minutes playing games everyday.

“Compared to the US, the UK shows a more traditional divide of money spent by consumers, with 56 per cent spent on console and boxed PC/Mac games, whereas in the US, this figure has dropped to 45 per cent,” Newzoo CEO and co-founder  Peter Warman said..

“No other country surveyed shows such a significant difference between time and money spent. For instance, in the UK, online and mobile gaming takes 60 per cent of time but only 35 per cent of money.

“We expect the free-to-play business models on all platforms, including consoles, to not only push the UK market back to growth but also decrease the current gap between time and money spent.”

Warman may be right when it comes to predicting that free-to-play model will expand, indeed, as reported by the Train2Game blog just last week, EA believe freemium can be as profitable as console games.

What’s certain is that with an ever increasing number of people playing games, partially thanks to the rise of casual and mobile games, it’s a good time to attempt to get into the games industry through completing a Train2Game course.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the figures? Does anything surprise you? Does it offer you encouragement about your choice of career path?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Xbox Live & PSN the ‘perfect platform’ for risky games

The PlayStation Network and Xbox Live are the ideal platforms for publishing creative or risky games, according to Another World creator Eric Chahi.  Speaking  to about the decision to release upcoming game Project Dust by digital means only, he said:

“There’s no distribution or retail to worry about – no manufacture or production costs, so it’s less risky for a publisher to sign an original game. I think it’s the perfect platform for this kind of game that’s not really mainstream.”

Chaci also added that the lower price of digitally distributed games is also an advantage “At retail games are more expensive, whereas on XBLA and PSN they’re cheaper, so you can reach more people.”

Recent Indie hits such as Joe Danger and Limbo seem to support the theory that the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live are great platforms for smaller developers – like Train2Game students – to publish games. This is even if a recent report suggests that most games are bought on discs.

So Train2Game, do you think it releasing a game on the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live is the way forward? Or are you looking at other ways to publish games? Also, what do you think of Project Dust? The trailer is below.

As usual, leave your thoughts here or on the Train2Game forums.