Microsoft may be on the verge of detailing a plan to transform any given retail Xbox One console into a development debug unit, but a new report is claiming that Sony is already well ahead of the curve when it comes to saturating the indie scene with easy to obtain PlayStation 4 dev kits.
Citing “various development sources”, Polygon is reporting that Sony has pegged a $2,500 price tag on their PlayStation 4 dev kits. This would seem to put the company at a disadvantage against Microsoft’s $500 plus “a few hundred dollars” Xbox One dev kit cost, if it were not for the fact that Sony is apparently handing out free PS4 debug units left and right.
In addition to selling the PS4 debut units, the platform holder is heavily promoting a “DevKit Loaner Program” on their “Become a Registered Developer” website, and it seems to be a hit with the independent development scene. “All the indies I know got them [PlayStation 4 dev kits] for free,” one developer said. “Sony has been amazing about kits and development thus far.” Another indie added, “They are handing them out like candy.”
Outside of the free loaner PlayStation 4 dev kits, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is also planning to host quarterly events aimed at helping indie developers. According to a Develop report, the London-based events are open to all developers — regardless of location — and will be used as a platform to discuss issues related to the PS4, PS3, and PS Vita.
The exact dates are not yet final for the upcoming Sony indie events, but the company hopes to kick off the first one sometime this September.
Regardless of which side of the next-gen fence you ultimately come down on, it is nothing but a positive sign to see the PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One being positioned as more indie-friendly systems. For the last few years the vast majority of the most interesting video game ideas seem to have come from the indie scene. Making it easier for those developers to get their games published on consoles should go a long way towards improving the health of the entire market.