Sony has poured scorn on comments from European Xbox chief Chris Lewis that Microsoft’s publishing guidelines protect the consumer.
“I just wanted to make it clear from Chris Lewis’ comment last week and the fact that he’s saying, ‘Well, this is great for consumers,’ and that they’re going to protect their consumers. I think that that is an admirable stance to take,” SCE America’s senior vice-president of publisher relations Rob Dyer told IndustryGamers.
“That being said, while they might be protecting their consumers, what are they protecting them from? And what it looks like they’re protecting them from is the ability to see great content.
“And that, to me, is the problem we’re having right now is these threats and these serious issues that Microsoft is throwing at publishers – it’s only going to dumb down what could potentially come out for a number of these games. And whether people are willing to stand up to Microsoft on this stuff or not is up to that publisher and they do it at their own risk.”
Lewis said Microsoft’s insistance on platform exclusives and reluctance to allow titles which have already appeared on the PlayStation 3 isn’t just affecting little indies.
“It first started on the smaller pubs, and we can talk about what’s happened on XBL and the policy they have there that requires publishers to have a whole litany of things in order to get onto their network or they have to go through and be published by Xbox, by Microsoft, which essentially lets them dictate how long they’ll be exclusive and whether or not they own the IP, etc, etc,” Lewis said.
“It’s now progressed to not just be these smaller indie pubs that are obviously very easy to kick around. It’s moved up the food chain. It’s gone to B and A level publishers to where Microsoft now demands ‘Should content not be shipped simultaneously with competing platforms in all regions where the content is available, or should the content and features available on the Xbox 360 not be in parity with versions on competing platforms, then Microsoft reserves the right to not allow that content to be published for Xbox 360 or released on Xbox Live marketplace.’
“So potentially any time we’ve gone out and negotiated exclusive content of things that we’ve announced at things like DPS or E3, publishers are getting the living crap kicked out of them by Microsoft because they are doing something for the consumer that is better on our platform than it might be perceived on theirs.”
Lewis pointed to draconian requirements like a physical office space as unfair requirements for developers, and said Sony takes the opposite tack with its Publisher Fund.
“We want to welcome the indies and we’ve seen that become a very big part of our business because indies are recognizing that we aren’t demanding a pound of flesh in order for them to get a game published on our network,” he insisted.
“I think what Chris and the other representatives at Microsoft are doing is protecting an inferior technology. I think they want to dumb it down and keep it as pedestrian as possible so that if you want to do anything for Blu-ray or you have extra content above nine gigs or you want to do anything of that nature, you’d better sure as heck remember that Microsoft can’t handle that,”