Next Gen Consoles Need to Be Open like Steam, Double Fine Says

Tim Schafer wants the PS4 and Xbox 720 to welcome independent developers

Double Fine, one of the developers that shifted from triple-A retail games to smaller, downloadable ones, wants next-generation consoles to have a more open strategy in regards to lightweight titles, in order to prevent independent developers like itself from abandoning them.

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have been around for some time and, while both Sony and Microsoft are adamant that they'll stick around for a few years to come, their replacements are already rumored to be revealed next year.

According to Double Fine boss Tim Schafer, he and his team have talked with Sony and Microsoft about their next consoles and emphasized that the two companies need to add features and make things easier for smaller developers like his own studio.

"Our fear was that next generation was going to be only big AAA games. It was only going to be a place for Call of Duty and Halo," he told Polygon. "But we've talked to [the console manufacturers], and told people what things would be hard for teams our size with regards to consoles."

According to Schafer, self-publishing on a console is a pricey endeavor as the studio needs to pay for all sorts of things, from certification, to patches, and others such things.

The game designer, responsible for hits like Day of the Tentacle or Psychonauts, believes the new consoles and their online services have a lot to learn from Valve's Steam and its open nature in regards to many aspects of self-publishing.

"We'd still like to be active in that space, we care about consoles, but unless they open things up a lot more like what we have on Steam... if they opened things up more it would be a more friendly place from our perspective."

The two companies have listened to Double Fine's feedback but Schafer himself admits change will be a hard thing to do.

"We've talked to them about this stuff, and you know, they hear us. They're big companies and they can't make changes overnight, but I think they're taking all of that stuff into consideration. We'll have to see what happens."

Double Fine is continuing to work on new downloadable experiences, including The Cave and the Double Fine Adventure title.

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