I do think that Microsoft did get some indie stuff early on, like Cloning Clyde. But you have a different approach, wherein a project will be found and it will be developed with Sony.
JH: Yeah. It's one thing to go out and sign up things, but you want to ensure success. We look at our developers as long-term relationships, so we put in whatever resources we need.
In the case of the guys who work with me, typically we have a producer and a designer. These are all seasoned people who have had 10 or 15 years of experience, and they know their job is to mentor these developers. And they take it seriously.
The success of their teams is their personal
success, and they don't try to co-opt the ideas of their team. By the
same token, they don't just toss in an SDK and say, "Hey, I'll
get back to you later." They really spend a lot of time with them.
Is that a model that you plan to continue?
JH: Absolutely. Yeah, it's been successful. We're not going to do a ton of games, but we're trying to make every game its own unique, cool experience. We're going to continue to focus on teams that we see as having a lot of potential, and we hope to grow with them.
What do you see as the benefits
of releasing games as they are done, versus specific, spaced-out gated times?
JH: It isn't completely just as they
come out, but for us, it's about making sure each game has the time
to be refined. These are not downloadable games on your PC. They're
on your console, and the expectation from a consumer standpoint is,
"These things can't crash. These things can't drop a virus on my
machine." They have to have the same solid, rigid QA that we put
in all of our console games and our Blu-ray titles.
Plus, when we release, we release worldwide, so that means 21 languages in Europe, 4 or 5 languages in Asia... and we'd like to -- we've gotten a lot of feedback from our customers -- they don't like it when you delay and release it in the United States, and then when localization's done, in Europe, then we release... we're trying to coordinate it all so that it's a simultaneous worldwide release.
But games have their momentum. You don't want to sit too long on them. I try not to double-up and release two things at once, because one gets to have its air time.
I meant more on that last point, I guess: releasing the game when it's done, versus queuing in any way.
JH: We try to do simultaneous release, but we're also cognizant that these are small developers, and while we do support them, at least in the first party, we support them through financial advances to fund the game.
In our third party side, a lot of these developers are self-funded, so you can't just have them hanging out on a line for months with no royalty income coming in. You want to make sure that you release it in time, so they can start earning earnings back on their work.