LGF: Sony exec says customization is key

Michael Denny implores game makers to tap gamers' desire to "participate and create."


LONDON--Games will need to provide a variety of add-on options and keep on developing after their release to survive in the next-generation market, according to Michael Denny, vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studio Europe. Denny spoke at the London Games Summit today.

According to Denny, developers need to realise that the ability to personalise, customise, and download extra game content is going to be essential to the success of their games. "We face more than just a console generation transition," Denny said. "An 18-year-old today has never known a world without broadband, mobile phones, or MP3s."

Denny told the audience he believes that online communities such as Myspace and YouTube have had a huge impact on the way people interact and will additionally impact the success or failure of tomorrow's games. "Today's games are competing for time share even more than cash. Consumers today have more choice, they have more and better things, and they have louder voices. And the future consumer will have an infinite menu."

Denny also indicated he believes networked connectivity will be essential to gameplay on next-gen platforms. This is because "gamers love to contribute, and more than anything, they love to show off," he explained.

"Today's gamer wants to customise their games to fit their own personality and style and [wants] games to be more interactive than ever before," Denny said. "Today millions of ordinary people have the tools and the role models to become amateur producers... It is the desire to participate and create that becomes the enduring entertainment experience itself."

He concluded by saying that he believed the best weapon in Sony's goal of sustaining interest in big-budget games is to provide carefully timed releases of a range of downloadable options, be they whole episodes or merely new skins for characters. "Imagine a physical gameworld where the player can place and design new objects to help create new and emerging gameplay," he said. "Imagine not just personalising the look of the game, but personalizing the content in such a way that makes the gameplay more relevant to a particular player or group of players."

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