Indies should embrace multiplatform development and the cloud, says Paradox CEO

The confluence of the mobile gaming surge, digital distribution and the upcoming "microconsole" boom ushered in by devices like Ouya and GameStick has created "a golden age for indie developers" who should embrace multiplatform development, according to an interview with Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester published in Gamasutra.

The Swedish company's historical focus has been on Windows PC products, producing games like War of the Roses, Europa Universalis 4 and the upcoming strategy game Impire, but he sees how that could change. In particular, Wester looks to saving games in the cloud as a way to revolutionize both how players play and developers develop.

"It's going to be simpler to develop for different [operating systems]," he said, "and going forward I would not be surprised if you see a couple of ubiquitous games you can play from the PC, Mac, a Tegra tablet, an iPad, et cetera either cooperatively or against each other ... you can play a game on your PC and then later you can play on your iPad, through a cloud save."

"It's going to be simpler to develop for different [operating systems]."

If his wish that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft allow this kind of openness on consoles, Wester thinks it will change how independent developers approach their games.

"I see more and more people seem to be working with either Android, iOS or Windows, and from what I see there's going to be a matrix in the market: You first decide what OSes your game will support, and whether you want your game to be run with a gamepad, a touch screen or a mouse and keyboard."

We may already have seen the first inklings of the mutliplatform development that Wester hopes for. Although it's exclusive to Microsoft operating systems, 17-Bit's Skulls of the Shogun is set for release Jan. 30 on Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows Phone and Surface tablets. It will be the first game to support asynchronous multiplatform play between these platforms.

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