Tomb Raider dev likes PSN

More flexible than Xbox Live.

Following the successful digital release of Tomb Raider Anniversary over Xbox Live, Crystal Dynamics' Riley Cooper has told GamesIndustry.biz that Sony's PlayStation Network should offer more flexibility for delivering future titles.

Anniversary was originally developed for PlayStation 2, with publisher Eidos offering the title to Xbox 360 users via Xbox Live Marketplace by splitting the game into episodic chunks.

But Cooper, lead designer on Anniversary, believes that Sony's PlayStation Network could prove to be the better service for developers looking to bypass retail and deliver full games to users, as it doesn't have as many constraints as Microsoft's service.

"I'm very, very interested in digital distribution and the potential it has," said Cooper. "PlayStation Network is extremely interesting because it's a more flexible space."

"We made an in-road with Anniversary on 360, and it was a full game essentially, but Microsoft is only slowly increasing requirements and opening up the constraints of Xbox Live. It's been a slow process, whereas PSN hasn't been restricted by size, they've just done Warhawk for example."

Riley believes that digital distribution of console games that were only previously available via retail is inevitable, and that technology barriers are being chipped away at an impressive rate.

"In a long enough time line it's inevitable so at the moment it's just a matter of how fast. Within this console generation we're already seeing huge uptake in that direction. Xbox Live continues to get press and the limits are being expanded, Tomb Raider Anniversary was a huge expansion of those limits," he said.

"The additional downloadable content for titles like Guitar Hero is making a lot of money. As well as that, digital distribution isn't just about how to get a game but how to stimulate communities after the game has been released. Once users have bought into the IP you can continue to keep that community alive and get revenue from it," he added.

Crystal Dynamics is working on the next Lara Croft title, Tomb Raider Underworld, due for release on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

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