For PlayStation developer relations boss Adam Boyes, the key to a successful relationship with indie developers specifically is to be accountable, transparent, honest, and forthcoming.
"I think the important thing for us is all about the accountability and the relationship we have with developers," Boyes told GameSpot in a recent interview. "And it's so important that you have to be transparent and honest and forthcoming with what you're planning and how you interact."
The need to be open and honest with developers is especially pressing today because, thanks to social media, blowback over a controversial policy or action can surface almost immediately. "Nowadays, if anyone has a bad experience, they're going to tell everyone and then word is going to get out," Boyes said.
Boyes and the rest of the PlayStation developer relations team are always monitoring social channels like Twitter to get a grasp on how developers feel about certain issues. "We see the conversations that are happening so it helps guide and mold our internal thinkings," Boyes said.
At the end of the day, a positive developer relationship comes down to "having that really honest communication" with creators, Boyes said.
Though many developers have spoken out to support Microsoft's new independent publishing program, ID@Xbox, the company has also caught a fair amount of flak for its controversial "launch parity" clause for Xbox One indie games. Asked to compare Sony's indie developer programs and initiatives with Microsoft's, Boyes said: "I hearken that to the relationship I have with my wife. I care about her a lot. There's people that live in the house next to me that are married and they have their relationship. And sometimes I hear yelling in the night but I don't go to their house to ask them [about it]."
Earlier this year, Boyes took a shot at Microsoft's "launch parity" clause for Xbox One indie games. Under the terms of this policy, developers are only able release their games on Xbox One if they haven't already been released on other platforms. This would rule out timed-exclusives for competing platforms like the PS4.