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‘Sony and Microsoft aren’t embracing change’ – Firefall dev

Tuesday, 31st July 2012 12:06 GMT By Dave Cook

OUYA backer and developer of Firefall Red5 studios has called out Sony and Microsoft’s lack of willingness to embrace new ideas and change in the industry. The studio also thinks you are paying too much for new games.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Red5 Studios CEO and ex-World of Warcraft lead Mark Kern has spilled the beans on why he feels consoles are in danger falling behind open distribution platforms like OUYA.

Kern explained, “The reason we have no innovation left on consoles is because you have to spend so much money to make your game appeal to widest possible audience on that platform which is a closed platform, so that’s a limited number of users, right? Versus a PC with a free or open distribution model you can build a community around your game.”

“In order to stand out from the crowd you have to spend as much on marketing as you did developing it,” Kern continued,”this is not a sustainable model. Teams have gotten to have to be larger and larger and larger to justify the $60 up front model.”

“It’s killing innovation because no one can take those risks anymore or try something new with those kinds of numbers,” Kern continued, “I think that’s bad for gamers and I think that’s cripplingly bad for developers.”

“And to be honest, I don’t see Sony or Microsoft embracing the openness of the changes that are happening in the gaming industry right now”

Kern has personally backed OUYA on Kickstarter because of its open distribution stance, and is very critical of the way Sony and Microsoft do business with smaller developers, saying that both parties would have called you ‘insane’ if you tried to pitch Minecraft to them.

What do you think of OUYA as a successful open distribution platform? Is it a good thing for indies and for gamers sick of paying too much for games? Speak your brains below.

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6 Comments

  1. friendlydave

    No and yes. I don’t think the OUYA itself will be all that great but the path it opens might lead to something beautiful years later!

    #1 2 years ago
  2. OlderGamer

    I am also not sold on Ouya, but I have to agree with several points that Mr. Kern made.

    ““The reason we have no innovation left on consoles is because you have to spend so much money to make your game appeal to widest possible audience on that platform which is a closed platform, so that’s a limited number of users, right? Versus a PC with a free or open distribution model you can build a community around your game.”

    “In order to stand out from the crowd you have to spend as much on marketing as you did developing it,” Kern continued,”this is not a sustainable model. Teams have gotten to have to be larger and larger and larger to justify the $60 up front model.”

    “It’s killing innovation because no one can take those risks anymore or try something new with those kinds of numbers,” Kern continued, “I think that’s bad for gamers and I think that’s cripplingly bad for developers.”

    “And to be honest, I don’t see Sony or Microsoft embracing the openness of the changes that are happening in the gaming industry right now”

    That is pretty much the gospel right there.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. DrDamn

    Except he completely ignores PSN, XBLA, XBLA Indies, Vita pricing models etc.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    @3 But do you really feel like they’re keeping up with the indie scene in general?

    When they first started embracing indies, I thought it was going to be huge, but the indie wave didn’t just revolutionize design, it also went all the way into distribution and business models.

    When someone like Microsoft are charging indies 40.000 dollars to update their games, that just shows that they aren’t in touch with reality.

    I have no idea how Sony does it, but they’re still running a closed, tightly controlled platform, which is never going to be anywhere near as well suited to indies as open platforms that actually allow them to control their businesses as well as their designs.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. DrDamn

    @4
    They want a closed platform though – that’s where they control and make the money. That’s fine, and that is actually the only point of the article. He likes an open platform.

    Are they keeping up with the indie scene in general? Not in some ways, but a more controlled approach does have it’s benefits too. He complains about marketing costs in a crowded market – surely that can be worse in an open system. How do you make your title stand out in ways not available to someone publishing on PSN or XBLA? At least there you have only a couple of titles being published per week as competition.

    No innovation left on consoles? He’s not even looking. There is plenty there. His comment on having to fit the $60 model shows he’s clearly only considering retail. That tempers and shapes the rest of his comments.

    For example …
    “… called you ‘insane’ if you tried to pitch Minecraft to them”

    What about stuff like Noby Noby Boy, Flower, Journey that paint gun thing? Sony may have called them insane but it was quickly followed by yes please.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. mortalisk

    First of all, change is not good just because it is change. Second of all, the console games market is not getting smaller. It’s just that the gaming market in general is getting bigger, with some new niches having bigger potential than the old markets. It does not follow that the old players should abandon the niches that they excel at. That could mean that they will go extinct for no reason, while there would have been just as much of a market there had they kept doing what they were doing.

    As an analogy, companies like Rolex have always had their niche markets selling expensive watches, and had they abandoned that and tried to compete in the cheap watch market, would probably have been outperformed a long time ago, as they simply do not “get” that market and do not have the infrastructure or knowledge required. However, since it became possible to make cheap watches, that market has been a lot bigger. From the way you are arguing, every watch maker in the world should have abandoned their niche markets and compete in the cheaper and bigger markets, for no other reason than that they sell stuff that shares the same label “watch”, while the intent of these items, knowledge and skills required are very different, and a great amount of people are still demanding the niche types.

    #6 2 years ago

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