Xbox co-creator: console manufacturers can’t ignore Apple model

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 05:03 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Ed Fries, often called the “father of Xbox”, believes gaming platform holders need to wise up to Apple’s disruptive app-based business model.

Speaking to GameInformer, Fries said the process of launching a console today is quite different from a decade ago.

“It’s getting harder and harder for the traditional consoles to ignore the Apple kind of experience,” he said.

“Anybody can develop for the platform, certification is a relatively cheap and painless thing.”

Fries said that the industry is still clinging to “myths and legends” that letting ease of development is a bad thing thanks to the hangover of the mid-1980’s crash, caused by “too much junk on the market”.

“But now you’ve got guys who make games like Fez who can’t do an update to their game because it costs too much, if that game was on iOS that wouldn’t be a problem, but because it’s on XBLA it’s a problem,” he added.

“Those kinds of ideas have to go away in the next generation. They’ll go away in Ouya, they’ll go away if Apple brings some kind of product into this space, the console makers like Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, they have to respond to that, it’s just the future.

“Likewise they have to respond to the free-to-play game model, the world is changing, people want this free-to-play experience, game developers want to build free-to-play experiences and the console ecosystem has to adapt to that. It can’t just be $50 product in a box all the time,” he concluded.

Fries is one of the key consultants behind Ouya, an Android-based, open-source console which was Kickstarted to the tune of $8 million. If you’d like to read more about Fries’s involvement with the original Xbox, check out Pat’s long-form feature The Xbox Story (also available as an eBook).