American McGee believes the traditional triple-A publishing model limits innovation, is anti-consumerist, and favours publishers and console manufacturers to the exclusion of other parties.
Speaking with GamePlanet, the Spicy Horse boss gave a frank assessment of the the typical publisher-funded development model.
“That publisher model was brilliant – for the publishers, and for the console manufacturers, because it was all based on the idea of scarce shelf space,” he said.
McGee said the concept of limited shelf space – now made redundant by digital distribution – is what drove production and marketing costs up to their current levels, forcing out many small and mid-sized companies and creating a reliance on mega-hits. He said it caused “the limitation of creativity that we saw in the marketplace in the last 20 years”.
“It deserved a lot more hatred than it got from developers and consumers, and just about everybody. But they were very effective in making sure that people loved their masters.”
“Everything has been heading towards this peak of extreme spending on marketing, massive teams, limited choice for consumers, and its been this thing where it’s a race to the worst possible combination of things that you could possibly want from an industry, and that’s typically what happens when you have a monopoly,” he added.
Whether consumers realise it or not, McGee continued, publishers certainly did, and leveraged the system to eliminate competition.
“So I think that’s a model that deserves to die,” he concluded.
“I think over the years it deserved a lot more hatred than it got from developers and consumers, and just about everybody. But they were very effective in making sure that people loved their masters.”
Mobile devices will eventually make consoles seem old-fashioned, McGee predicted, while PCs will inspire consumers to prefer machines they have greater ownership over – ending console manufacturer and publisher monopolies.
The full article, available at the link above, is well worth a read for McGee’s further musings on the state of the industry. It also contains plenty of material on Spicy Horse’s latest, the Japanese myth-fuelled re-interpretation of Red Riding Hood, Akaneiro, which is free-to-play, cross-platform – and self-funded, of course.