Triple-A focus could kill the industry, warns former DICE producer turned mobile dev

Tuesday, 4 June 2013 22:42 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Former DICE producer Patrick Liu has said a perception that triple-A is the “coolest” development scene could kill the games industry.

Speaking to GamesIndustry, Liu – who left the Battlefield developer to become creative director of newly-founded mobile studio Rovio Stockholm – said young mobile developers are attracted to traditional triple-A development despite success in mobile, casual and beyond.

“They still have the image that those are the coolest games. Even amongst veterans there’s still an attitude that mobile and casual games are not really games,” he said.

“I think that’s a problem for the industry, to not admit that they’re real games. It makes an elitist group saying ‘oh, we are the real gamers, we make real games.’ That’s really concerns me – we could kill this industry if we don’t get more inclusive.”

The veteran developer said the new generation of gamers growing up know nothign beyond the current big-name IPs.

“I think it’s our responsibility as developers to show them all the other stuff we’ve been making for 25 years to see what they’ve got to look forward to. I think mobile developers, especially in Stockholm, there are so many veteran developers who know all the tricks of the trade, how to make really good games,” he said.

“At the same time, they’re embracing the new platforms, the new business models. Marrying those two things, that’s going to create something really really good, something fantastic.”

Liu said he doesn’t think the console market is at risk, because there’s still plenty of demand, but there’s so much expansion in other areas that the explosive growth of past generations is over.

“I think the console makers realise that and that’s why they’re concentrating more on other stuff like TV, so they become more relevant as machines. Mobile and PC do so much else and people only have so much money to invest. So they have to remain relevant, but that upsets the core gamers. It’s a dilemma,” he said.

The new Rovio boss said that “now is the best time” to be an indie, especially on mobile, thanks to reduced costs and greater opportunity to reach consumers, but that he expects big publishers like EA and Activision to stick it out on consoles for a while.

“It makes sense for them to be there a little longer because that market is still there and there will only be room for two or three publishers. They get to keep the rest of the cake,” he said.

“But for everyone else, they need to move to digital as quickly as possible. That’s partly why I moved – I think most of the innovation is happening on mobile – it’s the most exciting market to work in.”

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