Codemasters founder David Darling is disappointed by Microsoft’s decision to back down on its original Xbox One licensing policies, which he believes will allow Apple and Google to take over living rooms from traditional consoles.
“It was interesting how the market did pull back with Microsoft. I don’t think Microsoft sold it in the right way – they weren’t strong enough,” the former Codemasters boss said of Microsoft’s plans to pull back from physical media, while speaking with GamesIndustry.
“I don’t think they should have had a physical drive on Xbox One – it’s like having a dead body handcuffed to you. It’s dragging along this dead body and it’s going to slow them down. They’ve let the market pull them back but I think that was a mistake.”
The “mistake”, as Darling sees it, is in letting physical media remain the dominant paradigm, keeping game costs high, and reducing Microsoft’s chances of staying relevant against Apple and Google.
“They’ve given Apple and Google a chance to get into the living room – they’ll come along with new machines and take over the market,” he said.
“Apple has already announced a gaming controller so they’ve got developers starting to think how they can make games for that controller. If they release this new machine with a new App Store then suddenly they’ll have a device in the living room which can steal the market away from Xbox One and PS4.
“It was only a few years ago that people were saying that the iPhone wasn’t a threat to traditional handhelds, but Apple has taken over what you could call the ‘pocket’ market from things like PS Vita and 3DS. The same thing could happen in the home.”
Darling warned that Apple and Google are both dangerous foes; they innovate and move quickly.
“There’s a lot of potential in what those two companies can do in the living room with their technology,” he said, adding, “The price of console games has to drop otherwise they will not be competitive with Apple and Google.”
Physical media is on its way out, Darling added.
“The industry will definitely move in that direction, and I think it will move very quickly. It’s a bit like flipping a coin – at some stage it will just flip.
“It will change in six months and everybody will wonder why it never changed before. There’s no point in distributing physical media when the internet exists.”
Darling isn’t the only one to decry physical media; Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Désilets said “nobody cares” about it, while Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski warned that the industry will suffer as a result.