Graeme Struthers, Code Enforcement Officer and “1/6th” of Devolver Digital, doesn’t think free-to-play is a ‘bad’ thing, but he at one point became rather sick and tired of people trying to force the issue on the independent developer and publisher.
Speaking with GI International at E3 earlier this month, Struthers was discussing how the company has gone from being almost exclusive to PC to getting publishing deals on console. He attributed this to a positive working relationship with Sony and Microsoft.
“There’s something I’d stress about [Sony and Microsoft],” he said. “They might seem like huge, faceless companies but to us they’re individuals. Shahid Ahmad [SCEA's senior business development manager] plays our stuff, sometimes even before we make them, they’ll sign stuff they already know about.
“Mark Maslowicz at Microsoft is basically the same. They’re just nice people who play games.”
Another positive experience for Devolver, according to Struthers, was the fact neither tried to force a free-to-play model on the company.
“The other thing I really like about what they’ve done is, thank fuck, I was so fed up of people telling us we should do free-to-fucking-play, in-app-fucking purchases, whatever the fuck that is, and that consoles were dead,” he said.
“So fuck all of those people and their fucking shitty stance. I don’t really engage a lot with the industry, but I went to one of these BAFTA things and these people were lecturing the audience about why we should all be going in that direction. I was sat there thinking ‘fuck you’.
“Consoles aren’t dead. I still find that there’s a thing when you sit down and turn on your console, that’s a different experience to any other. So hats off to them, consoles are good for all of us.”
While Struthers feels there is room for free-to-play games, it shouldn’t be either that model or console market for small independent developers. There can be areas in-between. Still, he feels PC is the firm’s priority and the format it owes its success to – particularly Stem.
“We start off with PC every time. It’s PC and Steam,” he said. “Without Steam we don’t exist. Even if we blow up and are successful on Microsoft and Sony, even if they get really big in the indie scene it still wouldn’t get anywhere near what Steam represents, so PC is our priority, every single time. Also, GoG are a great partner, as are Humble.
“So the console stuff is great, don’t get me wrong, but the core is always going to be the PC. It’s great that Sony has started that ball rolling through Shahid’s group.”
You can read the entire interview through the link.