Epic Games’ European boss Mike Gamble believes some publishers make “stupid acquisitions” thus causing studio closures like Black Rock by Disney as one such example.
“It’s happened because of stupid acquisitions,” he told Eurogamer at Epic’s Unreal Engine University day in London. “This is a personal view. In my person opinion, yeah, there have been acquisitions by publishers of developers they really had no right – well, they had a right because they had the money – but what was the point of a well-known children’s IP holder buying a hardcore racing studio? It doesn’t make sense.
“A lot of the pain we’ve had in the last 18 months has been down to the economics of games development, which has changed. Big publishers have had to pull back in money wise and the casualties of that are the studios that haven’t performed for them because the industry has changed.”
Gamble goes on to say there is a positive side to studio closures though, as it produces new development studios and “other cool stuff”.
“The games I’m seeing from indies and small developers are brilliant,” he said. “I love it. Really interesting and creative. They’re not ticking boxes for publishers that say, we’ve got this gap in the portfolio, and there’s this demographic, so we need to create this.
“They’re playing with concepts, with how things are controlled. It’s very creative.”