Schafer: Console makers need a more open platform or risk losing indies

By Stephany Nunneley
17 February 2012 18:24 GMT

Double Fine’s Tim Schafer believes console manufacturers should pay heed to the report 2D Boy’s Ron Carmel complied last year regarding the loss of independent developers on Xbox Live.

Speaking with IndustryGamers, Schafer called the report “eye-opening” and said the console makers shouldn’t “dismiss” it.

“I really think it’s something they can’t dismiss and they should really pay a lot more attention to because he’s calling attention to a migration, an exodus of real creative talent away from those platforms to more open platforms, and I think they should do something quick to reverse that,” he said.

“I think that that was kind of a warning call. It’s not like ‘it would be nice to do this’ for developers – [if they don’t] they’re going to lose out. Things change every generation and just because you’re on top and the 900 pound gorilla in one generation, as you’ve seen, it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t mean it’ll be that way forever.

“I think that these threats that are possibly being ignored are going to hurt those guys.”

Schafer, like a lot of other indie developers, have expressed appreciation regarding the openness of platforms other than consoles, and the Double Fine man notes at lot of said openness is how easy it is release games on the systems.

“We can put something up on the App Store pretty easily, we can put stuff up on Steam really easily,” he said. “I like the Xbox and the PS3. I like Sony and Microsoft, but those systems are closed and curated very closely and it costs a lot more money to go through that system, to patch a game.

“It makes me stressed out that if I put a game up there, I might not be able to patch it because it might cost too much money, whereas these more open platforms will let us manage our own price and our own updates. It’s just a lot more appealing right now.”

Schafer said he still believes in the Microsoft and Sony platforms as well as the opportunities each console has bought to the table – but both need make policy changes or indies will go elsewhere.

“There are good games on both platforms,” he said, “and that’s the thing, is that I really believe in both those platforms, and I want them to succeed. So when you read an article warning about the migration away from the platform, that’s a shame and we want that not to be the case.”

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