Microsoft’s ecosystem across Windows and Xbox formats isn’t encouraging the influx of indie-to-small developments as it should, former Microsoft Game Studios exec Peter Molyneux has cautioned.
Speaking with GI.biz at E3, Molyneux lamented Microsoft’s approach to indies during the show last week, and how the company isn’t using its formats to harness small studios effectively.
“This drives me crazy,” he began. “You think of Microsoft. They’ve got two amazing platforms. They’ve got Windows and Xbox, and you would think there would be an ecosystem that encompasses both of those platforms in a truly encouraging way. And I think it’s a wasted opportunity.
“That being said, I think when you’re doing something like manufacturing a console there are so many things you’ve got to be careful of in terms of security and secrecy, which is very scary coming into a conference like this. It’s all about pulling back the curtain, and if you tell indie developers [in advance] there are risks of leaks.
“So I kind of understand it, but it doesn’t seem right, that they have an ecosystem that doesn’t really encourage small development. They’ve had their try at it, but it doesn’t seem like it’s part of their DNA.”
Molyneux then re-iterated his stance that Nintendo would perform better if it got out of the hardware industry and focused solely on games. “What Miyamoto says defines things in this industry,” he stated. “What I say just upsets people. When Nintendo is making truly world-changing hardware, I totally see his point.
“But I do wonder about the Wii U – it seemed to be a kind of reaction to SmartGlass. And it’s very chunky, doesn’t really feel like it’s cutting edge. That’s when we start saying, ‘Why not spend some of your unbelievable talent on these devices?’ Because there’s a billion people out there.
“You know what Nintendo did – this is a fascinating thing – Nintendo created gamers by the software they made. They created millions of gamers with Donkey Kong and Mario – they were the birth of gamers. That exact same thing is happening on this platform today.”
However, Molyneux believes that these gamer-defining titles no longer come from any of the big console players, but from the indie scene instead. “Millions of new gamers are being created almost every month,” he continued, “and they’re being created with titles not from Nintendo, not from Microsoft, not from Sony, not even necessarily from Activision or EA. They’re being created by companies like Supercell and Rovio.
“They’re the ones that are bringing and creating new gamers. And now there are millions of people interacting with franchises, which Nintendo won’t even touch, which seems a shame to me because Nintendo are brilliant about bringing people into the industry, and I think their hardware is starting to get in the way of that.”
What do you think about the rise of the indies? Should Microsoft be more accommodating to smaller teams, and should Nintendo ditch hardware in favour of games on all platforms? Let us know what you think below.