Trip Hawkins, the founder of EA and Digitial Chocolate, has made his voice heard before. We last caught up with him touting the web browser as the future king of gaming platforms for developers and he's back in the headlines today for castigating platform holders (Nintendo in particular) for presiding over a 'feudal dark age' in the games industry that has been in place since the advent of software licensing.
Speaking at GamesBeat 2011, Hawkins suggested that platform holders have a negative impact when it comes to creativity, restricting development studios from expressing themselves creatively in comparison to open platforms, where he used companies like Zynga as an example of what is possible on the web.
I think we actually had our golden age when game development was using floppy disks and it was an open free platform when we could all make games like we wanted to make. Nintendo came along and software licensing came in and we’ve been in a dark age since then.
How many great companies have been built on the world-wide web, which is an open platform. The list just goes on and on, and Nintendo’s been doing things this way for 25 years and there are no great companies that have been built on the back of Nintendo. - Trip Hawkins
Hawkins went on to suggest that platform holders 'lure [developers] in with false promises of freedom' and reiterated his argument that in order to sustain creative growth, developers should 'focus on the browser'.
It's interesting that Hawkins focuses on the platform holders rather than the publishing behemoths (and EA is one) that exist today. The last decade is filled with examples of development studios being consumed by large publishing houses and either chewed up and spat out, or forced to rush development and streamline their titles to suit buzzwords like 'accessibility' and 'larger target audience'.
The global economy being what it is, this year has been filled with philosophical musings on the state of mid-range gaming, rhetoric relating to risk and the allure of casual gaming, and it should be noted that Hawkins' own studio is currently swimming through the Zynga-dominated waters of Facebook gaming at this point in time when considering his comments. [Gamasutra & VentureBeat]
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