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Ex-WOW Lead: Current Console Model "Cripplingly Bad for Devs"

Matt Gardner
Mark Kern, Microsoft, PC, PC vs. Consoles, PS3, Red 5 Studios, Sony, Xbox 360

Ex-WOW Lead: Current Console Model "Cripplingly Bad for Devs"

Red 5 CEO and Ex-World of Warcraft lead Mark Kern has slammed the business practices prevalent on current consoles, railing against the expense required to break even, let alone succeed on those platforms.

"In order to stand out from the crowd you have to spend as much on marketing as you did developing it... this is not a sustainable model," he told Eurogamer. "Teams have gotten to have to be larger and larger and larger to justify the $60 up front model."

"It's killing innovation because no one can take those risks anymore or try something new with those kinds of numbers. I think that's bad for gamers and I think that's cripplingly bad for developers. And to be honest, I don't see Sony or Microsoft embracing the openness of the changes that are happening in the gaming industry right now."

Kern pointed towards Sony's efforts to compete with Apple in the digital music market as a sign that the two console giants rather miss the point when it comes to servicing the consumer.

"Sony's not had a great track record with open models," he went on. "They tried to compete with iTunes back in the day and they're heavy on DRM, which I think is a big, huge negative for our industry, and I don't think that DLC models of sort of unlocking content as you go is a way that gamers want to play.

"The reason we have no innovation left on consoles is because you have to spend so much money to make your game appeal to widest possible audience on that platform which is a closed platform, so that's a limited number of users, right? Versus a PC with a free or open distribution model you can build a community around your game."

Add a comment2 comments
hurrakan  Jul. 31, 2012 at 11:53

It's been cripplingly bad for EVERYONE for years, including Sony and Microsoft.

davidpanik  Jul. 31, 2012 at 12:19

Seems like a very sensible insight. Developers shouldn't be killing themselves to get onto consoles, console-manufacturers should be killing themselves to get developers onto their consoles.

I'd love to see an open platform for games (as you have for music, DVDs, etc) and then the power, features of a console would be what would drive the decision of which one to go for. It'll interesting to see what happens if Ouya or Steam Box take off.


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