Former Electronic Arts boss John Riccitiello has stated that developers are better off focusing on gameplay and innovation rather than trying to replicate console-quality graphics on mobile platforms.
Speaking at Casual Connect, Riccitiello reflected on the numerous occasions when developers at EA had said the following: "We're going to bring console-quality to mobile. That will differentiate us from everyone else."
"I think that's a mistake," he concluded. "Investing in better graphics without figuring out what differentiating gameplay you're going to have — without thinking of how gameplay rewards players — is a road to ruin. Prettier games cost more to make. Better games satisfy consumers."
Riccitiello compared the situation to the tech jump in the Nineties for strategy games that moved to embrace 3D modelling in spite of doubling or tripling costs, saying that "revenue remained the same because they weren't innovating."
"If you're looking at more powerful CPUs and GPUs, think more about how that creates the opportunity to build an experience you've not seen before — a different kind of gameplay. What gameplay wasn't possible before that can be fundamentally optimized?" he asked, broadly, before returning to the mobile sector.
"You can either hope to be lucky twice, or you can figure out an answer that I think is vitally important for the health of the mobile business. Developers need to build brands. Games that don't build a brand will not be around in a decade. Will Clash of Clans be with us in 25 years? Madden turns 25 this year. Will Candy Crush be around next year and still be doing a few million a day?"
"Incremental innovation isn't going to cut it anymore on mobile," he said. "The next hits are going to come from fundamental innovation." [Polygon]