Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins accused Nintendo of presiding over a "feudal dark age" in the game industry in which developers "don't own the land that they are tilling."
At the Gamasutra-attended GamesBeat 2011 in San Francisco today, the founder and CEO of social game company Digital Chocolate spoke passionately about the power of platform holders and how they limit creativity in comparison to open platforms.
"Look at the world wide web and how many great companies have been built on that open platform," he said. "Nintendo is a great, amazing company, but how many companies have been built on the back of Nintendo's platform in the past 25 years?"
He said that the games industry had been born in a golden age of open platforms, and that EA had prospered because it had ignored Nintendo and focused on the Sega Genesis, which it reverse engineered. "We fought for our freedom. We didn't accept the feudal system."
He added, "There is no question that there is a war going to win the hearts and minds of the developers. They will decide which feudal lord wins or loses. The days of floating your boat on one platform are over. The question is, do you as a developer, own the dirt?"
He said that platform holders "lure [developers] in with false promises of freedom" and argued that that developers should "focus on the browser," an open system.