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Hawkins: Platform Holders Offer 'False Promises Of Freedom'
Hawkins: Platform Holders Offer 'False Promises Of Freedom'
July 12, 2011 | By Colin Campbell

July 12, 2011 | By Colin Campbell
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More: Social/Online, Business/Marketing



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.

Hawkins' comments echo his recent sentiment that the web browser will win out as the new ultimate platform for games.


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Comments


Jane Castle
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He who owns the platform makes the rules..... At least on their platform........

Kevin Patterson
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If bandwith caps take hold, internet cloud gaming is doomed. (Unless each of the big ISP's become what Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft are now)

Alan Rimkeit
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Read on and weep in fear of the ISP's power over the Internet.

:(



"The Day Comcast’s Data Cap Policy Killed My Internet for One Year"



http://gizmodo.com/5820488/the-day-comcasts-data-cap-policy-kille
d-my-internet-for-1-year?popular=true

Robert Schmidt
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Agree with R Allen. The better solution is to standardize gaming on the PC. You want to make a console, build it based on the PC and remove anything not game related. Allow the game developers to build to one hardware standard but not necessarily one piece of hardware. That way I can focus on making games not coding for the idiotsyncrazies of each platform. Then all I need to do is slap a different UI on for PC, Web, and Mobile devices. Consoles are made to benefit the console maker. The developer just ends up having yet another proprietary platform to support.

Ian Uniacke
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Haven't people already tried something like that? Fish PC for example. I think it's a lot more difficult than you make it sound...if it was easy everyone would be doing it already.

Joe McGinn
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Yeah Ian is right. PC as a game platform is not the answer. Web browser makes more sense, and then custom apps for devices with a big enough user base (iOS, Android).

Ian Uniacke
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I think this is just wishful thinking really. The "open" computing movement has been around since the 60s at least and hasn't been very successful yet (linux filling some niche markets being the one stand out exception). So this just sounds like yet another "open is better" argument with no solid backing to me.



He mentions "Look at the world wide web and how many great companies have been built on that open platform", but what examples are there? Zynga? OK, so that's one...and even they really only grew big on the back of Facebook.

Ville Salo
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I believe Trip isn't talking strictly about gaming businesses. Rather than Zynga, his example would be Facebook itself; or Google, Amazon, eBay etc.

Maurício Gomes
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Some Indie games that got 25% of their revenue from Linux disagree with your niche thing.

Ian Uniacke
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Actually I think that agrees with my assessment. 1/4 of a small market (the market for independant games) is pretty niche. Mind you I'm not trying to say you can't make a great living from a niche...you just have to accept it for what it is. Hell, Wizards Of The Coast (and TSR before them) basically made a whole business out of it.


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