Big Publishers Won’t Exist In The Future – Former Microsoft Exec
Ed Fries is a former Microsoft executive with the nickname “father of Xbox” so people listened when he recently opened his mouth regarding Xbox One and Microsoft’s policy reversal. In lieu of this, Fries foresees a future where “big publishers” might be pushed out of the picture.
Speaking with [a]list daily, Fried said Microsoft’s policy reversals prove the company is “responsive to feedback,” as it’s important to listen to customers. He also noted his surprise when the company announced World of Tanks – a free-to-play title- would be releasing on Xbox 360.
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“[That] and the indie publishing announcement surprised me as well,” Fries said. “I think, like a lot of people now, I’m waiting to see the details. I gave a talk last year about how the world of games is changing, and how it might be difficult for big parts of the industry to change along with it, for big publishers to change or for developers to change. I talked specifically about this issue, about free-to-play and about the barriers to consoles truly adopting free-to-play. I’m glad they’re heading that way.
“It’s hard for these companies to change. You see that all the time – it’s the innovator’s dilemma”.
“Who knows if there’ll be big publishers in the future? There don’t have to be. Maybe the world of the future doesn’t look like that. Maybe it’s just lots of small developers, getting together and then breaking up into little teams all over the world, that’s where great games are going to come from. Big publishers were formed because games were really expensive, there were big distribution issues. Walmart didn’t want to deal with a hundred companies, they wanted to deal with four or five.
“A lot of those things changed with digital distribution. Maybe what we’ll see in the future isn’t like what we’ve seen in the past. What does that mean? There are winners and losers all through that.”
While a future where big publishers like Activision and EA have less power over the industry would be interesting and great, I don’t see that happening any time soon. Sure console manufacturers don’t have to bend to their whims but where are the games going to come from?