Emerging indie developer ecosystems are at the mercy of publishing goliaths with the money and ambition to dominate the digital space, according to an esteemed industry veteran.
Lionhead founder Peter Molynuex said that traditionally indie-friendly platforms, such as Android and the App Store, offer a “window of opportunity” for small developers.
“But here’s the problem,” he said. “We are just one or two games of high production quality away from all this coming to an end.
“That’s my belief. It’s inevitable that a Star Wars or Disney game, a five million dollar iPhone project, will be released. And when it does, consumers are going to like it.”
In a wide-ranging interview with Develop, Molyneux was asked specifically about ex-Fable designer Dene Carter’s recent departure from the company (a move made for Carter to set up his own iPhone studio).
“He’s amazingly talented,” said Molyneux of Carter.
“Dene was around in the late eighties and was part of that [eighties bedroom coder era]. He was actually the designer of the first game I ever worked on.
“I got into this business by converting a game from the Commodore 64 to the Amiga, and it turned out that Dene was the bloke who designed it.”
Carter left Lionhead in May 2009 to set up his own iPhone studio, Fluttermind, and Molyneux said the designer’s new battleground is a “brilliant opportunity for people to get a foot in the door and establish their name”.
Yet he added: “Don’t expect this to last forever. Triple-A is here to stay. When TV came along it didn’t replace the movie industry. Social gaming is like TV. It is going to co-exist because, frankly, there’s too much money in it.
“Slowly the publishers are moving in on this space. They will nibble away at the market.
Elsewhere in the interview, Molyneux discussed a range of topics, such as the fallacy of the Facebook development ethos, improvements made to Fable 3 and his own love for comedy in games.