Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft must respond to the free-to-play model, says Ouya adviser

Ed Fries: Consoles can’t ignore Apple model

Console manufacturers must adopt the Apple model by opening up more for developers and relaxing their stringent online game restrictions, former Microsoft exec Ed Fries has said.

Speaking to Game Informer, Fries, who currently acts as an adviser for tiny hackable console Ouya, said Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft could no longer afford to ignore the experience Apple offers developers and users.

He stated that anyone could develop for iOS devices, and that certification was relatively cheap and painless. He compared this to the problems faced by Polytron’s isometric platformer Fez, which recently claimed it could not make an update to the XBLA title as it cost too much to do so.

“I think it’s going to have an impact on the way consoles and developers interact in the future,” said Fries.

“It’s getting harder and harder for the traditional consoles to ignore the Apple kind of experience. Anybody can develop for the platform, certification is a relatively cheap and painless thing, and in the old days of consoles there are all sorts of myths and legends that say that’s a bad thing to do.

“That’s why the game business melted down in ’84, there was too much junk on the market, but now you’ve got guys who make games like Fez who can’t do an update to their game because it costs too much, if that game was on iOS that wouldn’t be a problem, but because it’s on XBLA it’s a problem. Those kinds of ideas have to go away in the next generation.”

Fries went on to say that the console giants would also have to respond to the rapid rise of the free-to-play model, and said games for these systems “can’t just be a $50 product in a box all the time”.

"They have to respond to the free-to-play game model, the world is changing, people want this free-to-play experience, game developers want to build free-to-play experiences and the console ecosystem has to adapt to that. It can’t just be $50 product in a box all the time.”

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