During his keynote at the Develop Conference, Realtime Worlds founder Dave Jones explained why his studio has hedged all of its bets on the online space with its upcoming title APB.
"It’s a really confusing time to be a developer at the moment," said Jones. "While it’s true that there’s more possibilities than ever before, that makes deciding what to do much harder."
Enumerating through the various ‘new frontiers’, Jones explained how ‘online’ and ‘next-gen’ were the keywords that summarised where Realtime wanted to be. "For us, the passion just wasn’t there for Wii games," said Jones. "To me, that seems more like a business – you have to understand your consumer very well."
"People classify APB as an MMO, but MMO these days tends to mean MMORPG. To go up against the behemoth in that space is really not an easy task and not something we wanted to do. Similarly, we felt that the iPhone market – while definitely an interesting and great market – was one best suited to students and small studios; it didn’t feel like something we could get into as a big studio."
He also mentioned the free-to-play model as something they considered for APB, given its popularity in the Far East, but quickly threw away. "Because a lot of these free-to-play MMOs fail, they’re all very low budget," said Jones. "But we wanted to do something big, and from that standpoint it was far too much of a risk to run APB as a free-to-play game."
Online, however, resets the playing field and gives companies a huge chance to innovate, he continued. "Online is where people spend their time – just look at Call of Duty and Halo, and all of the hours that people plough into these multiplayer games. Not only that, but it gives us a direct relationship to the players that we really wanted, and piracy is much less of an issue when dealing with an online game. Plus, the economics are far more favourable to the developer."