Molyneux ready to leave retail behind

Unshackled from Microsoft, legendary British games developer Peter Molyneux is working on a new game – but it might not see a retail release.

In an interview with MCV and sister publication Develop, Molyneux said it is tough for retailers to compete with digital channels.

I am certainly not that interested in buying computer games in shops, myself. And many other developers may feel the same way,” he said.

The whole games industry is evolving quickly,” Molyneux explained in his first major interview since suddenly quitting his role as Lionhead MD and Microsoft Game Studios Europe creative director last month.

There is this whole relationship that designers are now having with consumers through digital portals. If you’re going to make something that’s going to last more than a few hours, then you have to have a digital relationship with your customers, and that makes things very tough for retail.

The incentives for driving me out of my seat and into a shop is becoming increasingly limited. I don’t go to retail to buy a film. I don’t go to retail to buy music. I don’t go to buy books any more. And I’m certainly not that interested in buying games in shops, myself.

I think retail has got a place – we still love buying gifts – and I’m sure that will still be the case. But as a studio, restricting ourselves purely to retail I think has become a challenge.”

The retail model is no longer synonymous with what developers want to do with games, he agreed.

If you look at everything that’s exciting, from the resurgence of PC to iPad and iPhones, it’s hard to see where retail fits into that.”


Our interview with Molyneux also explores his reason for quitting his role at one of the format-holder’s most prominent studios.

He said: I was in a creative padded cell. Microsoft was so safe. Microsoft was so nice. You’re so supported. Everything I did couldn’t hurt me, both creatively and physically. The danger was long gone. I had this huge desire to make something truly special, and I felt like I was being suffocated creatively a little bit.

That was the moment I realised I had to go.”

The full interview with Molyneux can be read on

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