Former SCEE boss Chris Deering says to keep an eye on Android's large-screen eventuality

Google Pad – the next development goldrush?

The man who used to run Sony’s gaming division in Europe has tipped the rumoured ‘Google Pad’ as a key games platform in the years ahead.

In a talk opening the Edinburgh Interactive festival yesterday Deering explained how the ‘traditional’ games industry needs to move to online business models and mobile platforms to survive current ‘treacherous’ market conditions.

Deering said online connectivity had disrupted the games industry. "The internet makes life dynamic, exciting and personalised, with rich media on multiple screens – and where trailing a game is almost always free.

"The economics of traditional high-end games have now become treacherous", he said.

Developers now need to think about breaking down the way games are made and sold into more bite-sized chunks, he said.

"We need to develop and sell by the level – and cater for multi-screen access," he said. iPad and iPhone already feature games that are playable off one server to different devices, as do Android platforms, Deering said, "but there’s still a long way for games to go that can be played for a while on the TV and then out on the bus – and that will get better."

Ultimately, he told attendees that "you need to re-assess your platform strategy", and said it was in every publisher and developer’s interest to have a plan for iPad/iPhone, notebooks, e-book readers, and other digital distribution platforms.

And especially ‘Google Pad’.

"As with Android phones there will be a lot of companies competing to make Google Pads which mean they will end up cheaper than iPads – and we all know what happened in the comparable situation with VHS vs Betamax," said the former Sony Europe chief.

Plus, there is the potential for exclusive titles on all these new platforms, he said, pointing out how these new platforms could become just as ‘traditional’ as the likes of PS3, 360 and Wii as online forces in games hit real momentum.

"All platform owners worry about exclusive content – if you talk to the platform you might get some help with the cost of your game in exchange for a period of exclusivity."

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