The supposed ‘destruction of publishers’ brought about by more open digital distribution models – such as the App Store – is a complete myth, says Epic Games’ boss Mark Rein.
The Unreal Engine firm’s vice president told Develop he believed that less policed platforms will, in fact, see the big firms flourish.
“It’s nonsense,” Rein said. “If we’re going to continue to have triple-A gaming experiences, which I’m convinced we will, then publishers are going to continue to play the key role in bringing the majority of them to market.
“They might cede distribution to online marketplaces like the iTunes App Store, but somebody still needs to finance, develop and market the games.”
Rein says that, historically, all media have proven that people are willing to pay for higher quality content – and that trait will not be exception in the mobile gaming space.
“For a long time, Call of Duty was one of the top iPhone grossing games. It might not have as many users as Angry Birds, but I’m willing to bet it made more money and it proves there’s a market for all kinds of gaming experiences on the platform – there is no right or wrong on these platforms,” he said.
“What we’re seeing with the success of Madden, GTA and Call of Duty on iPad and iPhone is that big brands and big marketing, combined with high production values, creates mindshare that lets them stand out in a crowd.
“It’s a natural evolution. When the audience size and expected sales justify a publisher like Ubisoft to spend $15m on a TV advertising campaign for their latest Assassin’s Creed mobile app, they will. This will happen.
“The great indie games will still be there – but the big games will get bigger just like they have on other platforms.”
Elsewhere in the latest interview with Develop, Rein envisioned a future where flagship game consoles will no longer be tethered to the television.