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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Trip Hawkins: Developers "don't own the land that they are tilling."

    Courtesy of Gamasutra
    Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins accused Nintendo of presiding over a "feudal dark age" in the game industry in which developers "don't own the land that they are tilling."

    [....]

    He said that the games industry had been born in a golden age of open platforms, and that EA had prospered because it had ignored Nintendo and focused on the Sega Genesis, which it reverse engineered. "We fought for our freedom. We didn't accept the feudal system."

    He added, "There is no question that there is a war going to win the hearts and minds of the developers. They will decide which feudal lord wins or loses. The days of floating your boat on one platform are over. The question is, do you as a developer, own the dirt?"
    Developers don't own the land they're tilling? That's odd, Trip, because gamers these days don't seem to own the wheat they're buying either. Funny how that works.

    P.S. Buy up more devs and IP plz. And shut down a few more game servers whilst you're at it.
    Last edited by Rii; 13-07-2011 at 02:45 AM.

  2. #2
    Activated Node J Arcane's Avatar
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    You realize Trip Hawkins hasn't been with EA since 1991, right?

    And that at it's founding, Trip Hawkins was the guy who was instrumental in creating more recognition and credit for developers? It was once one of the founding principles of the company, much like it had been for the original Activision.

    That the company was then run into the ground after his absence, isn't really his fault, and it's certainly unfair to blame him for the actions of an EA 20 years removed from his tenure.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Live by the sword, die by the sword. ;)

    No I don't hold any real resentment towards Trip Hawkins. Or even EA at this point for that matter ... the game server issue aside. It just struck me that his sentiments here have a very familiar and indeed timely ring to them for me as a gamer.

    Of course I expect they'll be even more timely a few years from now, what when games are pushed to us over the cloud and us gamers never get our dirty mitts on them at all. Trip's dream, in other words.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, the hyperbole and hypocrisy are ridiculously petulant. Nintendo was a closed platform, so EA "fought for their freedom" by dev'ing for Sega? Securing a NFL license does not make you William Wallace.

    "The question is, do you as a developer, own the dirt?" That's an easy one. No. Not unless you dev games for the PC.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus thegooseking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by outoffeelinsobad View Post
    Nintendo was a closed platform, so EA "fought for their freedom" by dev'ing for Sega?
    The only reason they made games for the Mega Drive was because they reverse-engineered their own development kit, which they had to do because Sega failed to give them one.

    So they did "fight for their freedom" in a sense, I guess, but they wouldn't have if only Sega had produced enough development kits to meet demand.

  6. #6
    Activated Node J Arcane's Avatar
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    The other reason for targeting SEGA instead was at the time, they weren't that big on the American scene. Nintendo would've sued the shit out of them, but with SEGA they could take the risk of going on their own and have a chance in hell of surviving. SEGA would eventually sue Accolade over unlicensed software but the only reason they even won was on a technicality, and by then EA was fully licensed anyway.

    Still, he has a point, just a point easily countered as pointed out above: Don't like the lack of control, stop throwing in your fortunes with the console games. Even Apple's App Store gives developers more freedom than any of the console makers, for fuck's sake.

  7. #7
    Activated Node EnterTheStory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by outoffeelinsobad View Post
    "The question is, do you as a developer, own the dirt?" That's an easy one. No. Not unless you dev games for the PC.
    That's why I'm happy to be an indie developer. FREEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!

  8. #8
    Activated Node Pijama's Avatar
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    When it comes to intellectual production, what it matters is not owning the means of it, but rather the means of distribution. You may have a world-shattering masterpiece in your hands, but it does not have any economic importance until it is realized as a commodity. Games are no different.

    This might seem Marxist crap to most, but developers must integrate their efforts to own distribution as well - otherwise they will always be hostage to the interests of shareholders and investors whose large majority does not understand a single thing about the gaming industry, and prefer to do ye olde school of stagnant investment instead of favouring innovation and seizing on different market segment opportunities.

    I would very much like to see an united distribution digital system arising from the collaboration of different developers, much like an industrial or farming cooperative. The efforts of them all ensures that even the humblest indie gets a fighting chance to develop some crazy awesome idea that might be the next big hit. Although Steam is fairly convenient, it is FAR from benefitting the companies in such manner.

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  10. #10
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    Manifesto is no longer contemporary. <a href="http://www.showmethegames.com/">Yon</a> cliffski's thing is, I think. It's an appealing idea in principle, but I think the exposure you get by getting on Steam (and the also-rans, to an extent), especially considering the alarming number of people these days who won't even buy things that aren't on Steam, is inevitably more important. Not that you can't do both, mind. I'm actually surprised how many developers don't offer direct purchase, but maybe it's more hassle than I assume - not wanting to deal with fallout from third party payment processor errors, or something.

  11. #11
    Activated Node J Arcane's Avatar
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    Credit card fees are rape especially for small businesses, and it's even worse with the online systems.

    Square needs to come up with a solution for online transactions.

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