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Alasdair Duncan avatar 2:51 PM on 07.27.2011
EPIC games vs apps

So just a few days ago, EPIC games president Mike Capps claimed that mobile app gaming is going to affect the next generation of console games in a negative way:

ďIím more worried that you can get a really good 99 cent game that occupies you for hours and hours on end and how that impacts $60 SKUs..... But I do worry about what it means for the next generation of console games? Are people really going to want to spend $60 on a game?Ē

Well, in short... no. For starters, this isnít the first time Mike has bemoaned the affect of app-orientated gaming but I wonder why the head of the studio behind one of the biggest iOS games ever would worry about mobile gaming. If Iím reading between the lines correctly, I wonder if what Mike is worrying about is spending two-three years making a big budget game, the same type of game that EPIC have been really successful at making (Bulletstorm excepted).



Something that Mike also mentions is that free entertainment is competition to playing AAA titles, so like why play a big budget game when you can watch loads of free or cheap content on your TV or Netflix. When the Playstation launched years ago, Sony UK boss Phil Harrison claimed that Sony werenít in competition against Nintendo and Sega, they were competing with clothes, going out to the pub, going to the football. Sony positioned the Playstation as a lifestyle choice and it really worked. The Playstation crossed over to market that decided to play games instead of things like socialising and spending money on clothes and booze. Sony prospered in the 90ís and 00ís because they realised that they werenít in direct competition with other videogames companies, Sony realised that they had to make their console and games more appealing than TV or books and suchlike.



As for the charge of mobile gaming ďcheapeningĒ big name console titles seems to hit at the point of the value of a AAA game. Again, reading between the lines Mike sounds as if heís worried that gamers wonít feel a big budget game, like Gears Of War wonít be worth $60. Well Mike, maybe itís not. Yes games have been always been expensive, but are all games worth $60 or $40 (or $100 if youíre in Australia)? I realise that value for money can be an abstract concept to a lot of people and thatís without going into the idiotic ďgame length=value for moneyĒ argument. I would ask Mike if he feels that all the games that are released are worth $60 and it is a bad thing that playing cheap and fun i-phone games make me question the value of spending a lot of money on such games? Iíve gotten an amazing amount of value and enjoyment out of games like Fruit Ninja and Plants Vs Zombies as I have with some AAA games that cost more 40 times more. That's not a bad thing, that's just something that digital distribution and portable technology allows me. Not all my compelling videogame experiences are me sitting on a couch or at a desk, staring into a tv or monitor.

Mikeís comments almost make it sound like this is unfair like ďTV is free, so why are people going to pay $60 for GOW3? Argh!Ē Maybe GOW should be cheaper? Maybe you should split GOW into three separate parts, single player, hoard and multiplayer and let consumers buy them separately. Maybe future EPIC games should be episodic. Maybe EPIC should make more iOS games to test out ideas or tech? Maybe itís not my job to reassure Mike Capps that things are going to work out ok. I donít have the answers and I donít claim to know where the videogames industry is heading. What I believe is that making products cheaper and readily available makes them appealing to consumers.



Itís no newsflash that people have limited time to play games. Itís no newsflash that people only have a certain amount of limited income. But laying the game at cheaper, more convenient forms of entertainment as somehow being unfair is a cheap shot. Again, reading between the lines it sounds as if Mike Capps isnít 100% that his latest game is really worth $60.

 
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