Game designer and Red 5 boss Mark Kern is ready to kick the footstool from under the feet of modern videogame consoles and let them dangle. According to the man heading up Firefall, the business models keeping the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii going are doomed.
"It takes billions of dollars of investment to create a console and then you have to milk it for five to seven years in order to get your money back. I think the model is broken," Kern claimed to Eurogamer. "You keep making these bigger and bigger bets and what that forces you to do is play it safer and safer. And if you play it safer and safer with your gameplay, people will get tired of the crap you're serving. When that happens, they get bored and they will leave. And you haven't fostered any of the middle ground innovation and new ideas that you need to tap into next.
"So something has to change. Consoles, I believe, are dead."
He went on to say that big boxed games are becoming obsolete as developers realize they don't need a distributor, that games should be sold based on their ideas and gameplay rather than their franchise names, and that studios suffering so many layoffs is not an example of a normal, healthy business. Essentially, he is saying everything I love to see someone saying, and I want to marry this man.
The only thing I disagree with is the definitive idea that consoles are currently dead. I think they'll keep kicking for a while yet, but I agree wholeheartedly that big changes are going to have to happen, because this industry makes very little sense as it exists today.