As part of an ongoing series, SPOnG gets the unedited, open and highly informed opinions of developers, producers and more in the vast world of computer games.Industry Figure:
Theo SandersJob Title:
Ubisoft SingaporeBest Known For: Ghost Recon Online
Theo Sanders is the man behind Ubisoft's free-to-play PC FPS, Ghost Recon Online
. Taking a prestigious franchise to the online space has been no simple task, but the guys at Ubisoft Singapore pulled it off. The game features a strong community whose feedback constantly help improve the experience.
SPOnG interviewed Sanders previously just after the launch of the game, which you can read here
. Today, he talks up the prospects of an online future, and how important indie and fresh IPs are in today's industry.Do you feel that an always-online future would be a positive one, for both developers and gamers?
In the long-run, I think so - despite the challenges we've seen with that model in the past few weeks. There are two main challenges that need to be addressed that I think will take us there:
First, enjoying ubiquitous, affordable, and high-speed connectivity which is not true everywhere yet (as I can attest writing this offline, 12km above the South China Sea). The other, more important, is that there must always be a crystal-clear value proposition for the player. I've never heard anyone in the Ghost Recon Online
community question why the game requires you to be connected. That's because without other players, there is no game to play in GRO
When the reasons for always-online are opaque, players become suspicious. When the value is obvious, there are no questions.Following Sony's PlayStation 4 reveal event, how successful do you think next-generation consoles will be in capturing the indie and mobile gamer?
The PS4 looks promising. It'll be interesting to see whether the players whose first gaming experience was on mobile will be compelled to explore what gaming on the big screen is all about. How important is it to create new intellectual properties for existing platforms? Should the final years of a console generation consist of already-established franchises?
Ubisoft's CEO, Yves Guillemot, has spoken a lot about the opportunities to innovate and take risks with new IPs at the beginning, rather than the end, of a console cycle. I think for big-budget, high definition games he's right about that.
There may be something to be said for testing new IPs on various other platforms, regardless of where in the cycle you are. There have been some very compelling IPs in the past few years like Minecraft
, Clash of Clans
and Angry Birds
that could evolve onto any number of other platforms in the future.Thanks to Theo for his time. Check out SPOnG's recent industry insights below.Industry Insights Series:Mar 2013: Dan Webb, X360AMar 2013: Stewart Gilray, Just Add Water / Oddworld InhabitantsMar 2013: Alex Neuse, Gaijin GamesFeb 2013: Blazej Krakowiak, TechlandFeb 2013: Gina Jackson, Women in Games JobsFeb 2013: Stewart Gilray, Just Add Water & Oddworld InhabitantsFeb 2013: Dominic Matthews, Ninja TheoryJan 2013: Dan Webb, X360AJan 2013: Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynxJan 2013: Andy Payne, O.B.E.Jan 2013: Gordon Midwood, Different TunaJan 2013: Andrew Smith, Spilt Milk StudiosJan 2013: Theo Sanders, Ubisoft SingaporeJan 2013: Paul Rustchynsky, Evolution StudiosJan 2013: Peter Molydeux, GeniusJan 2013: Andy Payne O.B.E.Jan 2013: David JaffeJan 2013: Jon Lander of CCPDec 2012: Martyn Brown, InsightforHireDec 2012: Steve Lycett, SUMO DigitalDec 2012: Theo Sanders, Ubisoft SingaporeDec 2012: Ted Price, CEO InsomniacDec 2012: Paul Rustchynsky, Evolution StudiosDec 2012: Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynx