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:
Andrew SmithJob Title:
Spilt Milk StudiosBest Known For: Hard Lines
(iOS, Android), co-created with Nicoll Hunt
Andrew Smith is living the mobile dream right now, having established Spilt Milk Studios and released Hard Lines
(a modern take on classic mobile game Snake) to critical acclaim. There's no crying over spilt milk here. Haw haw (you're fired - Ed).
But Andrew actually hails from something of a console background, working with Ruffian Games on Crackdown 2 add-on content before founding his own studio. At the moment, in between client work for AppyNation, Andrew is hard at work on two new projects - Lazarus: Ultra Robopug Adventures
(iOS, PC and Mac) and Smash the Block
Here are his thoughts on the next generation, always-online and the need to have a constant stream of new IP.
Do you feel that an always-online future would be a positive one, for both developers and gamers?
Smash the Block
I think it opens up a lot of interesting possibilities for games designers, and therefore for the games players will have access to. Iím not sure furores like the one surrounding SimCity
will help, but I often refer to how people once responded to Steam.
Back when it launched, it was attacked and labelled as bad for the industry and bad for games by certain sectors. But now everyone seems to think it helped Ďreviveí PC gaming. Regardless of the truth, it take a good few years and a lot of trial and error to prove new techís worth. Iím sure weíll see it before long.
One thing Iím excited about is just how much more social an experience (I donít just mean via twitter plugins) most games will become. Recently a mate of mine sent me a text after seeing a boast displayed in Mario Bros U
, and that was a new and exciting thing for me Ė it shows a glimpse of how this kind of thing will unfold.Following Sony's PlayStation 4 reveal event, how successful do you think next-generation consoles will be in capturing the indie and mobile gamer?
Mobile gamers are a different breed, one much less interested in gaming as a hobby than indie or core gamers. Of course, Iím painting with a broad brush here but generally mobile gamers donít tend to see 'console' or 'PC' gaming as a thing theyíd be interested in.
I believe there will always be some crossover, but in terms of general competition over the same dollarsÖ Iím not sure I think that even exists. Someone umming-and-ahhing over spending £40 on a 40hr game to play every weekend for a few months with their mates on a home console is not going to base their decision on their mobile gaming habits, and vice versa.
Even the time they spend gaming is of a different variety. I game on the loo with my phone, in bed with my 3DS, and in front of my telly with my consoles. Therefore I donít think the big consoles need to capture anything mobile.
As for indie games, they will always exist first on PC (again, broad brushes) so itíll be hard to see them moving away and using Sony as their first port of call, no matter how appealing they make it. That said theyíre making great moves and Sony are to be applauded for their attitude in this regard.
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?
IP is the be-all-and-end-all for consoles. I donít see any multiplatform games as a reason to buy any one console. Exclusives are key, and most of these are usually existing IP. That said, without new IP, and bearing in mind that eventually all non-first-party content will end up multiplatform (just see Bungie for the latest example), console platforms will die out completely.
Thatís why we always see new IP on new consoles, but Iíd much prefer we saw more. Itís always at the start of a consoleís life we see new IP rolled out, and thatís just because itís a chance to embed a new money making franchise into gamerís hearts while there is less competition.
I donít see this habit changing much in the futureÖ and how the more open and less-frequently re-booted markets like mobile and PC will affect this moving forwardÖ I donít know.Thanks to Andrew for his time. Check out SPOnG's recent industry insights below.Industry Insights Series:Apr 2013: Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynxApr 2013: 'Peter Molydeux', Gaming GeniusApr 2013: Paul Rustchynsky, Evolution StudiosMar 2013: Gordon Midwood, Different TunaMar 2013: Theo Sanders, Ubisoft SingaporeMar 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