Hearing lack of innovation in gaming bemoaned is not uncommon. Mitch Lasky, former VP of EA Mobile and current 'general partner' at tech venture capitalist firm, Benchmark Capital, says that Sony and Microsoft are to blame.
Speaking at the DICE Summit 2008 in Las Vegas in an on-stage debate, Lasky deflected blame for lack of innovation being laid on the consolidation of publishers and developers - the most high profile of which in recent months has been Activision/Vivendi/Blizzard's strange marriage
“Don't blame consolidation. Blame Sony and Microsoft for jumping the budgets up to $30 million for a console game. That's not consolidation's fault. At this point, the console game business and PC boxed game business is closed unless you want to dance with the devil.”
SPOnG certainly isn't in disagreement that innovation is in short supply in the games industry right now. A quick look at this week's Charts
reveals that seven out of the Top 10 games are either sequels or based on well-established properties such as The Simpsons
Lasky's comments mirror those of Blast Entertainment's CEO, Sean Brennan, at Northern Exposure
last year, when he decried next-gen development budgets, saying, "What a joke. What embarrassment”.
With regard to consolidation, Lasky argued with Keith Boesky that the absorption of smaller developers does not necessarily kill innovation. Lasky's claim is that the smaller developer's innovative spirit is retained by being absorbed. Boesky, a former president of Eidos and is now at Boesky & Company,which works with companies to develop gaming properties has other ideas.
He claimed that once the financial concerns of big publishers are thrown into the mix, innovation goes out of the window. “[Big publishers] gotta make their numbers. It’s all about mitigation and growth [to them]”, he said.
Recent high profile consolidations in the games industry include EA's purchase of BioWare and Pandemic
, Activision's surprise buyout of Blizzard
and the mammoth coming together of Activision and Vivendi
Is it consolidation or big budgets that is killing innovation in the games industry? Maybe both? Give us your thoughts in the Forum.Source: Next Generation