As 2013 comes into sharp focus, SPOnG turns to the real video games experts: the people who actually make games. We have posed the same five key questions to some of the most interesting and insightful publishing and development figures in the global games industry. We got their unedited, open and highly informed opinions and we are publishing them in multi-part series of insights.
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SPOnG: In what ways has the rise in tablet and mobile gaming proven beneficial/challenging to your work?
The rise of tablets and mobile gaming has definitely changed many of our ways of working in just a few short years. It?s like, what if you were the best guy in the world at putting pigeons in glass bottles as a work of art? Now that art form has vanished, and you have to learn how to shoot dancing bears out of trebuchets through a hoop of flaming potatoes. Maybe your knowledge of pigeon-flapping can help you calculate bear trajectories, maybe not.
The user interface, the player experience, the way you get games and the way you interact with your favorite brands: all of these things have been changed by tablet and mobile games. So it really challenges us all to think in a new way. You have to!
SPOnG: How do you feel the industry has coped with regards to the economy, particularly redundancies and studio closures?
Some studios have disappeared, but new ones are formed. Maybe some people leave the industry to do something else, while other new people come in. Things change and that?s one constant in this industry. This time has been more radical than before, because the new platforms have come at the same time as a major global economic downturn.
You can think of studios as humans. Some of them have died, but a lot of them have a few small children that carry their parents? DNA. And one thing I?ve learned as a dad is that kids are really fun and always invent new stuff. You have to learn from them.
SPOnG: What's your opinion of cloud gaming? Have Gakai and OnLive helped with perception?
I?ve always dreamed of being able to play a game on the clouds. It might depend on what speed you?re travelling, but it would best if you were just hovering. That might be really nice, no need for heavy clothes or winds affecting the sound.
It?s always fun to try out new forms of play. I think cloud gaming could still come of age in a big way, like for example how mobile gaming was operated by operators and had small, fragmented markets without app stores before Apple came along. Maybe cloud gaming will fit certain game genres better than others, but it has a lot of potential.
SPOnG: Crowd-funding (i.e. Kickstarter) has become a popular method for games developers to pitch their projects. What's your opinion of it? Would you use it? Have you?
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Not us, since we are part of the Ubisoft family now, but it?s definitely interesting for smaller, independent developers out there. Still, it?s not always perfect. Many of the projects don?t get the right amount of money and their games are not made.
We need really great success stories on games that were funded and released and sold a ton after
a Kickstarter campaign, not just stories about how they collected some money.
It?s interesting to see when these new bigger projects start to come up since now as a developer, if you don?t have one publisher then you are responsible. You have all those backers as producers and maybe, just maybe, these backers will all act like mini-publishers have different vision what game should be. Interesting to see how it goes!
SPOnG: What is the best possible thing that can happen to the world of games in 2013?
The sudden arrival of millions of more players in ways that we could not foresee! One new gaming model that would be open to all to play, to develop, to pay (we need to eat also) in way that all feel is right!
SPOnG: Many thanks Antti.
Be sure to check out how the other industry figures we've interviewed for this feature answer up by checking the links below like some sort of amazingly insightful advent calendar. Each interview goes live at 11am (GMT) on the day indicated and not before!
26/12/2012: Games Industry Insights with Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynx
27/12/12: Games Industry Insights with Paul Rustchynsky, Evolution Studios
28/12/12: Games Industry Insights with Ted Price, CEO Insomniac
29/12/12: Games Industry Insights with Theo Sanders, Ubisoft Singapore
30/12/12: Games Industry Insights with Steve Lycett, SUMO Digital
31/12/12: Games Industry Insights with Martyn Brown, InsightforHire
01/01/13: Games Industry Insights with Jon Lander of CCP
02/01/13: Games Industry Insights with David Jaffe
03/01/13: Games Industry Insights with Andy Payne O.B.E.
04/01/13: Games Industry Insights with Peter Molydeux, Genius