In a rather lengthy Q&A over at Kotaku, an anonymous industry insider known as AnonPublisher took to answering a fair few questions, shedding light on many issues whilst casting doubt over others.
Hot topics were abound, as one would expect, and the thorniest of all reared its head soon enough, DRM. AnonPublisher said, “As a gamer and engineer, you could get around DRM relatively easy. I’m not worried about you, I’m worried about the average guy/girl who wants to play our games.
“If it’s easier to download it for free, that’s what they’ll do. If we throw up enough roadblocks, then they’ll probably just buy it outright. If we throw up enough roadblocks, then they’ll probably just buy it outright.
“For the most part, DRM isn’t going well. The problem is that it’s an escalating arms race, with neither side (hackers, publishers) willing to back down. I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
On publisher involvement with development: “In a perfect world you could leave a team alone and they would make the best game possible. There are all sorts of normal reasons why this doesn’t happen… you could read any book on project management to get an idea why.”
On fan discontent and outcry: “Ah, here is where you went wrong: on CoD, the customer is not necessarily a gamer. Activision constantly does research and listens to their fans. In fact, many of their decisions are guided by those reports. It may feel to you that thousands of people feel X, but the truth is, based on hard data, that millions of people feel differently from you.”
PC exclusivity: ”
The standard retail model for PC isn’t working for large companies anymore, and we’re all trying to figure out the next step. MMO, F2P, etc. Even Ubisoft is getting in the ring with Ghost Recon Online. Publishers won’t be releasing $60 PC-exclusive titles any time soon, because they’re not selling.
“Not that we don’t want to! Do you know how much first party manufacturers charge us for every game we sell on their platform? The margins are significantly higher on PC, once we figure out how to get there (Origin, etc.)”
Rewriting endings: “Gamers are absurdly entitled, but I think they got there because we ask so much money from them every step of the way. No one’s demanding reshoots for the final Matrix, because it only cost you 10 bucks to see it.
“Sometimes I think we in the industry lose sight of what it’s like to pay $60 for a piece of entertainment. Other than downloadable titles, I get all my games for free through friends.
“We’re worried about the precedent that Bioware set here. Will it fan the flames on future titles? No one knows for sure.”
Much of what was said suggested AnonPublisher may be part of the EA family: “Mirror’s Edge tanked, financially. Dead Space needs to sell more than the first two to be viable. Not a good sign,” and “No one’s making a Brutal Legend clone any time soon.”
Head on over to Kotaku for the full Q&A, it’s a cracking read.