DICE 08: EA CEO – garage studio model dead by 2010
There was a time when developing games in your own garage would have made you rich beyond your wildest dreams. That dream is getting farther and farther out of reach as the video game industry is becoming larger and more complex. EA CEO John Riccitiello remarked in his DICE keynote speech that by 2010, the garage studio dream will no longer be possible. More in the full article.
The video game industry is a big deal now. Last year, the industry’s growth beat the US economy’s growth four-to-one. But with growth comes change, as Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello pointed out during his DICE Summit 2008 keynote speech.
Riccitiello expressed that the industry is in need of a new publishing model. The rising cost of development, he expressed, will level the playing field among the big developers and that this will cause smaller developers to be squeezed out of the industry.
He adds that by 2010, there will be fewer major publishers than there are today, and that gone are the days when you can open up a studio in your own garage. Smaller studios have it tough because of development costs; it’s either “create a hit, or else.”
He says that one of the reasons for this is because of the proliferation of platforms. Ten years ago we had the PlayStation, N64, and the PC. Now even mobile phones are part of the gaming industry. So what would this mean for indie developers? He says:
Now if you’re an independent developer… I think that’s tough. Not impossible but tough… As much as I would try to inspire you to believe that the garage model might work, I think it’s hard.
Bigger studios can risk putting up a new franchise that isn’t a hit because they have other hit games that balance it out. On the other hand, he explains that because of rising development costs, games are getting less creative and less innovative.
He explains that this is why publishers need a new model in creating games. Casual games are a different matter, he remarks. “One of the things I really love about casual is that you can iterate faster and in the process take more risks and experiment more.”