Electronic Arts founder and Digital Chocolate CEO Trip Hawkins has accused Nintendo of presiding over what he calls a "feudal dark age" in the industry in which developers "don’t own the land that they are tilling." He has a point, but Nintendo certainly isn’t the only platform holder guilty of that.. At GamesBeat in San Francisco today, Hawkins talked at length about the power of platform holders and how they often limit creativity in comparison to open platforms.
"Look at the world wide web and how many great companies have been built on that open platform," he said. "Nintendo is a great, amazing company, but how many companies have been built on the back of Nintendo’s platform in the past 25 years?"
He added that the industry was born in a "golden age" of open platforms, and that EA had prospered in its early years because it ignored Nintendo and focused on the Sega Genesis, which he says his company reverse engineered.
"We fought for our freedom. We didn’t accept the feudal system. There is no question that there is a war going to win the hearts and minds of the developers. They will decide which feudal lord wins or loses. The days of floating your boat on one platform are over. The question is, do you as a developer, own the dirt?"
He said that platform holders like to "lure [developers] in with false promises of freedom" but said that developers should focus on open platforms like the browser.
Hawkins has said in the past that the web browser will ultimately prove to be the ultimate platform for games.