Trip Hawkins: We Don’t Own the Land We are Tilling

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.

Source: Gamasutra

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  1. 0
    Shahab says:

    In the short term, sure, but in the long term as more and more people use these services and the demand grows, along with contining technology advancements and new providers we will eventually see the end of caps, throttling, and other protectionist behavior. Its happened with every other telecommunications device and it will happen with the Internet.

  2. 0
    Shahab says:

    The landscape is a lot different today then it was back then. Gamers are WAAAY more savy about gaming and rely much more on word of mouth, recommendations, and independant reviews. Look at all the success that indie devs are having right now. Lower price points and new pricing models like free to play have also made it easier to take a risk on a new title.

    Basically closed systems just don’t make much sense anymore. Content just does not to be that tightly regulated to protect the market. As very fast and capable smart phones and tablets become more ubiquitus and wireless internet becomes more accessible we’ll see more and more games published on independent platforms. Eventually we won’t have tyrants like Microsoft or Sony managing that experience.

  3. 0
    Algus says:

    It was Nintendo’s control of the market that helped promote a stable market for video games in the late 80s.  That may not be the thing to do now but if Trip Hawkins doesn’t realize the importance of Nintendo’s business model versus the one that Atari had, he’s an idiot. 

  4. 0
    Nerd42 says:

    Whether it was acceptable in the late ’80s or not, that is definitely not the thing to do now. Quite intelligent arguments can be made for why it wasn’t the thing to do then either.

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