Lanning: "Nintendo is going to be here in 100 years"
Oddworld Inhabitants founder secure in Mario maker's future, not so much in Microsoft and Zynga
Oddworld Inhabitants is most closely associated with Sony, but the outfit's outspoken founder Lorne Lanning isn't shy doling out cheers and jeers for the rest of the industry. In an interview with VentureBeat, Lanning talked about Microsoft's recent reversals on Xbox One policies that had been pursued by former Xbox head Don Mattrick, now CEO with Zynga.
"I looked at that and I thought, 'How does that whole [Microsoft Xbox One] team feel, knowing that the guy who led them to that train wreck just jumped out with maybe a $5 million parachute?'" Lanning said. "That's an issue we don't talk about today, because it's not cool in capitalism to talk about that."
He contrasted Microsoft's approach to Nintendo's, where CEO Satoru Iwata was recently asked if the company would be restructuring and laying off employees to cope with its recent struggles. Iwata answered that such a move could damage employee morale, and said developers in fear of layoffs would likely produce worse games.
"When he said that, in my opinion, he was immortalized in the creative community," Lanning said. "I would work with him in a second. When a man in that type of position, in a world where the golden rule is the rule and that's what's expected at public companies, he stood up and said, 'That's not what we're about. We're about building great stuff. We have great people to build great stuff. We're gonna do that. When I look at the history of Nintendo, I say, 'Nintendo is going to be here in 100 years.' I have no doubt. I doubt Microsoft will be here in 100 years. I know Zynga won't be here in 100 years."
As for Oddworld, Lanning has said the company's future plan is to grow the business alongside the fan base. While he expressed an interest in returning to AAA game development, he seemed happy to take his time getting Oddworld up to the scale where it could tackle such a project.
"We're able to grow in a very micro way," Lanning said. "It's not something that has investors that need to be appeased and that are really bringing no value beyond their cash. Usually that cash is what drives most of the pressure and most of the distractions. Being self-published and self-financed... It's really crowd financing, because it's revenue financing. The crowd is paying for it. They're just not pre-paying for it. As a result, we're able to do something different."
Lanning said crowdfunding in the more accepted sense is also going to play a role in the company's future. He mentioned seeking advice from Chris Roberts, whose Cloud Imperium Games has raised more than $14 million for development on Star Citizen.