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Self-publishing "euphoria" has "been tempered" - Cecil

Wed 21 Apr 2010 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT
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Revolution MD expects 2-3 year window of opportunity on iPhone before entry cost rises too high

Revolution MD and long-time UK independent development figurehead, Charles Cecil, has told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes the state of self-publishing "general euphoria" that permeated the games industry last summer has "been tempered" - with some developers finding it too difficult to generate buzz around their products.

However, he did think that there was still a window of opportunity on the iPhone platform before the cost to entry became prohibitive, while adding that games which genuinely innovated would always shine through.

"[Some developers] have been a bit disappointed by self-publishing - because there's so much there, you really have to make a noise, you have to make an event," he said. "We're blessed by the fact that we have a brand that's well-respected, which means we can then leverage that to make a noise.

"If you're starting from scratch - particularly if you're producing another game which has got three jewels, which - when you line them up - make a nice sound and disappear... I mean, that is so difficult.

"I went around Game Connection when I was there [in March], and saw some games - their original games - and it was actually quite depressing, because you can see why so many games are rejected. If you're not dealing directly which all of this, you miss the 95 per cent that never do anything, and it's so obvious why that many won't do anything. They're just not up to the quality.

He agreed that when there's a degree of success on a new platform it's natural for others to note that and follow suit - but added that with the iPhone platform the pace of change isn't quite as swift, for a number of reasons.

"There is a gold rush, but what's happening... historically the publishers have capitalised and made the cost of entry very high," he explained. "That hasn't happened on the iPhone, because Apple have an allegiance to their customers, not the publishers or anybody else.

"I'm sure it will only be short term, but it is opening up an opportunity for a year or two, maybe three - and then for whatever reason the market will change, as it always has and always will, and the cost of entry will become high again.

"My sense from Game Connection and GDC is that the people who this is working for, it's working really well. But there are a lot of people who went in expecting something, but they didn't have a story - an event - and they were disappointed by the sales. I think back in June last year there was a general euphoria - but I'd say that's now been tempered."

However, he was clear that for good, original games there was always a chance for success.

"There's always room for real innovation - there always is," he said. "You look at Doodlejump - that could have been written by one or two people in their bedrooms, and it just caught the imagination, and it's done really well.

"There's no doubt that if you do come up with something that's new, innovative and quirky - it's all about telling a story, and the problem with writing gems in a row is that there is no story to tell."

The full interview with Charles Cecil is available now.

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