Find out how to kick start your games industry career

Get Your Free Ticket Today

American McGee predicts end for "bricks-and-mortar retailers"

Alice creator on pricing and the future of selling games

Cult game designer American McGee has said he sees little future for physical retail stores, and a big change in the way players pay for their games.

"In the (not so?) distant future there wouldn't be much need for a bricks-and-mortar retailer," he told IndustryGamers.

"Why waste resources on a physical location and unreliable employees when the entire experience can be made sharper, cleaner and more entertaining in the virtual representation?"

He explained that big chains like Best Buy had become "nothing more than places to fondle physical goods you're going to buy online anyway."

The Spicy Horse founder also predicted more and more publishers taking a free to play route when it comes to pricing their games.

"Games will become free to play or variations of the free-to-play, freemium model," he said.

"Developers and publishers will take more learning and cues from real-world marketers, consumer behaviour specialists and retail experience designers. Pricing will vary -- some experiences requiring a "door charge," while others let you into the store for free. Pricing is all about what a given market will pay."

He was also enthusiastic about cloud gaming, and its ability to facilitate the movement of data between multiple devices, and the idea of a universal wallet, even tracking your every interaction online.

The designer, who recently moved into mobile development, was quick to point what he saw as the key things that game developers could learn from the casual side of the market.

"Faster, smaller development with quicker initial launches, frequent content updates -- and the end of "fire and forget" products. And an eye towards larger, more diverse gamer demographics."

American McGee is best known for his games American McGee's Alice and  Alice: Madness Returns, both published by EA, and his work at id Software on Doom and Quake. In 2007 he founded the Shanghai based development studio Spicy Horse, and mobile offshoot Spicy Pony.

Spicy Pony's latest project was Akaneiro for the iPad, a retelling of the Red Riding Hood story.

Find out how to kick start your games industry career

Get Your Free Ticket Today

More stories

Spicy Horse cuts staff in move away from "brutal" F2P market

American McGee's Shanghai studio will continue with a core team, new projects to be announced soon

By Matthew Handrahan

American McGee: "Xbox One will fail in China"

Spicy Horse head gives five reasons why

By Rachel Weber

Latest comments (1)

Mike Kennedy Founder | CEO, GameGavel.com10 years ago
Games are going to be a commodity? Wow. Great news to wake up to this morning. Let me make some coffee. Ok. Back. The day will truly suck if and when AAA large, sprawling games are completley replaced wtih "Faster, smaller development cycle games". One of the things that has kept me gaming for 30+ years is the way games are always bigger, betters, faster, more intelligent than the games that came before. I long to see how these godly developers are going to out do each other year after year. You see, since the dawn of the industry dev/pubs were always trying to push the envelope and push current generation consoles to their breaking point. So all this talk about downsizeing and making simpler games is a huge turn off for me personally and I would think for generations of gamers. The industry is taking a step backwards if you ask me. I am all about levereging all these new gamers. Let them have their digitial, small, simple games. But the industry can't lose site of the generations of gamers past, present and future who will continue to pay good money for owning pysical AAA titles.

As far as streaming is concerned, I for one would always hope that developers will always be making games that are two steps ahead of current day streaming technology. If they aren't then the innovation will be lost forever and their will be just hundreds, or thousands of developers saturating the market with shit games turning this great past time into a commodity. At least console games can continue to grow and cause the console manufacturers to keep introducing new, more power machines to contain all this gaming goodness spewing from the dev's. We have historically become use to this model where consoles can evolve along with the games they run. Well, the internet infrastructure isn't going to evolve every 6-8 years so we can continue playing bigger and better games is it? So games become a commodity delivered to peoples homes just like water, gas, etc. Devs will always be held back by the current state of internet technology and innovation will be lost. And, there will be a surplus of crappy, sped to market, copy-cat games. We all know what happend in the mid 80's and don't think for a minute that it won't happen again. It has already started!

The perfect model is to have both phystical media, AAA titles as well as high quality, smaller games to stream, dl, etc. There is simply no better way to play AAA (console) titles than on a high powered console. And we have three (currently) able console manufacturers that will continue to build the latest, state of the art consoles to continue trying to stay ahead of the current game technology. That is the way it always has been and the way it should continue to be. Not a situation where devs/pubs are controlled by the current state of streaming technology which will always hold them back.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Mike Kennedy on 13th September 2011 3:42pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.