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Revolution aiming to build "relationship of respect" with consumer

Charles Cecil keen to offer PC games for free, but charge for iPhone products to help fund new projects

Revolution plans to give games away for free in order to better develop a direct relationship with its fans, MD Charles Cecil has told GamesIndustry.biz.

The model would be a step on from the emerging digital distribution one, which Cecil also believes offers choices and a much-needed reduction in the power publishers have long wielded over developers.

"When Revolution started in the nineties it was all about partnership - then as the years went by the power became more centralised in the hands of the publishers," he said.

"Publishers were very heavily financed and they needed to improve their profits - and the way to do that is to put pressure on your sub-contractors and developers.

"With digital distribution, everything changed... not necessarily because it meant we would go down that route, but because as developers it meant that we had a choice."

Publisher relationships Revolution has endured in the past have been "incredibly negative", said Cecil, with the publisher contributing nothing but making millions of dollars profit on games that have made the developer a loss.

He also believes publishers have always found it difficult to build a direct relationship with gamers, or a level of respect.

"I'd say that the reason that piracy is so rampant is one, that games are so expensive, and two that people don't actually feel that they're stealing the game for anybody that they have any respect for."

A loyal fan base is something that Revolution has long been blessed with however, and this position is one that Cecil feels could support a different type of distribution model for the company.

"What I want to do going forward is have a relationship with our consumer where we'll sell [games] on the iPhone for a couple of quid, but we'll probably give the PC version away on the basis that we're on a different model - we need to generate revenues to build new games.

"So if they want more adventure games, if they enjoy this type of game and want us to make more of them, then yes - they can have it for free and not pay if they don't want to - but otherwise pay us a bit of money and allow us to continue writing games within this new context."

Revolution is currently perfectly positioned to experiment with such a model, says Cecil. Putting extra new features into established titles isn't hugely expensive, and the company's satellite staff and low overheads means the venture is a low risk one. And if it fails, will have the complete flexibility to change, adds Cecil.

"I'm absolutely blown away at the way that the time and passion spent by fans of the game, and Revolution. People talk about the first time they played Beneath A Steel Sky, or Broken Sword - it's in the public consciousness, people remember it, and I'm very flattered by that, so I think we're in a great position to be able to do something like this."

You can read the full interview with Charles Cecil, in which he also discusses the company's relationship with Ubisoft and developing for iPhone, here.

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