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Ed Fries: Platform holders must follow Ouya's lead

Easy certification, updates and free-to-play support a must says Xbox co-creator

Ed Fries, who has been contracted as an advisor to the group producing the open-source Android console the Ouya, has said that he expects Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony to emulate some of the aspects of the Ouya - namely a streamlined certification process, relaxed licencing regulations and full support of free-to-play mechanics.

Speaking to GameInformer, Fries spoke about the changes in market forces which have come about since the launch of the first Xbox, which he played a major part in creating.

"It's getting harder and harder for the traditional consoles to ignore the Apple kind of experience," said Fries. "Anybody can develop for the platform, certification is a relatively cheap and painless thing, and in the old days of consoles there are all sorts of myths and legends that say that's a bad thing to do. That's why the game business melted down in '84, there was too much junk on the market, but now you've got guys who make games like Fez who can't do an update to their game because it costs too much, if that game was on iOS that wouldn't be a problem, but because it's on XBLA it's a problem.

"Those kinds of ideas have to go away in the next generation. They'll go away in Ouya, they'll go away if Apple brings some kind of product into this space, the console makers like Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, they have to respond to that, it's just the future. Likewise they have to respond to the free-to-play game model, the world is changing, people want this free-to-play experience, game developers want to build free-to-play experiences and the console ecosystem has to adapt to that. It can't just be $50 product in a box all the time."

Ouya has been funded by a hugely successful Kickstarter program which initially aimed at raising under $1 million but closed with a bankroll of more than $8 million. The console itself will cost $99 and features development tools as standard, enabling any user to create their own free-to-play games. The only restriction being that any game launched for the machine must be free-to-play.

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Dan Pearson