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Harrison criticises Iwata's social gaming stance

Ex-Sony Worldwide Studios boss says Nintendo president was "wrong" in GDC keynote

Nintendo president Iwata was wrong to characterise social and mobile games as a case of quantity over quality, or of lowering the value of games, says ex-Sony Worldwide Studios boss Phil Harrison.

"Iwata-san has done an incredible job rebuilding Nintendo over the last few years. He is a great leader of that company, but in this particular case he is wrong. He is mistaken if [he thinks] this is some kind of fad that will go away. Social networks, as a way of powering our game and entertainment choices, is here to stay," said Harrison to IndustryGamers.

"I thought it was fascinating that pretty much simultaneously with Iwata-san talking about Nintendo, in a hall across the street Steve Jobs is talking about the iPad 2, which got massive pickup and global coverage.

"Some people are talking about 50 to 80 million 'smartpads' being sold a year for the foreseeable future. It's going to create an enormous market, dwarfing every other market," he added.

Social networks, as a way of powering our game and entertainment choices, is here to stay.

Phil Harrison, London Venture Partners.

Iwata's keynote speech at the recently concluded Game Developers Conference saw him outline three concerns over the future of game development. The most important of these was the future of "high value" games, by which he meant traditional retail products, in the face of social network and mobile games.

"These platforms have no motivation to maintain the high value of video game software - for them, content is something created by someone else," said Iwata. "Their goal is just to gather as much software as possible, because quantity is what makes the money flow - the value of videogame software does not matter to them."

Harrison isn't the only developer to criticise Nintendo's stance - last week Frima Studio told GamesIndustry.biz that "if you aren't able to offer it for a compelling price point, then your competitor will."

As co-founder of London Venture Partners, Harrison is now specialising in funding online and mobile gaming start-ups. In October last year he predicted that traditional video game market leaders could be dethroned in the move to a digital market.

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