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New online platforms are "another golden age"

Mythic's Paul Barnett praises the freedom that iPhone, Flash and XBLA brings

Mythic's creative director, Paul Barnett, believes that new digital platforms, including the iPhone, Xbox Live Arcade, WiiWare and Flash-based products, have enabled the games industry to break free from the restrictions brought about by an obsession with hardware.

Speaking in a session at GDC, Barnett praised the breadth of possibilities, hailing it as the start of a new "golden age" that promoted game design above all else.

"What happened was robbing people of keyboards," he said, according to Gamasutra. "What happened was the loss of homebrew games. Games suddenly required huge teams, a long time to percolate.

"For the longest time, we've been gripped by this love of hardware. It didn't really matter what the games were; hardware was king. We lost our love affair with making things wondrous.

"A miracle has happened, it really has. And it's a wondrous, wondrous miracle. When no one was looking... We got free of these chains.

"We have the iPhone. We have mobile phones. We have WiiWare. We have Flash games. We have Java. We have XBLA. For the first time ever, two people in a bedroom can change their lives doing nothing more than just using design.

"Audiosurf, World of Goo, Braid - all these things have become possible and it's because when no one was looking and against all the odds, we found another golden age."

He also praised new digital distribution platforms, noting that it made simpler games more acceptable.

"There's no uncanny valley in chess. Tetris does not need to be 3D. Games can once again shake up the world."

Barnett has had a lead role in the development of EA's Warhammer Online MMO, which was launched last year.

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