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Red 5 Studios CEO: "Who needs publishers any more?"

Mark Kern on why consoles are dead and the model is broken

Former World Of Warcraft team lead and CEO of Red 5 Studios, Mark Kern, has criticised the traditional publishing model, calling it broken, and declared the death of consoles.

"Who needs publishers any more? I certainly don't. I couldn't care less about them at this stage," he told Eurogamer.

"You're either an indie game or you're a massive AAA, IP-backed sequel with derivative game play that's rehashed over and over again as it's the only safe bet you can make when you're spending hundreds of millions of dollars."

"Something has to change. Consoles, I believe, are dead"

"The failure is that there's no middle ground. All the games in the middle that could have been made but have been squeezed out and we've seen all these independent studios get closed down over the last few years."

He also slammed the practice of cutting staff numbers after product launches, and said the argument that it was the same model used by the film industry was wrong.

"In Hollywood they work on contract - it's very different. They expect only to work from A to B. In games, these big publishers are hiring swathes of people expecting to have jobs long-term but then lay them off at the end of a project because it doesn't quite deliver. This is unsustainable."

And it's not as if Kern is some mouthy upstart, this is the man who has worked on some of the biggest MMO franchises in the industry, World Of Warcraft, Diablo and StarCraft. And all that experience leads him to believe the console is doomed.

"It takes billions of dollars of investment to create a console and then you have to milk it for five to seven years in order to get your money back," he explained.

He pointed out that the model forces publishers to play it safe, which actually leads to bored customers who stop coming back.

"So something has to change. Consoles, I believe, are dead," he declared.

"There's no incentive for me to be on console. I'm more interested in getting onto the Mac OS or even iOS in some form. That's what's more interesting to me."

Kern's Red 5 Studios is currently working on Firefall, an MMO that is due for release this year.

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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.