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Simultaneous releases are the "lowest common denominator"

PopCap studio head believes care and attention should be placed on individual formats

Day and date releases of multiformat titles across numerous hardware are evidence of "lowest common denominator thinking" according to PopCap Seattle's studio head Ed Allard.

Speaking in a interview published today, Allard said that the company approach is to release games on multiple formats but to take the time and effort to create the best version of the game for each system - at the cost of staggering releases.

"The rolling platform release strategy has been something that's evolved out of, not out of a business plan - although it turned out to be pretty good from a business perspective - but it's more about being able to approach these platforms with such individual care and attention," he told GamesIndustry.biz.

If you think about core gaming, I think of that as the niche genre as opposed to the mainstream

Ed Allard, PopCap

"Releasing them all simultaneously, well, we worry about that forcing us into a kind of lowest common denominator thinking.

"When the console industry started hitting a point where everything was coming out multiplatform, you started feeling that. If you've got Wii, 360 and PS3 day and date, you kind of end up playing a Wii game on your PS3 as opposed to playing a great PS3 game, because that's sort of what it takes from a development perspective."

Two new consoles are due to be revealed in more detail next week at E3 - Sony's NGP and Nintendo's Project Café - forcing publishers and developers to split resources if they want to cover established consoles as well as new hardware.

But PopCap is willing to sacrifice the benefits of day and date releases to craft the definitive version of a game on an individual format.

"Instead of taking that approach we'd rather, if you're playing a PopCap game on 360, it feels like a great 360 game, you've got to assume that you'll never play that game anywhere else, as opposed to you playing a great Xbox version of a PC game," he detailed.

"I really fear the lowest common denominator approach."

New, dedicated games consoles will be on the market shortly, but the business has changed dramatically since the last wave of home and portable hardware. And Allard expects attitudes to what constitutes hardcore or casual games to continue to dissolve.

"If you think about core gaming, I think of that as the niche genre as opposed to the mainstream," he said.

"That change happened almost overnight - it would have been a ridiculous thing to say three or four years ago but now it's pretty much reality. With core consoles getting more casual, and social becoming so widespread, and iPhone bringing games to so many people who didn't think they were gamers.

"All of a sudden we woke up and found ourselves thinking that the casual distinction is kind of a useless one.

The full interview with Ed Allard is available now.

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.