Star Citizen space sim guru Chris Roberts is a great interview. We should know, since he just talked our ears off on this week's Massively Speaking podcast. The Wing Commander creator also has some pretty strong opinions about the state of the games industry that he's returned to after an extended break.
While Roberts acknowledges that "there are cool things you can do on mobile," he also questions the wisdom of abandoning traditional platforms for it.
If you think about Angry Birds --Rovio, right?-- it's the biggest outlier in the history of gaming. I mean, they've had a billion downloads. Last year, they did $100 million in revenue, and of that, $30 million was licensing. So they actually did $70 million in revenue off their core business, which is mobile. And they're an order of magnitude bigger than [other mobile developers] in terms of single-game sales.Roberts goes on to explain how he believes that new trends can co-exist with traditional models, but he also points out the inherent limitations that bother him as a gamer. "For me, the analogy is I can watch Dark Knight Rises on my iPhone, but do I want to? I want to go see it on a big-ass IMAX screen. I'm into games because I like to have that immersion. And I just can't do it on a mobile [device], and I can't do it on a Facebook game."
You compare and contrast that with, say, Call of Duty that does $1 billion every year. It's doing well over 10 [times] what [Rovio] is doing. Now, there aren't one billion downloads of Call of Duty, but people pay $60 [each] for it. And you've got World of Warcraft, and plenty of other things that are doing around $500 million, like Madden or Battlefield. What that tells you is that the core gamer is willing to pay for the premium experience.