Wii is two duct taped Gamecubes and other publisher rants

The developers rant is typically a highlight of the Game Developers Conference. This year, to mix things up a bit, there was a heapin' serving of publishers rant. Eric Zimmerman emceed the event and this is what the publisher had to say:

Alex St.John (CEO and co-founder of Wild Tangent): The former Microsoft employee went all out against Vista. Speaking about how most games ended up being broken. Essentially it all came down to that Vista's security is so tight that it views "everything as dangerous." St. John said that Vista moves everything around to the point where he says, "It's the only self-breaching security system I've seen in my life."

Richard Hilleman (Electronic Arts): This is where the theme for the rest of the rant came about. Leadership, leadership, LEADERSHIP! Although offending some people who believed that alpha males do not help, it was an issue across the board that a stable and competent leadership is lacking in the industry. Hilleman said that people in the industry want to think vision is more important, or reaching for that shining light on the beacon hill. But he says that the people he is seeing and teaching are not capable of providing the leadership for the million dollar projects that come their way. They can't lead beyond groups of three. Once again, the overall theme was leadership, leadership, LEADERSHIP!

Nichol Bradford (Global Director of Vivendi games): Her rant was about education and truly passionate. She was like the minister's daughter making a sermon from the pulpit for the first time. A study she quoted said more people wanted to be a game developer than Kobe Bryant. She spoke on how education is not working for the children, there are no engineers, "That is the national security issue, not whether or not I bring mascara on the plane."

If parents were informed that they could buy a game, they could motivate their children by saying that if you want to make these games you need to emphasize on education. She said the industry responsibility is to act as leaders in society, "We collectively bitch about our bad image ... don't be abstract, begin to tell as many kids and parents what it takes to be part of this industry ... this is not a plea for educational games. Is this a publisher rant? No, It's the rant of someone who gives a damn"

Her idea was to establish a speakers bureau to teach people about what goes on, and what it takes to be part of the industry. She said there is a need for speakers, money and volunteers. At the end she had a line ready to talk to her. We'll be talking to her tomorrow.

Jason Della Rocca (Executive Director of the International Game Developers Situation): "As I was on the toilet this morning, thinking about the publishers ... I think we should play less games." He believes developers don't have a wide enough media understanding. They shouldn't be holed up in a cubicle or basement and should go out and experience a breath of other media and enjoy more pop culture to diversify games.

Chris Hecker (Maxis/Electronic Arts): Hecker's statements were the jaw dropping moment in the rant, summed up by, "The Wii is a piece of shit!" Hecker said the Wii is two Gamecubes duct-taped together. He says developers make better games by having a platform with power, not for graphics, but using the CPU for computations. Through a slide he compared the Wii to an anorexic and malnourished man. He believes that Nintendo does not treat gaming as an art form, but simply a tool for fun. At the end Hecker had two demands of Nintendo: "Recognize and push games as a serious art form" and "Make a console that doesn't suck ass!" Oh, and don't be surprised if he rushes "the Miyamoto keynote."

Lee Jacobson (Business Development for Midway): He discussed dishonest developers. He says over the last twelve years he's been doing this, there is just some "crazy shit that turns your hair green as a publisher. " A few notable examples involved a developer pocketing milestone money; another developer paying his employees less than what they told the publisher (and pocketing the difference); a contracted studio that said they owned the engine they were developing the game with -- which they didn't; another team switched senior guys to junior guys when developer wasn't looking. The best example involved a developer who said they had two teams: "We visited a studio. The people on team one were the same as team two -- just wearing different clothes ... If you've ever wondered why publishers are worried about their assets and asses -- now you know."

Greg Costikyan (CEO Manifesto games): Two years ago he was at the game developers rant speaking about the "sheep like behavior of the gamers." Now that he's a publisher, who should is enemy be? Which leads us to the console manufacturers. The only open platform is the PC, from 2 billion to 1 billion in the last year. Once again, Nintendo became the target due to their quality crackdown in 1985. Everything was subject to Nintendo's marketing. Nintendo Power was the only powerful magazine at that time, so they promoted those who played by the rules got good promotion. He says you can see the end with Xbox Live Arena. Digital distribution is viable. Retailers can be cut out of the equation. If that happens, the console makers own the only distribution of that game. He believes in the next decade we will see the console manufacturers take control of the publishers.