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Xbox Creator and Ouya Advisor Says iOS and Android Forces Console Makers to Re-evaluate Their Strategy

November 28, 2012 Written by Jesse Meikle

Ed Fries is one of the creators of the original Xbox, and now an advisor for the team working to bring the Android powered Ouya gaming console to market next year. In an interview with Game Informer, Fries shared his thoughts on the gaming platform, while offering some interesting opinions on where current consoles are lacking in contrast to Apple’s approach:

I think [Ouya's] going to have an impact on the way consoles and developers interact in the future. It’s getting harder and harder for the traditional consoles to ignore the Apple kind of experience. Anybody can develop for the platform, certification is a relatively cheap and painless thing.

Ed Fries then went onto one of the major hurdles developers have when creating content for home consoles by referencing Xbox Live’s infamous $40,000 patch cost:

Now you’ve got guys who make games like Fez who can’t do an update to their game because it costs too much, if that game was on iOS that wouldn’t be a problem, but because it’s on XBLA it’s a problem. Those kinds of ideas have to go away in the next generation. They’ll go away in Ouya, they’ll go away if Apple brings some kind of product into this space, the console makers like Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, they have to respond to that, it’s just the future.

Fries continued by mentioning the need for the free-to-play model on consoles that already plagues prevails on Android, and iOS:

They have to respond to the free-to-play game model, the world is changing, people want this free-to-play experience, game developers want to build free-to-play experiences and the console ecosystem has to adapt to that. It can’t just be $50 product in a box all the time.

Ed Fries was speaking generally about console manufacturers, but it’s worth noting how Sony seems to be paying attention to many of these trends. The PS3 has become a secret hub of free-to-play games with the large amounts of free offerings on PlayStation Home, along with higher production free-to-play games like DC Universe Online, Free Realms, and the upcoming first person shooter Dust 514. The Vita has been on the market for less than a year, but already enjoys free games including: Treasures of Montezuma Blitz, Frobisher Says, and Treasure Park. PlayStation even accommodates smaller developers in ways similar to the App Store, and Google Play with PlayStation Mini’s, and PlayStation Mobile. Sony Pub funded developers are also able to update and patch their game for free.

Do you want to see Sony and their competition move towards the low-cost standard set in stone by Apple, and Google? Let us know in the comments.

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