UKIE: Sony and Nintendo Should “Become Content-Only”

November 25, 2011Written by Sebastian Moss

Andy Payne, Chairman for the trade association for UK Interactive Entertainment, UKIE, believes that Sony and Nintendo should stop manufacturing hardware and bring their games to the iPhone and Android platform.

Speaking as part of a roundtable discussion at the Develop Conference in Liverpool, Payne was asked how long it will take before Sony and Nintendo realize that exclusive games are holding back their first-party titles from wider success. Payne replied:

I think it’s already happening. I think it would be a massive relief to both Sony and Nintendo to become content-only. Right now, they might not even know it. You know that thing where you take drugs and you think it’s the best thing in the world? Then you get off them and go, ‘What was I doing?’

After saying he wasn’t speaking from experience, he added:

To answer your question: Imagine any Mario or Zelda property being on the iPhone or an Android phone. They’d get £10 or £15 for it, because people would want to pay to have it on their phone. They would. And that would be amazing. And Sony’s content is amazing. I mean, Uncharted… it’s just brilliant


I’m not knocking those guys, because they really do make fantastic games. And when we kind of get that bit over, wouldn’t it be refreshing to have Nintendo really making stuff for the iPhone, Android, and all the other stuff that’s around?

Phil Gaskell, creative director at RebelPlay, concurred:

I completely agree. It’s happening already. Their strength is in their brand and their content.

The comments came after Payne leveled criticism at the three major platform holders for their approach to production fees, arguing that lowered costs will result in a lower price tag for games, and an increase in sales:

Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft [are] dinosaurs, because they’re using these old-fashioned business models where you have to pay a royalty, tribute, tax – whatever you want to call it, it’s quite a lot of Euros per unit, fixed, [based on] what you order as a publisher, not what you sell.

If that was to come down, if those companies were to shave those right down to something more acceptable – let’s say it’s €1 to manufacture it, where the real cost is €0.20 – then that would put games into the hands of consumers, at retail, at circa £20. You’d have more people buying games, less of a second-hand market, probably a bit less piracy, and that market might carry on for a bit longer.

Of course, the “old-fashioned business models” are exactly why Sony and Nintendo want to hang on to their consoles – first party game sales only make up a small part of their business, with royalties from third parties bringing in huge sums of money – something they wouldn’t get on the iOS or Android markets.