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Cliff Harris Discusses Indie Games, Steam, And The App Store
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GamesIndustry.biz has posted a new interview with Positech Games's Cliff Harris. The veteran independent developer discussed his time at Lionhead Studios, independent gaming, and the potential impact of Steam and the Mac App store on PC gaming

Q: Do you have a sense of what's going to happen on PC? It's changed so much, what with social games and free to play, so are the kinds of games that you make going to stay around in the face of that?
CH

The only thing that keeps me awake at night worrying about it is that, if say the Apple App Store on Mac does very well, if Apple can then get away with saying for the next version of the OS that "there's too much malware out there and dodginess, so from now on you can only install stuff that comes from our App Store"... That would of course have massive, cataclysmic whining from everybody, but I can imagine there's an accountant somewhere saying "we can eat that amount of unpopularity in exchange for 30 per cent of the global app market." If that works on Apple, then Microsoft would be interested for PC. That's the only thing that I think could really be a nightmare - if Windows 9 or whatever required you to sell through the Microsoft store.

I doubt that could ever happen because of Steam... unless they did a deal with Steam. I'd probably just grin and bear it, just sell through third parties, because I love what I do so much, but I think it would be really bad. You wouldn't then get your Minecraft and your Dwarf Fortress and your little sort of hobby projects that then become huge. That's what makes the PC so good. Nobody would ever go to Sony or Microsoft and say "Dwarf Fortress, hey?" I hope they [Apple and Microsoft] are sensible enough to not go down that route.

The other thing that could happen is price pressure, that all games have to be free and monetised on the back end. I was having an argument with someone last night who thinks that will definitely happen, but I don't think it will. I think this is a bit of a short-lived thing - I'm probably going to look like an idiot for this. The idea that everybody wants everything for free, and every game should be free forever, it works now but in 20 years time I think people will think it's ridiculous because we all know they're not free, really. 'Free to play level 1': people will wise up to that to some extent.

Even though most people find it quite depressing, this "free is going to take over and everything's going to be microtransactions", what I like is that then they release another Call of Duty of Warcraft expansion and it just completely flattens all other numbers. Actually, if you make a really good or at least well-polished game, put it in a box and sell it to people for 40, you still make a billion dollars. It's going to take a long time for that to turn around.
Visit the link below to read the full interview.

GamesIndustry.biz: Cliff Harris Interview
Positech Games (add to watch list)


 

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• Cliff Harris Discusses Indie Games, Steam, And The App Store6:00 AM
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