Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata recently took a swipe at social and mobile games that did not offer long term value, in his mind. While others in the industry have criticized Iwata’s stance, Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbacka has offered a response of his own.
“It’s interesting to see people like Nintendo saying smartphones are destroying the games industry,” said Vesterbacka. “Of course, if I was trying to sell a $49 pieces [sic] of plastic to people then yes, I’d be worried too. But I think it’s a good sign that people are concerned — because from my point of view we’re doing something right.”
“Games consoles for us are just like launching on a new smartphone platform,” he added. “Look, the console market is important, but it’s also… It’s not dying, but not the fastest growing platform out there. So we don’t see it the way others do. A lot of people in the games industry, they think the ‘real’ games are on consoles. You’re only a ‘real’ games company if you do a big budget game. But we don’t have that inferiority complex.”
While there’s been talks of bringing Angry Birds to the Xbox 360 and DS, Vesterbacka says updating issues have been a hurdle. “There is no reason why, when you do digital distribution on console, you couldn’t do frequent updates,” he explained. “It’s just a legacy way of thinking. And if the consoles want to stay relevant they have to start mimicking what’s going on around them on app stores, smartphones and online. It’s the only way. because people expect games to stay fresh.”
“If you pay $59 or $69 dollars and you get no updates — but you pay 99 cents for a game in the App Store and get updates every month, then it sets the expectations higher. So the pressure is definitely on those guys, he added.