Martin Wakeley
24 Jan 2013 - Notes from a veteran of the console wars

by Martin Wakeley

There was a time when debate regarding video games was limited to "What's better: Commodore 64 or ZX Spectrum?" Developers stayed out of it and left the bickering to fanboys.

Fast forward a quarter of a century and the debate still rages. However, the fanboys have been joined by developers and the discussions have become more fractious; the debates more divisive.

By choosing to work on mobile games it appears, in the eyes of some people, I have inadvertently taken a side in the debate. The animosity that goes with this is hard to understand.

In my household gaming is split between iPad, iPhone, PC online, Wii U, PlayStation 3, 3DS, Kindle Fire HD, and (believe it or not) PSP.

Working on The Snowman and the Snowdog was a great experience. The game went from pitch to App Store in 6 months. We were able to create a unique game that nearly 1.2 million people have downloaded in the UK alone to date. More importantly, it was fun.

Because I chose to develop mobile games doesn't mean I don't appreciate console games and think that the future is exclusively mobile. I love playing FIFA on a big TV with friends, and collaborative games like the Lego series, Nintendo Land, Wii Party and Little Big Planet provide hours of fun for me and my kids. I chose to make mobile games because I liked the creative freedom and I wanted to work on more than one game every three years.

The tiresome debate on industry websites pitches mobile games as an un-monetizable fad versus the stance that consoles are dinosaurs on the edge of extinction. Is this developers validating their career choices? Or perhaps, a genuine fear that we are all vying for the purchasing attention of a finite number of gamers?

One download of The Snowman does not mean one less purchase of Call of Duty. Does it follow that the existence of mobile games inevitably leads to the death of consoles or vice versa? Mobile has introduced a whole new generation to gaming, and surely more people playing games is a good thing. Isn't it?

It's a noisy world out there and it's tough to get a new company off the ground. If you would like to see us succeed, you can help spread the word by sharing this article. We can't offer anything in return except our thanks and a promise that we'll always try to make great games.

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Mar 2012 - Game Evaluation by Martin Wakeley