Ex Microsoft man says big software publishers' days are numbered

Former Microsoft executive and father of the Xbox Ed Fries said that the days of “big publishers” could be drawing to a close.

Fries told VG247 he was both surprised and impressed with Microsoft’s policy reversal on allowing self-publishing on Xbox One.

He said that such moves mean that Microsoft has worked out that the days of “big publishers” may vanish.

Microsoft’s policy reversal is more to do with pressure from customers than anything else.

Fries said that he is waiting to see the details, but he thinks the world of games software is changing, and that it might be difficult for large parts of the industry to change along with it.

Big publishers and developers are going to have to adapt to free-to-play and he is glad that consoles are starting to adopt the idea.

Fries said that there will not have to be big publishers in the future. In fact the way things are shaping up there could be lots of small developers, getting together and then breaking up into little teams all over the world.

Big publishers were formed because games were really expensive, and distribution was a lot more difficult. But this has changed with digital distribution, and it’s not as important to deal with bricks and mortar stores any more.

Microsoft is expected to outline its self-publishing policies in more detail during Gamescom later this month.