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Angry Birds dev lays into Xbox Live

Slow content approval system criticised.

Angry Birds developer Rovio has criticised Microsoft for its antiquated Xbox Live content approval system.

Speaking in an interview with MCV, franchise manager Peter Vesterbacka explained that Rovio's smartphone hit hadn't released on Xbox Live Arcade yet because of Microsoft's refusal to allow frequent content updates.

"Is that our fault? No, that's their problem. There is no reason why, when you do digital distribution on console, you couldn't do frequent updates. It's just a legacy way of thinking."

Vesterbacka then went on to argue that console manufacturers had to follow the smartphone model or risk extinction.

"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.

"Look, the console market is important, but it's also... it's not dying, but not the fastest growing platform out there," he added elsewhere in the interview, tempering his recent assertion that console games were on their death bed.

"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."

Vesterbacka also took a potshot at Nintendo over CEO Satoru Iwata's assertion during his recent GDC keynote that cheap smartphone games were devaluing the work of skilled developers and threatening the health of the industry.

"It's interesting to see people like Nintendo saying smartphones are destroying the games industry. Of course, if I was trying to sell a $49 pieces 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."

Next up for Rovio following the recent launch of Angry Birds: Rio is a new Facebook take on its absurdly successful creation.

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