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Game quality has "skyrocketed" - Braben

Elite creator praises latest innovations.

David Braben, co-creator of Elite and head of LostWinds brain Frontier Developments, believes there is more innovation in the games industry now than ever before.

He said it's "simply not true" to say there were loads more good games in the olden games - adding that a large amount of releases back then were "rubbish".

"There's more innovation now than ever, and not just on Wii Ware, XBLA and PSN," said Braben, speaking during the Develop conference in Brighton. "It's not just big innovation - small things too, like how user interfaces work. Think about how the way you find a group of people and get into a game in multiplayer has changed. All of these things make a big difference to the overall experience.

"People still say to me that in the old days there were tons of really different, really great games," he continued. "Not true - simply not true. Time compresses your perception. If you think about the whole decade of the eighties, you can probably only come up with a dozen or so truly great games.

"There was so much rubbish around, and now, there's less rubbish around than there was then. There are lots of great games now - the quality has skyrocketed."

Braben also reckons the increasing size of the market means there are more niches to be filled, plus more opportunities for developers with crazy ideas to be successful. He believes quality is now an increasingly important factor in commercial success.

"This has only happened in the last two years, roughly, but the importance of marketing compared to the importance of quality has changed. Quality itself is now selling games - there's a very high correlation between, dare I say it, review scores and commercial success. You can forecast game sales based on those figures," added Braben.

Braben puts that down to vast increases in player interactions on forums, comments threads and other online communications, as well as the availability of many "really very good" online review sites. He didn't mention Eurogamer specifically, but we know that's only because he didn't want to embarrass us in front of all our friends.

Braben went on to confirm that Elite IV is in development and said that Frontier won't be satisfied unless confident the game is brilliant.

About the Author
Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey


Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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