Ex-Rockstar dev: It's an ideal time to quit AAA studios

Ex-Rockstar dev: It's an ideal time to quit AAA studios

By Rob Crossley

June 15th 2011 at 5:31PM

Anthony Gowland opens micro-studio in Edinburgh

An experienced Rockstar North games designer has broken away from the company to open his own micro-studio.

Anthony Gowland is building mobile and web content at the new Edinburgh outfit, known as Mainly About Games.

“With the varied distribution opportunities now available to developers, it felt like the perfect time to move away from AAA development,” Gowland said.

“It’s totally viable for a small team, or even a single dedicated guy, to create and market a successful game independently.”

“My passion is in creating small titles that have solid gameplay hooks and big budget polish”, he added.

Gowland is said to have worked for more than six years at his new outfit Rockstar, in senior and lead design roles. He said he worked on projects such as Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Red Dead Redemption.

His comments come amid the wider development cultural shift
towards mobile games content.

Numerous experienced developers are starting up their own studios, though the craze is relatively unexplored. Some game creators say the shift to micro-studio is due to heightened creative freedom, while others say there’s more money to be had.

Apple recently announced it has paid App Store developers $2.5 billion since the App Store opened in 2008. The royalty rate for games on this service is 70/30 in favour of the developer.

But Apple’s current total payout to all developers means that, on average, each App Store download is worth less than ten cents.