GDC Mobile: Hawkins speaks out against licence holders

GDC Mobile: Hawkins speaks out against licence holders
Michael French

By Michael French

March 5th 2007 at 11:30PM

Digital Chocolate CEO Trip Hawkins has struck out at "exploitative" licence holders in his GDC Mobile opening keynote.

Proving that no one was safe in his overview of the mobile market, Hawkins opened by calling himself an "industry cockroach", given his well-known career building Electronic Arts and then struggling with 3DO in the 90s.

He then went on to attack EA Mobile's strategy in the wireless space, branding its approach "wrong" and mistaken. Referencing back to last year's opening GDC Mobile lecture by EA Mobile's Mitch Lasky, wherein mobile games were dubbed a diversion to player's time, he criticised the firm's decision to rely on the likes of Tetris and its inability to break out new IP.

These remarks, however, were part of a bigger business backlash as he targeted brand-owners in the mobile space, saying the mobile games industry "can’t go anywhere with the fees being charged".

"They take single digits for console or handheld games, but up to 50 per cent for mobile games.”

He added: "Look at the top 20 mobile games on a typical carrier – unfortunately what you'll find is that only 10 or 15 per cent of those games will be original games created for mobile. Others will be expensive property licenses from film and television."

He concluded that such practices meant "an inferior experience ends up being offered" which is "an abuse" of carriers, customers and publishers.