Sony and Nintendo would do better if they stopped making hardware and instead made games for iPhone and Android, according to Andy Payne - managing director of The Mastertronic Group.
Payne was speaking as part of a roundtable discussion at the close of yesterday's Develop in Liverpool conference. Halfway through the session, a member of the audience asked how long it would be before Sony and Nintendo realised that platform exclusivity was holding back their first-party titles from wider success.
"I think it's already happening," replied Payne. "I think it would be a massive relief to both Sony and Nintendo to become content-only. Right now, they might not even know it. You know that thing where you take drugs and you think it's the best thing in the world? Then you get off them and go, 'What was I doing?'"
Understandably, this last comment got a good laugh from the audience, at which point Payne added that he wasn't speaking from experience.
"To answer your question: Imagine any Mario or Zelda property being on the iPhone or an Android phone. They'd get £10 or £15 for it, because people would want to pay to have it on their phone. They would. And that would be amazing. And Sony's content is amazing. I mean, Uncharted... it's just brilliant!
"I'm not knocking those guys, because they really do make fantastic games. And when we kind of get that bit over, wouldn't it be refreshing to have Nintendo really making stuff for the iPhone, Android, and all the other stuff that's around?"
Payne's comments drew immediate support from Phil Gaskell, creative director at RebelPlay.
"I completely agree," he said "It's happening already. Their strength is in their brand and their content."
Earlier in the same discussion, Payne criticised the three major platform holders for their approach to production fees, arguing that lowered costs would result in a lower price tag for games, and an increase in sales.
"Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft [are] dinosaurs, because they're using these old-fashioned business models where you have to pay a royalty, tribute, tax - whatever you want to call it, it's quite a lot of Euros per unit, fixed, [based on] what you order as a publisher, not what you sell.
"If that was to come down, if those companies were to shave those right down to something more acceptable - let's say it's €1 to manufacture it, where the real cost is €0.20 - then that would put games into the hands of consumers, at retail, at circa £20. You'd have more people buying games, less of a second-hand market, probably a bit less piracy, and that market might carry on for a bit longer."
Would the likes of Uncharted 3 and Skyward Sword be as much fun to play if they were on an iPhone? Personally, I'm not convinced.
Nintendo's first party games are invariably built around their hardware, and their controllers in particular. It's hard to see how something as complex as Super Mario Galaxy could work on touchscreen alone. You could tailor the gameplay to match the platform, but wouldn't that limit what Nintendo could produce?
It's hard to find fault with Payne's argument about production fees, however. I'd wager that most of us would buy more games if they only cost £20 at launch.