EA founder Trip Hawkins isn't afraid to speak his mind, doing just that at a recent games conference in San Francisco.
Hawkins criticised Nintendo for ushering in a "feudal dark age" with its hardware, in which "developers don't own the land they're tilling," a reference to Nintendo's licensing and certification process that requires all developers to submit ideas to Nintendo for approval before entering production.
He also noted that few third-party developers have made a name for themselves on Nintendo platforms, something he again attributes to the closed hardware:
Look at the world wide web and how many great companies have been built on that open platform. Nintendo is a great, amazing company, but how many companies have been built on the back of Nintendo's platform in the past 25 years?
EA's distaste for locked-down consoles stems back some 20 years. In the early 1990s EA had considerable success on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis thanks to its own ingenuity. Unable to acquire an official development kit from Sega, EA picked up a machine from another developer, tore it apart and put it back together to understand its architecture. Hawkins' justification?
We fought for our freedom. We didn't accept the feudal system.
Of course, Hawkins has long since left EA and now runs Digital Chocolate, a producer of casual PC, mobile and console download games. Is Hawkins bitter or does he have a point? Let us know what you think.