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Ex-World of Warcraft team lead claims Square Enix 'don't get' App Store pricing system
By James Gilmour 04 May 2012
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The former World of Warcraft lead Mark Kern has delivered a scathing indictment of Square Enix's App Store pricing practices, claiming the Final Fantasy developer is out of touch with the realities of the iOS market.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Kern said: "Isn't it ridiculous that you can buy these fantastic games on iPad, but then you get a publisher like Square Enix charging an astronomical price for an old game port?"
We presume Kern is referring to games like Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, both of which cost over £10 - an undeniably hefty chunk of change when compared to the 69p asking price of many iOS titles.
Kern, who is now CEO of Firefall developer Red 5 Studios, delivered his withering assessment of Squeenix's App Store business model as part of an argument for why studios should stop pouring millions into publishing AAA games and instead focus on producing self-distributed F2P titles.
"[Free-to-play titles] don't need the distributor to succeed, so a lot more money goes into the game rather than to marketing and you get to grow organically with your players," Kern argues.
"And as there's no barrier to entry for players you can start to compete on fun instead of marketing, which is really the area that we as developers should be in."
It is this fundamental understanding of the mobile market that, in Kern's opinion, developers like Square Enix have failed to grasp.
"They just don't get it. They don't get that we have to lower the barrier for entry."