Epic Games' European head, Mike Gamble, says there's a simple reason
we're seeing so many big game companies close triple-A studios lately: stupidity. "It's happened because of stupid acquisitions," he said in London recently. Quite a few studios
have seen shutdowns
, either after or even during
big game releases, and Gamble even specifically calls out Disney for buying and then closing down Split/Second developer Black Rock Studio
. "What was the point of a well-known children's IP holder buying a hardcore racing studio?," asked Gamble. "It doesn't make sense."
Disney would probably argue that it wanted to expand its console division away from just children's IP, but of course the results bear Gamble's hindsight-improved assessment out on that one. Still, he also says there's an upside to all of the bad news. Especially in Europe, according to Gamble, a lot of developers from studios that have been acquired and closed are instead starting their own companies with different priorities.
"There's a sea change in the European industry," said Gamble. "People are not looking to create companies where they're going to buy Ferraris. They're looking to create companies where they're having a great time and making nice money, but really doing the cool stuff."