Spector ultimately believes the people who actually make the games are going to make better decisions than the number crunchers. “We’ve got to be looking forward and any time you start bringing data into it, you’re not,” Spector said. “I pitched a Lego construction game in 1989, and guess what: Minecraft is basically a Lego construction game. But at the time I was told ‘no, that won’t work.’ I pitched a western game and the response was ‘westerns don’t sell.’ And then Red Dead Redemption came out. Stuff doesn’t sell until someone makes one that sells, and no amount of data can reveal what new thing is going to sell. The metrics and data guys, and the publishing guys will never come up with the next big thing.”
I agree with that, although I think that may be missing the forest for the trees. Data often doesn’t corrupt creative design at the front end, as much as it undermines the ability to add vision after launch.
And yes, publishers may be blind to the possibilities of success, but we’re already moving beyond a time when you have to beg publishers to put out your game. There’s tons of ways to find an audience without one.