Xbox co-creator Ed Fries believes publishers may no longer be necessary, he said in a recent interview with The Daily A List, questioning if they'll continue to exist as digital distribution changes the landscape.
"Maybe the world of the future doesn't look like that, " Fries said. "Maybe it's just lots of small developers, getting together and then breaking up into little teams all over the world, that's where great games are going to come from. Big publishers were formed because games were really expensive, there were big distribution issues.
"Walmart didn't want to deal with a hundred companies, they wanted to deal with four or five. A lot of those things changed with digital distribution. Maybe what we'll see in the future isn't like what we've seen in the past. What does that mean? There are winners and losers all through that."
In November, Fries warned of the dangers for console manufacturers to continue ignore the impact of Apple and that console development issues, such as developers paying for patches, must disappear in the next generation of consoles.
In the recent The Daily A List interview, Fries said he was impressed by Microsoft's policy changes — regarding online check-ins, playing games offline, region locking and secondhand sales of games — saying that he was "concerned that they wouldn't change" and that the company is clearly responsive to feedback.