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Bleszinski Compares Gaming Industry to Super Smash Bros.

By - Source: Games Industry | B 20 comments

Ex-Epic Games designer Cliff Bleszinski recently compared the gaming industry with Super Smash Bros., saying that the business hasn't seen this kind of transition since the video games crash of the early 1980s. Microsoft and Sony are about to come to major blows. Nintendo may be forced to take Sega's software-only route. People are loving their apps on smartphones and tablets, and the PC gaming sector is going through its own "wonderful renaissance".

It's definitely not the time to get back into the gaming industry, he told GamesIndustry. Bleszinsky was recently named as the keynote speaker for the 2013 East Coast Games Conference in April, and seemingly echoes what both Mark Cerny and David Perry warned about at the same conference two years ago. The industry had to change or else it would crash just as it did in the 80s. Now in 2013, the industry is in a massive state of turmoil.

Two big factors that were pointed out at the 2011 conference was (1) consumers were eating up apps (2) consumers were eating up social and free-to-play games on the PC. On the apps front, gamers are getting chunks of console quality titles at a fraction of the cost. Meanwhile on the PC, games like Farmville don't need to be installed, residing in the cloud and only requiring a Facebook account, patience and perhaps a little cash to move progression along.

Last week during the PlayStation 4 reveal, we witnessed a small change for Sony's platform: social traits, episodic and free-to-play options. But will it be enough to make a difference? Out of the three console networks, Sony is the most open, but Bleszinski believes that all three should take the PC's open approach yet preserve the stability and security of a closed network. Delivering patches and content straight to consumers without a lengthy approval process is a perfect example of what needs to happen.

"When Gears of War 2 launched and we found out that our netcode wasn't working right, it took us three months to get an update out," Bleszinski said. "By that time, the majority of users had moved on to the next game or had traded it in."

He said that in order to do well in this next-generation, both Microsoft and Sony will need to reduce the update submittal time as much as possible. They also need to enable user-supported mods, independent games, and tear down the wall that makes it incredibly hard find those products if they're made available.

"All that red tape needs to be stripped away in order to create an ecosystem to allow for a product like Minecraft to actually happen on a console," he said. Bleszinski also added that the consoles need to embrace all genres and all price points, not simply the $60 retail titles and the $20 downloadable games.

To read the full interview, head here.

 

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  • 11 Hide
    TheWhiteRose000 , February 27, 2013 6:48 AM
    If Nintendo takes the software only route we could see the transition of Nintendo games to the PC platform which in general wouldn't be a bad idea, Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess legal downloadable copies of Zelda, Pokemon ect not roms.

    It wouldn't be a bad move for them really in fact people would probably enjoy it.
Other Comments
  • -2 Hide
    PadaV4 , February 27, 2013 6:25 AM
    FARMVILLE is not gaming! And never will be! Mights as well start to count how much time people spend playing solitaire...
  • 11 Hide
    TheWhiteRose000 , February 27, 2013 6:48 AM
    If Nintendo takes the software only route we could see the transition of Nintendo games to the PC platform which in general wouldn't be a bad idea, Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess legal downloadable copies of Zelda, Pokemon ect not roms.

    It wouldn't be a bad move for them really in fact people would probably enjoy it.
  • 8 Hide
    Thunderfox , February 27, 2013 8:00 AM
    The industry crashed in the early 80's because games were painfully simple and repetitive, and half the games on the market were clones of each other.

    The modern industry won't crash to the point of near extinction like it did back then, but I just hope it doesn't shrink down to just Farmville and annual map packs for COD.
  • 9 Hide
    alfaalex101 , February 27, 2013 8:13 AM
    ThunderfoxThe industry crashed in the early 80's because games were painfully simple and repetitive, and half the games on the market were clones of each other....


    Sounds a lot like the FPS market these days doesn't it? DOESN'T IT?
  • 6 Hide
    Thunderfox , February 27, 2013 8:27 AM
    alfaalex101Sounds a lot like the FPS market these days doesn't it? DOESN'T IT?

    Yes. Hence my point about COD.
  • -2 Hide
    clikes2004 , February 27, 2013 11:38 AM
    I would love it so much if Nintendo and Sony switched to making software for the PC's only. I want to play Super Smash Bros. on my powerful PC so bad. Nintendo hasn't been up to par with graphics lately and they have 66% percent of the games that I love the most. I would also love to see Gran Turismo and Ratchet and Clank come to the PC. I know Sony has already confirmed the PS4 but I would hate to have to buy a PS5 or Wii U 2.0. I want this next generation to be the last.
  • 2 Hide
    CrArC , February 27, 2013 11:40 AM
    TheWhiteRose000If Nintendo takes the software only route we could see the transition of Nintendo games to the PC platform which in general wouldn't be a bad idea, Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess legal downloadable copies of Zelda, Pokemon ect not roms.It wouldn't be a bad move for them really in fact people would probably enjoy it.
    Imagine a Nintendo 'app store' for Win 8, OS X, iOS, Android etc which pretty much just wraps one or two emulators in a package with a ROM download and management suite. Suddenly people are buying all these old games to play on their new devices, portable or not. Additional revenue streams for the publishers/developers of whatever old consoles were involved too as now their titles are available on so many other platforms.

    ThunderfoxYes. Hence my point about COD.
    Hate. Modern. FPS. No wonder they can't do anything different though - there isn't any juice left in modern consoles to support all the fancy stuff we've been promised over the years (fully destructible environments etc, and the potential new forms of gameplay it implies). Maybe with this new generation of consoles games can start to innovate again and us PC gamers can benefit.

  • -2 Hide
    ddpruitt , February 27, 2013 12:28 PM
    Quote:
    Nintendo may be forced to take Sega's software-only route


    Quote:
    Gears of War 2 launched and we found out that our netcode wasn't working right


    So you say the industry has problems and you pick a company that isn't competing with anyone at the moment and a game you didn't test. Yea I really trust your opinion.
  • -3 Hide
    antilycus , February 27, 2013 1:05 PM
    Ouya is going to make a big dent. Hopefully indie developers can show the world and hopefully the approval process isn't as broken as microsofts and sony's
  • 1 Hide
    Vorador2 , February 27, 2013 1:12 PM
    You know, someone forgot that Ninty also makes a portable console, and that one is doing quite well AFAIK.

    Why free-to-play works is simple. Bait and switch. Plus people are much more forgiving of issues when they aren't paying.

    But he's right on the approval system, that is usually very slow for no real reason at all. Plus some of the companies policies are bad for business. Did someone know that Microsoft charges developers for issuing patches trough xbox live?
  • 0 Hide
    matt_b , February 27, 2013 1:12 PM
    ddpruittSo you say the industry has problems and you pick a company that isn't competing with anyone at the moment and a game you didn't test. Yea I really trust your opinion.

    That's not the way it is necessarily. All games have bugs these days, they are just simply THAT complex to code and design. What he's saying is that when a company proactively finds a glitch or bug in something, the PC allows updates/patches almost seamlessly. The consoles however have a hierarchy and a bloated process that their manufacturers scrutinize and put each piece of content through before they offer it up for download, much later than it should.

    I agree with most of what Cliff says though, things are so out of whack compared to the way it used to be. FTP, micro transactions, casual gaming (Farmville, Angry Birds), DLC and map packs, high pricetags for new games versus a few bucks for some games that can be just as fun, and the fact that new IP is so expensive (we're now on Hollywood movie budgets in many cases) that so many developers find something and they just rehash that formula and series over and over - or go bust if it flopped. It's a system and market that has become its own worst enemy these days
  • 0 Hide
    bak0n , February 27, 2013 1:13 PM
    Last I read Apps are on the down for phones as people realize the uselessness of the majority of them.

    As for PC gaming, indie gaming and more aggressive pricing is surging no ones for sure (see torchlight 2 or all the many steam specials, or humble bundle as examples).
  • 1 Hide
    Ogdin , February 27, 2013 1:22 PM
    Vorador2Did someone know that Microsoft charges developers for issuing patches trough xbox live?


    As they should,if they want to release buggy garbage they should be paying penalties.On a pc where there are endless combinations of hardware some bugs are understandable.On a console there is no excuse.
  • 0 Hide
    MasterMace , February 27, 2013 2:25 PM
    Now is the perfect time to enter the game industry. You make a game, that isn't crap, and release it when it is ready, and you've got a top 10 game.
  • 1 Hide
    torque79 , February 27, 2013 2:33 PM
    The fact that apps can reproduce portions of "console quality games", reminds us how lowest common denominator console games really are. I was baffled at how low quality the Diablo 3 graphics were, until I heard they're planning a PS3/PS4 launch. Now I get it.

    YES, more of the masses have adopted cheap and lousy games. Unfortunately that means game designers focus more on that demographic of casual "gamers" instead of making quality stuff for us enthusiasts.
  • 0 Hide
    kinggraves , February 27, 2013 3:59 PM
    ThunderfoxThe industry crashed in the early 80's because games were painfully simple and repetitive, and half the games on the market were clones of each other.


    Half of the games were copies of each either in the Atari days because copyrights were not established for the then new medium. You know what comes off to me as that experience? Mobile gaming. A sea of copycats and garbage with a few gems in there if you're willing to wallow through the muck.

    clikes2004I would love it so much if Nintendo and Sony switched to making software for the PC's only. I want to play Super Smash Bros. on my powerful PC so bad. Nintendo hasn't been up to par with graphics lately and they have 66% percent of the games that I love the most.


    They don't consider graphics to be a priority. Their priority is making an experience which is fun and allows people to come together. If I want to see a photorealistic Mario I'll go rent a Ron Jeremy film.

    Vorador2You know, someone forgot that Ninty also makes a portable console, and that one is doing quite well AFAIK.


    They also tend to forget the world doesn't revolve around the U.S. Nintendo does very well in Japan, their primary market. Their IPs are much stronger over there, Nintendo tends to have first dibs on Monster Hunter and gets the Dragon Quest titles on their system, both of which sell far better on the other side of the Pacific. People have said that the Wii U isn't moving well over there, take a look at the system's current catalog and it's a lot of titles that aren't popular in Japan. Those sales figures are going to skyrocket with the SMT vs FIre Emblem title they're working on and the upcoming new console version of MH Ultimate.

    I do agree with Cliff though. I'm anticipating this E3 quite a bit. Two new consoles from established players with the third bringing out their first year lineup, several upstarts, and the development community is all over the place with various purchase models, AAA and independent developers left and right forming and folding...gaming is a mess right now. This gen isn't about pretty graphics, it's about finding a model which will make both consumers and developers happy.
  • 2 Hide
    hate machine , February 27, 2013 7:37 PM
    I bet somewhere deep down this guy is pushing a large portion of Epic's PC Game exit on "fierce" competition from games on Facebook. What a joke. You stopped making PC games and instead ported and peddled your console quality shit over to the PC and made excuses when people didn't wanna buy your crapware on the PC. Instead you turned to rehashing the same old bald angry space marine shit over and over on a console because it was a safe bet and tweenagers would consume it without hesitation. Then you say blame Microsoft for slow patching (Valid issue) and not on the fact that the consumer you are selling to has the attention spam of a mayfly and moves on to the next big thing regardless. The large Teen console FPS gamer you market too is going to jump ship on the next big game or sequel regardless. Who cares what Cliff says. He made shit games for the lowest common denominator.
  • 0 Hide
    shadowfamicom , February 27, 2013 8:52 PM
    kinggravesThey don't consider graphics to be a priority. Their priority is making an experience which is fun and allows people to come together. If I want to see a photorealistic Mario I'll go rent a Ron Jeremy film.

    They also tend to forget the world doesn't revolve around the U.S. Nintendo does very well in Japan, their primary market. Their IPs are much stronger over there, Nintendo tends to have first dibs on Monster Hunter and gets the Dragon Quest titles on their system, both of which sell far better on the other side of the Pacific. People have said that the Wii U isn't moving well over there, take a look at the system's current catalog and it's a lot of titles that aren't popular in Japan. Those sales figures are going to skyrocket with the SMT vs FIre Emblem title they're working on.


    Pretty much what I have been saying about the Wii U in Japan... when Dragon Quest X drops there next month. Last Dragon Quest (number 9) for the DS had 2 million pre-orders and sold 2.3million in a 48 hour period... that broke the last post 2000 record held by... you guessed it ... Dragon Quest VIII for the PS2... which became the best selling PS2 game of all time in Japan. DQ is an institution in Japan, stories of fist fights over copies and a urban myth that the Japanese government asked Enix back in the day to not release DQ on a weekday... as there was a huge amount of people calling in sick for both school and work. Also keep in mind that these sales numbers are with a Japanese population of 124 Million people. Something like 4 out of every 100 people buy the new DQ games every time a new one comes out. To put that in perspective.... COD: Black Ops sold 13.7 million copies in the US total... with a population in the US of 331 million.... that is 4.3 out of every 100 people in the US played COD: BO.

    Anyway, one game won't fix sales in japan but it will get the Wii U into a lot more homes. I cannot wait to see how SMT vs Fire Emblem turns out!

    FYI "If I want to see a photorealistic Mario I'll go rent a Ron Jeremy film." made me laugh pretty hard.
  • 0 Hide
    EddieLomax , February 28, 2013 3:28 PM
    ""When Gears of War 2 launched and we found out that our netcode wasn't working right, it took us three months to get an update out," Bleszinski said. "By that time, the majority of users had moved on to the next game or had traded it in.""

    That was probably because your game was shallow and a clone of the ones before it, the clones that came out after it got the gamers attention so you lost out.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , March 1, 2013 1:02 AM
    Thunderfox The industry crashed in the early 80's because games were painfully simple and repetitive, and half the games on the market were clones of each other.

    The modern industry won't crash to the point of near extinction like it did back then, but I just hope it doesn't shrink down to just Farmville and annual map packs for COD.


    no, it crashed because over half the games were crap, and there was such a large glut of crap that the good ones that came out died because no one trusted anything.

    thats why the Nintendo seal of approval exists,
    even the worst games today are a FAR better value than some of the best games back than.
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