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.