BioWare co-founder says PS4 and 720 stuck in a 'sick market for old-school gaming'

"Everyone's kind of holding out hope for the new consoles," says Dr. Greg Zeschuk, "but I honestly don't think they're going to be that big a deal."

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Dr. Greg Zeschuk, co-founder of Mass Effect developer BioWare, has spoken about the upcoming next generation of video game consoles, saying that he doesn't "think they're going to be that big a deal."

"We are in a kind of sick market for old-school gaming," opened Zeschuk in an interview with GamesIndustry International.

"Everyone's kind of holding out hope for the new consoles, but I honestly don't think they're going to be that big a deal. I worry a lot that unless Microsoft or Sony pull something magically out of a hat, it's pretty much the same old, same old repackaged and I don't think they're going to change the dynamic of the retail market."

"I don't see how they can," added Zeschuk. "The market is what it is."

Sony announced the PlayStation 4 in February ahead of a launch later in 2013. Microsoft has yet to unveil the successor to the Xbox 360, although the latest rumours suggest the company is leaning toward a May unveiling.

Despite his gloomy forecast, Zeschuk said that successes were possible in the industry, pointing to Activision Blizzard as an example of a large publisher currently succeeding in AAA development. "Activision and Blizzard have been doing really well, and they've been very disciplined and focused," he said.

"But how long can they continue?" said Zeschuk. "They've been relying on a smaller number of titles, but no title works forever, and obviously they will be working hard to replace the games they're working on. So they're probably one of the shining examples of a company that's done well by really doubling down on a very narrow amount of things, and trying some different stuff - I'm actually really impressed with Skylanders."

Speaking earlier in the interview, Zeschuk also dismissed the idea that BioWare had to conform to the whims of EA. "The best analogy I use, in a positive way, is EA gives you enough rope to hang yourself. It was really interesting because we really made all the choices we wanted to make ourselves; these are all things we wanted to try. And that's something to remember - while we were independent we didn't have quite the resources we had as part of EA, and then we got to EA and it was like, 'Wow, we can do all this stuff.' We had to be really thoughtful about what we wanted to focus on."

Zeschuk, and fellow BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka, retired from the studio and the games industry in September 2012. When asked if he would ever return to the games industry, Zeschuk said that he doesn't see himself creating a new development studio.

"I think part of it, too, is that I'm not spending as much time playing games as I used to. I used to play them all time. I used to have my finger on the pulse, and absolutely I'm less on the pulse than I was. I still play some big releases, and I'm going to grab BioShock Infinite, but I don't play the way I used to play."

Zeschuk's comments were made as part of a larger discussion about whether Star Wars: The Old Republic had a part to play in the recent resignation of former EA CEO John Riccitiello. "I can't really speak to why John's not there anymore," said Zeschuk, "but [The Old Republic] was one of many [EA] games released, and we're in a context where just a few days later it was Yoichi Wada who was booted out from Square Enix."

Greg Zeschuk is currently working on passion project The Beer Diaries, a site dedicated to craft beers.

Discussion

319 comments
Barazon
Barazon

Huh, that's odd to hear him say that, that they ruined Mass Effect 3 all by themselves, and it wasn't pressure from EA that made them do it.  I'm surprised.

gino_pachino
gino_pachino


i own a bad ass gaming pc and i enjoy it alot...but p.c fanboys must understand that most of the best single player game are on consoles game like metal gears uncharted,god of war litle,big planet zelda mario are the reason why console are great..and I would even say that one of the best fps i played since C.S 1.6  was on ps3.This game was M.A.G, I think that if this game was release on pc(f.p.s on p.c is better) and on the 360 it would have been a hit.

shaolinwind
shaolinwind

The point is, if you haven't experienced Journey and Uncharted, or Heavy Rain for that matter, you haven't enjoyed some of gamings finest moments. And you need a console for that.

MarchingOrd3rZ
MarchingOrd3rZ

Owning both a PlayStation 3 and an AlienWare M18x (I believe that's the model) laptop, both of which I consider the best in their respective fields, I have to say that PC gaming is much better overall. The console, when boiled down, only really does one thing which is playing games. This is fine, until I want to quickly check my Facebook while I wait for a map to load on a first-person shooter, or want to share an article from GameSpot with a friend in a game lobby before starting a game.

Graphically, the PC is superior. It's a scientific and mathematical fact. Whenever I am not playing on my laptop while on the go, I just throw in a HDMI cord into my television and I instantly have the same, if not a little better, experience while on a console.

Honestly, the only reason I like console gaming is that, well, for the games that aren't on PC. Tekken is my prime example of this frustration because it is one of my favorite game franchises. With steps being taken towards bringing fighters to the PC, this should soon be solved.

Nonetheless, I am prepared to shell out some money for the next-generation Playstation because I know that there will be a console-exculsive game that I will want very badly. 


Xenrathe
Xenrathe

I love how the "best analogy" is that EA gives you enough rope to hang yourself.  He says it's "positive" but that's nonsense.  If it were positive, you wouldn't be using a negative metaphor. Dur.

tduhon07
tduhon07

"I think part of it, too, is that I'm not spending as much time playing games as I used to. I used to play them all time. I used to have my finger on the pulse, and absolutely I'm less on the pulse than I was. I still play some big releases, and I'm going to grab BioShock Infinite, but I don't play the way I used to play." 

 This is a true statement for many developers that keep going 10-20 years. If you stop playing games, you lose a feel for what gamers want. It isn't your fault, people just change.

brownba3
brownba3

... Apple Fanboy?? PCtards?  does Shoulin reqalize he is talking to a PC gaming website? ... hmm lets look at the new intersting console games out the re that RPGers want to play...hear the silence?... Mario cart?... AAA games have a PC component - because Specs and game play matter.. Journey? - wasn't that a bad 80's  hair band?..games of the year? dude needs to do a little research - Every single game of the year is a PC ported game according to the wiki....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Game_of_the_Year_awards   (well except for a review by Eurogamer...)

012Dishonored Windows,

2012Mass Effect 3Shooter:, PCBioWare

2011The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimOpen World: R PCBethesda Game Studios

2013The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimAction RPGPC/360/PS3Bethesda Game Studios

2012Portal 2PuzzlerPC/360/PS3Valve

Saketume
Saketume

Make a beer brewing simulator ;P

shaolinwind
shaolinwind

This guy...

He's just an apple fanboi posting more nonsense about consoles dying... lol.

How does Journey run on your computer? Or Uncharted? or any of the other Game of the year winners that are console only...

PCtards - you guys still don't get that SPECS DO NOT GAMING MAKE. 

Keep fappin to your PC specs bro lol

stev69
stev69

Ok the market is indeed what it is, but does that mean we should just rest on our laurels and not advance the technology? Of course not, progress is progress however little, sometimes advancement come in leaps and bounds other times you have to be a little more patient. Perhaps Dr. Greg Zeschuk you are going to pull something magical out of a hat to set the world a blaze? And after your studios tragic clone MMO (you know the one i mean) its not like BW are cutting edge trend setters.

raven449
raven449

You want something new in gaming? Walk away from Consoles and come back to PC.

In the next two years PC gamers will have Star Citizen, Shadowrun, Wasteland 2, Elder Scrolls Online, Shroud of the Avatar, Project Eternity, Elite, Mechwarrior Online and that is just one ones i can think of. 

Get off the console ship before it sinks.

vackillers
vackillers

Its easy to criticize the gaming industry as a whole after you've already made your millions of dollars and left before a possibly complete turn around in the industry is near. John Riccitiello.basically got fired, but he did walk away with 4million in his pocket, how about Greg Zeschuk? obviously has enough cash to create some bogus site about beer? heh.. just makes me not believe half these people in what they say when they come out of no where and comment and publicly speak out about the games industry.. everyone has an opinion sure, and we should listen to what ex developers do have to say, they do know the development cycle, publishers, and all the marketing and game creating, but I still find it hard to trust and take anything what they've said serious after they've already made multiple millions of dollars, look at the trash sim city is, a game that terrible, and that screwed up, still promoting DLCs instead of actually FIXING the game, still sold over 1million copies!! thats at least 60million dollars, which doesn't include all the copies that were the digital deluxe edition! Hitman absolution was aparently sold no where near its targets which started the talks about squarenix and their financial situation, but that game sold over 3.5million copies! 

When it comes down to it, the likes of the team at GiantBomb know the industry and have this un-canning ability to talk about the raw stuff behind the scenes, not a devs public comments because its very hard to trust what they are saying. When you want to listen and talk about the gaming industry as an actual industry, trust eachothers comments and what the actual gamers are saying, we are the ones that buy this stuff.... not some fat cat developer.

GamerNerdTalk
GamerNerdTalk

He strikes a good point. I mean, my PC is as power as they said the PS4 was going to be.... Which is ironic saying that it was going to be more powerful than all computers :P

jark888
jark888

He may be right. Really, what new does next gen has to offer? The current gen has given us HD, DLC, and micro-transactions among other things. Hmm... I see the next gen will give us enhanced online gameplay, subscription model, and maybe no DLC or micro-transaction ;D 

TruthSerum808
TruthSerum808

Developers need to stop taking stuff out of the shipped game in order to sell it back to the consumer later on as DLC and microtransactions. Don't they understand that when you remove features from a game it makes their game worse and when a game is worse it sells less?

Make the game as good as you can upon release date full stop. Quit holding content out of the game that should have been shipped with the game in the first place. 

Khoo1992
Khoo1992

So? Bioware games will still end up at PS4 and the nextbox...

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

If you aren't bowing to the whims of EA, why are all the important members of your company leaving saying that they feel restricted by EA?

Did you have to clear your remarks with PR first?  I bet you did.

NFJSupreme
NFJSupreme

must be nice to make a boat load of cash making video games then retire to go blog about beer.  Talk about living the life,

Ps4freak
Ps4freak

It would be cool if there would be gaming rooms where when you step in it you control everything with your hands and body. Kind of like the movie Gamers

shaolinwind
shaolinwind

@brownba3You noob. 2012: Journey - Gamespot, 2012: Journey - IGN, 2012: Journey - Joystiq, 2012: Journey - Moby, 2012: Journey - AIAS

In 2009 Uncharted 2 was at EVERY TOP LIST, and voted best game of all time on several. 

But you keep enjoying that little box of yours.. the rest of us will enjoy gaming.

RS13
RS13

@shaolinwind Ummm, you realize that the vast majority of apple fanboys play video games primarily on consoles or not at all?  Apple's not exactly the first name in PC gaming.  Trust me, I'm typing this on one.

weewalio
weewalio

@stev69 I would almost agree with you, except that the upcoming consoles (PS4 and Xbox 720) are being built using the same hardware that goes into your average PC; same CPU for both consoles (AMD) and same graphics chip for both consoles (AMD again). These are not custom chips, they're straight up x86 and Radeon chips.

The next generation of consoles will not be advancing the technology one single bit. Not...one...bit.

So why bother?

Lhomity
Lhomity

@GamerNerdTalk Consoles do a lot more with less RAM. Your PC is using an assload to run your operating system, not to mention other background processes.

brownba3
brownba3

@jark888 Video reality gaming?.. and no The Xbox/Wii port doesn't count....actual AI response? 4D?....actual death in games (well it has already killed my social life...)

SeAzhrei
SeAzhrei

@jark888 I see next gen giving me carpal tunnel. Does that count? No wait, the Dreamcast did that already. Nevermind, i got nothing.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@TruthSerum808 (Most) devs don't cherry pick content for DLC late in the process. (Most) devs who use DLC plan it from the earliest stages of the process and design said content for the specific purpose of being DLC.

I think I know what you're getting at though. You want devs to only develop DLC after the game is finished, right?. That isn't very practical. It makes sense to work on DLC on the side (or sometimes even outsource it to another team/studio - though expensive). At the very least you get the art and sound assets done nice and early. Its also sloppy and inefficient to call voice actors back in months later to read out lines for the DLC when you can have them do it all at once. If you've got to call in your texture mappers and animators, etc, after the game is shipped, to work on something you're planning to sell for $10, it simply is not feasible.

Then of course, there are long periods during development where builds go off to testing, or the lead on whatever department is out for the day, and numerous other events where resources can be invested into additional content. Its important to properly allocate time and resources during development. In a world where GameStop is shoveling out traded in copies less than 2 weeks after launch, it makes sense to develop DLC as early as possible (and to promote it). This is something some gamers have still yet to understand, but in time, (most) will get over it and accept it.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@Thanatos2k He doesn't work for EA anymore. He doesn't have to clear anything with them.

brownba3
brownba3

@shaolinwind @brownba3 Thank you for the edification.  Yes Uncharted 2 was the top of console game of the year and was GOTY on a several other awards in 2009... not most but some, ... 4yrs ago...Thanks for the Noob, think that is the first time a knob has called me a noob...nice thing is that luckily the limited grasp of reality will not impinge upon PC games.  I will continue to enjoy my little box (PC) gaming.  And you can continue living in ignorant bliss in that limited gaming world of yours... 

shaolinwind
shaolinwind

@weewalio @stev69 Consoles don't advance technology bro. Never have. Developers advance technology. And Consoles are so much more streamlined and dedicated for gaming, it is the prime choice for developers. 

PC's can't achieve the same thing because no one has the exact same hardward and software setup. So many more hiccups.

charlieholmes
charlieholmes

I love how when the PC guys talk they always talk about the powerhouse PC and ewwww the graphics. Never about how problematic the PC is with gaming, glitches, hardware conflicts with software, and the whole small screen experience. How many people do we know have anything close to a screaming gaming PC beside uh maybe, ourselves. I know not one person that does. People want ease of play, step in and go gaming, with solid performance while gaming, none of which I experience with my gaming rig today which is why I love my consoles now!

The PC market is struggling with all the options out there just like every other platform trying to grab a big share! I have my PC for the few exclusives I love, Total War and COH etc. And, every time I watch a PC to Xbox to PS4 graphics comparison video I struggle to see any difference that I can say oh yeah, there we go, that's what I'm missing! Other than draw distance, fogging, and maybe less smoke or something, there is no fucking difference. On top of that, I just want a game to look good, play good, and have a good story and I'm happy!

And don't even get me started on all the mods for PC games that have broke my games too many times to count over the 30+ years I've been at it! That shit is just too frigging frustrating to ever want to visit again. I play to play, not trouble-shoot and conflict resolve, which is why I love the seamless console! End of story!

stev69
stev69

@weewalio @stev69 The point being that its still better than what consoles have now, it may not be on the crest of the wave but console gamers will see an improvement, and lets face it top of the range pc's come at a high cost, consoles are meant to offer a more reasonable alternative to the consumer, which in essence they do. Of course a Savvy consumer could probably assemble a more competitive pc for around the same price, most consumers aren't that savvy to be fair. 

The truth of the matter is consoles aren't and never have been the pinnacle of home computing/gaming.

CwlHeddwyn
CwlHeddwyn

The way things are going next gen consoles will be running heft OS. Background processing and using 1gb of ram looks on the cards.

weewalio
weewalio

@Lhomity @GamerNerdTalk 

There's so much raw *unused* CPU and GPU processing power and RAM speed in my TWO AND A HALF YEAR OLD gaming PC that "wasting" some on my OS, as you put it, is meaningless.

I can still run the most demanding game made *today* and get 40 frames per second- PERFECTLY acceptable -while downloading a 10 Gb file and streaming a movie all at once.

The bottom line is this; PCs have gotten so stupidly OVERpowered in the last 3-4 years that any console hoping to match them in raw processing and graphics power is going to be too expensive to market.

So you end up getting this watered down pair of already has-been consoles.

Olgark
Olgark

@Lhomity @GamerNerdTalk And still my PC will run all that and make games like Skyrim, Eve Online and the Witcher 2 look far better than any console can. All in HD which the PC has been doing before the consoles ever got round to it. 

Consoles are one trick ponies, they can only do certain things and will never be as powerful as the desktop pc. Your going to weep when Elite and Star Citizen are released for the PC only.

GreyWolf217
GreyWolf217

@Lhomity @Thanatos2k Just to be clear NDA's (None Disclosure Agreements) can last for years.  For all we know at 4am 10 years from know he could create a blog about how EA showered him with champagne every day or made him join in human sacrifice.  The sad thing is he and his old partner probably couldn't say anything about the NDA even if they were asked so we couldn't know.  Lawyers and red tape dun dun dunnnn!!!

brownba3
brownba3

@brande77 @Ps4freak you have got to be kidding... Kinect/Wii?are similar to the reality gaming in Gamer? or Virtual reality gaming?  You must be playing on the XBox 110,000....


brownba3
brownba3

@Xenrathe @charlieholmes Good points - have to even give credit to Shaolin below - all good points.  As a non modder, I play PC because I like the ability to map buttons, use the keyboard vs a controller and more games.   I also have more options with my PC.  I see plenty of bugs on my son's X box - Black Ops 3 comes to mind - but as said with less options/limited options, it is easier to make and test games -so probably less problems, but also less Wow - The newer consoles are catching up, but all the bells and whisltes of the consoles have been around on my computer for 15 yrs - bluray, skype,internet, mmog, email...(ok hyperbole)Consoles are are like the apple computer - simple, less problems - but not as flexible/versatile - PC generally had more games than consoles - perhaps changing... perhaps somewhat of a dinosaur but I like what I know.  

charlieholmes
charlieholmes

Good for you! But I don't believe any of it! For some odd reason you guys get all bent out of shape like you've got an inferiority complex or something about being a PC gamer when it comes to arguing against people's choice of a console over it. As far as my ability, I've been modding since Gilman Louie made Falcon 4. You've heard of it I hope yeah? If it means nothing to you then you're simply to young to understand what I mean when considering the aspect of modding. Enough said though, have fun with your PC.

Xenrathe
Xenrathe

@charlieholmes How is PC problematic with gaming, glitches, hardware conflicts with software? I (nor any of my pc gamer friends) haven't had any of those in years and years. Furthermore, most of us use our TVs AS our computer monitors.

Literally your entire argument, when melted down, comes across as a testament to your ineptitude with technology, or at least PC gaming. You can't handle modding so therefore it must be bad. You don't know how to properly choose hardware or troubleshoot, so it must be buggier.

No true PC gamer talks about mere graphics when referencing its superiority to console. That's the talk of children. Rather, we speak of vastly reduced prices via steam sale; we speak of the thriving indie scene; we speak of the possibilities of modding; we speak of the control of our own hardware and its flexibility; the lack of fees for our online gaming services; the finer, better controls; and on and on and on.

To the technologically savvy gamer, the PC is superior to console in every respect except for the presence of some very fine exclusives on the consoles and the occasional console UI porting issues (which are often fixed via mod anyway).

Shmoe82
Shmoe82

@stev69 exactly what i'm think.  You don't need to advance technology hugely to want to get the next thing.  Ever see someone buy a used computer, Weewalio?  Did you ask them, why bother because its old technology?  Wii/Wii U doesn't advance technology but its awesome.  The PS4, Xbox 720 will be better than what we are using now and we'll probably be happy; trying to make us convert to PC 'only' gaming (because its advanced and cutting edge) is as effective as trying to convert an atheist to monotheistic, aint gunna happen.

weewalio
weewalio

@shaolinwind  They run about as well as StarCraft 2, Amnesia (Dark Descent), Torchlight 2,  League of Legends, MechWarrior Online or Hawken would  run on your consoles, my dear little troll.

shaolinwind
shaolinwind

@weewalio @Lhomity @GamerNerdTalk Oh really? How does Journey run on your computer? Or Uncharted? or any of the other Game of the year winners that are console only...

PCtards - you guys still don't get that SPECS DO NOT GAMING MAKE. 

Keep fappin to your PC specs bro lol