Industry in 'turmoil' says Bleszinski

Former Epic Games design director says situation bleakest since '80s crash, claims Nintendo could become software-only company.

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The game industry is in a state of turmoil that has not been matched since the 1980s crash, former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski told GamesIndustry International today.

"This business has not been in a state of transition like it is right now since the video game crash of the '80s. I really think we're in a massive state of turmoil," Bleszinski said.

The developer, who left Epic Games in October, also claimed that Nintendo may exit the hardware business after reportedly selling just 57,000 Wii U units in the United States in January.

"I think Nintendo could possibly be faced with the situation of becoming a company that only makes software moving forward," he said. "I think Sony and Microsoft are about to come to major blows. But at the same time, people love playing games on their iPad."

"The PC is going through a wonderful renaissance right now," he added. "I think we're ready to do digital download games all the time…I just want to see what happens. In regards to the industry, it's like the Super Smash Bros. of business right now, and I want to see if Peach or Mario wins."

Gamers will get to hear more from Bleszinski in the time ahead. The developer will give keynote addresses at PAX East 2013 in March and the East Coast Game Conference in April.

Discussion

1177 comments
jhcho2
jhcho2

He's jumping the gun a little isn't he? It takes about 2 to 3 consecutive failed consoles to literally cause a company to move out of the hardware business. Nintendo just made it big with the Wii. The system was cheap, it sold the most, and no major financial sinkholes like RROD or R&D cost. If anything, Nintendo is able to brush away one major failure - the Wii U. Nintendo has to fail in the next two consoles before moving out.

And I don't see where all the turmoil is coming from. Is the industry in turmoil, or him?

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

Yeah... Nintendo have a lot of cash stashed away, i think if they innovate right they'll be here for a long time even if the WiiU fails. 

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Eh, he's right.  So many console manufacturer and developers are too focused on powerful hardware and expensive, cost-prohibitively difficult to make 3D games that are big risks to make and increasingly bigger risks as technology gets more advanced and development gets more expensive.

I don't care about the latest graphics that much anymore.  Nowadays I'm trying more indie tites and either replaying old games or buying some of the ones I missed.  I don't disagree with upgrading hardware and technology every so often, in fact I think it's a necessity in order to take advantage of the newest and most advanced/refined ways of doing things, but I think the AAA console industry's killing itself and its bottom line with too much focus on visuals.

More focus on the quality of the experience and innovation would probably work better.  So many companies are making a lot of money selling cheap mobile games for a few dollars because those games cost so little to make and have such a high volume of sales.  I wish the AAA industry would learn from the other parts of the gaming industry.  Visuals aren't everything, especially when they cost so much for increasingly diminishing returns.

slave1_basic
slave1_basic

Hey Eddie, why don't you marry the guy and be done with this stupid fascination already!

wyan_
wyan_

Nintendo has and is always striving to do their own thing, so while I agree with the possibility that the Wii U is really a failure, I don't think Big N will drop out of the console race.

lm316
lm316

cliff bitchzinsky know as the gears of war guy...

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

With a national average of 6.7Mbps download speeds in the US (with plenty of offline folk) an all-digital industry isn't a reality at this point. Try making the entire industry go fully digital and you will kill a significant share of the industry.

I'd like Nintendo to do software for other platforms, but I admire their creativity and ability to innovate with existing technologies. So it's hard to think of the Nintendo console going extinct.

I know a lot of pele like games on their iPads. I do too, but console and PC gaming almost always comes first when non-casual gamers are looking to play games. Lets do a GameSpot survey!

maddog123
maddog123

Nintendo will go the way of Sega, Sony and Microsoft will be the big 2 left unless the Steam Box gets off the ground and shows its muscle, if it has any. There is and will continue to be a resurgence in PC gaming, and once again, if the Steam Box gets up and running, we'll see PC gaming come back with a vengeance I think, just because of the connection between the two. Tablet gaming will always be a niche market, and thats that.

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

Most of this "turmoil" is self-inflicted. The industry keeps trying to latch on to the next big thing and in the meantime ignores the gamers who made them successful. If they crash and burn, they have only themselves to blame.

RogerioFM
RogerioFM

The guy is like a ball of turd, rolling down a hill of turd and the ball gets bigger and bigger, rolling over everything on its path with crap and nonsense. His words makes me cringe, it's like I half expect that tomorrow EA will release an statement saying how microtransactions are ruining gaming.

caramel_cod
caramel_cod

Did Cliff just liken Sony to Princess Peach?

GOGOHeadray
GOGOHeadray

Nintendo lost a large amount of gamer confidence with the WII since it was a last gen system compared to the ps3 and 360. Given that the wii u has looked underwhelming at best its no surprise people are waiting on the PS4 and 720 to come out to gather thier next gen experience.

_el_Greco_
_el_Greco_

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN!!

CLIFF BLESZINSKI TIME!! : D

Only on Gamespot.

Danny_KickAzz
Danny_KickAzz

Cant see how ios/android/ect games are gonna over throw console and PC based games..

Zanoh
Zanoh

On PC, sure. Give me games on Steam. Consoles though, Nintendo stands a better chance than Sony and Microsoft atm. Nintendo profits from their hardware, not the other two.

johnman05
johnman05

Digital Downloads? All the time? LMAO

Pi
Pi

Oh, and the day games go download only is the day I'll start pirating.  I want to OWN my game.  I want a physical disc.  Not a download on a console that can be taken away at any time.

Pi
Pi

I despise playing games on a phone or tablet.  Few are more than simple platformers and the like - which have their place - but as distractions, not a pastime.  And I much prefer a controller to a touch screen and motion controls.  And not only that, but it is quite difficult to play them with another person - they're so isolating - you're off in your own world.  Am I just getting old or what, LoL?

Katra
Katra

I and many others long for an Unreal Tournament game similar to Unreal Tournament 2004.  Unreal Tournament 3 is a travesty reduced to console standards.  Come on Cliff, just one more, I still play it everyday almost.  Bring arena shooters back!

puketrain
puketrain

I agree with almost everything he says in this article.  I have a big family with a PS3, 360 and a CPU yet all my kids play are games on their kindle and phones.  This is a different generation and they have had a different level of exposure and choice in terms of game types.  Companies need to stop milking the consumers for every penny and worry about surviving instead.

wizzzer_thy_133
wizzzer_thy_133

i miss the old Cliff, who stood behind Unreal Tournament with unprecendented free support, the old Cliff who was simply a fun energetic dude and not a mouthpiece worm for giant coorporations.

the way people change... and look at him now, clinging to his old self, clinging to us, guess what cliffy, you are part of all that is wrong with the industry, it will take you so much more to get our trust back.


Psycold
Psycold

When I look at Cliff's face,  I expect to hear some kind of oink sound.

Alchemist252
Alchemist252

I have a belief that if both the ps4 and 720 are released any where near what they are now they will be the LAST generation of consoles for a long time to come (not in a good way obviously). Consoles will die out and the only way they  might be brought back is if they return to actually being GAMING consoles, not freaking media centers with gimmicky garbage (Yes i am looking at you nintendo and kinect) . I know if I continue gaming I will become a PC gamer sooner than later.

XxTheEvilxX
XxTheEvilxX

Yeah, yeah, yeah... it's in turmoil because dumbasses are making the decisions. Very few of these guys actually listen to what the fans want. Now I am reading more accusations from people who worked on Aliens that Randy Pitchford basically used SEGA money to develop Borderlands 2 while sending A:CM out to crappy third parties to develop most of the game. It is the ugliest thing I've ever seen. This is the E.T. of the new generation (For those of you old enough to remember E.T. on the 2600).

They knew it was bad but still screwed people are trying to recover whatever they could. Are you telling me Randy never saw the completed edition of this turd? Then you have EA microtranaction the crap out of Dead Space fans. You have charges for this and charges for that. And the idiots in charge say, "Duh... geeh.. uh... maybe people just want to game on their I-pod forever and consoles are dead". You can't compare the two. Different markets entirely. Angry Birds may have sold millions, but they haven't touched the revenue of many AAA games. What I-phone game makes a billion in one month? Guess what? Stupid activision did. These guys are simply stupid.

Ron White: "You can't fix stupid"

RogerioFM
RogerioFM

This guy should shut his trap, he say crap after crap, guess I am to blame since I read it, but damn. For me the industry is ever evolving, yes, there is bound to have lots of repetition since a lot of ground was already covered and a lot was new back then, so everything seemed better and original.

But there are hundreds of great game being released every year, that is challenging and original, and besides, people complain about innovation, but "Looking Glass" and many other companies have gone bankrupt because they dared to innovate and now people are buying old school games to the thousands that add nothing new to the industry and calling it the best thing ever.

So, yeah, I think the industry is fine, and if you cannot find anything to like you are just being lazy.

Pie_FOREVER
Pie_FOREVER

I came to terms with the fact that what we're witnessing now is very much (in MANY ways) paralleling the state of the gaming market as it was in the 1980s.

It's frightening how everyone is seemingly making the same mistakes that they should have learned from history. There is an over-abundance of stuff that nobody wants, a market that has become so overflooded with choices that nobody wants to make a choice anymore.

I have absolutely no desire to buy into this gen. In fact given the trends of gaming, I think I'm calling it quits. I will play games from my collection of generations past rather than invest in the new. After gaming for most of my life (since I was 3), and now as a 22 year old, I see nothing to truly look forward to. There is nothing compelling or necessary this coming gen because NOT ONE of these 3 companies is truly innovating. Nintendo just made one of the biggest miscalculations I think I've ever seen a company involved in technology ever make with the Wii U.

As someone who watches industry trends for a living, I have absolutely no clue how Nintendo expects to pull through this, other than them bleeding out the majority (if not all) of their capital just to stay afloat from this disaster. That doesn't give Sony or Microsoft a free pass either. We'll reserve judgement until we see what MS has in store but right now the future seems pretty bleak and uninspired in terms of what we have to look forward to.

We've reached a stage where these 3 behemoths have become to big for their boots and too comfortable resting on their laurels of past achievements that they're all too afraid to really take risks, and instead, have opted to play it safe. If history has taught us anything, just about life in general, it's that playing it safe is the coward's way out, because it is not a long term strategy. It only deals with right here and now, not the future.

bruthabong1
bruthabong1

I still think the anti-christ of gaming is EA

boyrush
boyrush

Nintendo needs to treat its consumers like adults instead of making games for children. The games Nintendo makes now are geared towards kids, not adults. Start making adult games, and watch your sales increase.

santinegrete
santinegrete

No! not like Sega! (lack of subtance in the comment is intentional)

bannermanner
bannermanner

Maybe I'm terrible, but I would absolutely LOVE it if Nintendo was a software-only company.

racerxgundam
racerxgundam

@slave1_basic My question is who wears the dress in that scenario

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@_el_Greco_ Hey, I like Cliff Bleszinski time.  It's like Clobbering Time or Bucky Time, except it's more Gears of War and/or Jazz Jackrabbit-y.

wyan_
wyan_

@Zanoh You're a generation behind with your info son. The original Wii hardware sold for profit, but the Wii U sells below cost. Nintendo officially announced this before launch day.

deathblow3
deathblow3

@Zanoh yeah but they have yet to make there money back the system wasnt free to develop you know. got 2 words for you dream cast it sold 11mill in 3 years  that is 3hundred thousand plus a month 5 times more than the wii u look what happend to them.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

@Katra that won't bappen. Gamers have moved onto slower paced shooter games like Battlefield and Call of Duty. Arena shooters are from the late 90's era.

deathblow3
deathblow3

@puketrain i have all that as well and that only happens if my sons friends are not online

whatizgoinon
whatizgoinon

@Pie_FOREVER I was just thinking everything you just said last night when my xbox live sub expired. weird.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

@Pie_FOREVER I think Sony -may- have learnt a lesson or two from the PS3 launch, and as for nintendo... The Wii U baffles me.

deathblow3
deathblow3

@boyrush hell they should try a new ip nintendo hasnt done anything new since super nintendo and they didnt even create killer instinct

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

@bannermanner Same here man. Playing Harvest Moon and full console Pokemon on a machine I would use every day rather than once every three years would be cool.

BigJimDenver
BigJimDenver

@johnman05 Don't kid yourself. I don't like it and apparently you don't either but this appears to be the way the industry is headed like it or not


Katra
Katra

Gamers haven't moved on, it's just that newer gamers haven't been properly introduced to these types of shooters just like I was when I was 15 or 16.  Good gameplay is good gameplay.  Arena based shooters just need a modern appeal for it's classic gameplay structure.  I mean I cringe when I compare the skill it takes to play Unreal compared to COD or something similar. 

Also, Unreal 2k4 is from 2004, not 90's and is best arena shooter imo.  Never played those 90's Arena shooters like Quake I guess.  Just give it a modern appeal and keep the core gameplay mechanics. 

When you look at UT2K4's package overall it had many aspects that appeals to people nowadays, ie. CTF, Domination, Vehical CTF (Vehical Combat), mods galore, survival mode, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, TAM (team based last man standing), all this content and more for free.  God, I just want one more similar type game with similar controls. 

On the negative for many (plus for me), this type of game just cannot be played with a controller.  That was the downfall of Unreal Tournament 3, it tried to pander to both sides making it slow, clunky, and just boring.

Bah, I can always hope.

karenwen
karenwen

@KatraUT3 was solid in terms of gameplay and is the closest in gameplay to UT99, which IMO had better gameplay than UT2k4. Problem is you had to trudge through a lot of shit to get that good gameplay in UT3 including one of the worst, anti-user friendly interfaces to ever grace a shooter that sucks even for consoles, bugs galore, features that have become standard in the UT series and shooters in general missing. 

UT2k4 had a better overall package (and had the polish that UT3 was devoid of) yeah, but including the majority of the content from UT2k3(which was about as "successful" as UT3 when it came to sustaining players, but UT2K3 was due to drastic gameplay changes) helped a lot in that regard.

Epic was receiving a lot of optimism when they released the UT3 beta demo, but when the full version came out a month later amidst heavy competition from other shooters with little feedback employed into the full version(which still felt like a beta), they pretty much did irreparable damage that made the game DOA, despite having better gameplay than the majority of its competition.

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

@Katra Unreal Tournament 3 was fast, I don't know what you're talking about. In fact, I found it quite fun even though other games caught my attention. I did have controller support, even on PC and gamers could use it if they chose. Section 8 was a direct rip-off of Unreal trying to Halo, but it wasn't as fun and alot slower.