Bethesda Boss Pete Hines Wants To See Closed System Walls Come Down

"We as an industry need to start to move to not be so beholden to, 'I only make a thing for that machine and not this one.'"

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Now Playing: Our Mixed Feelings From The Fallout 76 Beta

Bethesda's Pete Hines has some strong, bold words for where he wants to see games go in the future. During a PAX Aus panel today, Hines said he believes the gaming industry would benefit from moving away from the idea of platform exclusives. No one buys physical media like a DVD or Blu-ray and worries about having the necessary hardware to play it, and Hines would like to see that model in games.

"I think you're going to see platforms get more homogenised," he said. "Because truthfully, there's really not a reason for [competing consoles] to be different. You don't buy a DVD and then worry about which DVD player you have. You just buy a DVD and anything that plays DVDs works. And I think games are going to start to move closer and closer to that."

Hines said he sees a future where you buy a game and play it on whatever platform you want.

"You might decide to play it on the Sony machine or the Microsoft machine or use the Google [streaming] service, but it will start--I think--to look more like it really doesn't matter what you choose to play it on," he said. "You just want to play this game on the thing you choose to play your games on whether that's because where your friends are or whatever. Things like cross-platform play, cross-platform progression, all of that stuff."

"We as an industry need to start to move to not be so beholden to, 'I only make a thing for that machine and not this one.,'" he added. "The faster we get to that the better it'll be for developers, the better it'll be for games. I think we as an industry--because we need to--are going to move less toward differentiation--'Why is a thing better on one platform than another'--and more toward I just want to make a thing that everybody can play. Because that's ultimately what's going to get you the most players; that's what's going to get devs the most money and reach the most fans."

Hines' comments seem to fall in line with the rumours about new consoles like the Xbox Scarlett system and others placing more of an emphasis on streaming. In the movie, TV, and music business--which is now dominated by digital and streaming--the content you purchase generally is able to move with you to whatever new piece of hardware from any supplier that you buy. There are those in gaming who believe game streaming--the "Netflix of games"--is going to be a very big deal very soon. Sony already operates in that space with PlayStation Now, while Microsoft is working on a game-streaming service of its own. EA is also working on a game-streaming network.

Platform-exclusives like God of War for PS4 an Forza Horizon 4 on Xbox One are largely marketing vehicles to help sell consoles. If you want to play God of War, you need to buy a PS4. There is no other way to play it. But if streaming picks up and platform-holders relax their policies, that could result in major changes in where and how people play games. Google's Project Cloud streaming service is already showing with Assassin's Creed: Odyssey that you don't need a console to play the newest, best-looking games.

Hines has already teased that he knows something about new consoles, so he very well might have been alluding to the capabilities of those systems, though nothing is confirmed. Intriguingly, the CEO of Take-Two, Strauss Zelnick, has made very similar comments to what Hines said today. During a presentation recently, Zelnick talked about how the "closed system walls" that exist between Microsoft, Sony, and others need to come down. He didn't mention new consoles by name, but it makes sense that he is among those who would be briefed on new hardware before it's announced.

"The closed system walls are coming down, and they have to," he said. "Streaming is going to accelerate those walls coming down. We're all here for the consumers. If you're going to create rules that don't benefit the consumers but somehow you think benefit your enterprise, you're mistaken. Consumers will go elsewhere. You have to pay attention to what the consumer wants."

What do you think about the future of gaming as it relates to streaming and being able to play anywhere you want? Let us know in the comments below!

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Avatar image for walken0nfire

The only this more ridiculous than this article and the idiot who wrote it are the morons who believe it. Way too many whiners about this game and you have all been finding any little thing to cry about. You call this game a cash grab but you play money hungry games like Fortnite… or GTA V.... okay.... I mean you haters will just believe anything some imbecile writes. I'm already a level 20 in the game and have been doing very well without having to spend more than what I paid for the game. Stop believing everything you read you simple fools.

Avatar image for andrewsqual

PSN NEVER had walls to play with PC users. And if this liar meant what he is saying, then Fallout 76 would already support cross play with PS4 and PC and since recently, Xbone and PC too. You never intended to have any form of cross play in this game whatsoever so why pretend now when you were exposed when you can't blame Sony for not having now???

Avatar image for James_xeno

"There are those in gaming who believe game streaming--the "Netflix of games"--is going to be a very big deal very soon. Sony already operates in that space with PlayStation Now, while Microsoft is working on a game-streaming service of its own. EA is also working on a game-streaming network."

Ahh NO! That's a non starter. The major pubs and ind players, along with their shills in media and online, need to get over this boondoggle of an idea/fantasy, to stop fantasizing about their little total control/power dreams and start actually working on advancing game and dev tech. (hardware and software) Getting a little sick of single path action movie like "experiences" and big open empty static worlds (in both terms of events/low level story and physical nature), or AI that would lead one to believe that the "AI" making just plain random choices, would be more likely to end in competent and logical actions.

Avatar image for Bivibob

As far as I know Pete Hines is Bethesda's head of PR -- I don't really think the headline should be calling him "Bethesda Boss."

Avatar image for kaminobenimizu

The ONLY exclusives that makes sense is when they are 1st parties, or when 3rd party titles were funded by the platform creator. Like Bayonetta 2 and 3 that I've heard were funded by Nintendo.

It'll remain so for years to come. You want Netflix exclusives? Get Netflix, not Hulu or others. Streaming won't change games like that. I don't know what sort of weed Hines smoked, but it must be great!

Also, if they are here for the consumers, they should want to give the best services at the best price. But many of us knows that once streaming picks up, many big guys will screw up one way or another.

Avatar image for zer0day

Pete Hines every fucking day: "Hey gamers! We here at bethesda love you! We don't support those dang anti-consumer practices! No sir!"

**** off with that. Actions speak louder than words. Fallout 76 looks like trash and Beth Softworks hasn't done any real innovation since like 2006 as far development. I don't care about Pete Hines' opinion on the industry when he isn't doing anything interesting for it.

Avatar image for soliaired50

Man Pete Hines sounds like a blowhard.

Avatar image for gzaface

Well he and Bethesda can start by making their own console and then market it the way they desire. They should focus in learn how to make games without so many bugs and learn to keep their mouth shut if they can't deliver what they ask for (multi cross platform fallout)

Avatar image for b0ggen

Hey how about not restricting your games to effing Steam then. Been waiting 7 years to play Skyrim and still want to play F4.

Avatar image for shadowwarrior4

@b0ggen: you can play skyrim on xbox, ps4 , ps3 , 360 hell even switch , what console do you have? and fallout 4 is on ps4 and xbox one also fallout 76 wont be on steam youll have to log into your bethesda account to run it on pc

Avatar image for Xristophoros

i highly doubt there will be a day where a sony console can run nintendo and microsoft games locally or vice versa. funny how betheda didn't mention nintendo -- their new best friend lol. nintendo will forever design its own hardware and make games that are catered specifically around that. why would nintendo want to forgo its vision by having its games run on competitors' console with a controller they never had in mind for example?

why would sony, who owns numerous first party studios and who has invested billions of dollars into them, allow their games to be played on competitors' consoles if it won't benefit their ecosystem and hardware division? if you can kill two birds with one stone, why wouldn't you?

the gaming industry has always been unique in that hardware was always different amongst the competitors and as a result, games were always unique to said platforms. so long as you continue to have companies developing hardware, exclusive software will exist in order to sell the hardware. good luck trying to convince sony, microsoft and nintendo into dropping their hardware business... nintendo in particular would rather go out of business than put zelda on a sony or microsoft console. it is more about the power of the brand and the experience one associates with the brand... these companies want to be able to control the experience entirely and not leave that in the hands of a 3rd party. for example, what if mario galaxy had been ported to the xbox 360 during the rrod era? that would taint nintendo's reputation as mario would indirectly be affiliated with the problem that gamers were facing with the shoddy hardware... nintendo protects its brands and image almost as much as disney and wouldn't put itself in such a position.

that said, the walls could potentially fall IF -- and it is a big if -- streaming takes over and the demand for local hardware becomes mute. in such a situation, there will no longer be the need for r&d from the various console makers and as such, there will no longer be a drive to make exclusive games to sell the hardware. all generic streaming boxes will stream games in the exact same way, so there will be no desire from the big three to worry about a proprietary box any longer. perhaps they will still manufacture unique controllers, sure, but they will be compatible with every streaming box. of course, this is a pipe dream at this point in time. i cannot see streaming becoming stable or efficient enough for at least another 10+ years, and even then, bandwidth caps and spotty infrastructure in various regions around the world will always be a factor preventing such a vision from truly taking off.

i believe next gen we will be given an option, though. either purchase a traditional console to play games locally, or purchase a streaming box which will play the same games, but with the obvious caveats. that said, if they can get the price down to $100 for the streaming box, that could potentially be enticing to a sub sect of the gaming community. first party games will still be exclusive to the platform so long as a traditional console still exists for the brand, though. i can totally see sony and microsoft rolling these out next gen and giving people the choice. nintendo is very slow to adapt so i think they are at least 5 years away from attempting this model.

Avatar image for kaminobenimizu

@Xristophoros: It reminds me of... a PC, or the failed Steambox, or whatever it was called. However, maybe we won't need a streaming box, but just TV. In such a case, the company selling the most TVs would win. Streaming boxes would be useless. Only streaming services would be available to download on TVs and voila.

Skyrim refrigerator edition would be pretty cool. *ba dum tiss*

Avatar image for ember_to_flame

no exlusives, that would mean the death of xbox and playstation(and nintendo). They could just aswell scrap future plans and make a system together. Nintendo+ps+xb = one system. Would be no console war progression to push the developement. And I will never ever pursue streaming over downloaded/physical copy items.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

@ember_to_flame: If it ends the premium membership requirement for online multiplayer, I'm fine with consoles dying off, but I'm not a fan of streaming. Lizard Squad proved one reason it's a bad idea.

Avatar image for andrewsqual

@Jinzo_111887: PS Now doesn't require a PS Plus sub to play online though.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

@andrewsqual: Maybe not, but I'm not into streaming games nor renting them. I actually prefer to buy music, movies, and games.

Avatar image for TylerGamer84

@Jinzo_111887: Don't let some group of punks Loser Squad that hide behind their keyboards intimidate you.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

@TylerGamer84: It would be impossible to play streamed games if there's a DDOS attack. I'd rather see consoles die off to be replaced by PC gaming over streaming. PlayStation, Xbox, and now Nintendo's console lines all need to simultaneously crash and burn, but paying to play games that you could be denied access to because of a licensing issue, trouble makers like lizard squad, or a bad Internet connection is a no go either.

Avatar image for Dudeman315

@TylerGamer84: BY intimidate do you mean "shut down your entire ability to game with streaming only service for weeks at a time during the holiday season"?

Avatar image for SoNin360

Really seems like Bethesda just doesn't like Sony. All the exclusive deals with Microsoft on past games and now they're preaching about cross-platform play when it's now Sony that's holding back from that idea.

Avatar image for andrewsqual

@SoNin360: Yet multiple game this AND last gen proved that PSN always supported cross play with PC so why didn't they start there if they want it that bad to be moaning about it?

Avatar image for heqteur

this is the only logical next step. Cross play only paved the way for platforms unification. The way things are evolving, there will soon be very little power difference between the best and weakest consoles/platforms so unifying games across all machines will only make sense. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sure exclusives will still be a thing, but there will be less of them and they will be mostly 1st party.

Avatar image for Pedro

The comments are hilarious. This is the inevitable future and fortunately the average gamer will favor this move. Gone would be the notion of this juvenile practice of buying multiple near identical hardware to plays specific games. All game developers make money from selling software. All console manufacturers make money from selling software. The reason people own hardware is to play these software. The unrefined arguments being levied in the comments is people by games to play hardware but that is not how things work.

Good news is that this is going to happen whether folks like it or not. It would definitely hurt the pride of fanboys which is even better. :)

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

@Pedro: Let me know when you figure out a way to stop people from DDOSing streaming services.

Avatar image for Xristophoros

@Pedro: don't get so excited. it won't happen for at least 10+ years and that is only if isp's remove bandwidth caps (or at least offer people better pricing for unlimited bandwidth). it is very unlikely they will do either of those things, thereby preventing game streaming from taking off. good luck with your vision, though :D

Avatar image for alexofburg

Yeah that's not really how it works, dvd is simply a format. A game works all together differently than that. Nice idea but that's like saying I should be able to grow wings and fly. Just won't, cant happen.

Avatar image for sakaixx

For 3rd party publisher this is obviously a good move. For platform holder this meant suicide.

Avatar image for Cryptics

Dumbest idea ever, if Nintendo released there games on other platforms then there would be no need to buy there under powered hardware. Only one console would be needed.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

@Cryptics: In the Switch's case, it would still have portability, however, I'd go with a PC version of any first party game over the Switch because of paid online.

Avatar image for heqteur

@Cryptics: there would be … "know need"?

Avatar image for Cryptics

@heqteur: fixed

Avatar image for poe13

Yeah business deals suck but like some comments here already state, the exclusives sell the hardware. Really wish I could have Uncharted series and Bloodborne on my kickass PC but I knew that wasn't going to happen so I just bought em back then and had and still have a lot of fun with them. Would've been awesome to play at 60fps and even better graphics but it is what it is.

Avatar image for solid_snake1461

This dude isn't suggesting anything that's beneficial to the consumers. He's simply promoting the road for the "streaming only platform" and the "game as a service" BS. And to you devs, whoever walks down that path will receive no money from me.

Avatar image for Xylymphydyte

I guess they should go first by letting you play your stuff on every platform after buying it only once!

Avatar image for roganjosh88

If it’s all about the consumer then trust me No One will choose streaming over downloading and owning a game and being able to play it offline. That’s what 99% of gamers want.

Avatar image for Hicks233

"No one buys physical media like a DVD or Blu-ray and worries about having the necessary hardware to play it,"

People did have to choose between Blu-ray and HD-DVD before one became dominant. Also, both Blu-ray and DVD came, with in many cases region restrictions - that's the equivalent to platform exclusivity for those forms of media.

Avatar image for USDevilDog

Bethesda and Pete Hines are hypocrites. We need more criticism regarding these business heads speaking from both sides of their mouths. It's ironic that he would use DVDs and Blu-ray as a metaphor for an open system, yet Bethesda (along with EA, Take Two, and Activision) have been fighting the idea of second-hand trade of used video games for the past 10 years. Funny enough, you can buy used DVD and Blu-ray discs without worry. There is a reason why these companies are pushing for a DRM all-digital future.

Avatar image for redhedjack

I get what he's trying to say. In a perfect world, it would be great to have games be able to play universally no matter what company built the box, but unfortunately that's just not how business is done with this industry. Exclusives are what sell hardware for these companies and they turn a lucrative profit from doing so.

It's an optimistic idea that I can dig, but unfortunately it's not a realistic one.

Avatar image for dacontag

Seriously, this guy is an idiot. I'm glad Fallout 76 is looking like it's going to be a failure.

Avatar image for speed45823

@dacontag: Looking like ? It's a sure failure.

Avatar image for Barighm

His DVD example is a bad one. Believe it or not, not all DVD players are created equal. There are region codes to consider, plus cheaper DVD players have fewer codecs, so there is a greater chance a DVD won't work in it.

And I've got admit, games made exclusively for a specific console tend to be a lot better than those made for multiple platforms. Well, for Sony and Nintendo anyway. Until the publishers can guarantee that a game made for all systems will be just as well optimized as a first party console exclusive, then I can't stand fully behind this idea of no "closed systems". I mean, I'd like to stand behind it, but, if anything, publishers have been cutting more corners than ever.

Avatar image for heqteur

@Barighm: region codes are also a thing on disc based games. Ever heard about NTSC/PAL?

Avatar image for HOLYSHMUCK

@Barighm: I feel like he's wanting to push more for the idea of if you buy a copy of a third party game, like Fallout 4, that it should be compatible with most devices to avoid rebuying for multiple consoles. But console exclusives will stay as is.

Avatar image for redhedjack

@Barighm: Back during the Xbox/PS2/GC era, games such as Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and BG&E were great on all 3 consoles. I guess nowadays obviously with game tech becoming so ludicrously complex it ain't nearly as easy.

Avatar image for uninspiredcup

Pretty hypocritical considering they tried to make it platform exclusive away from it's competitor (Steam) because they didn't like getting a cut taken.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800

@uninspiredcup: These are the same guys who threw shade at sony for preventing Fallout 76 having cross platform play then once sony announced they were allowing it they were like "umm it's not our top priority and we're not sure if it will ever happen lol". So I'm not surprised by your statement.