Zeschuk: “I don’t see how” new consoles can rescue “kind of sick” market

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 01:25 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Sony and Microsoft have to do something dramatic or the traditional console market is in trouble, according to former BioWare leader Greg Zeschuk.

Speaking to GamesIndustry, Zeschuk said the games industry is in a lot of trouble.

“The console core sales are slowing significantly – you can’t get around that fact. We are in a kind of sick market for old-school gaming – the traditional retail-based gaming – and as much as EA has moved into digital, the boxed stuff is not as robust,” he said. “While digital is coming up fast it’s not filling in the gaps.

“Right now, there is this sort of classic innovator’s dilemma where we see a new market emerging, but it’s not really that great – with the mobile business, certain people make a lot of money but on the whole it’s not generating as much revenue as the console business. 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 – the market is what it is.”

The BioWare co-founder’s comments came up in the context of the recent ousting of former EA CEO John Riccitiello, and the question of whether Star Wars: The Old Republic under-performed, contributing to the publisher’s woes.

“The interesting thing with SWTOR, almost the only way we could have moved the needle at EA is if we were just ginormous,” he said.

“It’s kind of funny because it is such a giant company. I can’t really speak to why John’s not there anymore, but it was one of many 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.”

The PlayStation 4 is expected to launch in the 2013 holiday period; Microsoft is believed to have a new console reveal scheduled for late May.