Bleszinski: next-gen console winner will embrace “connectivity, sharing, user content”

Saturday, 11 May 2013 20:55 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

When in comes to next-gen systems, Cliff Bleszinski feels Sony’s really embraced the indie and sharing scenes, and he’s really interested in what Microsoft has to show on May 21.

Speaking with Engadget in a wide-ranging interview, Bleszinski feels that other than better graphics, console manufacturers “who get it” will succeed if connectivity and user content is embraced.

“I think those who get it with the next generation will get the idea of connectivity and sharing and allowing the user to build the content,” he said. “I have a very good relationship with Microsoft, but [there are] a lot of TCRs you’d have to go through, all the stuff you’d have to go through to get your game on Xbox Live Arcade, or even issue updates on; it was a nightmare.

“They just announced that they’re doing some sort of presser with some of their future plans. I’m curious to hear some of them because it feels like Sony’s embraced a lot of that vibe thus far, as far as indie games go and whatnot. I feel like Sony’s really embraced that vibe, and [the] homebrewed and homegrown movement that’s really taken over, and what a cool thing that somebody in his garage made as a mod that is going to go viral tomorrow.

“Somebody I think posted a video at the top of Reddit of somebody [doing] a 50-limo race in Just Cause 2 and it was hilarious. Bugs notwithstanding, there’s a direct correlation between how great your game is and how many viral videos it can make. Honestly, whoever embraces that for this next generation of games on console is going to win.

“The other thing about next-generation consoles and whatever wins is it’s not just about having the better hardware; it’s also about what your ecosystem is. I mean, once you announce next-generation consoles, that’s pretty much [the start of] the death toll for people playing whatever generation is out there right now — because of a lot of us core gamers will not buy what’s out there right now because they’re saving their dollars for what’s coming next.

“Releasing a next-generation console into the upcoming market is still a decent risk because there are, like I said, more platforms than ever. Am I going to want another dedicated box? I’ll play the hell out of it, but will it catch fire? I don’t know if we’ll ever see the same level of success that the PlayStation 2 saw, which is one of the number-one-selling consoles of all time. So it’s a very risky endeavor right now. I’ll still check it out and play it.

“This generation’s ending with a whimper, not a bang, it feels like.”

Bleszinski also feels indies are using Kickstarter not only for funding their game, but just as as much for the community aspect and the PR which automatically comes from it.

“People don’t recognize Kickstarter is only one-third about the money. It’s also about the community; you get it instantly built and the PR marketing you get. You have “boom.” People invested their money, and now they care. They’re reading your updates,” he said.

“Here’s the thing about crowdsourcing and Kickstarter: I’ve mentioned this before, but I enjoy reiterating because it’s important to me. There was this controversial thing where there was a woman who was allegedly a millionaire or multi-millionaire, and she wanted to kick-start some money for her nine-year-old daughter for her to do her own video game and things like that.

“And the internet of course attacks her, and there was probably some weird misogynistic, you know, purpose behind it: ‘How dare she ask for crowdfunding money? She’s already a millionaire.’ And yet at the same time, nobody gets mad at Richard Garriott when he asked for a million dollars to do an Ultima-style game when he’s the guy who spent $30 million to go to space. And I love Richard, and I think he’s brilliant and he’s one of my development heroes.”

The interview can be read in full through the link, and it covers quite a few other subjects such as his investment in Oculus Rift, why he never developed games for Nintendo (“They never called.”), his opinion regarding “always on” amid the SimCity connection fiasco, and many many other things.

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