Hines: “People want to play good stuff”

By Brenna Hillier, Monday, 18 April 2011 23:48 GMT

Bethesda executive Pete Hines has said ignoring trends and keeping a small, tight portfolio is why the publisher remains solvent while bigger companies fail.

“I have heard a lot of other companies talking about ‘well, we’re going to focus on fewer triple-A titles’, changing their philosophy – but they’re changing it to something that we’ve always been structured towards, and believed in since I started at Bethesda in 1999,” the VP of marketing and PR told GamesIndustry.

“Which is the answer – not churning out 30,40, 50 games a year; the answer is not trying to be in every genre. Not ‘oh no, now it’s the casual, now it’s social gaming!’

“We don’t go running after the latest, hottest trend. We tend to pay attention to what we’re doing, we the make that kind of games that we want to play, because we think there’s an audience for those and we try as best we can to execute them to the highest level possible,” he explained.

Hines said the company had always envisioned producing a small portfolio of high-quality games, and this had allowed them to maintain staff levels – and even grow.

“We’re not structured to put out 50 games a year and now suddenly we’re only going ten, now we’re laying people off left and right. We’ve been hiring and hiring non-stop for years, while other folks are laying off and downsizing.

The executive said Bethesda is now “hitting the spot” that it had been working towards, and isn’t tempted to go larger.

“Our philosophy hasn’t changed,” he said. “We may have acquired more internal capacity to reach that goal, but there’s a certain point at which that no longer becomes necessary”

But how can a company survive on just a handful of releases a year – if that?

“It turns out that people just like good stuff, and if you market it well and you get people into what the game is about people like it,” Hines said.

“People want to play good stuff, they want to get value for they’re paying for these games.

“So I think we do a pretty good job of delivering on that, making sure that when you buy a game from us that it’s gonna be fun and different and unique from what you played last week, last month, last year.”

In Utah last week, Johnny got a look at Bethesda’s upcoming portfolio: Prey 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Brink, Hunted: The Demon’s Forge, and RAGE.


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