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BioWare Says PC Gaming is Up!

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 17 comments
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BioWare's CEO Ray Muzyka is claiming that -despite what critics and analysts say about the decline in PC gaming- the "sector" is actually doing well.

In an interview conducted by Computer and Video Games, Muzyka claims that there are more people spending money and playing games in the PC industry than ever before. However, the spending and playing habits are taking on "a new form." As technology and audiences evolve, he believes that it's the developers' job to adapt to the new market conditions.

He goes on to talk about flash-based games and casual titles, enabling consumers to play in short bursts rather than endure long stretches of time lasting for hours. Even core games can be played in a casual manner. "It's not a bad thing if people want to play more types of games than they did 20 years ago," he said in the interview, "it's natural and normal as the audience and technology evolves. As creators we have to adapt to that and continue to make sure that we're satisfying the audience, but it doesn't mean we have to compromise."

Muzyka stated that developers can still make rich experiences. However, those experiences must be easy to access, the control system easy to use, and design it in a way for the consumer to determine how long they want to play--whether it's a 15-minute jab or a four-hour session--rather than the game forcing the consumer to play for long durations.

BioWare is the famed developer of many well-known role-playing games including the Baldur's Gate series, Neverwinter Nights series, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect. Recently the company delved into portable gaming with Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood for the Nintendo DS. Currently the company is collaborating with LucasArts on the upcoming MMOG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. With that said, it's safe to say that Muzyka and his band of developers have made anything but "short and sweet" games.

But is he correct in his assessment that PC gaming could evolve into a more laid-back approach? It's quite possible, with PC games of yesterday now deemed as "casual" or "arcade" (a good example is id Software's Quake Live, a browser-based version of the all-time classic FPS, Quake III Arena). The change has even been felt here, with parent company Bestofmedia transforming Tom's Games into a flash-based gaming website. Perhaps more PC gamers would rather spend less money on upgrading hardware, and spend more time dong what they love best.... playing easily accessible games.

However, with hot titles such as Left 4 Dead, Fallout 3, Call of Duty: World at War and World of Warcraft commanding the sales charts, its hard to believe that the PC gaming market is swinging anywhere close to a casual state. Despite economic times and piracy issues, perhaps the PC gaming market is doing well after all.

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  • 6 Hide
    that_aznpride101 , January 20, 2009 6:49 PM
    Very interesting article and pretty informative.

    The change has even been felt here, with parent company Bestofmedia transforming Tom's Games into a flash-based gaming website.

    Oh geez, please don't remind me of this. -_-
  • 7 Hide
    squatchman , January 20, 2009 7:35 PM
    The change has even been felt here, with parent company Bestofmedia replacing Tom's Games with a flash-based gaming website.

    Just so we're on the right page.
  • 9 Hide
    gm0n3y , January 20, 2009 7:56 PM
    Its true, "Best"ofmedia got rid of one of the best sites giving unbiased game reviews all to give us yet another shitty flash game site. Why would anybody play games here when they can go to a site like kongregate and get more games, better games and a much better user experience in general.

    As for the gaming industry, in times of hardship, I'd much rather spend $50 on a PC game than go to the bar and drop $100 for a night.
  • 2 Hide
    noahjwhite , January 20, 2009 8:02 PM
    I really hope that PC gaming does not deteriorate into a casual experience a-la the Nintendo Wii. That can, and certainly is, something that will happen. But PC gaming needs to continue to push the gaming experience forward. I think reports of PC gaming decline have less to do with piracy than simply the lack of progress and quality titles. Why spend $1000 on a Gaming PC when I can get nearly the same experience on an Xbox360 or PS3. This was absolutely NOT the case just a few years ago.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 20, 2009 9:50 PM
    I believe that PC gaming is NOT going to degenerate into low grade Wii experience. BUT, it will change into an animal that allows for anyone to play 15-20 minutes (i.e. shortened more intense rounds and/or frequent saving in core/all games). It will still be the most progressive experience (since core or not, the goal is to be entertained, and PCs provide the most quickly upgradable systems). Consoles replaced HTPC but it will be difficult to trump laptops and desktops since it is so much easier to do everything (except MAYBE games but I would call that a tie since there are controllers for PCs).
  • -1 Hide
    gm0n3y , January 20, 2009 10:08 PM
    Eventually I could see consoles overtaking PCs as the best gaming platforms, but not until hardware gets to the point where even an average graphics card can render real-time photo realism and physics is limited by the adaptability of the software not the ability of the hardware. And of course controllers would need to be way better. Nothing beats a mouse for many games, but some sort of keypad / mouse combo for a console could replace the typical keyboard / mouse on the PC.
  • 0 Hide
    tntom , January 21, 2009 12:58 AM
    Finally! a company with enough awareness to recognize the real state of PC gaming.
    PC gamers and console gamers can have different tastes, and even the same individual will want to do different things on their PC and other things on their console.
  • -5 Hide
    azxcvbnm321 , January 21, 2009 1:17 AM
    B.S. Gaming is evolving now to the online multiplayer format. This is the only format that can stop pirating due to online checks and update restrictions. That's great for some game developers, those who do nothing but massive multiplayer games, but for "alternative" developers that don't want to release the same hack and slash MMOG but want to give the gamer a mental challenge done in an unique way like Portal, it's over. Portal did well because it was free, but you can't make a living off of free. Just think how long you could survive if you weren't allowed to make money from your work.

    Pirating is difficult on consoles, that's why they're flourishing. Make no mistake this is the main reason. Is it so hard for people to understand that a company needs to make money in order to pay its staff and overhead? Why bother doing hard work if it's just going to be stolen from you? I'd focus on stuff where I could sell it, and if what I make sucks, then no one will buy it and I'll go out of business. But it's unfair for me to make something really good and have these myopic, self aggrandizing, apologist thieves take my just reward.

    Amazing how many people still can't see this. The PC gaming industry will continue to die a slow death thanks to piracy. Idiots will blame this on the "stagnation" and lack of good ideas in the PC gaming world, but smarter folks will realize that it didn't pay to be innovative so no one bothered to put in hard work and talent into the PC arena.

    I played the Wii recently and that is a groundbreaking, innovative and awesome platform. The new stuff coming out for that in the future should be awesome, but why haven't we seen something like that for PC yet? Someone could easily copy the idea of the Wii and release hardware and software for the PC. The hardware people would do this, but you need software games to drive hardware and that's where it all ends. Why bother? Pirates will just steal all the software. If I'm a CEO, I say no way, don't waste our resources to make a Wii like game for the PC, the thieves will descend like vultures and we'll end up losing money.

    Again, we have the pirates to thank.
  • -6 Hide
    azxcvbnm321 , January 21, 2009 1:20 AM
    Oh Demonhoards, can't you put 2+2 together? The above message was for you and people like you who can't see the forest for the trees in your face. Software CEOs aren't hired for their stupidity and it would be really stupid nowadays to release a PC only game. Humm, could you guess why?
  • 2 Hide
    gm0n3y , January 21, 2009 2:02 AM
    1. 3d realms needs to finnaly get DnF finished and out

    We're doomed.

    As for azxcvbnm321, I think we live on different planets, although we'll both argue that we're from Earth.
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , January 21, 2009 4:36 AM
    well said by Muzyka but i don't think he said pc gaming is transforming into casual games.
    pc gaming is just getting vast reach. imagine professionals and workers playing a short game before they get back to work. i myself is playing flash games in facebook, eating time to play games here in my pc.
    increased sales in video cards and highend processors is proof enough that pc gaming is not dying, not to mention blizzard's insane success.
  • 4 Hide
    aziraphale , January 21, 2009 4:57 AM
    "...The change has even been felt here, with parent company Bestofmedia transforming Tom's Games into a flash-based gaming website. Perhaps more PC gamers would rather spend less money on upgrading hardware, and spend more time dong what they love best.... playing easily accessible games..."

    What a load of BS.
  • 0 Hide
    PC chick , January 21, 2009 6:10 AM
    Interesting article.. just a while ago I was reading something about PC game sales declining and video game (console) sales rising.

    Well I'm a fan of PC games, always was, always will be. I'm addicted to WoW right now haha
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 21, 2009 7:27 AM
    sadly pc gaming is slowly dying just based on the amount of games coming out for it compared to yesteryear and it just gets worse every year..Microsoft jumping ship and making game for xbox only "and 1-3 years later" putting them onto the computer really hurts..Only reason i have ever upgraded my computer is for games. Had it not been for games i prob would still be running windows98 and a 1.8ghz cpu geforce1. Before this xmas i used to always get upgrades for myself till this year when i looked at the games coming out "all 6 of em" i said na:( 
  • 3 Hide
    JeanLuc , January 21, 2009 8:12 AM
    ledgicsadly pc gaming is slowly dying just based on the amount of games coming out for it compared to yesteryear and it just gets worse every year.

    Go on then compare them. I looked the PC's line up for 2009 and to me it was packed with titles that I want to play and if Thief 4 gets officially announced I'll be even more happy. As for MS most of the 360 exclusives find there way on to the PC within a year not 3 years (don't expect Halo 3 to ever appear on the PC, the Halo name is dirt and previous games aren't well liked).

    BTW Mr Kevin Parrish, please don't try and justify Bestofmedia decision to axe Toms Games with a flash based gaming site being due to PC gamers becoming more casual in their gaming habits, it was a cost cutting exercise and an effort to generate more revenue. Read your own forums, your customers aren't happy! And remember the customer is always right!
  • 5 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , January 21, 2009 10:46 AM
    I don't believe one option excludes the other!
    Casual gaming is a huge business already. You just don't notice it, cause many of the games aren't sold indivudally - but paid via monthly fees or access to them. No casual gaming title is likely to get into the top 10 for game sales though, as they don't cost 50 euro a piece.

    Many people only play casual games ranging from online board games to small sudoku/jigsaw/puzzle bobble type of games. They're not the heavy spenders though.

    My collectors edition of farcry 2 probably exceeds a full years of expenses for those doing casual gaming. but then again, I spent more time gaming than they do, so that's okay.

    I believe there's room for both the small, and imo silly, games and the big blockbuster titles. They're not targetting the same audience, so they don't actually compete with eachother.
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , January 21, 2009 5:56 PM
    It makes sense for a company that owns a console to release a game exclusively for their console. Exclusives are one of the best ways to get people to choose your system over another. Releasing the game simultaneously on PC would hurt their system sales. I know that if all the 360 games that I own (all 5 or so of them) were also on PC, I definitely wouldn't own one.