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.