BioWare: PC Gaming More Popular Than Ever

While retail sales of PC games were down again last year, dropping some 14% at United States retailers, longtime PC developer BioWare has echoed the popular sentiment that PC gaming isn't dying, and is instead growing under a different model.

"I think there are more people playing PC games and more dollars being spent on the PC space than ever before, but it's taking a different form," BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka told CVG, citing the growth of MMOs and casual-centric titles, including Flash games.

He explained: "We can still make deep rich experiences but we have to make them easy to access, you have make the control system really easy to use, and you have to make people feel like they're playing an experience that they can play how they want to play it, whether that is long sessions or short sessions."

The studio appears to be covering a wide spectrum of play styles with its upcoming games, which include more traditional RPGs Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2 as well as its first foray into the popular realm of MMOs, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

BioWare owner EA recently seemed to describe the Star Wars MMO as an example of micro-transaction based mid-session games, indicating the game could target a more casual audience, but later said that no business models had been announced.

Many have also attributed the falling retail sales of PC games to digital distribution, which allows gamers to buy and download a game directly from home. The PC Gaming Alliance reports that digital distribution sales for 2007 were around $2 billion.

"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 added.