BioWare: PC Gaming More Popular Than Ever

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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.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 19, 2009 9:57 AM

    This isn't the stuff I want to hear. If I want easy games built for casuals i've got consoles. I want hardcore games like WoW, Warcraft III, and Quake 3 on PC. Take stuff like STALKER for example, using bioWare's buisness model that game would have sucked (except for having a good inventory system). Part of what I liked about it the most was hte old school flavor, and the higher difficulty.

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      January 19, 2009 10:01 AM

      It's not the platform it's on that should matter if the game is for hardcore or not. There is just more money to be made in the casual market and a lot of game companies are starting to realise this.

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      January 19, 2009 10:06 AM

      Ninja Gaiden was pretty frickin' hard core if you ask me. Just because a game is on a console doesn't make it easy or casual.

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        January 19, 2009 6:28 PM

        Yeah, I know. Lot's of good and hard games on console.

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      January 19, 2009 10:17 AM

      World of Warcraft is probably one of the most casual games going.

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        January 19, 2009 10:31 AM

        Just because it can be played casually, doesn't mean it's a casual game.

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        January 19, 2009 2:26 PM

        I don't think you understand what that means. Hardcore refers to how much time it soaks up and how fanatical/addicted you are to it.

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      January 19, 2009 10:45 AM

      "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."

      All of this applies to WoW, yet WoW is not really a casual game. These ingredients are more of ingredients for a good game that will play well in general. For example, Quake 3 fits all of these, too. Easy controls, easy to hop on (barring the occasional PB problem) a MP game, and with all the popular stunts and tricks that are prevalent in the Q3 community today, they play as they want to.

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      January 19, 2009 12:06 PM

      I want games I can actually play. Not games that are virtually unbeatable. I haven't really played any games in months due to difficulty/getting stuck issues and ATI([sarcasm]YAY for getting a hardware malfunction erro/sarcasm]).

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