BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka says the PC gaming industry is actually doing very well for itself, but that the platform’s growth is happening in a different form, including, of course, MMOGs.
Muzyka told CVG that despite the many predictions of the slow death of the PC as a gaming platform, he sees the sector doing better than it ever has. “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,” he said. “MMOs are one way that’s occurring. And there are more people playing flash-based games and casual games, even core games that are played in a casual way, so maybe [they have] a more core experience and you only play them for short bursts or for half an hour or something.”
He added that the desire to play a wider variety of games is a natural part of the evolution of both the technology and of gamers themselves, and that while BioWare has an obligation to satisfy its audience, it doesn’t have to “compromise” depth or quality to make that happen. “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,” he said.
The idea that the PC market is not actually floundering, but is in fact being driven by digital distribution and MMOG subscription fees which don’t show up in sales charts, is far from uncommon among analysts and industry executives. But World of Warcraft notwithstanding, is the MMOG genre really the money-printing machine it’s made out to be? Spectacular failures and collapses are dangerously commonplace, while true success stories are rare. Is anyone besides Blizzard really making money on this?