Blizzard's Rob Pardo has confirmed that the popular PC developer is in talks with Microsoft about the successor to the Xbox 360 - in effect confirming that a new generation is under development.
Take that, Michael Pachter.
Speaking at the Luminaries Lunch at GDC 2009, Rob Pardo - Blizzard's Executive VP of Game Design and one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2006 - stated that his company was actively engaging in discussions with Microsoft for the next console generation ... but wouldn't elaborate further. Or rather, perhaps he couldn't elaborate further.
This tells us two things: One, Microsoft is moving forward with the development of new console hardware, and two, that the long-time PC developer might be looking to branch out. Thus far, Pardo said, Blizzard games had not appeared on consoles because the hardware simply hadn't been designed to support their genres of choice.
"There are are so many games like we make at Blizzard that we don't take to consoles because they don't support the input device and you end up with crappy ports. That's why RTS games never do well on consoles," Pardo said (truthfully, too - anyone ever play StarCraft 64?), adding that "If I was them, I'd be sitting around trying to figure out what's a cool input device that supports all types of new kinds of games."
However, other attendees at the luncheon had not spoken with either Microsoft or Sony about the next generation of consoles, which raised concerns that the hardware giants might not be concerned enough with software and gaming this time around. Warren Spector, the man behind Deus Ex and other classic titles like Thief and System Shock, believes that gaming is a secondary concern as Microsoft and Sony try to branch out into other forms of media:
I get the impression they're focusing on owning the living room.One device that lets you watch movies, television and play games and music and all that stuff. They're so focused on that that I'm not even sure they're thinking about the games that are going to come out. Which is kind of crazy.
So maybe Pachter was right - if there is another console generation, it might not be quite like we know it today.
Anyway, while the *Craft games and WoW might not work all that well on consoles ... Diablo III, anybody?
Update: Looks like GI.biz was wrong - a Blizzard rep has informed Gamespot that Pardo actually said "Microsoft occasionally bounces ideas off of us," but never in the context of any specific consoles - so people getting their hopes up for seeing Diablo 3 on the next Xbox might well be disappointed. Seeing that Blizzard is known for being a primarily PC-focused developer, having Microsoft touch base with them makes sense even if you take the consoles out of the equation, no?
(Update via VG247)