Cliff Bleszinski: 'It's Like The Super Smash Bros. Of Business Right Now'

Cliff Bleszinski is in semi-retirement, taking a break from the games industry, but that doesn't mean he's taken a break from talking about the video games industry. On the contrary, he's been more vocal than ever. In this intriguing interview with Game Industry International, Bleszinski discussed the current state of gaming, claiming that the games industry "has not been in a state of transition like it is right now since the video game crash of the '80s".

"I really think we're in a massive state of turmoil," he explained. "I think Nintendo could possibly be faced with the situation of becoming a company that only makes software moving forward. I think Sony and Microsoft are about to come to major blows. But at the same time, people love playing games on their iPad. The PC is going through a wonderful renaissance right now. I think we're ready to do digital download games all the time...I just want to see what happens. In regards to the industry, it's like the Super Smash Bros. of business right now, and I want to see if Peach or Mario wins."

To be perfectly honest, I find it difficult to imagine a Nintendo that only makes software, but Bleszinski does have a point — gaming is in transition and according to Cliff consoles need to adapt, become more flexible, or risk extinction.

"If Microsoft and Sony are to do well in this next generation," he continued, "they are going to need to reduce that time as much as possible, as well as continue to enable user-supported mods, independent games, and really just get rid of the wall that makes it incredibly hard to find those products, even if they're allowed on the console... All that red tape needs to be stripped away in order to create an ecosystem to allow for a product like Minecraft to actually happen on a console."

For the full interview head to Games Industry International.

Industry turmoil worst since '80s crash, says Bleszinski [Games Industry International]


    Step 1. Remove that 40,000 price tag for every little downlaod detail.

    I respect CliffyB, even since peddling his Jazz Jack Rabbit in retail halls so many decades ago. Now on to my point, there is no way Nintendo is going anywhere, has CliffyB forgotten how many Wii's and Wii Motes or Wii Fit Boards have been sold? What about the 3DS sales? Sure Nintendo are going to make software only /sarcasm.

    As for his points about console flexibility I totally agree they should open up to mods (without cheating mods though) e.g. Skyrim mods or Gary's mod. However if you look at xbox 360 Minecraft sales topping 5,000,000 copies sold do they really even need to bother? Hopefully this Minecraft console sales success is a sign to Sony/MS just like the Wii was for Move/Kinect.

    Last edited 26/02/13 3:28 pm

      The point being made was not that minecraft itself was actually on the consoles it was the fact that no game like minecraft will ever be made for consoles.

      As in any game that isn't already huge has almost no chance to survive on the 360 atm, even fez(Im sure it was fez) didnt get patched because of all that red tape the the horrible 40k cost. The point is the current consoles make actually finding game content a chore, new non triple AAA titles get put into the blocked off out of the way corner to be shunned.

      The entire experience has shifted since the start of the generation, it used to be all games and now its wank wank wank wank wank wank, back here after 10 mintues of scrolling and button presses i find my game content. (360 is boviously worse that ps3, but the ps3 is fucking horrible too, that search doesnt even work.)

      What he is saying is the console experience needs to open up or die. The 360 dashboad needs to be as quick and easy to find new gaming content as steam is. It needs to be accessible for the consumer and a metric fuckload easier for a developer to get their content out there.

      If minecraft was made on console first i can almost guarantee it wouldnt have been a success, which is why the console stuff has to change.

      Not that i agree with what it has to change into, it does have to change.

    Nintendo have a trump card that will save ANY system they have from extinction, its called a full blown 3D pokemon game in HD.

    If Nintendo is looking down the barrel, and release that game with a system, it will sell gangbusters and save them.

    Uh Minecraft is on the console, just sayin'

      But it didn't start there.

      The point being made is that a game like that probably couldn't have begun life in the current console game ecosystem with expensive developer kits, mandatory expensive platform QA for releases and updates, etc.

      In contrast, if you look at the PC or mobile space, every piece of hardware sold can be used as a "developer kit", and a sufficiently motivated person can begin experimenting for zero cost (for PC and Android at least: there is a small charge for iOS).

        NoneoftheAbove's point is sort of moot by the fact that its not the same game underneath it all. The things that make it great on PC never translated to other platforms.

        His opinion on modding would be obvious before even reading this article, what made UT3 bearable on PS3 was not found on the Xbox... Modding, while not as in depth as it was on the PC was still a force to be reckoned with and kept me coming back to my console version to play with friends.

    If I had to single out a company to move out of the hardware business right now it's Sony. The PS4 is basically make or break for the entire company, which has been junk stock for some time time now. Of course, their gaming division is the least of their problems.

    I wish the statement about Nintendo had more context. I don't think they're struggling, but they must be looking at phones and tablets and thinking that maybe they'd make more money selling software to that market than selling hardware themselves. Not a bowing out due to failure (like Sega), but a new business strategy.

      The only problem with making games for mobile, they have to have the ability to be played without a controller, and games without a controller are tedious because of the zero tactile feedback that real buttons and thumb sticks have. But if Nintendo did make games for mobile, it would blow nearly every other mobile app game out of the water. Not even angry birds has the level of polish Nintendo has.

        Yeah - some types of games are really fun on a touch screen, but not the sort Nintendo has traditionally excelled at: platform and adventure games.

    If Microsoft blocks used games with the backing of some major devs/publishers, then the rest won't matter.

    Getting rid of used games is probably number 1 on the priority list of most if not all developers. If they all back Microsoft with exclusives, be they timed or outright, then all that other stuff is inconsequential. At least for this generation.

    I have made the prediction that the Wii U will be the second last home console for Nintendo.

    I hope i'm wrong...

    I always find that Cliff Bleszinski and people inside the industry in general try too hard to find the signs of massive, Earth shattering changes. It seems like you could go to the most boring, stable period in gaming ever and still find people responding to 'how is the game industry doing?' with 'it's about to go nuts! Five minutes from now consoles, PCs and handhelds are all going to be dead and we'll be playing this thing I saw at a trade show eight years ago, and all those games that are popular now? They're going to be dead if they don't feature this thing that worked well for one indy project'.

    I think @thom is right about Sony being the one on the ropes though. They'll probably make it out ok but it seems like if they don't pull out another PS2 level victory they're going to be stuck sitting there wondering why they're bothering.

    I think turmoil is a bit of exaggerating to make a point. I believe it's evolving to suit consumer demand, remember the wider field of audience the more dollars at the end of the day.
    What will REALLY annoy me if they start charging extra to use mobile devices in conjunction, ie map/inventory on my iphone whilst playing console or pc.
    If they can't justify the expense to develop with realistic returns it will never make it.

    I blame Call of Duty....

    Now, before I get ridiculed as a troll the simple fact is ever since Modern Warfare's gargantuan success studio's aren't interest in spending AAA dollars on original ideas anymore. If it's not a Call of Duty like shooter or an established IP then it aint even worth trying.

    Sure your shooter may have sold 20 million copies, but HELLO there are some 150 million PS3's and 360's out there! The other 130 million of these gamers are craving something new, something creative, something inspiring! This is why the indie scene is thriving, the PC is enjoying its renaissance, and the Wii U will eventually find an audience if Nintendo supports it with the amazing software we know they're capable of making.

    I do think Sony are on to something with the PS4. People today are time poor - I work long hours and have 2 children. When I finally get to sit down for some quality gaming at the end of the day I want to pick up a controller and get straight into it. I've completely stopped playing my Xbox 360 because it takes so damn long to do what it was designed to do. You're bombarded with advertising you didn't ask for; for products you're not interested in; and have to dig around through menu's to find the game you want to play. And Microsoft wants me to pay for this 'service'???

    Anyway, rant over :)

      Don't forget the timing of CoD's success. CoD4 was released November 2011... one month before the GFC hit. For the next two years, publishers were obviously disinclined to jump on board risky (read: "new") ideas. CoD was the most recent big success, and so everyone jumped on board the console-FPS bandwagon.

      Because of the long development time of modern AAA titles (esp new IP) it makes sense that we're only now seeing publishers starting to innovate (they've been working on these things for two years before we get to see them).

      I hope Sony's gambit pays off. I don't like Microsoft's "home media centre with games" approach to the Xbox, so I hope Sony focussing on core gamers (for lack of a better term) and unobtrusive interface actually works out. If I can get a PS4 controller with asymmetric analogue sticks, I may not even bother with getting Microsoft's offering. Unless they rope me in with a bazillion exclusive titles...

    *sigh* its getting really tiring hearing the same "nintendo will go like sega", "nintendo will go software" blah blah its pretty rubbish.
    If anything, that sort of speculation should be targeted at Sony! Sony is the one in financial difficulty, being classed "junk" status. The PS4 will be their last major effort to turn a profit. If it doesn't work out, well, I don't think it will go well for them. Let's see how Sony goes in the first 3 months eh? And what if nextBox is coming out in the same period of time?

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