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Creative Assembly: Consoles no threat to PC strategy games

Empire: Total War developer sees no evidence that its franchise is in danger

While the installed base for consoles creeps ever up, and titles for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii seem to dominate most games-related headlines, the future of strategy games on the PC is strong.

That's according to Mike Simpson, studio director at The Creative Assembly - which shipped Empire: Total War last week - who told GamesIndustry.biz that he doesn't see consoles as a problem for his games.

"I don't think that for PC strategy games... I don't think it's a threat," he said. "There's certainly no sign from our franchise that's happening. We're always looking at ways to expand it, rather than working on an assumption that it's going to decline.

"It is quite a complicated issue, and some of it's related to the whole console life cycle as well - when a new generation of consoles comes out, PCs suddenly look quite unfavourable by comparison.

"But three of four years later, when you compare the price of a PC with the price of a console, suddenly you're getting more power for your money with a PC, and things tend to shift back.

"That's happened with all the previous generations - so I think there is a natural cycle," he added.

As part of that life cycle of consoles - which, thanks to a problematic economy may be longer than anybody necessarily expected - Simpson believes that other genres may also trend back towards the PC over time.

"It may well be driven by first-person shooters than strategy," he said, "but I think both of them will do better on PC than on console as time goes on, and the console fades back.

"You'll start seeing games that just cannot be made on console, and can only be made with the power of PCs."

The Sega Europe studio's latest title has generated a very positive response from critics and fans alike, with review scores averaging above 9 out of 10, and the game widely expected to chart highly on the all-formats chart this week.

The full second part of the interview with Mike Simpson, in which he also talks about development costs of games and the decision process involved in technology decisions, is available now.

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