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Levine: Online evolution is "exciting in every possible way"

By Phil Elliott

Fri 08 Aug 2008 12:00pm GMT / 8:00am EDT / 5:00am PDT

2K Boston boss sees "benefits all round" to ongoing relationship with gamers

Ken Levine, head of the 2K Boston studio, has told that he believes the way that online is evolving is "exciting in every possible way" - but not just in terms of multiplayer gaming.

The BioShock creator explained that games are becoming "more like services", which offers up a number of advantages to the relationship with the consumer.

"The thing that's most interesting to me is the ongoing relationship with your audience, that products are no longer just launched, that they're in a phase of constantly being launched," he said. "And I think that we're just sort of catching up to that notion.

"I think you have to think about products as more like services, more like a relationship between the audience and the world you're making, rather than just shipping this thing, then on to the next one.

"But I think that requires - and we've thought about this - some sophistication in your thinking about your franchise, your business, and the industry isn't entirely set up for that yet. Some people are, but there's a lot of education that has to go on internally, we're all educating ourselves on this.

BioShock itself didn't have any multiplayer component to it, something unusual for a next-gen console game today, but the overall experience can be enhanced just by the connection itself.

"But it's exciting in every possible way - it's lets people build relationships with your products, gives products longer lifespans, lets you leverage aspects of the hardcore audience you can't leverage otherwise, lets you not have as many people involved in the transaction - there are benefits all around."

The full GamesIndustry.bizinterview with Ken Levine is available now.

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