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BioWare: Triple-A is the wrong thing to chase

Big console development "more dangerous than it's ever been," says Zeschuk

BioWare co-founder Greg Zeshuk has said that triple-A console game development is the wrong thing for developers to pursue, as only the top ten companies can do it successfully.

The creator of Mass Effect and Dragon Age said there are better opportunities developing, and that boxed game sales for traditional retail is declining year-on-year.

"It's more competitive than it's ever been, it's more dangerous than it's ever been," Zeschuk told attendees of the Develop Conference in Brighton. "Right now it's precisely the wrong thing to chase."

Publishers are being increasingly conservative as only the best titles break through sales barriers, said Zeschuk, with costs continuing to rise.

"The risk taking is disappearing on the publisher side," he said. "There's exceptions but it costs a lot of money and you've got to set the right goals."

Zeschuk said he was encouraged by moves by veteran developers opting out of big blockbuster development and start-up smaller teams, which are able to build a tight business with a positive working culture.

"I've enjoyed seeing the elder developers retrench to smaller teams. They're building a stronger culture, they're building microgroups that are quite successful," said Zeschuk, adding that going direct to consumers rather than through bricks and mortar was also a huge opportunity for developers.

"Retail still works but it's not a panacea," he added.

BioWare itself would continue to work on consoles, but Zeschuk made a point of saying the business would be "aggressively experimenting" with other opportunities as it has with recent Facebook and iPhone projects.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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