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City Interactive: PC gaming to benefit from next-gen console push

CEO Marek Tyminski talks about the success of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 and how the PC market is on the rise, thanks in part to next-gen

City Interactive is a Polish developer best-known for Sniper: Ghost Warrior, which sold over 3 million units between the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. The company has been developing games for over ten years, and now has multiple studios as well as offices in several countries. CEO Marek Tyminski spoke with GamesIndustry International about the release of the company's latest game, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2.

The marketplace has changed in the last few years, with overall retail sales declining for consoles. City Interactive is bucking the trend, though. "Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is the biggest release ever for us," said Tyminski. The first-day release numbers for the sequel are over 1 million units, according to Tyminski. Given that the market overall has been declining for the last several years, that's a positive sign. The game is available for PC as well as Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U and PS Vita.

Tyminski sees that consoles will be the primary market for the game, but that "recently we see that more and more PC gamers are coming back. One of the reasons is you can do much more on the PC right now than you can do on the consoles. It will change when the next-generation of consoles will be introduced to the market. It's not only about our game, but a lot of other games."

Will Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 make its way to next-gen consoles? "We have different thoughts; we haven't made any decision on that," said Tyminski. "We definitely are working on games designed for the next-generation platforms. These games will be out in 2014. Lords of the Fallen, that's an action RPG, and Enemy Front, that's a first-person shooter, will be released for next-generation or purely for next generation."

Tyminski is very pleased with what Sony has announced about the PlayStation 4, particularly how using an underlying PC chip set makes it easier for development. "It's very exciting what they will have," said Tyminski. "It's great to have a platform [where] it will not be so complex to bring the content from another platform. It's great for all developers that it's much closer to other platforms."

The PC game market will become more important in the future, partly because next-gen consoles will share its underlying architecture. "PC is not just another platform; from our perspective it will be more and more important in terms of maximizing the game's potential for that platform," said Tyminski. "Once the PC platform is not so far from the console platform, you can more effectively optimize a game for PC. Some people have been doing that, and some have not."

"PC is not just another platform... it will be more and more important in terms of maximizing the game's potential for that platform"

Marek Tyminski

Tyminski is not discouraged by the overall decline in retail console sales of the last few years. "I think it will be tough as always when you have transition from current gen to next-gen," said Tyminski. "The industry is doing very well overall, and we see a lot of potential in that industry. It's a great place to be and I think it will be very exciting over the next year. I very much believe in the success of the next generation. I think it will bring a lot of interesting new game ideas."

At the PS4 introduction, Sony spent a lot of time talking about the social aspects of game play and how the new platform would encourage this. City Interactive plans to support this as well. "Of course we will have more of a social component in our games; this is important to us," noted Tyminski.

Next-gen consoles will be supporting new business models as well as new technology, including a greater role for free-to-play. "We are definitely looking into that; we don't have any free-to-play game right now, but that may change," Tyminski said. "Definitely free-to-play is an important part of the industry, but we are thinking of moving into that segment and sooner or later we will do that."

Tyminski sees a wider range of platforms ahead for City Interactive as the company addresses the broader game industry. Tablets are one of the key targets in the future, but that may require City to change some of its development focus. "We're still not there yet, but it's just a matter of time," noted Tyminski. "Our core is first-person shooters and action games, and we definitely want to expand to different segments."

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Steve Peterson

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Steve Peterson has been in the game business for 30 years now as a designer (co-designer of the Champions RPG among others), a marketer (for various software companies) and a lecturer. Follow him on Twitter @20thLevel.