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Confident Bethesda not interested in social trends

Core publisher won't water down brand identity and console experiences to chase new formats

Fallout and The Elder Scrolls publisher Bethesda is confident that its audience isn't interested in social or mobile games based on its high-end core products, despite the trend to push established brands onto new platforms and formats.

While publishers such as Electronic Arts and Sony are shifting their AAA console brands to Facebook and other social formats, Bethesda's Pete Hines told in an interview published today that the company isn't interested in chasing the next big thing, and will continue to cater to the blockbuster market.

"That's not where our interests lie. That's not what we're known for and it's not the kind of stuff we've traditionally done," he said.

"I think we're pretty self-aware in terms of who we are and what kind of games we make, and we want to keep trying to make those games bigger and better, and not go off and do something that is completely different that we don't have a lot of expertise and knowledge of."

The company has an envious portfolio in the triple-A games space - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the big push this year, and it has also been heavily promoting id Software's Rage, new signing Dishonored and a well-received sequel to Prey.

We had the same thing a couple of years ago with everybody running after the DS and creating social games and games for girls.

Pete Hines, Bethesda

The publisher isn't ignorant of current trends in the mobile and social space, said Hines, but knows that formats come and go quickly in the games business and to be successful you need to act quickly.

"You know, I have an iPhone in my pocket and I have a hundred games on there and they're great, by really talented companies, but that doesn't mean we should be the ones trying to be making those, or competing in that space, or going on Facebook," he said.

"We had the same thing a couple of years ago with the DS and everybody running after the DS and creating social games and games for girls, and now it's shifted from, 'Oh, we're going to put out lots of stuff for the DS or the PSP,' now it's Facebook and social gaming and iPhone.

"And maybe that's the one that catches on and maybe not, but we know who we are, we know what we do well, we know what our audience likes, and we want to make the kind of games we want to play for the kind of experiences we like."

Instead, Bethesda intends to stick to a handful of high-quality console and PC release a year, rather than expand to try multiple releases on an increasing number of formats.

"It's not what our company was created to do, it's not what we aspire to do. We want to focus on three or four big releases a year. Games that when they come out and you're like, 'I can't wait to play that.'

The full interview with Hines, where he also discusses the problem with showing Rage too soon, improving bug testing for day one releases and an open dialogue to partnerships and acquisitions, can be read here.

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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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