Cliff Bleszinski, or Cliffy B as he’s more commonly known, used to run the show over at Epic when it came to Gears of War development. Now he’s off doing other things but that doesn’t mean people haven’t been asking him what he thinks of the whole Xbox One debacle. Expanding on a few tweets he made on his blog, he explained that ultimately it doesn’t matter too much, because PC and mobile are leading the way.
Cliffy often gets a bad rep for ragging on used sales and piracy crippling sales of games and he does, quite hard at times, but you can see why when he brings up a strategy employed by Gamestop that had them handing around leaflets at the Gears 3 launch party that said “Trade in this game by November 6th and get more than you normally would on your trade in!”
Understandably, when you’ve put effort into making a game have plenty of replay value, this sort of thing is demoralising.
Here’s Cliffy, looking surprisingly like a shaved Brad Muir.
However, he doesn’t take the usual tack of many a developer and suggest that that means devs and publishers have to circle the wagons and deny features to consumers just because they help retailers turn a profit, he discussed ways that digital could be introduced to give consumers new and better options.
“I’ve said before if I worked at Microsoft I would not only POSITIVELY motivate users to go digital but also offer their own trading system in which they give you MORE money for your game than Gamestop and sell the used games for LESS than Gamestop. Include a Netflix style mailing system and move along your merry way by engaging the customer as opposed to treating them like criminals.”
He also took a swing at the 24 hour connection/activation thing Microsoft tried to push, saying it was dumb. While he did note that Steam does try and get you to be online: “It doesn’t FORCE you to be online. The ecosystem of Steam is so brilliant, from the community, to the summer sales, to the indie games, that you WANT to get online.”
Ultimately, he said: “My money is on the PC, mobile and tablets for the near future. I wandered around E3 looking at (too many) fantastic games shaking my head and worrying about how many are going to be deemed a failure due to the fact that yes, it may have sold 4 million copies, but it cost too much to make and market, so it was a wash.”
While he didn’t name names, games like Tomb Raider and Hitman: Absolution were big failures despite selling millions of copies.
KitGuru Says: Some interesting points from the man. Certainly less favourable than his “if you didn’t like Gears 3 multiplayer than just play Gears 2,” approach, which he himself says was a (regretful) middle finger to the consumer.