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Next-gen consoles will not help ailing retailers suggests developer

Despite widespread consumer interest, next-gen consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox 720 will not help ailing retailers, a leading developer has suggested.

Claiming that the struggling games market is almost beyond repair, Dr. Greg Zeschuk, co-founder of developer BioWare, has predicted that future consoles will do little to stop the rot and that the upcoming Xbox 720 and PS4 releases will be hard pressed to help ailing retailers.

“We are in a kind of sick market for old-school gaming – the traditional retail-based gaming,” Zeschuk said speaking with GamesIndustry. “As much as EA has moved into digital, the boxed stuff is not as robust. While digital is coming up fast it’s not filling in the gaps.”

Focussing on the imminent range of next-gen consoles, he added: “Everyone’s kind of holding out hope for the new consoles, but I honestly don’t think they’re going to be that big a deal.

“I worry a lot that unless Microsoft or Sony pull something magically out of a hat, it’s pretty much the same old, same old repackaged and I don’t think they’re going to change the dynamic of the retail market. I don’t see how they can – the market is what it is.”

Adding that the console market has been irreparably hit by the rise in app-based mobile gaming, Zeschuk suggested that the foundations of the gaming sector could have been shaken too much.

“Right now, there is this sort of classic innovator’s dilemma where we see a new market emerging, but it’s not really that great,” he said. “With the mobile business, certain people make a lot of money but on the whole it’s not generating as much revenue as the console business.”

Despite the on-going issues, the former BioWare leader has highlighted Activision as a rare success story in a struggling market. That said, Zeschuk is not overly optimistic about the developer’s future.

“Honestly, Activision and Blizzard have been doing really well, and they’ve been very disciplined and focused, but how long can they continue? They’ve been relying on a smaller number of titles, but no title works forever, and obviously they will be working hard to replace the games they’re working on.

“So they’re probably one of the shining examples of company that’s done well by really doubling down on a very narrow amount of things, and trying some different stuff – I’m actually really impressed with Skylanders.”

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