PS4, Xbox 720 won't 'cure sick market' says BioWare co-founder

Dr. Greg Zeschuk, the co-founder of Mass Effect developer BioWare, has cast doubt over the impact that next-generation platforms will have on the flagging console retail market.

Speaking to GI.biz in light of the resignation of EA’s John Riccitiello and Square Enix’s Yoichi Wada, Zeschuk – who departed BioWare and the games industry last year – said that new formats from Sony and Microsoft are not 'going to be that big a deal.'

"We are in a kind of sick market for old-school gaming - the traditional retail-based gaming - and 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," he said.

"Also, 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 - 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.

"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."

Zuschuk pointed out Activision as one of the few companies who have managed to remain on the straight and narrow despite turbulent market conditions.

“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."

PS4 is scheduled for release in holiday 2013, as announced during a press conference in New York City in February this year. Microsoft has yet to lift the veil on the successor to the Xbox 360, though it is believed they will do so at an event next month.

Stay tuned.

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