For more than two decades, Cliff Bleszinski was one of the creative minds behind Epic Games, developer of mega-hit franchises like Unreal Tournament and Gears of War. But, in addition to his role as Design Director, Bleszinski was also the face of Epic Games – the developer who would take the stage at E3, PAX, or a special Microsoft event to showcase his team’s latest creative endeavor.
However, while Bleszinski was out there revving his Lancer and firing T-shirt guns, you could also tell he had some genuine thoughts about the industry. That his perspective on where video games were going was boiling just below the surface. Unfortunately, close ties to Microsoft held Bleszinski back from truly letting loose.
Now that Bleszinski has left Epic Games, he is free to talk about whatever he chooses. And wouldn’t you know it, he has a lot to say about a variety of game-related topics. Usually those musings come in the form 140-character tweets, but his most recent public message – about used games and an all-digital future – has been delivered via full-on blog post.
You can read the full post on Bleszinski’s blog, but his point ultimately boils down to a combination of Microsoft’s poor messaging and the gaming public’s inability to see the forest for the trees. That being said, it’s still Microsoft’s job to adequately highlight the advantages of their new services, which, as Bleszinski admits, they failed to do. He even outlines some smart ways he would have pitched digital distribution to Microsoft, so that they, not GameStop, were the main source of used game sales and discounts.
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 believes that Microsoft’s DRM and used game backpedaling will result in a “slow and subtle” shift towards digital, instead of the big leap the Xbox One (pre-DRM reversal) was assisting. According to Bleszinski, DLC and microtransactions will become even more prevalent than before, and gamers will soon see more Day 1 Digital releases.
While it’s not for long, Bleszinski also criticizes Microsoft for their poor messaging over digital copies of games. Much like those that pre-ordered an Xbox One pre-DRM reversal, Bleszinski saw something in Microsoft’s business model that would be good for video games. Microsoft simply failed to communicate that “something.” Online checks every 24 hours, however? Yeah, Bleszinski thinks those were just a bad idea.
Years from now college courses are going to be taught in proper messaging and they’re going to use Microsoft’s E3 delivery as a worst case scenario. I’ve known many of the folks over there for years, and folks, you know better.
Ultimately, Bleszinski sees the PC, tablet, and mobile phone market winning out – that is, if Apple doesn’t steal the spotlight from everyone.
Sure, Bleszinski might be seen as biased (he acknowledges that a lot, and refutes it regularly), but there’s still something poignant about his post. He’s seen the industry in a way few have, and his thoughts are no less valid than anyone else’s.
Do you agree with Bleszinski’s post? Where do you think his points are the strongest? The weakest?
Source: Cliff Bleszinski