On Tuesday, Stuff ran an interview I did with Gearbox Software's Randy Pitchford last week (over the phone and I had 15 minutes with him) which you can find here.
The interview was probably supposed to focus on Borderlands 2 - that is, after all, what he was in Australia for - but I'm always keen to hear what drives key figures in the video game industry, what motivates them. Why ask the same questions that countless other games writers have already asked?
As I work mostly for a newspaper, I'm restricted as to how much I can write from an interview - I only have a finite amount of space to fill - so content often gets chopped to fit the space I have. I was listening to bits of the interview that didn't make the final cut, mainly due to length and not because it was uninteresting, and I've decided to share that content with you.
If you haven't read the interview already, read it first, then read today's post, which is the remainder of the 15-minute conversation we had. Just as an aside, Pitchford would have to be one of the most passionate and talkative studio heads I've talked to since I've been doing this.
Where do you see the industry heading from here? What are the big changes you think the industry is going to face in the next few years?
RP: This medium is here now for real, it's here to stay. As every generation that grew up with video games gets older, video games and interactive entertainment penetrates more and more of our culture - and this is really exciting.
There were some older generations that were never exposed to video games and some of them have picked things up, and, you know, I think the Nintendo Wii did a really good job of introducing the older generation to the concept of interactive entertainment, and make it enjoyable to them.
But the sad thing about being a human is eventually we go away, so there will be a point when all the new people in the world today are the old people of the world tomorrow and eventually everyone will have grown up in a world where video games exist.
So there's going to be a point... as an American, I'm looking forward to the day when the President of the United States has a gamertag - and that's going to happen at some point. So this sort of creates this global kind of awareness of this medium.
The other thing that is going on in the world is there are more people ''turning on the lights''. There are a lot of cultures and nations that aren't very advanced and certainly not in the information age with the rest of us and some of them are still pretty pre-industrial age, but globalisation is creating this weird ecosystem where there are certain countries that are actually getting cellphones before they've even got landlines or hot water running in their house. They don't even have indoor plumbing yet they have cellphones, and this confluence of technology is quickly inserting itself into some of these places that have been behind and will help them understand the world of interactivity and suddenly they're not going just going to be able to see the joy of entertainment but have access to information.
And I think this is going to help not only enrich lives from an entertainment point of view but I think information is the key to all of us having better lives. So I'm really excited about the role video games are going to play in that.
To look a little more myopically about it, obviously technology has advanced quite a bit since the last generation of consoles launched so new hardware that leverages the advances of new technology can create new opportunities with respect to complexity of our software, that's exciting for me. At the same time miniaturisation is making very advanced technologies accessible to people that don't necessarily play interactive entertainment in a fixed location, like a television screen. All those things are working together to create a really vibrant ecosystem for interactive entertainment. That's very exciting for me.
Gearbox has concentrated on console and PC development over the years. With the rise in popularity of smart phones and tablets do you ever see the company branching out into mobile gaming?
Every once in a while I play mobile games and I like the fact that when I'm stuck somewhere I can play a video game on my phone.
I think that's really nice, and we have some products on the mobile platform - Gameloft has been a great partner with some really strong Brothers in Arms games on iOS and Android - and those are a lot of fun for people, but I look at those [mobile games] as ... when I look back way before there was interactive entertainment, back before there were TV shows and even radio, back to a time when we read books. And then somebody invented something like a periodical or a newspaper and this created like ''Wow, we can get our information in short bits'' and it changed the consumption of that kind of entertainment.
When we read a book we sit, maybe at home or on the couch when we really want to immerse ourselves into a deep narrative, deep fiction, and when we read an article in a magazine or a newspaper we're getting a short burst and we can do that on the train or on the bus, or, I guess, in carriages in those days, but the fact that magazines and newspapers suddenly appeared did not change our interest in books.
As an entertainer, I like magazines, as a consumer of entertainment I like magazines and newspapers, but I want to create books, so to speak. If I put that whole analogy into video games, I want to make big, deep experiences and that's where I'm going to commit the most of my lion's share but at the same time I do appreciate and love the fact that we can have entertainment coming in from all places. I think we'll dabble in those areas but I don't see that being a main effort for us.
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