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E3: BioWare Stresses Importance Of In-Studio Gamer Culture

In a Gamasutra E3 interview, BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk stressed the importance for game companies to "play the crap" out of their own products, from high-level execs on down.
It's not uncommon for large game publishers to have executives who simply don't play games. But BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk stressed the importance of a gamer culture within a publisher, telling Gamasutra at E3 that it's advantageous for everyone in a company to play games, from high-level executives on down. Muzyka said John Riccitiello, CEO of BioWare parent Electronic Arts, and EA Games label president Frank Gibeau play games often, sending down feedback from the highest levels of the corporation. "Frank and John play a lot of games," said Muzyka. "Frank gives great feedback in MMOs and RPGs, and shooters. They're passionate gamers, they play everything [including] social, mobile. You'd be surprised about how much they play. For us, it's actually part of the reason we're proud to work for them." Muzyka didn't imply a meddling executive trying to design a game from up high, rather the input is welcome. Zeschuk added, "It's important to have a context, because if you don't play your own products, and you don't really have a context of what you're making, [you have no reference]." Zeschuk said, "It's interesting -- across the whole organization [at EA], everyone plays. The marketing guys play. Some companies just don't. Some people think 'I don't need to play, I'm just in marketing.' But how do you really know what [the company's product] is? That's what's great about EA, it's full of gamers who are really passionate about the products." "Playing our own games is really, really important to us and our teams," said Muzyka. "We encourage everybody to play the crap out of everything." Gamasutra will have more from BioWare in the coming days.

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