Runic Games' Max Schaefer feels publishers are now "gunshy" of the PC game market after "investing too much money into too elaborate projects that are too speculative and too risky."
Schaefer was speaking to Gamasutra on the PC 'core' game market's difficulties, as part of a larger feature interview
along with Runic co-founder Travis Baldree. Next week, Runic launches action-RPG Torchlight
in single-player versions, with MMO extensions planned.
Baldree, whose previous experience includes action RPG Fate
and working at Flagship Seattle on Mythos
, noted: "If you look at numbers for something like Call of Duty 4
PC versus Call of Duty 4
Xbox 360, it's a disparity, which is hard not to be concerned about. The NPD is not that great, but if you're talking about download sales, I think it's obvious there's still a big market out there."
"There's sure a ton of World of Warcraft
players. There are obviously a lot of casual games being sold as well, which a lot of people don't really think about much when they think about the PC marketplace, although I think there are more and more."
Schaefer, who was one of the original three founders of Blizzard North when it was called Condor, and who has worked extensively on the Diablo
series, added: "I think the mainstream PC market has been hurt lately by people investing too much money into too elaborate projects that are too speculative and too risky. That's made publishers now super gun-shy to really do anything in the mainstream PC market."
"You see the big things like WoW
having success and the casual games having success. People have got to kind of come in the middle again and make reasonable projects with reasonable budgets with reasonable amounts of time to give the public something to buy."
"These are all driven by hits and driven by people wanting to buy games. It's not that the PC market has gone away; it's just that the good games that are reasonable hits have gone away."
You can now read the full Gamasutra interview with the duo
, including launching into 2009's PC market, community empowerment, and essential design concepts for the action-RPG genre.