Polish publisher CD Projekt RED has entered the cloud, following large game publishing companies like Electronic Arts and Capcom. The game maker is now streaming a demo of its hit PC role-playing game (RPG), The Witcher 2, using Gaikai. Set in a world created by best-selling Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, the player assumes the role of a “Witcher,” a warrior who has been trained to fight since childhood, in a nonlinear story that features a dynamic combat system and a rich virtual world. It’s the kind of experience the game developer hopes an interactive demo will entice gamers to take a deeper look at and want to purchase. John Mamais, head of production at CD Projekt RED, talks about the importance of gaming in the cloud in this exclusive interview for dperry.com by John Gaudiosi of GamerLive.tv.
If you got out your crystal ball, when do you think the video game industry will become mostly digital?
It looks to be pretty soon if not already. I personally prefer having all my purchases and saves, etc, stored on the cloud.
If you were designing the next killer console, what would you focus on?
EA stated that a 5-7 year console cycle is a serious problem when Apple refreshes hardware every 12 months and ships new features multiple times a year. Is our industry moving too slowly?
Hardware restrictions certainly slow down things on the development side. It’d be good to see the day where games can all have a photorealistic quality and be platform independent.
Some of the really big game publishers still don’t focus on Facebook and Google players, how long can they keep ignoring these platforms?
Publishers should probably always try to cover all platforms.
Facebook games seem to be on an accelerated evolution path–what technologies are most exciting to you? For example, have you seen Flash Stage 3D (Molehill) or Unity or Gaikai who can instantly stream products like World of Warcraft inside Facebook?
Unity is an interesting technology, but I haven’t seen anything I’m too interested in playing yet. Molehill looks cool also, but seems too early to tell. Gaikai’s streaming service will allow us to bring The Witcher 2 to an impatient and increasingly connected audience. Gaikai’s Affiliate Network of game industry sites will allow millions of gamers all over the world to play and share the game like never before.
Conferences seem to talk a lot about three ideas: Quality, Convenience & Price. When you look at very valuable companies like Zynga, what order do you think they focus on these three things?
For me, Zynga is just looking to build casual, but addicting viral games, so perhaps convenience is the leading factor of development. They should be easy to jump into at any time for any level of player.
A lot of publishers today give away their digital customers to companies like Onlive and Steam, how important is it (when the industry turns digital) that publishers own their digital customers?
It’s very important to keep your digital rights.
Zynga has an advantage as it can easily place their games on any Website. Gaikai is helping EA do this with their high end games. How important will it be to have your games instantly playable on your website?
I think we just want as many people playing our game as possible no matter the platform.
What do you feel is going to be the largest gaming platform over the next 10 years? Is it Console or Mobile or IPTV or Browsers?
Ten years is a long time. It’s hard to say. My finger in the wind guess would be that probably the console or PC will get the best gaming experience. Browsers will play a role with more casual games, but those experiences will have new higher-end graphics games, as well. And depending on what we mean by mobile, tablets look to be an increasingly popular platform. IPTV is coming along and is very exciting, but not quite there yet in my opinion.
Finally, if you could invest into any video game related company right now (besides your own of course!), who would it be and why?
In the short term online casual games can be made on the cheap and have huge appeal and serious profit potential, but in the longer term I think higher production value games and studios will be a better investment.