"four OSes that will compete" for our attention.
They'll be "Windows, iOS, Android" and most likely Linux because of Steam's outpour of support. It's now "really tough" for indies to get on Windows and iOS - more closed now, ending a golden age.
Still, Wester is optimistic about the future and hopes for "more open platforms," offering different methods of play. He's been reluctant to jump on the Ouya bandwagon.
"I think what we'll see on the market is four OSes that will compete against each other," Fred Wester told . "It's going to be Windows, iOS, Android... and we'll see more Linux as well, as Steam starts to support that."
It's not all roses in the garden though as previously accommodating platforms, especially to indie outfits, have changed their nature and become more restrictive.
"The trend in the market for the past few years is that it's been a golden age for indie developers, and it's been that way up until a year or so ago," he says. "Previously, iOS was pretty open, there wasn't that much competition and anyone would publish for that platform. Same with Windows, because Steam was really open... now, it's really tough for indies to get in there. They use Greenlight to 'screen' what is likely to be a success."
"So I have really high hopes we're going to see more open platforms, with different ways of actually playing the games, and bring more opportunities for game developers," Wester continues.
"I see more and more people seem to be working with either Android, iOS or Windows, and from what I see there's going to be a matrix in the market: You first decide what OSes your game will support, and whether you want your game to be run with a gamepad, a touch screen or a mouse and keyboard."
"All the OSes should hopefully support all the different ways of playing a game," adds the CEO. Paradox's catalogue of strategy titles, like Crusader Kings II or Europe Universalis, could certainly translate to touchscreens.
Wester isn't ready to cheer on the new Ouya platform like some, as he sees it as "mostly an Android telephone without the screen. I can't really find any reason to be excited about it," he explained.
"But when I see the Shield, I think it's a really good thing; if I have a controller and you have a controller, and we can play together, that would be super cool. I think that's what they're aiming for, a portable console with a built-in gamepad, and that is something that really tickles me."
All these modern operating systems that embrace an open approach, as well convergence, will greatly benefit the likes of Paradox Interactive. Online connectivity being the norm provides many new opportunities. "It's going to be simpler to develop for different OSes ,and going forward I would not be surprised if you see a couple of ubiquitous games you can play from the PC, Mac, a Tegra tablet, an iPad, et cetera either cooperatively or against each other... you can play a game on your PC and then later you can play on your iPad, through a cloud save," mused Wester.
"If I had a wish list, I'd wish for Microsoft and Sony to be more open, too, to make it easier for all types of companies to publish all types of material online," he says, noting the PC having thrive on that formula. "Five years ago the PC market was in a total decline, and the console manufacturers totally missed out on the digital download challenge, because they were worried about retailers. Now they have a chance to make up for that."
"The reason the PC bounced back so much is because there is endless opportunity, endless amounts of content. A game like Minecraft would never have gotten a publisher ten years ago... I look at games all day, and my passion is games, and I still sometimes can't always say what's going to be successful. The fun part of being in this business is that really unexpected things can happen." Who hasn't been initially repelled by Minecraft's appearance?
"Content is king for hardware developers," Wester concludes. "I want to make games for upcoming consoles; I am stretching out my hand saying I want to do this, and if they have a platform that suits us, it'll be fantastic."
Paradox Interactive's upcoming titles include Europa Universalis IV, Cities in Motion 2, East vs. West, The Showdown Effect, March of the Eagles, Impire and the newly announced Dungeonland.
Paradox "actively looking" at cross-platform titles, thanks to Cloud saves
17 January 2013 | By Simon Priest
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- Europa Universalis III, Crusader Kings II, Cities in Motion, The Showdown Effect , Dungeonland, Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam, Impire, Europa Universalis IV, Cities in Motion 2, Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome, March of the Eagles, East vs. West: A Hearts of Iron Game , Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion, Crusader Kings II: The Republic