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Bleszinski: next gen consoles must chop online "red tape" to succeed

Industry is in a "massive state of turmoil"

Former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski may be taking a sabbatical from games development, but he's still prepared to sound off on the subject. According to the sometime public face of Gears of War, next generation consoles need to offer a dramatically better-tuned and more permissive online experience to succeed.

"When Gears of War 2 launched and we found out that our netcode wasn't working right, it took us three months to get an update out," Bleszinski told GamesIndustry International in an interview. "By that time, the majority of users had moved on to the next game or had traded it in.

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"If Microsoft and Sony are to do well in this next generation, they are going to need to reduce that time as much as possible," he went on. "As well as continue to enable user-supported mods, independent games, and really just get rid of the wall that makes it incredibly hard to find those products, even if they're allowed on the console."

"All that red tape needs to be stripped away in order to create an ecosystem to allow for a product like Minecraft to actually happen on a console." To clarify, Bleszinski's presumably talking here about the circumstances that allowed the original PC version of Minecraft to become a surprise success, rather than the circumstances that brought Minecraft to Xbox 360.

On more of a general note, Bleszinski reckons this year's hardware generation switch-over could be the roughest for decades. "This business has not been in a state of transition like it is right now since the video game crash of the '80s," he said. "I really think we're in a massive state of turmoil.

"I think Nintendo could possibly be faced with the situation of becoming a company that only makes software moving forward. I think Sony and Microsoft are about to come to major blows. But at the same time, people love playing games on their iPad. The PC is going through a wonderful renaissance right now.

"I think we're ready to do digital download games all the time...I just want to see what happens. In regards to the industry, it's like the Super Smash Bros. of business right now, and I want to see if Peach or Mario wins."

So which one's Peach, Cliff?

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