Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester on E3 and More
Paradox Interactive are one of the big players in the games industry, and they had a pretty impressive this years E3. Their CEO, Fredrik Wester (the man in the image above) has a clear vision for the company, and in this interview he talks about E3, digital distribution and some upcoming titles from Paradox.
The Reticule – E3 is not long past, how did the show go for you guys?
Fredrik Wester – We had a great show; got a few Best in Show nominations for our games and had lots of people coming by our booth, some even wearing their Magicka bath robes!
The Reticule – At the event we see Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo holding big conferences to promote their respective consoles and handheld devices. Do you think it is about time someone stood up and held a conference about the PC?
Fredrik Wester – I don’t think the PC needs the hype as much as the consoles do. PC Gaming see a stream of innovative content being added all the time and PC is by far the best platform in terms of value to the gamers. An E3 PC press conference would probably only touch on the Triple A titles and PC is so much more than that.
The Reticule – I got the feeling at times during E3 that the whole event was becoming a bit overblown with little in the way of hard facts, rather it was just a series of videos. Do you think E3 is losing importance and relevance when compared to events like Gamescom, PAX and the Eurogamer Expo?
Fredrik Wester – The competition from other shows is much bigger today compared to four or five years ago and this year’s E3 was the least hyped of the ones I’ve been to. The shows are getting more specific, some focusing more on online or social and the “one show to rule them all” doesn’t work as well anymore. That aside, I still think it was a good show.
The Reticule – Paradox has a very strong line-up for the coming months and next year with games like King Arthur II and the Magicka PvP, what game do you think is going to be the standout?
Fredrik Wester – The Magicka concept is being further developed in 2011-2012 and this will be very exciting. Personally I expect a lot from 4X Space Strategy game Sword of the Stars II, partly because the game looks really good and partly because the genre hasn’t had a really good release in a few years. I also have high expectations for King Arthur II, where the Neocore team has done tremendous work on the look and feel of the game.
The Reticule – Paradox are known as a company which brings out PC games, but with the rise of tablets and mobile gaming, where do you see the company this time next year, will you still have such a focus on the PC?
Fredrik Wester – PC will be our main platform, but we will release for console and tablets as well. We also see Mac as a good compliment to PC and Apple devices and so will have a central role in our growth strategy.
The Reticule – How do you see digital distribution changing over the next few months, EA are putting a big push behind Origin, do you think this is going to lead to publishers limiting digital releases to only their own digital platforms?
Fredrik Wester – To the gamers, the best choice would be a more open model where you have aggregators/retailers selling all types of games. However, since the services for gamers are all going online I guess the trend will be for more and more publishers and developers going for direct sales to consumers.
The Reticule – What kind of uptake have you seen with Paradox Connect so far, has it reached the audience you had hoped it would?
Fredrik Wester – It has started off small, just as we planned and we haven’t added that many services to it in the last 6 months. We’ve been in a development phase and are currently testing new functionalities and games that we hope to add later this summer or fall.
The Reticule – Do you have any plans for it over the coming months, any more games going to be released on it?
Fredrik Wester – We have a card game based on the Hearts of Iron franchise that will be released in the coming months, it is 100% online and we are eager to see how it will do. I see Paradox Connect not as a platform for different types of games, but as a service that in the future will be integrated into all our games to make them better and offer more value to the gamers.
The Reticule – Finally, what new titles can we expect to see you reveal soon?
Fredrik Wester – We have done a few games that are influenced by titles released in the 1990s and we also have Project Postman in development with Fatshark Games, a game I look forward to a lot myself. We also signed projects with Cyanide Studios, currently working with A Game of Thrones: Genesis, and Power of Two/Zeal Studios that made the indie game Dwarfs!? 2011 is really exciting but our expectations for 2012 are even higher.