Just about everyone has an opinion about "digital rights management," better known by its acronym DRM. Most gamers don't like it, unless it's Steam, in which case they love it; CD Projekt and GOG have spoken out against it for years, while Square Enix recently said DRM is "essential for the foreseeable future." Now Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester has waded into the fray, saying he believes that the only effective way to prevent piracy is to make legal copies of games a better option.
In an interview with GameSpy, Paradox's CEO Frederik Wester has revealed that the publisher cancelled four games in the past year, in an attempt to ensure that consumers weren't paying for buggy or unfinished titles.
Wester's comments were in response to questioning about the much maligned alternate history Civil War RTS Gettysburg: Armoured Warfare. Wester said, "That was terrible. We did not do our homework. It was a one-man team with some backup... we learned a lot from that release. We've had many bad releases before that, as well, and we learned something every time."
Paradox Interactive’s CEO, Fredrik Wester, is an outspoken man. He’s one of the most honest company directors you’ll ever come across in the games industry, and he’s not afraid to lambast his own games - most of which are hardcore strategy titles like Hearts of Iron and King Arthur. The games are intricate and rewarding, but getting gamers into them can prove problematic.
“Our games leave you high and dry in the first ten minutes,” Wester told us. The trick to making their games accessible is not to make the game itself simpler, but to hold the player's hand as they're gently introduced to the game world and its rules. “We don’t want to dumb down the experience. We want it to be challenging, but not a chore to learn.”
Total War developers Creative Assembly are masters of introducing complex strategy elements to a more casual audience, and Wester is keen to note that their slickness hasn't gone unnoticed among people who played Paradox's RPG/RTS King Arthur: The Role Playing Wargame. “A lot of people would like to see Total War-like design decisions and maybe we should have chosen that path, done things that make it simpler for people who are used to the same gameplay style,” he said. “I’m not suggesting that it’s actually Fantasy: Total War, but it’s an obvious comparison.”
Recently, at E3, we got the chance to catch up with the CEO of Paradox Interactive, Fredrik Wester to discuss the company's recent success with Magicka, Mount and Blade and King Arthur. Wester revealed that 90% of Paradox' revenue is now made through digital distribution sales. He describes the company's lack of reliance on retail as "a release," saying that store chains have "not been good for the creative part of the industry."