On stage at the 2011 International Game Developers Association Leadership Forum
here in LA, BioWare's Senior Director of Business Planning Development Richard Iwaniuk took the stage to chat about how the company has built up its online community into the 3.2 million-strong registered users it is today, and what it plans to do next to keep that growth going. Iwaniuk's main point was taking BioWare's franchises, which of course include Dragon Age and Mass Effect, and spinning them out to cover as many platforms as possible -- not just the HD consoles, but mobile platforms, online social networks, and even into areas like films and television.
Iwaniuk said quality was a big part of that push, but "quality," according to Iwaniuk, "
is becoming more relative as opposed to absolute." He added that "it's going to be defined as much by the consumer as it is by the product. It's relative to the genre or the platform that that product is being served on." Iwaniuk said that while sales or ratings might have been indicators of game quality in the past, these new platforms call for other "key performance indicators," like player engagement or just simple awareness. "If [players are] promoting your game," said Iwaniuk, "that's success in some of these genres."
Iwaniuk cited Felicia Day and her Dragon Age work
as a great example of a cross-platform push on BioWare's end, and said that even BioWare was learning -- originally, the company was using social networks like Facebook simply to push out information and promote its products, but "in actuality, it should be more of a pull" in those places, where BioWare pulls in player feedback and making use of it rather than simply trying to raise social awareness.
And how soon will we see this player feedback put into practice, and all of these cross-platform offerings revealed? "Stay tuned," teased Iwaniuk. "I think that might be as short as three or four weeks, and you'll know more."