Bringing 'Civilization' to Gamers Everywhere
BYLINE: Mike Musgrove
Washington: This month marks a milestone for Civilization - or, at least, a computer game going by that name. The game studio Firaxis is taking aim at a new market with its venerable PC game franchise, called Civ for short - the Xbox and PlayStation crowd.
The Civ games, in which players take a young society and guide it to world domination through careful balancing of resources, diplomacy and firepower, are famously cerebral and complex. This is not the type of game that has been a hit on the Xbox or PlayStation, where the blockbusters tend to be more focused on action. Studio Firaxis is hoping to change that with its upcoming title, Civilization Revolution, coming this month.
The video game industry is so young and growing so quickly that it always seems to be in a state of reinvention. Last week, for example, Sony announced that a movie download service for its PlayStation 3 console was to begin this year. Microsoft has a similar online store in operation for its Xbox 360 console.
By recrafting its flagship computer title for the console market, Firaxis is similar to any company keeping in stride with the latest technology.
Apple is now a music store and a phonemaker that also sells computers, after all. Google is developing a phone operating system.
Games designed for consoles like the Xbox have grabbed an increasing share of buzz and consumer dollars in recent years.
Retail sales for PC games, the market where Firaxis made its fame, have been mostly stagnant.
A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers projects that PC game sales will drop from $3.8 billion last year to $3.6bn in 2012. The firm forecasts that the game market overall will grow at a rate that outpaces other entertainment sectors, from $41.9bn to $68.4bn, over the same period.
"There's an energy to the console market," said Sid Meier, the studio's head designer. "We're seeing an explosion in the quality and creativity in console games."
Meier is a star to gamers in an industry where there aren't a lot of marquee names. …