Paradox Interactive established itself on the strength of its grand strategy games. The Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Victoria, and Hearts of Iron series are complex historical simulations that were designed to live on PCs. But as consoles become more powerful, Paradox says it’s reevaluating its status as a primarily PC-based brand.
“I think that’s evolving,” CEO Ebba Ljungerud told us at PDXCon this year. “In the long run, I think [our games are] for the niche player, and if you as a niche player want to play on console, that’s fine for us.”
Ljungerud said the hardware geography of the games industry is changing, and now it makes more sense for Paradox to consider consoles as viable platforms for their particular style of game design.
“Things evolve, things change over time,” she said. “If we had had this conversation a couple of years ago, we probably would have said yes, absolutely, console is dying. But it isn’t dying.”
“I think it matters more that we make deep, complex, and endless games, regardless,” added Shams Jorjani, Paradox’s chief business development officer. “If you play it on your microwave, that’s fine. If that’s the best way to get a grand strategy experience, we’re pragmatic about it.”
As of now, the vast majority of Paradox’s in-house games are still only available for PC and Linux, but there have been occasional forays into other platforms. Stellaris, for example, is now available for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and it made the leap from PC without sacrificing any of Paradox’s trademark complexity. Unfortunately, Stellaris Galaxy Command, a mobile spin-off of Stellaris, wound up getting pulled from mobile markets less than 24 hours after its beta launch, and the company leadership acknowledged it was “fucked up.”
“I don’t think that we’re going to be the gaming company, or the games, for everyone,” Ljungerud said. But for the people who do enjoy Paradox games, those games may be available in more places in the near future.