GP: It is a factor insofar as our broadband is fairly shocking by world standards. Perhaps though, Blu-Ray will be the last great media format before the world sorts itself out, and we all have fast broadband? But take Crysis, if you were to release that as a free download, seven day trial sort of thing, not many people would take it up because we have a lot of broadband data limits, and fairly slow speeds. Also, file sizes aren’t getting any smaller...
Robinson: That’s true, if I think back to 2000, 2001, in the UK it was ISDN. So 64kbit. Or 128kbit if you were really lucky and didn’t mind the expense of having two lines. And at that speed you can’t download anything really.
It’s amazing – the UK is not the most advanced from a broadband point of view, we’re sort of middle-of-the-pack, but at home now I pay less money than I did in 2001, and I’ve got 8Mbit. And it’s funny – with 8Mbit, downloading a 600MB file is no longer such an issue. Ok, I know that Crysis is a 6GB file, but we’re only middle of the pack.
You look at parts of the world like Norway, Sweden, places like that. Asia – Korea, etc, you have 100Mbit. You realise that the speed isn’t a problem anymore. I think that’s the thing that will keep pushing us forward, it’s the transmission speed and the costs coming down, so it’s an interesting world!
GP: Certainly is! So then, what video games do you play?
Robinson: That’s a good one! OK, I’m a huge fan of Counter-Strike, I’ve been playing since beta 5 since... let me see...
Robinson: Yep! ’99. And I still play it more than anything else. But I’ve finished Drake's Fortune, Call of Duty 4, so mainly I’m a first-person, third-person, shooter person.
But Rock Band is fantastic, I actually was a Guitar Hero fan until I got Rock Band, but the social dynamic of Rock Band is so different. You’ll realise that once you play Rock Band you’re never going back to Guitar Hero! It’s just incredible, I’ve never had such a laugh playing a game in my life. Playing in a rock band is everyone’s fantasy! I play it with my family. My wife has been on vocals, I’m on guitar, my daughter-in-law is on the drums, and my daughter is on the other guitar, and it’s just hilarious. So I think that it’ll be around and be played for quite a long time!
GP: Great! So just finally, what advice would you give to people who want to get somewhere the industry, perhaps those still at high school, who want to make a real shot at a career?
Robinson: That’s a difficult question, but I think really it’s like a lot of things, if you feel passionate about the gaming and entertainment value that you can bring, then it really doesn’t matter where you start. For me, I actually originally started as a programmer, way back in the early 80’s before you guys were most likely born! Back on the 8-bit Atari and BBC platforms. And I got into that by accident because I was passionate about playing games in the arcade, and I was fascinated by how the games were built, and I started trying to build games myself.
So I think that if you’re passionate about games, whether you’re from the audio, or arts side of the game, engineering side, I think that if you’re really passionate about it you can have a great career in games. The market is huge and it’s growing all the time, and it’s encompassing newer and newer technologies, whether it be the social side like Rock Band, or a new genre entirely, I think there’s huge areas where people who are passionate can really get ahead. Being passionate is the most important thing.