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The rise of costs, the fall of gaming (modern gaming)


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#1 revolutionika OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 3, 2012 4:42 PM

Very interesting article, its a long read but worth the time.

http://n4g.com/news/clickout/1029155

#2 Animan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 3, 2012 4:48 PM

This is what I love about Ninty. They recognize this problem, and they're trying to prevent it.

Sadly, other developers aren't as smart.

#3 onlysublime OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 3, 2012 5:51 PM

Nintendo has the worst developer fees and the worst third-party relations of all the major companies. If the guy is arguing that the Wii U will have the lowest developmental costs versus the next-gen hardware, then he is essentially also arguing that the gaming industry would do better by staying in the current generation. The reason why gaming development gets more expensive is because the hardware gets better so the game developers have to put a lot more work into the art and the game logic. Since the Wii U is not much more powerful than current gen systems and thus doesn't require the massive poly counts and huge number of artists, their development costs should be in line with the 360 and PS3. But that's not the key to success.

While the author put a good amount of work into his piece, he does make a leap in logic that doesn't bear out.

#4 Emehr OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 3, 2012 8:51 PM

Excellent article. This is the core issue right here:

This business model of using Hollywood budgets for video games is going to lead to major disaster for the entire industry.


If I spend $10 to make paper clips and move a million units at $1 per box then I'm doing pretty good. However, if I'm spending $100,000 to make paper clips and still only moving a million units at $1 per box, something is desperately wrong.

Production budgets have gone up consistently and drastically since the Atari 2600 days.

Yet, sales of video games since the Atari 2600 days haven't really changed much. Top-selling games move about 1-2 million copies and the blockbusters sell around 7+ million copies. This hasn't really changed much since the Atari 2600 days.

Something's gonna break.

#5 Gabriel OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 3, 2012 9:05 PM

Can anyone show any activity by this person prior to a few months before the Wii U's announcement? Failing that, can anyone show anything this investigative journalist has covered other than Nintendo stuff?

I couldn't. Although I found gaming sites building her up by saying she had "years" of stories.

Unless someone can show me otherwise, I'm calling paid propaganda on this one.

#6 onlysublime OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 3, 2012 9:18 PM

the gaming market is much larger than in the 2600 days. how many consoles were sold in the 2600 days? 30 million. how many are sold now? The Wii has tripled that. The 360, and PS3 have doubled it As well as the PS2 and a bunch of other consoles. You say that blockbusters sell the same during the 2600 days and nowadays? the number of blockbusters is much greater these days. Nowadays, you can sell a million copies and be considered a disappointment whereas back then, a million copies made you a star.

the article said that a lot of companies have closed recently. well, a lot more companies have opened as well. studios opening and closing at rapid rates has occurred during the past decade. it's standard mode of operation these days. In fact, with available resources like Steam, Xbox Live Indie Games, iOS, Android, etc., there are a lot more avenues for indie developers to get a foothold into the gaming industry than ever before. People are constantly leaving their firms to create their own startups. So I'd say there's definitely more opportunities available.

Not like in the 2600 days where Atari could corner the market through very monopolistic practices that wouldn't fly today.

#7 Mord OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 4, 2012 8:48 AM

Production budgets have gone up consistently and drastically since the Atari 2600 days.


Perhaps if most titles didn't try to port their game to every single console and handheld that's being commercially supported they wouldn't see the development costs go quite so high. It has gone up drastically since the 2600 days all the same, but they should really pick and choose a console to put a game on. It'd probably result in fewer bugs in the games as well.

#8 Emehr OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 4, 2012 10:24 AM

the gaming market is much larger than in the 2600 days. how many consoles were sold in the 2600 days? 30 million. how many are sold now? The Wii has tripled that.


Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the Wii is an anomaly in that it was marketed and sold to a demographic that just bought it for Wii Sports. In this regard, let's disregard it. I like my Wii and all, but it was such a wild success that I don't think it accurately represents the number of households that actively and consistently purchase games for it (e.g. nursing homes, grandparents, my parents, etc.)

The 360, and PS3 have doubled it As well as the PS2 and a bunch of other consoles.


Okay, so it would be fair to say that a million-unit seller in the 2600 days would have to sell two million units with this generation, since apparently twice as many consoles are in homes.

You say that blockbusters sell the same during the 2600 days and nowadays? the number of blockbusters is much greater these days.


So with more blockbusters comes more competition. Wouldn't it be in their best interest to cut production costs to account for fewer sales?

Nowadays, you can sell a million copies and be considered a disappointment whereas back then, a million copies made you a star.


I think this just proves my point. If twice as many homes have video game consoles since the 2600 days, shouldn't the top-selling games be able to sell two million units and be considered a rousing success instead of just breaking even?

It's simple economics. Video games, despite their bigger audience, do not have the market sustainability of the film industry so they need to stop spending film industry-like dollars for their productions. Also, movies make their money in theaters, rentals, DVDs/BluRays, premium cable, streaming, etc. That represents many formats and many opportunities where they can make money. And they don't have to do it within a certain time frame. They still play Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, a seven year old movie, on cable). How many seven-year old video games are making money right now?

Video games exist on one platform and need to make their money within the first few months of release before they hit the bargain bin, a bin which they are usually dumped in within a year. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to produce a video game just doesn't make financial sense.

#9 onlysublime OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 4, 2012 10:39 AM

It's simple economics. Video games, despite their bigger audience, do not have the market sustainability of the film industry so they need to stop spending film industry-like dollars for their productions. Also, movies make their money in theaters, rentals, DVDs/BluRays, premium cable, streaming, etc. That represents many formats and many opportunities where they can make money. And they don't have to do it within a certain time frame. They still play Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, a seven year old movie, on cable). How many seven-year old video games are making money right now?

Video games exist on one platform and need to make their money within the first few months of release before they hit the bargain bin, a bin which they are usually dumped in within a year. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to produce a video game just doesn't make financial sense.


simple economics is investors want to make more and more money. These publishers were swimming in money during the peak of this generation and want to stay as close to that peak as possible. Activision-Blizzard is worth $14 billion, far more than its days of the 2600. I wouldn't cry over these companies starving. One company fails, its members move on to another company. There's much more venture capital these years than in years past, especially with a global economy.

For investors, if you aren't swimming in money, the sky is falling. Of course, they want to reap dividends and profits. But that doesn't mean the company is actually failing. A company's stock will actually fall if their profits were below what the investors' expected. How crazy is that?

the same for the movie industry. back then, making $100 million was considered a blockbuster. now, if it doesn't make $300 million, it's a failure. not because it costs $300 million to make (though some do), but because the chances of making $300 million is much easier nowadays.

#10 rxd OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 4, 2012 10:52 AM

Lol...

The sky is falling but Nintendo is genius.

Give me a f@cking break....

#11 cimerians ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 4, 2012 12:55 PM

Nintendo. I wish they would just sell games.

I'm tired of buying systems.

Activision/Blizzard up for sale:
http://www.digitally...p-for-sale.html

Edited by cimerians, Wed Jul 4, 2012 1:02 PM.


#12 thegamezmaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 4, 2012 1:16 PM

I'm tired of having to buy new systems too.

#13 atarilovesyou OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 4, 2012 1:33 PM

Great post. I'm glad it has nothing to do with me because I haven't bought a system since my PS2 Slim. Modern gaming holds very little for me, and I'm getting the feeling that a shift is happening in the mainstream as well. I don't hear nearly as many 'regular people' going on about the newest first person shooter; I do see people of every walk of life playing simpler video games on their Iphones (Angry Birds is the obvious one).

Gaming entertainment doesn't have to be expensive, it doesn't have to be marketed towards the latest and greatest. It just needs to focus on FUN and that's where the Wii really shined: it was fun and appealed to a huge demographic. All I want is an entertaining game, man. If I want complex and cinematic and all the rest, I'll go play a computer game (which is slowly turning into a mess as well).

LONG LIVE RETROGAMING!

#14 revolutionika OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 4, 2012 9:44 PM

Great post. I'm glad it has nothing to do with me because I haven't bought a system since my PS2 Slim.

LONG LIVE RETROGAMING!


I feel similar to you. My PS2 collection is just retro compilations. I have a Wii with even more retro compilations and for Nintendo franchises and a few puzzle games. I used to be all the military FPS games on Xbox, Gamecube and 360 but I grew tired of all the online crap and cheaters. the only FPS game i have left is metroid trilogy...i sold them all. Maybe one day I will buy the new Ghost recon as that was my favorite....i also grew tired of online micro transactions.

LONG LIVE RETRO GAMING!

#15 godslabrat OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:36 AM

Activision/Blizzard up for sale:
http://www.digitally...p-for-sale.html


I'll bet you any money EA buys them.

#16 cimerians ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:51 AM


Activision/Blizzard up for sale:
http://www.digitally...p-for-sale.html


I'll bet you any money EA buys them.


LOL!

#17 Cynicaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 5, 2012 10:35 AM

I know it’s all subjective, but the whole problem is hilarious from my point of view. All these companies losing money on their releases, laying people off, struggling to keep the lights on—all in the name of MOAR BETTR GRAFX!!11! and things that are, when you really get down to it, nothing but worthless fluff. I’m not quite there yet, but honestly, I’m on the brink of saying “good riddance” to modern video games altogether.

The only thing I hate more than shallow blockbuster movie-games is brain dead tablet games with touch controls, which, unfortunately, is probably going to be the "safe haven" that developers start flocking to in order to actually turn a profit. I guess I might as well accept that gaming is dead to me, and all I have left is the retro.

#18 Marc Oberhäuser OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 5, 2012 1:24 PM

Excellent article, many thanks for the head-up. I was on board on two of the casualities :/

#19 revolutionika OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 7, 2012 3:17 PM

Marc, what was the atmosphere like working at a gaming that going under? Any cool stories? Btw, sorry you lost your job! I've been with 4 construction companies that went under myself, kinda seen it cOming when the checks were late and/ or no good!

#20 Karyyk OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 7, 2012 10:43 PM

And this is why indie game development is growing by leaps and bounds. You won't find huge budgets, corporate BS or bloated pricing, but you will find some good games making decent profits for their developers. With all the hype about indie gaming right now, it's really kind of a throwback to the way things used to be.

#21 xg4bx OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 9, 2012 6:11 AM

i think they started going downhill when they decided that gaming needed to be totally mainstream and compete with hollywood. rather than have modest budgets and create games for a relatively small group of dedicated nerds, all while turning a nice profit, they decided they needed to shock&awe mainstream audiences with slick marketing blitzes and visuals that would compete with the avengers. they've almost totally alienated their core i.e. the people who pay their bills in favor of the notoriously fickle tastes and demands of mainstream consumers. they dumb down and butcher beloved franchises in favor and the pursuit of these mainstream audiences and yet wonder where "the fans" went. just about every major franchise, and even the new ones like dead space, are being dumbed down beyond recognition all in favor of getting the dopey public to buy them. i loved dead space, now they decided that they need to make it an action series. they just lost a sale to me, i hope some dopey mom is there to make it up for them.

Edited by xg4bx, Mon Jul 9, 2012 6:18 AM.


#22 atarilovesyou OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:20 AM

Funny thing about the cinematics of video games...what I really loved about Ninja Gaiden on NES was those awesome cut scenes! I really loved em, and it made the game so epic. I still dig that stupid storyline! And as the series went on, I noticed how repetitive it was getting both in terms of gameplay and the storylines. How many times can Ryu get shot by a woman? Lots, apparently.

And so other games imitated those cut scenes...some better than others.

Into the newer age, I really enjoyed the cut scenes from the Resident Evil series...especially part 2. Even with that terrible voice acting, it really made the game without overtaking the gameplay.

The final nail for me came around when I bought Metal Gear Solid for the PS1. I really did like the game, but those cut scenes...it was when I finally realized that some game designers are just wannabe film producers and I really didn't care to sit through all that crap! It was just overdone. Finished it once or twice, and PFFFFT done.

Watching what's been going on lately with all these games that don't know if they want to be movies or games is almost laughable. But whatever, I don't buy em' so I dunno. Perhaps one day the market will shift back to what brought me to liking games in the first place. But that's about as likely as hair metal making an American comeback. So I won't hold my breath (not that I actually would WANT a hair metal comeback; once was enough).

#23 onlysublime OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:02 AM

Good article,
Software prices had skyrocketed comparing to the Atari days, that's for sure


not really. I remember some of the big name Activision cartridges for the 2600 pushing $30. And I remember Street Fighter II for the SNES at one point was $75 (this was around the time when memory was so expensive due to shortages I believe).

#24 macgoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:13 PM

This is what I love about Ninty. They recognize this problem, and they're trying to prevent it.

Sadly, other developers aren't as smart.


Nintendo hardware is the most overpriced underpowered IN THE WORLD CONSISTENTLY and their games look and play in a fashion only suitable for mentally disabled people or small children so they can go and die. And who can forget their bastard console? The N64 with cartridges...what a joke just so they could keep tight control on software for their shit console and avoid cheaper CDs that THE WHOLE WORLD WANTED.

Software had grown out of the capacity of one man bedroom coding once you got past early 8bit computers like the VIC20 or even the VCS. The Amiga was a classic case of needing 3 people (code, graphics, audio) and this is why so many 8 bit icons like Jeff Minter produced such worthless turds on the Amiga.

Is there a solution? Nope because 'indie games' like Super Meatboy look WORSE than classic C64 games, cost more on Xbox Live and are just pure talentless shit sorry.

And there is a snobery to it now, Rob Hubbard earned peanuts for some of the most iconic music (better than anything Nintendo ever produced in game soundtracks too) and yet today just being able to boot up an XBLA dev system geeks feel they need to earn 5-10 national minimum wage :roll: All a bunch of spoilt pricks walking round in sandals and curry stained T-shirts today. There is no Tony Crowther's out their, they all bitch and moan about Windows APIs and DX10 etc but I remember clearly a time when coders earning peanuts EXCEEDED the perceived limits of the hardware in both execution bandwidth/graphics capabilities and audio sophistication attainable. Now thanks to Microcock Winblows syndrome faster code = faster CPU plz k thanx mr engineer LOL the losers.

#25 Austin ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:24 PM

Is there a solution? Nope because 'indie games' like Super Meatboy look WORSE than classic C64 games, cost more on Xbox Live and are just pure talentless shit sorry.


Go take a chill pill dude. Quit being so bitter. :thumbsup:




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