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Businesses Entertainment Games

High Price Scare Tactics 147

Posted by Zonk
from the dirty-pool dept.
GamesIndustry.biz has comments from Mark Rein, VP of Epic Games, stating that he considers the recent talk about sky high game and console prices nothing but scare tactics on the part of large publishers. From the article: "'I guess they just don't have productive tools like we have,' he went on to suggest."
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High Price Scare Tactics

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  • Even higher? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Oen_Seneg (673357) on Monday March 07, 2005 @04:59PM (#11870212)
    £35 for a newly released (PC) game is already sky-high. £5 higher and its not going to sell anywhere near as well until it drops in price. I'm not as up to date on the console situation, but I believe the cost of console games is even higher in the UK.

    Not that it matters, I never buy games until 6-12 months after they've been released just because of the £10-15 price drop.
    • Re:Even higher? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alkaiser (114022) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:18PM (#11870506) Homepage
      More people need to start following your lead. If you see a game that's priced out of the norm £40 for the UKers, $55-$60 for the Americans, etc...skip it.

      I don't care how good the game is or how long you've been waiting. Wait until the price drops, then rush the store. We've been paying artificially high prices for games for a long time. Last year, some publishers finally got smart, and gave us discount games like Katamari Damacy, Gungrave: Overdose and the ESPN sports titles.

      Reward the good companies willing to stick their neck out like that, and punish the ones just trying to stick their hands out into your wallet.

      Eventually, the publishers will notice that there are pathetic sales for the games in their first weeks out of the game, and phenomenal numbers after the price drop. Then maybe they'll get it.

      Maybe.
      • Re:Even higher? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by chris_mahan (256577) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:25PM (#11870612) Homepage
        Nah,

        You gotta buy the game at that price.

        If good games cost less, they would already cost less. The market is already adjusted to the optimum price to support the greatest numebr of users and the industry.

        • Re:Even higher? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)
          The price hasn't changed in a long time, and there have been no attempts to change the mainstream prices significantly, so we can't possibly know if the current games price is the optimum price or not. The market is constantly growing and changing after all; most significantly, it is getting older.
          • Re:Even higher? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ivan256 (17499) * on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:17PM (#11871275)
            That's just not true.

            PC game prices have changed. 3 years ago PC game prices were on par with console game prices. Developers realized that they weren't selling at that price though, and now the typical PC game sells for $35 instead of $49. (Blizzard and LucasArts seem to be the exception to the rule. They must put crack in their games because people buy them at any price they stick on the box.)

            This EA exec seems to forget that there's more to games than gameplay and graphics. Any two-bit hack can whip up gameplay and graphics to some extent these days. They're becoming commodity. The costs are in the content. You'd think they'd know that having just shelled out millions for NFL licenses.

            Let EA raise their prices. Every other developer on the planet that lives in the real world will eat their lunch.
            • When I go to wal-mart, new game prices are typically $40 to $50. And that's wal-mart! The same is true at gamestop. There hasn't been a new PC game that I wanted for $35 basically ever. Where the hell are you buying games, and what truck did they fall of of?
              • Um, EB?

                Check out the New Releases section of their website [ebgames.com]. There's nothing over $40 on the list. Compared to console games that all start and end at $49.99 for new releases... Wal-Mart is usually $5 less than any EB price. (Again, Blizzard and LucasArts titles excluded)
                • That's interesting, I clicked on "next page" before I found a single game I consider worth buying: "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II with Bonus! Released on 2/8/2005" for $49.99. Every other game there is craptacular! Hell, one of the items is an expansion pack for The Sims 2 that costs $35 on its own! Now THAT is ridiculous. Thank you for proving my point for me. A-List games are still fifty bucks; nothing has changed since console games went down from $50-70 to $40-50.
                  • Might it just be because February/March are usually pretty baren when it comes to A-List games?
                    • Sure, it could be, but the fact that the only A-List game on there is a rerelease with some "special" content and still costs $50 is a pretty strong indicator. It doesn't necessarily prove anything on its own, I admit. It does, however, support my experience.
              • When Wal-Mart decided to shell out millions and millions to build their super-centers, they lost their competitive edge in price (except arguably in the grocery department). Don't fall into the trap of thinking that Wal-Mart has the lowest price. That's simply no longer true in many cases. Their mission now is to be slightly lower than the stores immediately surrounding them. Since there usually aren't many bargain video games stores near Wal-Marts, Wal-Mart does not feel the need to price video games c
                • If I buy stuff at Wal-mart, it's because they have the absolute cheapest price. I don't buy new games there, or anywhere else, in most cases. I usually try to buy them from Gamestop, because at least they're a games store, when I actually want a new title. I typically go to Wal-mart for drug store type things. When I lived in Aptos we had a great drug store called Vessey's or something like that, and that was a great place to go, but now the only competition for Wal-mart in the drug store area where I live
            • About Blizzard and LucasArts: Blizzard has a strong history of very good games. Even the games that have issues, they do everything they can to fix them, and their most broken game in recent years, WoW, was only broken because it sold far better than they ever dared dream, not because it was an overall bad game.

              LucasArt's big titles are mostly Star Wars, which is among the biggest brand names around. Time has been you could slap Star Wars on just about anything and see an increase in sales.
      • by King Fuckstain (864155) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:31PM (#11870691) Homepage Journal
        " More people need to start following your lead. If you see a game that's priced out of the norm £40 for the UKers, $55-$60 for the Americans, etc...skip it."
        If more people waited 6-12 months to purchase a game, the length of time before the publishers dropped the price would just increase. You should be encouraging fewer people to wait 6-12 months. The more people who buy the game on the first day it is released, the faster the publisher will drop the price.
        "Last year, some publishers finally got smart, and gave us discount games like Katamari Damacy, Gungrave: Overdose and the ESPN sports titles."
        Bargain games are not exactly a new innovation. The only difference is that now major publishers are taking a cue from the cheapie companies and considering development costs when pricing their games.
        "Reward the good companies willing to stick their neck out like that, and punish the ones just trying to stick their hands out into your wallet."
        Stick their neck out? Yes. Not putting their hands into your wallet? No. The $20 price point some companies are releasing games at is merely an attempt to take a product that they don't believe will sell well at $50 and make it more of an impulse buy at $20. At the end of the day, they all want to get into your wallet and would be happy to it empty.
        "Eventually, the publishers will notice that there are pathetic sales for the games in their first weeks out of the game, and phenomenal numbers after the price drop. Then maybe they'll get it."
        The market functions nothing like you think it does. The companies want to meet a certain target of units moved at the $50 price point - calculated by market research. Once they believe that they've sold all the copies they're going to sell at $50, they'll lower the price. Waiting will merely lead to the company waiting longer because their research shows the game needs to sell X number of copies before they will lower the price. Look at the cost of Mac games and how long it takes for the price to be reduced on those - it's quite a long time. Then, look at the EA Sports line of games for the PC. Those are reduced in price much more quickly than the same products on the consoles because EA believes fewer people are destined to buy at the $50 price point.

        Finally, a post on Slashdot telling people not to buy games is going to in no way have any impact on an international marketplace, ever. God Bless.

        • by Some_Llama (763766) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:48PM (#11870946) Homepage Journal
          "If more people waited 6-12 months to purchase a game, the length of time before the publishers dropped the price would just increase. You should be encouraging fewer people to wait 6-12 months. The more people who buy the game on the first day it is released, the faster the publisher will drop the price. "

          Wrong, doom3 dropped their price in less than 6 months, halflife 2 is still going for 60+, they both sold about the same in the first few weeks/months.

          "Waiting will merely lead to the company waiting longer because their research shows the game needs to sell X number of copies before they will lower the price."

          No waiting will ensure that they go broke if noone buys the game at their artificially inflated 50+ dollar price...

          Do the math, 1 million games sold at 50 bucks, or 5 million sold at 20-30 dollars, which generates more profit?

          When you make the games affordable so anyone can buy them you will reduce piracy and generate bigger interest in the game.. anyone remember this little title called Serious Sam? How about it's sequel...

          ----------------
          I consider myself a liberal, does that count?
          • "Wrong, doom3 dropped their price in less than 6 months, halflife 2 is still going for 60+, they both sold about the same in the first few weeks/months."

            This does not prove my statement "wrong", as you so boldly state. The publisher has a target number that they believe their product will sell. Apparently the publishers of Doom 3 had a lower target number than the publishers of Half Life 2 - nothing earth-shattering there. Furthermore, I've seen Half-Life 2 for $40, so your statement isn't even factually

          • The price that game developers charge has zero to do with their cost of developing games. It is primarily based on how much the marketers have calculated that parents are willing to pay to satisfy the demands of their 12-17 year old sons versus how many games they need to sell to cover the development costs of the console platform.
            Since the console prices are below cost to get you to buy the system, the console maker and the game developers make it up in the prices for the individual games.
          • Do the math, 1 million games sold at 50 bucks, or 5 million sold at 20-30 dollars, which generates more profit?

            It depends on the development and other costs.
          • Wrong, doom3 dropped their price in less than 6 months, halflife 2 is still going for 60+, they both sold about the same in the first few weeks/months.

            Except that the development costs Valve expended during Half-Life 2's gestation period were much higher than that of id's expenditures on DOOM3. It's natural to both expect and appreciate a long period of premium license costs, they earned it; to do otherwise would be suicide.
        • Games that don't sell as well drop in price much faster. Consider how long the Half-Life and Sims bundles stayed at the standard retail price vs. lesser known games such as Perimeter and Arena Wars. Or how quickly the price for Beyond Good & Evil dropped. The price will stay up as long as enough people buy it, at least for PC games the prices drop as demand goes down. Console games seem to do this much less, worst offender being the Gamecube which usually won't see price drops until the games hit the cl
        • The market functions nothing like you think it does. The companies want to meet a certain target of units moved at the $50 price point - calculated by market research. Once they believe that they've sold all the copies they're going to sell at $50, they'll lower the price.

          Exactly: when most customers refuse to buy at $50, the companies will eventually understand that the number of copies they're going to sell at $50 is lower now.
          Or at least, some of them will understand it. The others might end up bankrup
      • I've been doing this for quite some time now. Unless it's a must have, 5-star game, I wait till it drops below $30 or even $20 if possible. Games should not cost $50 unless it was some huge game like Final Fantasy that had nearly 200 staff members. Don't give me that they won't make enough money bullshit either....look at movies. The average movie costs right around $20, yet they cost 10-100 times as much to produce than your average video game. They'll charge you as much as we let them get away with.
        • I'm not sure that this is exactly correct.
          For one, there are a lot more middle men in game sales. For an average game, you have the costs of development (which is quite high for most of the newer games that sell well). Then you have the cost for the publisher, the licensing fee for the console manufacturer, and the retailer markeup.
          For a movie, you basically have the cost to make the movie, which is made up with ticket sales (AFAIK there is not much of a markup on ticket prices at movie theaters, who ma
      • This is simple economics; economists would refer to this as 'price discrimination'. The basic idea is to charge everybody as much as they're willing to pay for it. Now, they can't interview you beforehand and ask 'how much are you willing to pay' like that and get a valid answer and hope to sell it to you at that price, so they do this instead. Some people are obviously willing to pay $$$$$ for a new computer game. Some aren't. So, they keep a good sky-high price for a month or two, and then drop the price
      • I agree, theres been a lot of titles I was raring up to buy, then I noticed the price, did some budgeting...and decided to do the responsible thing. One of those times I picked up Katamari Damashi. Is story of how I picked up one of the best games in my collection.

        Otherwise I am likely to buy used, or off ebay. Good for me, good for the guy who bought first, bad for the publisher.

        Seriously, theres like 10 games I want real bad right now but can't afford. Y's, import Dragon Quest and Tales games, Xen

    • It's not that bad. AMiga games in 1990 cost £24.99 so given inflation, it's not too shabby.

      We have a lot more inflation in uroland, withnew games costing 60 or even 70.

      • Games costing more than 60 Euros??? WTF... The last time I've seen that was Enter the Matrix. Or maybe some games coming with extra junk but never a plain game.
    • Agreed why spend so much for games when you could be making better investments? I usually wait at around 6-12 months as you said before I purchase a game.
  • Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:06PM (#11870322) Homepage
    "There's no question that the graphics are going to be a huge upgrade," he commented. "You know, people are such snobs, with this 'oh, it's not about graphics' thing. That's such nonsense. It's totally about graphics. What's the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and the latest Metal Gear Solid? Right, it's - wow, the graphics!"

    Well, duh. When your pony's one trick is looking good, you're not about to go trumpeting the virtue of speedy ponies, strong ponies, or clever ponies, are you?

    I mean, c'mon. Take a look at the content of Epic Games' front page navigation box:

    • Unreal Championship 2
    • Unreal Tournament 2004
    • Unreal Championship
    • Unreal 2
    • Unreal Tournament
    • Unreal
    • Unreal Engine
    • Unreal Developer Network
    • Unreal Technology Site
    • Epic Classic Games

    This is akin to the VP of 3DO saying, "Of course it's about little plastic military figurines--and anyone who says otherwise is just a jerk with a silver spoon up his ass!"

    • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by biryokumaru (822262) *
      epic megagames used to make the best games i'd ever played. titles like jill of the jungle and epic pinball will stay with me forever. not to mention the still-well-pirated jazz jackrabbit series.

      one day they came out with unreal, and epic jsut stopped being so cool. shur, 3d fps games are all the rage, but unreal was just so... singular. and serious. the older epic games were friendly and fun, and had such variety even within the individual games. the only reason people really play unreal is because its

      • This happens pretty much anytime a company gets big. It's like once you cross some magic money line, the whole business starts going to shit. Look at Gateway and Dell...I remember 10 years ago Gateway actually making some decent PC's look at what happened to them...and the current Dell is quickly following in their footsteps.
    • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BoomerSooner (308737) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:42PM (#11870870) Homepage Journal
      The problem is the games were much more playable when the graphics were shit. Now everyone (game developers) think they can substitute great graphics for gameplay when I'd rather play shitty old Thief/Thief II than HALO/DOOM III. After killing 100 aliens/monsters/whatthefuckevers it gets a bit repetitive. Programming for a living is repetitive enough, how about some innovative games?
      • The problem is the games were much more playable when the graphics were shit.

        Not really. As an example, I'll point to either Warcraft or Dune II, where you could only select one unit at a time. It took until graphics actually became good (e.g. TA or later) before the strategy genre became playable enough - and even so, it still isn't playable because of unit AI and paradigm flaws (e.g. all units prefer to remain at rest as soon as their "order" is finished, resulting in people queueing up multiple attac

    • Graphics matter in the sequal market. Why would you buy the same game if it didnt look better? Well maybe if it had a better story, but games like unreal dont have a story to start with.

      But generally there is a minimum level of graphics required, whats more important is the art. Case in point EQII vs WoW. Sure EQ2 might have the better graphics engine, but it looks like crap.

      • by Pxtl (151020)
        Epic is, actually, the exception. UT2k4 has the same graphics and models as UT2k3 - all the new sequel stuff is new game content - vehicles, gametypes, maps, etc. As a result, UT2k4 is the most overstuffed multiplayer game I've ever seen (outside of MMOs).
        • Ummm...

          No. UT2004 and 2003 play differently. Its not just the graphics. UT2003 was poorly recieved by the fans, 2004 is a step back towards the original UT. UT2003 had a very small tie to the original UT. 2004 actually makes a lot of connections back to the Unreal franchise.
    • It is all about the graphics when you want to sell the game.
      Customers only care about the gameplay after they've gone through the "Oooohhhh that looks awesome" phase.
  • Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by superpulpsicle (533373) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:06PM (#11870329)
    The last thing I need is EA dictating what the rest of the video game industry's need. What EA doesn't tell you is that the $50 cazillion budget incorporates fees paid to the NFL for exclusivity player licenses. It also includes lawyer compensation expenses.

    Gamers aren't fucking stupid. If only big name companies with a trillion dollar budget can make a PS3 game, this is the end of the industry as we know it.

    • I doubt high costs will scare anyone off. They'll go to their respective levels and leave it at that. If that means half-assing the graphics they'll do it. I doubt we're going to see the next gen consoles fully utilized very often. Even today some of the more risky games with lower budget have graphics that are far away from the best the system could do (e.g. Katamari Damacy), not to speak of indy games.
  • worth it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FzArEkTaH (865743)
    Hardware is expensive and good developers are expensive - also gaming is growing at such a rapid rate, even with all the expense, so they know that it will sell, and if it's a good game, well worth it in my eyes.
  • by PoderOmega (677170) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:14PM (#11870445)
    Am I the only one who remembers when Strider for Genesis was and Street Fighter II for SNES was $70? Yes, they were cartridges and you could argue now that were more expensive than CD/DVDs to produce. The best bargain has got to PC games, price usually drops in half in 6-12 months. After 18-24 months they cost $20.
    • Am I the only one who remembers when Strider for Genesis was and Street Fighter II for SNES was $70?

      No, you're not. Fact is, video games are a better deal now than they've ever been. Not only are prices for top titles surprisingly low (even before factoring in inflation!), you're getting a ton more entertainment value out of your average title than you ever did before. A game that takes ten hours to finish is considered "very short" these days. Even just ten years ago, a game that took ten hours to f

      • by Knos (30446)
        10 years ago, rpgs such as final fantasy VI (> 30hours) or dragon quest V (> 30 hours too) were released.
        • ...and they were considered "epic" in scale, were they not?
        • Well, that's one way to look at it.

          Another way is that Final Fantasy VI was two games, one a combat simulation and one a rather simple "move the drama forward" game. The combat game typically lasts about a minute, longer for boss fights, and I've never played VI through, but my experience with that generation of FF is that I spend a lot of time wishing the text speed went another three or four notches higher than the highest setting. Call the combat "one game" that repeats a lot and it ain't no 30 hours.

          (
          • Playing through FF6 again, right now actually. Probably the best game I've ever played...love it. This was the game that got me to apreciate just how wonderful RPGs could be. That's all I've got to say :)
      • ... whereas 25 years ago, we had games like Space Invaders, that had no end. Interesting how these things evolve...
      • But also remember that Street Fighter 2 in the SNES was THE game in those days. It was so superior in quality to everything else in the market, that it deserved the price.

        Imagine that today, Metal Gear Solid 3 was released, and the only other games released were things like Driver 3.
    • I'm dating myself, but I remember Vic-20 games that came on cassette tape which cost nearly as much. Now I'm sure the volume was a lot lower, but that's still a hell of a price to pay for only a few kilobytes of entertainment.
      • You measure entertainment in kilobytes?!
        • Among other ways, yes. It would be interesting to see a comparison of development cost per KB back then vs. now. Today's games cost millions to develop and take up many megabytes of space. Back then, games cost tens of thousands of dollars to develop and take up many kilobytes of space.

          Of course, there's probably little practical use of such an exercise other than to satisfy my curiosity.
    • If I remember correctly, Final Fantasy 3 was around 90 dollars, and so was Virtua Racer for the Genesis, because it had that FX-like chip (not to be confused with the Nintendo FX chip) in the cartridge.
  • "We're going to make our next generation games for only 50 per cent more than our last generation games," Rein bullishly claimed

    Okay, so a last-gen $50 game costs new-gen $75. That's about what previous reports said. Odd.
  • Game prices haven't changed that awfully much in the last ten years, if anything they went down. Console prices seem to be lower. I never remember being able to buy a console for $99 like the GameCube before the next generation was released.
  • Funny, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I always thought the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and its two sequels is that the first one didn't suck.

    And exactly how is saying "graphics aren't everything" snobbish? If that's how we're defining the word, here is a list of other snobbish things to say:

    1 - Fashion isn't everything.
    2 - Syntax isn't everything.
    3 - Presentation isn't everything.
    4 - Make-up isn't everything.
    5 - Superficial nonsense isn't everything.

    Have you ever heard anything so snobbish in your entire life?
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:18PM (#11870508) Homepage Journal
    The biggest factor preventing lots of people from playing a MMORPG is cost. Many more people try out "free trials" than go on to pay the subscription fee. Companies see a MMORPG as a big cash cow and try to keep the amount of actual development done on the game to a minimum.

    Open Source MMORPG projects are starting to put control back into the hands of the RPG community. Like MUDs before them, MMORPGs will one day be run by a community of volunteers. If players choose to pay those volunteers then all the better.

    The biggest thing holding this back is the creation of art: maps, character models, items, 2d graphics. There's a new project LessShift [freeartfoundation.org] to develop this art. Will you help?

  • Fairly standard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DamienMcKenna (181101) <damien.mc-kenna@com> on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:19PM (#11870514)
    It seems to be a fairly standard business practice these days. Make suggestions that your product could go up in price and people subconsciously start preparing to pay more. That's also why new technologies are always expensive ("it'll be expensive to start because of economics of scale but will come down in price soon", then end up with $50 games and $30+ DVDs). It works, so why shouldn't they push it a bit more?

    Damien
    • They're talking about publisher costs, not end-user costs. I highly doubt that prices are going to return to the highs seen in the pre-PSX days, simply because publishers don't want to price themselves out of the mainstream acceptance they've been working on for two decades.

      What might happen is that bigger publishers will concentrate their funds on fewer titles at a time, or license more of their development, and by that I mean spend some money for the "keep cliffyb in hair dye and trendy t-shirts" fund.
  • Kismet... wow! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nacturation (646836) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `noitarutcan'> on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:44PM (#11870900) Journal
    Everyone's commenting on the cost issue, but the full interview [gamesindustry.biz] has some really great stuff about the Unreal 3 engine. Here's a snippet regarding Kismet, the scripting environment within the engine:
    I have a great quote from one of our team, actually, which describes it perfectly. He's one of our level designers who posted on a private development forum, describing what his working life is like now with Kismet.

    They were talking about Unreal Engine 3, and what he said was; "Nothing to do with graphics actually - the tools just ooze creative inspiration. I've never scripted or coded in my life, but our visual scripting - which I know is not an entirely new concept - is a fucking blast to work with. I've created levels with entire mini-games in them, AI behaviours, damage systems depicting various stun events and healing, cinematics, bizarre control schemes, even physically rolling dice telling me totals based on the angle of the surfaces facing upright when the object's velocity reaches zero, which I check every 0.5 seconds."

    "I've even coded a random level generator and I've needed virtually no interaction with anyone on the code side to make this work. We've had level designers implementing a fighting game in a level, a driving game with chase cam and effects, targeting systems and etc, with incredibly low learning curve. You could walk into a room in a deathmatch level and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a Dance Dance Revolution mini-game."

    "Just last week a potential licensee was in-house, and described the game they wanted to build and how one of their critical game mechanics was going to work. Literally within five minutes they looked over my shoulder, I'd built that core dynamic into a level of our game. The demo went incredibly well to say the least. "

    "Typically, I'll sit down with a new recruit, a designer with no scripting experience, for about two hours, and show them the basics of Kismet - how triggers work, characters, toggles, cinematic systems, conditions, variables and so on. Then I'll give them about a day to screw around with it. Within a day I'll see some absurd crap" ... Ah, I'm replacing swear words here! [laughs] "...happening in their levels that would have been an absolute nightmare to get going otherwise, even if they could describe what they were actually looking for to a programmer - and that communication would no doubt affect the outcome anyway."

    "The bottom line is that engine tools dramatically affect your creative process, and our engine has been designed with far more in mind than just pretty shadows."

    With all the new games requiring a dozen programmers or so, will technologies like this bring back the concept of the one or two person commercial game? Artwork is obviously still a major hurdle, but there are many places to purchase models if you need to. And, finally, anyone know if this will be available for mod developers with the next Unreal game, or only to those who fork over the big bucks for an engine license?
    • Thanks for pointing this out...

      I really want to slap the article poster for only pointing out the sound byte of the interview.

      Unreal Engine 3 is shaping up to be a very good next-gen engine. The designers have close to 10 years of development invested in this, which is more than you can say for Source. The only company with more experience I'd say is id. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)
      • The designers have close to 10 years of development invested in this, which is more than you can say for Source. The only company with more experience I'd say is id.

        Then again, isn't the Source engine based upon Quake 2/3? At any rate, Unreal 3 is quite impressive. When I saw the screenshots, all I could think of was the announcer saying "Holy Shit!"
      • Re:Kismet... wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by KDR_11k (778916)
        I just hope they kill off the Unreal 1 code this time and rewrite the pawn as one class instead of three layers of inheritance. All of these different layers make the code unreadable since you have to search three or four classes when you want to know what exactly that function does or how it's implemented. It took me a few days to get accustomized to Doom 3, to this day I still don't understand the code in UT 2004.
    • "You could walk into a room in a deathmatch level and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a Dance Dance Revolution mini-game."

      I sure hope they fix that bug soon.
    • No. Because no matter how easy it is to make gameplay, the meat of the work is still in the content. Modelling is hard, painful, tedious work.
      • Re:Kismet... wow! (Score:2, Interesting)

        by KDR_11k (778916)
        Easier coding reduces the chance of bugs and therefore shortens both coding and testing time. Modelling might get more complex but the programs constantly get better as well. Just as normalmaps threaten to skyrocket dev costs ZBrush 2 appears on the scene and speeds organic hipoly modeling up by a huge factor. Unlike coding, which doesn't see advances very often, especially not ones avaiable to everyone at reasonable prices (say what you will but 2k for an app is still much lower than 200k for an engine), m
  • The competition (Score:3, Interesting)

    by b1t r0t (216468) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:46PM (#11870929)
    If they do this, they'll have a lot of competition from the used games market. It's not just mega-collectors like me with 2000+ games for a couple dozen systems who won't pay high prices (I wait until new games go down in price anyhow), but the average punter who heads down to the used games shop and has lots of low-priced used games to choose from. Not that everybody will go for it, but a lot will.

    After all, what do you think Steam is all about? It's about killing the used games market, though too little and too late.

  • by inkless1 (1269) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:13PM (#11871222) Homepage
    Would anyone expect him to say anything else? Epic is shopping Unreal 3 around to licensees. So ... do you think we would say something like "your production budget will go through the roof" or will he say something like "our tools are going to save you money while you make big games"?
  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oGMo (379) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:18PM (#11871289)
    "You know, people are such snobs, with this 'oh, it's not about graphics' thing. That's such nonsense. It's totally about graphics. What's the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and the latest Metal Gear Solid? Right, it's - wow, the graphics!"

    This is a comment from a person who obviously never actually plays the games, just looks at marketing material and screenshots.

    The difference between MGS and MGS3 is mainly in the minor changes made to gameplay. Camoflage. Food. Survival. The "outdoors" world. These are mostly small, but they have a huge impact on the way you play the game. (There are also the enhancements to gameplay from MGS2, but these are also minor.)

    Sure, the graphics are nice, but you could have made this game for the PSX with its crappy graphics and pretty much had the same compelling experience.

    Who are you going to trust on this? Some VP from a 2nd-rate development house, or Hideo Kojima?

    Graphics are nice. Gameplay is king.

    • Epic is a "2nd-rate development house"? That's news to me.
    • Really, I always thought the gameplay got worse with each progressive Metal Gear they released...lol

      *It's not a troll, it's an opinion...
      • by oGMo (379)
        Some people take issue with the story in MGS2, and the lack of Snake through most of the game. However, gameplay is much more refined in MGS2; even moreso in MGS3. And the story in MGS3 is the best yet, IMO: much closer to the original Metal Gear.
    • by antin (185674)
      Don't bullshit yourself - graphics sell more than any type of gameplay. Perhaps the original poster could have chosen a different game to use as an example, but I think you delibrately missed the point. Yes MGS has had some gameplay changes between games, but do you really think that if MGS3 was released looking like MGS it would actually sell?

      'True' gamers might concentrate on the gameplay, but we kid ourselves if we think we are in the majority. Pretty much the first (and only) comment I ever hear about
  • "'I guess they just don't have productive tools like we have,' he went on to suggest."

    That's not a nice way to refer to your employees.

  • "What's the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and the latest Metal Gear Solid? Right, it's - wow, the graphics!" Well, that, and: 1: A first person camera mode that allowed you to shoot enemies with great preciscion. 2: A Camoflauge system that allowed you to hide from your enemies in a more sensible way. 3: Plot. 4: Main characters (Snake to Raiden to Big Boss) 5: Persistant bodies, requiring some forethought before killing every enemy in sight. 6: Tranqualizer darts, allowing you to go
    • (sorry for the lack of paragraphs. Here's a paragraphed version)

      "What's the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and the latest Metal Gear Solid? Right, it's - wow, the graphics!"

      Well, that, and:

      1: A first person camera mode that allowed you to shoot enemies with great preciscion.

      2: A Camoflauge system that allowed you to hide from your enemies in a more sensible way.

      3: Plot.

      4: Main characters (Snake to Raiden to Big Boss)

      5: Persistant bodies, requiring some forethought before killing

    • "[Graphics are] the bait. The gameplay is the hook.

      Wow...you deserve a +5 insightful just for this one line! Good job ;)
  • From the article:

    "You know, people are such snobs, with this 'oh, it's not about graphics' thing. That's such nonsense. It's totally about graphics. What's the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and the latest Metal Gear Solid? Right, it's - wow, the graphics!"

    Technically, he's right. Metal Gear Solid (PS1) is inferior graphics to MGS3: Snake Eater (PS2). But, the REAL statement should have been:

    "Why did the first Metal Gear Solid sell so well? It was an amazing game and it looked great. Why is Metal Gear Solid 3 selling so well? It's an amazing game and it looks great."

    Graphics are important, true. But gameplay FAR outclasses that for gamers. Why do you think Madden games sell every year? They basically look the same every year. What they tweak is the gameplay, the techniques, the challenge, etc. The graphics are hardly improved. KOTOR (xbox) and Super Smash Brothers Melee (Gamecube) weren't anything special in the graphics department (although they are both nice looking). They were amazing games, and sold accordingly.

  • by silentbobdp (157345) on Monday March 07, 2005 @11:06PM (#11873740) Homepage
    ...when I know of at least one game specialty store that's getting ready to add a "value" section on their walls EXCLUSIVELY of new titles 19.99 and under.

    Further, the prices for almost all the non-EA PSP launch titles have backed down from 50$ to 40$.

    The writing is on the wall and game prices are going down.
  • It's not just because my system is on the verge of being kin to dinosaurs, it's game prices. I stopped playing console games seriously, way back in 1997 roughly. Game prices are just too high. You figure a good system, even a year after launch is still $150+. That's just the console, 1 lame ass controller, no memory card and no game. That's it. Another $30 for a second controller (unless you get a really crappy third party one cheaper), another $15+ for a memory card, and [b]1[/b] game around $40+ you're l
    • Why are you "behind" with those releases? Are your friends the kinds of gamers that always want the newest and greatest? If a game is outdated by the time it hits the bargain bin, was it really worth full price? Don't think of it as being behind, think of it as getting a better product (i.e. all the patches already available, you avoid any launch trouble) at a lower price. The only two PC games I paid full price for lately were Doom 3 and HL2 and neither was worth it. By the time they hit the bargain bin th
    • Personally, I prefer the MMO genre for the very same reasons you listed. Keeping up on new releases is ridiculously expensive right now, and I'd much rather commit myself to a single game and get as much out of it than spend money almost constantly on the new releases of single player games. Games which I'll invariably finish in a weekend or two.

      On the other hand, MMOs let me pay once for it in the store, get a "free month", and pay in smaller installments month to month. That might seem like a gouge,
  • by Bobtree (105901) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @02:19PM (#11879940)
    The AAA-title end of the game industry is rapidly approaching a cost/benefit barrier that current development practices will not be able to surmount.

    Two facts are primarily responsible:

    1 - Reinventing game engine technology from scratch for every title is cost prohibitive and slow.

    "In the limit, all graphics rendering technologies tend to approximate ray-tracing [+ radiosity, etc]" -Unknown

    2 - Recreating game content (art and code assets) to take advantage of improving technology becomes exponentionally more expensive as we approach the asymptotic limits of "perfect" technical fidelity, and simultaneously offers diminishing payoffs.

    "They're selling us the same games year after year, with small incremental content updates" -any sports game fan

    Therefore, in the future, game technology needs to scale up/down freely with hardware capability and adapt "finalized" content to an appropriate level through pre/dynamic simplification or procedural/simulated detail increase.

    This is taking place to some extent already, with limited reuse and extension of game technology platforms and content in similar games and sequels (Unreal, Doom, Half-Life, etc), but the industry remains short-sighted and fails to address to-the-limit scalability.

    Current content and platforms are also overwhemlingly monolithic, and there's no hard limiting technical reason why there cannot be increasing modularity.

    Imaging playing a game using Doom's graphics technology, Enemy Territory's gameplay, Unreal's networking & mods, Half-Life's physics system, TeamSpeak's voice technology, and Xfire's buddy-list, or any such combination as you like, on any platform.

    Sigh. I hope I'm not too old and disabled to play games when computing technology finally grows up.

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