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Businesses Entertainment Games

Sequel Fatigue Cause of Slow Sales? 129

Posted by Zonk
from the holding-my-breath-for-the-next-sonic-game dept.
The NYT has a piece which argues that the new console iteration is not the cause for slow sales at the end of the year. Rather, gamers are tired of all the damn sequels. From the article: "... In an industry that has a reputation for growth, the decline certainly clashes with expectations. And there is also evidence that gamers may no longer be as enticed by the type of games that publishers have been putting on store shelves. For the first time in several years, the industry did not have a breakout hit in 2005. Two releases from 2004's holiday season, Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, generated enough anticipation among hard-core gamers that they lined up to buy copies. 'Last season you had some events that drove people into stores,' said Josh Larson, director of industry products for GameSpot, which tracks interest in new games; he was referring to the last two months of 2004. 'There wasn't anything that filled that void,' in the 2005 holiday season, he added." Update: 02/08 18:07 GMT by Z : As much as I like the letter 'q', fixed title.
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Sequel Fatigue Cause of Slow Sales?

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  • by Caspian (99221) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:15PM (#14670520)
    That name sounds hot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:15PM (#14670522)
    The summary says sales sucked because we are all tired of sequels...but the reason 2004 was such a hit was because of...sequels? Did I miss something here?
    • I don't people are necessarily tired of sequels, but tired of the endless stream released with no time to fallow. Half Life 2 was a sequel yes, but it was also a fantastic game in it's own right, and it was several years removed from it's original source. GTA I just don't know .. I haven't liked a single one of them.
    • Where is the contradiction? The summary claims that gamers are tired of sequels, which implies that they were not tired of them in the past. In 2004, sequels did well, but now gamers are tired of them. What you missed is that situations can change with time.
  • I doubt it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:16PM (#14670528)
    In reality, there's little difference between the 413th First Person Shooter and the 414th*. Whether or not First Person Shooter 414 is "ScaryMonsterKiller" or "Son of ScaryMonsterKiller" is something of a moot point.

    *Apart from the requirement that you buy a new graphics card at around 45% the cost of your whole system, for the arguable advantage of having another few hundred thousand triangles or this seasons must-have anti-aliasing algorithm.
  • loss of imagination (Score:3, Informative)

    by pvt_medic (715692) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:18PM (#14670552)
    This is a problem that I think is plaguing the entertainment industry in general. They are not putting out new stuff. If game X did well well then why not try Game X 2.0. Or my personal favorite is making movies out of video games. Some have been good, some have not.

    But to be honest the real reason sales are down, is no one wants to spend tons of money for games on a system that is going to be obsolete in a couple of months.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I think that the reason that so many of us love classic games (other than nostalgia) is precisely the lack of hardware. Developers in earlier times were forced to be innovative, or "work with what you've got." These days photorealism is hyped up so much that it's become more important to just make pretty games, rather than anything creative or well-designed. Besides that, let's face it: alot of the good ideas have already been done. What else is left, writing on the screen with a stylus? Replacing the
      • Very true, (pity you hid as an anonymous coward).

        Especially with the fact that game systems are becoming more complex to program, people loose focus on making the games fun and ground breaking and not as realistic as possible. I agree that many good ideas have been done and that it makes it harder to develop new game ideas, but I think also that the industry is expanding to cover new demographics and a single game now wont spark the interest of everyone who plays that system. But i do not think that we
    • It's also gotten to the point that the upgrade in technology is no longer worth the money. Who cares whether the poly count is twice what it was? The original Duke Nukem is still the one of the best multiplayer shooters out there, and the fact that it used sprites didn't really matter--it's just so damn funny, and there are so many ways to frag people. I imagine that sports games are even more pointless. The gameplay probably hasn't improved in 10 years, so why buy another? And for multiplayer RTS, I haven'
      • Ever play Age of Kings? Far better than AoM- AoM tried to crossbreed Starcraft and AoK and ended up with the worst of each.
        • Yes, I've tried all the other Ensemble games, but Age of Kings plays really woodenly after playing Age of Mythology--too much micro-management. This isn't as obvious in single player, but it becomes painfully obvious in mutliplayer. I have several groups of friends who like to play multi-player RTS's, and they all dropped AoK like a hot potato when AoM came out. And the latest Age of Empires hasn't impressed us much either.
      • The original Duke Nukem is still the one of the best multiplayer shooters out there

        Really? I've got the registered version, I beat Dr. Proton but I couldn't find a multiplayer mode. Is that something that doesn't show up when you're using an EGA that's outputting to a 4 colour LED screen? Should I upgrade that 386?
    • But to be honest the real reason sales are down, is no one wants to spend tons of money for games on a system that is going to be obsolete in a couple of months.

      Weren't you listening when the fat cats were talking? By now, we all know that if sales are down, it's because of piracy! Game companies need to add some anti-copying measures that piss the hell off their customers in their games now... ... ... oh wait...

    • But to be honest the real reason sales are down, is no one wants to spend tons of money for games on a system that is going to be obsolete in a couple of months.

      That doesn't make much sense. 1. A system isn't obsolete until there are no new games coming for it and 2. All three sequel consoles (except the XC Core) are backwards compatible. But then again the mainstream market never made sense so it could really be happening...
  • No Diversity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by laxcat (600727) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:19PM (#14670559) Homepage
    It seems to me that the game industry doesn't have the diversity that the movie industry does. Movies come in all shapes and sizes and feature a variety of subject matters.

    90% of these big budget games are sci-fi or fantasy or something with loads of automatic weapons. Think how boring movies would get if that ratio was the same. Where are the games that could be compared to indie films? The game industry will never develop if they don't try and broaden their scope.

    Sorry, did I sound like a Nintendo rep there? I'm not I swear.
    • I'd buy this, other than the fact that the movie industry is also sucking as of late. It seems like they're really digging for ideas and those ideas aren't working. There honestly hasn't been a movie that's made me jump up and say "Wow, I need to go see that!" since Lord of the Rings.

      To a point, the same goes for games. I'd say that games actually have more to choose from than movies, but not all of those choices are "Hot New Titles". I haven't bought a game since the first Rogue Spear: Raven Sheild. Sur
      • There honestly hasn't been a movie that's made me jump up and say "Wow, I need to go see that!" since Lord of the Rings.

        Batman Begins. Seriously. If you haven't seen it DO SO!

        The movie industry tends to fluctuate a lot more than the games industry. Sometimes they produce nothing but stinkers like Tomb Raider, Planet of the Apes, and the last Highlander. At other times they produce wonderful stuff like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars Ep3, Polar Express, The Incredibles, and Batman Begins. It all depends on whi
        • I got nothin' either.

          The last time I was at the movies (which admittedly was quite a few months ago), I noticed that every single preview was either a sequel, a re-make of an older book or movie, or a movie which was virtually identical to the last one that particular screenplay writer wrote. Pixar is the only company putting out original stuff right now. That, and the gay cowboy movie, I suppose.

        • While we are on the subject of sourced based movies, specifically comic based. I would have to say that Sin City is the best comic to movie, if not the best whatever to movie out there.

          There is a huge surge of comic to movie right now. With some great, some good and a lot... down right ugly. At least they are better then what they use to be, the three that pop into mind right away are: The Shadow, The Phantom and Spawn.

          Sin City raised the bar, probably too high that we probably will never see another exe
        • The most obvious example would be Napoleon Dynamite. 100% original material, shot on a small budget and hugely successful.
      • I would agree there is an amount of variety in the gaming industry but compared to the film industry its not nearly as developed. This will come with time of course as the film industry has a 70 year head start. Games like the Sims and Katamari Damacy are the exeption that prove the rule.

        You state that "the movie industry is also sucking as of late," because (I'm infering) of a lack of big event movies. This is precisely what is happening in the game industry. As entertainment consumers we are getting gradu
        • > We don't want McBain 9, or BoneStorm 7, but rather a wider variety of smaller
          > features that appeal to our diverse tates.

          The problem is that "we - the consumer" *does* want shitty films. If there were a demand for different films, which made you think, then they'd exist more often, and be promoted more, but there's no. People, for some unaccountable reason which I'm sure some psychologist or other can explain, want to watch `big event` films starring brainless hollywood types such as Bruce Willis a
      • I'd buy this, other than the fact that the movie industry is also sucking as of late.

        Indeed. In fact, I would argue that the movie industry is following a parallel path to the games industry, except that it's currently using remakes as its cash-cow crutch.
    • A lot of it has to come with risk vs reward. Coming up with unique, quality product is HARD. And there's no guarantee that the public will even like it. (Otherwise, games like Ico would have sold better, and shows like Firefly would still be around) In the meantime, the same public gobbles up anything with "Grand Theft Auto", "Madden", or "Final Fantasy" in the title. Not all sequels are bad, but it's much easier for developers to be lazy, knowing that you've already gone fans waiting to buy the next versio
    • You are definitely right in principle. However, as others have pointed out, the movie industry is in a terrible rut at the moment and is completely obsessed with sequels, remakes and plundering other cultural media like comic books for 'new' material. Infact, it seems as though both industries are in a race to outdo eachother in terms of effortless moneymaking.

      But forgetting current lapses and addressing the original point, I believe that the games industry could learn a lot from film-making in order to e
      • The one thing I would love to see, would be a sandbox type game (I.E. GTA, TES) That was able to handle a large realistic world. 10,000 People in a city each going about their lives, and a storyline that progresses with or without you, but that you can directly influence...basicly more realistic simulated worlds with good or better storylines...
    • "It seems to me that the game industry doesn't have the diversity that the movie industry does. Movies come in all shapes and sizes and feature a variety of subject matters.

      90% of these big budget games are sci-fi or fantasy or something with loads of automatic weapons. Think how boring movies would get if that ratio was the same. Where are the games that could be compared to indie films? The game industry will never develop if they don't try and broaden their scope.

      Sorry, did I sound like a Nintendo rep th
  • by Ryz0r (849412) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:21PM (#14670575)
    It's not just all the sequels... there's also the fact that even the 'different' games are always the same! Half-Life, Halo, Doom, Battlefield, Call of Duty, GUN, KillTheGermans, ShootTheGermans, TortureTheGermansWithGuns, Unreal, Quake, FPS, war, FPS, war! Is anyone else BORED of FPS / war games, or am i the only one?

    There needs to be something completely new and original, something nobody has thought of yet. It will sell millions.
    • I one day felt an urge to play the old school adventure games. SO I dusted off Laura Bow II: Dagger of Amon Ra, an old sierra game. I played it through in a couple of days, and went searching for more. I found the Adventure Company, and have been purchasing their titles to play with the wife. You can find them sometimes for 5 dollars, though 15 bucks is what I usually play. Which isn't a bad deal for 10-20 hours of entertainment for both my wife, and I.
    • There are already tons of games like this- on consoles.
    • Yes - I don't enjoy FPSs, War Games, or even RTS War games.

      So last year I bought Guild Wars (yet another MMORPG, but with no subscription, pretty and fun to play with both a story PvE, and PvP)

      I bought Civ4 which again, is a sequel. But it looks so beautiful I drool - and it does impact on the game playing experience. Besides which, the team went back to the drawing board and created Civ rules and gameplay as they should be, with all the irritating things changed/removed, and clever ideas from previous game
  • by dc29A (636871) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:23PM (#14670591)
    When I was playing Evercrak and WoW, I pretty much stopped buying other videogames, there was no motivation to play other games. I only bought KotOR and Galactic Civilizations over a long period of time (3+ years). I suspect the 5.5 million WoW customers might no longer be buying, or buying significantly less, single player titles.
    • I gotta concur with this... when I was in the grips of WoW, my games-buying dropped to zero. My friends got into it, their friends got into it, and then the guys at work... it's got to be making some kind of impact on the industry. I cancelled my subscription (only until the expansion, I swear) and have started buying games again. Simple equation.
    • It had a more far-reaching effect for me. I used to buy FPS, FSPv2.0, FPSv2.1 now with On-line play! and all those sorts of games. Same for RPGs. Then I got hooked on Everquest and played that for a long time. During that time, I stopped playing other games (like you mentioned). Once I quit Everquest because the game play was repetitive and a lot of it was gigantic time sinks just for the sake of being time sinks, I started examining other games with the same view that I looked at Everquest.

      When a new
    • Well I would assume that the monthly fee in WoW is a reason why the "other" games' budget is down for many people.
      • Well I would assume that the monthly fee in WoW is a reason why the "other" games' budget is down for many people.

        IMO, that maybe has a very little impact but I think mostly because succesful MMOGs are gigantic, there is always "stuff" to do, replay value is huge. I remember logging into WoW/EQ and always have something to do: raids, quests, dungeons, PvP, gaining new factions, crafting, whatnot. And every "stuff" to do resulted in power gain for my avatar. These games are centered around making your avatar
    • In fact, the argument a friend of mine made to me for his EQ subscription was just that: He was previously spending $100s each month on new game titles, now he only pays $12 per month to get the same amount of gameplay and content. And now I understand.

      What's more, he's one of a group of friends I hung out with in high school who would always get together and play games. We didn't get together for the purpose of playing games; getting together was the whole point. Playing games -- board games, D&D,
    • Yup, gotta wonder how much of it is WoW's fault ;)

      Been playing Asheron's Call for 6 years now and played MCO when it was live. During the time both were active (almost 2 years?) i think i bought 2 retail games and a d/l. Maybe a dozen* games during the other 4 years or so grand total. Even with multiple monthly payments on AC and another monthly fee i was actually SAVING money on games and playing more hours!

      Even if only some of the 5 mil ppl in WoW follow suit thats gonna add up quick if they buy 50-75% le
      • You might give Enemy Territory a spin if you like online play. It's free and fun, with lots of servers and user-made maps.

        And if you're looking for something a little more indie, try Soldat. $9 Shareware that's best described as 2D Quake.

  • Sorry, but with online gaming the updated team details, players, stats, etc, could easily be accessed by a game and used to update the relevant details.

    People know this, and they aren't going to pay $50 for an update which is basically only that.

    When they have a next generation console, they will buy the game however, because it will have better graphics. Again, they'll do this only once. That's if they bother with the next generation console.

    Sports games are the worst offenders here, but it is hard to get
  • I personally stopped buying part X of games years ago.

    Now only buy few games that will bring enough intresting things with them.

    Definitely do not think that $60 for "Another FPS" is worth it unless something truly revolutionary.

  • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:27PM (#14670631) Homepage Journal
    So you're telling me that gamers want original, new, and fun gameplay? The shock!

    I mean, really. I was just bemoaning yesterday how much the market has moved to nothing but sex and violence. When every commercial for the XBox 360 ends with "Rated M for Mature", you know that they've stopped selling games. The market is instead trying to sell you an "Entertainment Product" targetted at "the adult market". Which is a nice way of saying, "We want to separate fools from their money by giving them gratuitous sexual and violent content." The actualy *game* is nowhere to be found.

    As of late, I find myself missing the days of adventure games (e.g. Space Quest), space simulators (e.g. Wing Commander), puzzle adventures (e.g. Bioforge, System Shock), Real Time Strategy Games (e.g. C&C), and other innovative genres invented in the golden age of computer gaming. Not to mention some of the cool arcade genres like Fighters (e.g. Killer Instinct, SFII) and Drivers (e.g. SF: Rush, Hydrothunder).

    Today we just see Another First Person Shooter, but With A New Twist!(TM) Which really is nothing more than a vehicle for the aformentioned sex and violence. When are we going to see all this technology put to good use in making innovative new games? Hell, imagine the cool 2D (or 2.5D) platformers that could be done on modern hardware! Do we see anything like these? Nope. It's all just games with the names of old games reused on new First Person Shooters. When will the industry rape of our beloved gaming stop?

    Here's hoping for the Nintendo Revolution. If they can pull it off at least as well as the DS, we may get back some of what we've lost.
    • Weird as it sounds, but you can find exactly these games - in the shareware sector.
      Have a look at my favourite website in that regard: http://www.gametunnel.com/ [gametunnel.com]
      (Yes, I swear I have nothing to do with them! :)

      I bought quite a few games from there. You can try out demos, the games are of many different types, quality is darn high, and they're quite cheap.

      I'm afraid that I don't have (or ever will have) a TV, and thus the consoles are all dead to me. However, PDAs have quite a few cute games (I use PalmOS onl
    • You remind me of a child with his hands over his ears screaming "lalalala". There are so many good games out right now that are not FPS that there is no way that you could have played them all. The only genre that really lacks at this point is adventure games...but there are some if you actually look.

      Just because a game is rated M, it doesn't mean it has stopped being a game. So what if it has violent or sexual content? Just because it has it doesn't make it gratuitous. I enjoy good games. Whether t
  • by NickFortune (613926) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:32PM (#14670679) Homepage Journal
    The games industry charges a lot for what frequently turns out to be very little. Everything is being hyped as being the ultimate experience, but very little seems to justify the price tag.

    There is still the occasional gem, but no reliable way to tell the gems from the dross. No one wants to slag the games off in a pre-release review in case the company stops giving them demo releases, innovation seems to be extinct, and the latest painful lesson is that even a sequel to a fondly remembered classic is no guarantee of quality.

    In other words, they are charging premium rates for low quality tripe and trying fix it in marketing. And they wonder why people are stopping buying games?

    Gosh. I had no idea I was that annoyed about it...

  • by rAiNsT0rm (877553) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:32PM (#14670682) Homepage
    Sequels have and always will be a part of gaming, movies, books, and just about any media. It is seen as easy money and folks fall for it every time. Even though we all damn well know we will be getting a rushed, less thought out, money making product piggybacking on the success of its predecessor... people still buy them.

    The bigger issue is that most games out right now are not being created to FILL A NEED/NICHE. They are trying to force genre's that are quick, easy, and cheap to produce on gamers. (Sports/FPS/RTS/MMO/Sequels) Gamers are at a saturation point. Innovation can never be supressed for long. Gamers are demanding new and unique experiences. Katamari Damacy was the first shot that made companies stop and take notice. Nintendogs was another. A whole shift is approaching gaming, and it is not the more powerful, more expensive, more complex, bullshit being forced down our throats now. Look how much press and play Geometry Wars has been getting, more than any other 360 launch title.

    2D gaming needs to come back, it is natural for some games. 3D needs to be refined besides just more/better/faster. Emphasis needs to be placed back on creativity and innovation, not greed and hype.
    • They are trying to force genre's that are quick, easy, and cheap to produce on gamers. (Sports/FPS/RTS/MMO/Sequels)

      Massively Multiplayer Online games are quick, easy, and cheap to produce?

      • I was going to say the same thing. -1 to GP for not thinking.
      • I'm not sure if you have ever done any game programming but MMO's are not difficult. They do not require lots of AI (except scripted enemies), They do not require elaborate writing/linear storylines, they do not require a number of things that many non-MMO games require. They require a fairly robust server architecture, they require a fairly balanced weapon/skill system (but it can always be tweaked as you go), a basic framework/engine, and not much more.

        While not as simple as an FPS, they are easy. And the
    • Look how much press and play Geometry Wars has been getting, more than any other 360 launch title.
       
      Which is an amazing accomplishment considering the great depth and breadth of 360 launch titles. (/sarcasm)
  • Only one cause (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ameoba (173803) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:37PM (#14670738)
    Of course, we have to attribute every phenomena to a single cause. It can't reasonably be a combination of economic factors, a change of interests in the consumer-base, next-gen hype AND the lack of original content in the industry.
  • Aside from the fact that every game today looks exactly like the games we had 7-10 years ago, they're just too expensive. And PC games today have that annoyance of hearing the CD spin in the drive all the time because due to copy protection it refuses to run without it, then eventually failing to run if it gets too scratched. Then, 9/10ths of the games released in the last 4 years state that they require better hardware than came with my cheap 2 year old Dell. And finally, I have to be sure that they'll run
    • Yes, Games haven't changed at all in the past 7-10 years, which is why DOA4 looks and plays like Tekken 1, Resident Evil 4 looks and plays exactly like resident evil 2, Stealth games like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and MGS3 look and play precisely like MGS1, and Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is exactly like final fantasy 7.

      Think about what you're saying man, it's ridiculous. I'm not a PC gamer, but I imagine there's a substantial jump between something like Duke Nukem and Half Life 2, also.

      The XBOX 360

  • by Gavin Scott (15916) * on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:39PM (#14670761)
    ...we're all spending every free hour playing World Of Warcraft and don't have time to play anything else.

    G.
  • by BinaryOpty (736955) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:46PM (#14670823)
    In my opinion the real cause of smaller sales is not because of people not caring about sequels, but because the consoles are reaching the end of their lifespan and a new one was released. the $400+ dollars one would spend to get an Xbox 360 could have usually been spent on 8 or so games. Of course, there weren't that many good games to purchase anyway because producers are winding down current gen support and evaluating whether or not they should port their game to new systems or just move it entirely over to the new system. So there's less games out, a new moneyhole just opened, and sales are down. Doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Call me if this happens 2 years from now when companies are back in the swing of things and then I'll believe the retards who buy Madden XX for every console they own and the people who when you mention "Halo 3" simultaneously orgasm and start to drool have suddenly dissappeared from the earth.
  • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @12:48PM (#14670835) Homepage Journal
    "Sales also seem to indicate a marked decrease in enthusiasm for certain genres as well as for the endless sequels that have become common in the industry. For example, Bond: From Russia With Love has sold 277,000 copies since its release in November 2005, while the previous James Bond game from Electronic Arts sold 430,000 copies in a similar period in 2004."

    From Russia with Love is a great example of what I'm talking about. Sequels should build on what worked from previous games, not implement something worse. Case in point: the camera in the game From Russia with Love. You had to constantly manually maneuver the camera to keep it behind you. And when you died, who knows what position the camera would be in when you rezzed. I'm sorry, but under no circumstances should the camera ever start in second-person mode when I'm playing a deathmatch (happened to me once; in the few seconds it took to spin the camera around, I was shot to death. Wheeee!). Worst camera behavior in an FPS *ever*.

  • I mean, there are just so many original titles at the store.

    Half-Life 2, Doom 3, Civilization 4, Age of Empires 3, Empire Earth 2, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, The Sims 2...oh, wait. I think I see your point.
  • Hybrids (Score:3, Interesting)

    by caffeination (947825) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:02PM (#14670968)
    Game industry, I hear your cries begging me personally for advice on what you should do about this problem. Fear not, for here is my wisdom:
    We're sick of sequels, but we're not receptive to things that feel too new. You need to create hybrid games that use popular elements from existing related games. For example, most people don't play Grand Theft Auto $number because of a love of all things criminal. What keeps us coming back to those games is the overwhelming freedom they give you. We're not playing MMORPGs out of our love of Tolkienesque fantasy, but because MMORPG coop gameplay is fun.
    We need network-capable, non-linear gameplay that puts trust in players, instead of making us choose "DEATHMATCH MODE", or "RACE MODE" before entering the world. Games need to evolve so that players can hang out and decide for themselves how they want to use the engine. Your job as game programmers should to provide us with tools to enjoy ourselves, not to write us a rigid schedule which inevitably leads to an "end point" when apparently at the whim of some game designer we are to stop playing.
    • Some games are trying to do this. Racing games are the first that come to mind and all the ones I've heard of use microsoft's Live service, but they allow a great deal of freedom to a roam a game world online and interact with others at random.

      On the other hand I think some types (most notably FPS's, RTS's, and TBS) wouldn't work well like that at all... I could sorta see a form of coop FPS, where if while running through the game you could encounter other people also playing the game... That would require
  • I'm not sure what to think of this. Super Mario Brothers 2, if implied as a sequel to Super Mario Brothers, definitely didn't have the same characteristics. There are enough differences between SMB, SMB2, SMB3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine to say that they may be sequels, but you definitely got a different playing experience each time. Oh, and it helps that those six games cover almost 20 years (!!!) of NES history.

    The one drag is that Nintendo can't seem to get another franc

    • I'm sure you're aware of this, but SMB2 wasn't a mario game- It was a totally unrelated franchise called Doki Doki Panic that had mario characters inserted into it to make it palatable to US audiences.

      The REAL SMB2 (released as "the lost levels" on SNES) was EXTREMELY similar to SMB1 only much, much, much harder.

      If you view the mario series as going from SMB - Lost Levels - SMB3 - SMW- its a much more linear evolution of the series until you hit SM64, which redid the concept of the series to take advan

    • Pokemon's not dead in Japan. I'm here and Pikachu & Co. are well on their way to being the next iconic Japanese character (along with Doreamon, Totoro, and others). As I understand it, even the latest gen "main series" Pokemon titles did respectable numbers in the U.S., and I'm sure no matter how good or bad a DS Pokemon will be, it will sell a bajillion copies in Japan and the U.S.

      Plus you forget the Legend of Zelda, which is at least as big hyped as any Mario game. I'm sure Twilight Princess is goi
  • Most of the greatest games ever are series

    Megaman, Castlevania, Final Fantasy, Ultima, Mario, PacMan, sequels are nothing new.
  • I agree with the premise that people are buying fewer games because of sequelitis and the general lack of originality, but what's more interesting to me is, why has the industry in general gotten less innovative? I think a big part of it is because of the skyrocketing costs of making a game. In the 80s, one or two guys could make a game in a matter of months. Now you need teams of dozens (if not hundreds) of professionals, not to mention higher costs for marketing, development and content creation tools,
  • Is it me or are game publishers becoming more and more like Hollywood every day?
    Why dont they realize that diluting a title, like a movie is at best a short term fix?
    • well at least some of these game publishers are public companies who have to worry about quarterly earnings, being accountable to shareholders, etc. sometimes a quick fix is what they need to make "the street" happy.
  • Probably the two greatest examples of sequels that were done right are Ultima (before EA got their hands on it anyway) and Final Fantasy. But even with series like Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, and Theif, at least they had improvements on each iteration that made each game the series work well.

    Splinter Cell might not have had a lot of gameplay diffrence between the various versions, but the storyline, graphics, and level designs all came together so well that each version kept me interested without feelin
  • Although many of these new games on PS2/XBox are fun, I haven't really played many in a while that had any new gameplay designs to them. It's more like the marketplace is flooded with "sequels" not in the licensing perspective, but the gameplay perspective. Sequels In terms of "Final Fantasy #" and such have been the lifeblood of games for a while now, and it worked for a while for hit series (since to an extent, there's nothing wrong with more of a great thing). And as much as many complain about seque
  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:24PM (#14672333)
    There are a lot of factors at play here. One of the biggies is that the audience for games is getting older. When you're married/attached, and have responsibilites (job, house to keep up, kids to raise, etc.) the amount of disposable income you have to spend on video games goes WAY down. Also, the amount of playtime you have decreases.

    I tend to buy a very small number of games and play them through over a very long period of time (I'm still working on GTA San Andreas and I bought it when it came out...) 15-year-olds, on the other hand, bug their parents to buy them every new $50 game on the market, and the $300 video card-of-the-year to go with it. I made the decision a while back to not keep up with the PC game platform wars and bought a PS2. At least I know that games written for it are going to be playable on it next year.

    Feeding into the problem, parents are getting sick of buying every $50 game and new gaming hardware for their kids every year. This is especially true when parents are game-savvy enough to see that Madden '06 is Madden '05 with prettier graphics and an updated team roster. Or that this year's FPS hit is the same FPS engine as last year with new characters.

    I honestly can't blame the game studios for catering to the audience that will make them the most money, but I have a feeling the demographic shift will get them.

  • The thing is sequels are profitable as individual games. If you make a sequel, you ensure a certain level of income from fans of the original game. The problem is, when you only make sequels, then the audience gets bored and goes away. So, Generic Game III: Yet Another Saga sells all right, but the industry as a whole declines. It slowly poisons the well, and more gamers get sick and decide to spend their time some other way. Then, since they're chasing fewer dollars, the publishers decide they can't risk m

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