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Financial Issues May Force Changes On Games Industry 246

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-go-gadget-indies dept.
krou writes "According to comments made at the Edinburgh Interactive conference, operating costs of making games are spiraling upwards, and there has been 'significant disruption' to the games industry's business model. Games are getting much bigger and taking longer to develop, the console market is fragmented, and the cost of licensing intellectual property has gone up. All of this, says Edward Williams from BMO Capital Markets, means that 'For Western publishers, profitability hasn't grown at all in the past few years and that's before we take 2009 into account.' Recent figures suggest game sales have fallen 29% over the last 12 months. While westerners still relied on putting games on DVDs and selling them through retail channels, 'Chinese developers focused primarily on the PC market and used direct download, rather than retail stores, to get games to consumers,' and the lack of console users 'meant developers there did not have to pay royalties to console makers.' Peter Moore of EA Sports said that significant changes will come in the future, particularly in electronic purchasing of games."
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Financial Issues May Force Changes On Games Industry

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  • ARRRGH (Score:4, Insightful)

    by religious freak (1005821) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @03:43AM (#29081549)
    Goddamnit slashdot!!! I had an f'in essay written on this topic and inadvertently clicked on a link, thereby wiping my whole mother F#$*%^! comment out! Can you not save data in forms when I go back like every other webpage out there???

    Ugh... FRUSTRATION!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:07AM (#29081635)

    I admit that I'm probably in the minority on this, but I haven't been happy about where the game industry has been going in the past decade.

    The big budget phenomena has been the very thing that's lowering my enjoyment of games. IMHO, the obsession with graphics, sequels/IP and marketing (all big budget things) has detracted from the biggest part of games: gameplay.

    Perhaps this will be an opportunity for the game industry to take a step back and reevaluate their approach to development. I, personally, would very much like to see developers choose a route of detail, gameplay and innovation rather than releasing the same game every other year with improved graphics.

    But what do I know, my ideal game is Dwarf Fortress.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcvos (645701)

      I don't think you're in the minority here. People on Slashdot have been complaining about stupid eye candy, cut scenes, intro movies, crappy franchise games, DRM and general lack of creativity in games for ages.

      I do love the rise of smaller game developers to the mainstream, like Stardock. The big giants can die for all I care, and clear the way for a new generation of game developers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bmatt17 (1494941)
      "The big budget phenomena has been the very thing that's lowering my enjoyment of games. IMHO, the obsession with graphics, sequels/IP and marketing (all big budget things) has detracted from the biggest part of games: gameplay."

      I don't think that's quite the case. There have been some exceptional games released that have both excellent gameplay and great graphics. Call of Duty, Bioshock, Mass Effect, Dragon Age is looking to be awesome, the list of great games really goes on and on.

      What I have a probl

    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      There have been enough "Gems" over the past decade that I cannot not agree with you.

      Three examples of great sequels are Civilization IV, Oblivion, and Half-Life 2. I admit that there are a lot of crappy sequels out there, but there has always been loads of craptacular games dating all the way back to the Atari 2600. Thats just the way it is.

      For great new innovative games you check out World of Goo, and Defense Grid.

      If platformers are your thing, you gotta check out Trine.
    • It's hard to find a game that I really like. I've spent too much money on games I don't really like and that's soured me from going out and just buying anything, especially at the 50 to 70 dollar (+ tax) price points.
      These days I am much more cautious, reading game reviews, searching for gameplay footage, and looking for deals on ebay.

      One trend I don't like is a movement towards online delivery. I want the ability to burn a physical copy of the game I downloaded for resale and archive purposes (I don't tr

  • Good thing, too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by puroresu (1585025) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:15AM (#29081653)
    The cost of licensing IPs has gone up? Then stop relying on licensed IPs and start making compelling games that people want to play.

    Every year there's a new Tiger Woods/NFL/WWE game, virtually identical to the last offering with a few player updates and token changes to the control system. Sorry, but I prefer actual depth over the latest and greatest graphics and accurate sports team rosters.

    A lot of developers could take influence from the greatest pro wrestling game series ever devised [wikipedia.org]. Concentrate on making a fun game and make it customisable enough that the player can change it to accurately represent a given league/company/tv show/movie/comic book (delete as required).
    • Re:Good thing, too (Score:5, Informative)

      by MBGMorden (803437) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:49AM (#29081771)

      While licensing big properties like that is part of the equation, later comments in the summary lead me to believe that a big part of "Licensing IP" that they reference is simply the fees you pay to publish on a console. If you put out a PS3 game, Sony gets a cut. If you put out a Wii game, Nintendo gets a cut. If you put out a computer game though (be it Windows, Linux, Mac, whatever), you generally don't have to pay royalties to any company just to publish your game.

      • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Sunday August 16, 2009 @08:44AM (#29082571) Homepage Journal

        If you put out a computer game though (be it Windows, Linux, Mac, whatever), you generally don't have to pay royalties to any company just to publish your game.

        But if you go PC, your game generally becomes single-player unless it targets the college demographic, which can afford a separate gaming-class PC for each player. Very few major-label PC games take into account the case of one PC, one 32" monitor, and four USB gamepads; most 4-player party games are either single-console exclusives or multiplatform in the sense of "both country and western".

        • but some games are better without the spilt screen mp

          • by tepples (727027)

            but some games are better without the spilt screen mp

            I was talking about the games that aren't. For example, in the game Super Smash Bros. Brawl, what advantage would there be to give each of the four players in a match a separate Wii console and a separate copy of the game?

      • I think that that is a "All they that take the DRM shall perish with the DRM" moment.

        They wanted a nice clean, shiny platform that kept the riffraff off. And they got it. Trouble is, putting yourself in the hands of a single gatekeeper is a bad idea.
      • by ukyoCE (106879)

        Not to mention with digital distribution you can reduce or completely eliminate distribution costs. (effectively, obviously bandwidth still has some costs)

        With publishers traditionally taking a huge cut of the profits, this is a great opportunity to increase profits. Of course publishers also took a lot of the risk in the past.

        • Not to mention with digital distribution you can reduce or completely eliminate distribution costs.

          But then the publisher would have to drastically cut the price of a game in order to retain customers who would have to pay significantly more per month to upgrade from their current Internet access plan to a plan with a higher monthly transfer cap. It might be cheaper just to press copies of the game on DVD-ROM and mail them to such customers.

    • Then stop relying on licensed IPs and start making compelling games that people want to play.

      What would Guitar Hero have been without songs that people recognize?

  • by achowe (829564) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:21AM (#29081669) Homepage
    If the games industry switches to a buy online / download model, I want to be able to burn that download to CD for backup. Nothing worse than paying for something and finding N+1 months later when you want to play again, that the download is no longer available and/or the seller has gone bust. For example NetStorm. Greatt game. Good single player campaign. Net play was good too, except the servers eventually died off. Still I do like to play single player from time to time. If I didn't have the CD, I'd be shit out of luck to replay later (yes I know there are online cracked versions now). The point is that if you buy something, people had better be able to burn to CD and install from CD.
    • Totally agreed.
      I really liked Netstorm, too - what a cool concept. Eventually they did make the server software available to allow the community to run their own thanks to some lobbying. See the history [netstormhq.com] so you can still play the online game today.

      My current gripe is with Battlefield 2 by Electronic Arts. The game is copyright 2006 and they're already shuttering the online servers because not enough people are playing. That's total garbage - when it's up the game has many dozens of players online. Is tha

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:22AM (#29081671)

    It would be nice if economic troubles caused gamers themselves to be more selective about which games they bought. A few years ago when I worked at gamestop, most of the customers (children especially) seemed to buy games based ENTIRELY OFF THE BOXART. "Hey, I have a PS2. Hey, I enjoyed the movie 'fight club". Hey, this box which appears to have been the first game I picked up is Fight club for the PS2. That's GOT to be a good one!" [metacritic.com] Many people are apparently buying wii games at random, the effect being that most of the games for the wii are barely playable. Developers wouldn't make movie-tie in games if they didn't sell. It would be great if the economic troubles really put a damper on people buying games on impulse without reading a single review to tell if the game was halfway decent, or shovelware [metacritic.com].

    Then again, I'm pretty sure even if that 29% decrease were entirely due to throwaway games, the industry would still follow the path of least resistance. Maybe they'd just make ONLY worthless games.

    While I'm making demands of millions of people who wouldn't change even if they did read this post, it would be nice if gamers were more supportive, or at least more forgiving, of games that try to do new things. A lot of "hardcore" gamers get very entrenched opinions about what a game should and should not be according to genre. It's like if moviegoers complained that a movie wasn't formulaic enough.

    • by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:36AM (#29081721)

      Many people are apparently buying wii games at random, the effect being that most of the games for the wii are barely playable.

      The data actually shows that sales are MORE concentrated on the Wii, most sales go to an even smaller number of games than usual (80% sales on 14% games, the usual values are 80-20). The few shovelware titles that managed breakthroughs did so because they did something people really wanted. AFAIK the sales of the shovelware are mostly really low and the market for it is so oversaturated (the developer of Carnival Games, a million-selling minigame collection said they wouldn't stand a chance in today's Wii market... yet they kept throwing money at more shovelware) that I wouldn't be surprised if they failed to sell enough to break even despite their low dev costs.

      The whole situation has made third parties run around like headless chickens, only able to clone what others succeeded with and not realizing that they could at least clone games from other consoles instead of only what was released on the Wii. As it is they keep cloning a very small pool of games with no understanding of why the original game worked in first place and then act surprised as the result bombs. EA's Peter Moore seemed to have a recent realization of how to sell Wii games, namely thinking about what the customer demands from a game of that type and then dealing with those demands instead of just taking an existing formula (that was probably developed with those customer demands even if it was by accident and so long ago that noone remembers what exactly happened). Maybe it was triggered by Wii Fit where everybody could immediately understand why a customer would buy Wii Fit: Because they wanted to lose weight! By knowing the customer demands they were able to make their own fitness games that worked. If you don't understand WHY something was done you probably won't be successful at copying it.

  • An economic crisis such as this one is a wet dream for governments wanting to offer "protection" to all sorts of businesses and have them comply with their ideologies. And games are just another industry in the hands of those who may offer tax cuts or printed money in exchange of new politically correct (and boring) games.

  • Not suprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dbIII (701233) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:33AM (#29081709)
    The last financial crisis killed Loki Games even though they were on track with their financial plans.
  • In the past games were made with much less developers and a much smaller budget, and yet I found them just as fun to play.
  • by psnyder (1326089) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:37AM (#29081727)
    This is the natural way it's supposed to happen.

    Graphics
    When SNES came out, the fact that it looked so much better than the NES added to the enjoyment. Now graphics are at a point where we can move characters around in something akin to what we'd see in a CG movie. We've hit a peek where cartoonish graphics can't really get much better.

    Expansiveness
    Next we have huge sandbox games. Again we've hit a peek, where the worlds are so expansive that by the time you've explored everything you're either addicted (like an MMO), or you've spent so much time doing the same things that the gameplay becomes repetitive.

    Complexity
    Then we've got games that take months to learn all the possible moves and combos.


    Flair is no longer as important
    So the old adage of more is better is no longer valid with video games. We've hit a peek in many areas where more is simply not necessary. Now we can focus specifically on what makes something "fun" besides the flair.

    This is why the Wii is so popular. And as technology keeps getting better, it becomes easier and easier for independent developers to produce graphics, game play, and complexity that are passable, so that audiences will just focus on if it's fun or not.

    Of course big game companies may soon be in trouble. A lot of their main commodities (graphics, expansiveness, complexity) are getting easier and easier to reproduce to an appropriate level. This makes what they produce less valuable. It's progress.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KDR_11k (778916)

      Their main commodities don't get easier to reproduce but they are demanded less by customers. Most if not all core values of gaming have overshot the majority of customers, i.e. reached the point where they offer more than the customer demands. The big publishers may be better at driving these values but since they've overshot a smaller company can come along, make a game with lower core market values than the big guys do and still not be too low for the customer's demands so the big guy just spent a whole

    • This is why the Wii is so popular. And as technology keeps getting better, it becomes easier and easier for independent developers to produce graphics, game play, and complexity that are passable

      But it still remains hard for independent developers to meet the minimum bar that Nintendo and Sony have set. For one thing, Nintendo is still openly hostile [warioworld.com] to a developer preparing its first title:

      We typically look for companies that are established game developers, or individuals with game industry experience. The authorization for Wii/WiiWare or Nintendo DS will be based upon your relevant game industry experience.

      We require that companies are working from secure business offices. Home offices are not considered secure locations.

      • by psnyder (1326089)
        I find that very interesting and agree with the mods.

        But what I was trying to say is that, in many cases, people can make similar games for Flash or some other medium. They don't need to make something for the Wii specifically. Yet they can meet the requirements their audience has for graphics, game play, and complexity.
        • in many cases, people can make similar games for Flash or some other medium.

          Please clarify:

          • I searched for actionscript gamepads in Google, and it turns out Flash Player doesn't appear to support any input device other than one keyboard and one mouse. Gamepad support appears to be limited to the keyboard emulation provided by joytokey, which limits the genres available to SWF games.
          • The market for SWF games has become so saturated that the audience expects to pay $0.00. How can an indie game developer attract advertisers? Or were you thinking of making one throwaway game for free a
          • by psnyder (1326089)
            For clarification, we'll have to split the term "game play" into various points.

            One point is the controller. There's no way to use Wii-like gamepads for SWF. Another point is what actions are done with the controller. For a number of games, the Wii controller is used in a point and shoot method. This is easily done with a mouse and target. Any of the gamepad button actions can be done with a keyboard. What a mouse and keyboard can't do is the spatial motion movement. For some Wii games, that's the
            • by tepples (727027)

              Any of the gamepad button actions can be done with a keyboard.

              I have developed games for the PC that use the keyboard as a substitute for a gamepad. When you get two players on one keyboard, all you get is "boop, boop, boop" as the keyboard tells the PC that too many keys are being held down.

              people are buying games that can now be reproducible in something as simple as Flash.

              People buy these games in their Wii form. People do not buy these games in their Flash form. As an independent developer without experience in the game industry, I do not have access to an official Wii devkit. So the question remains: for what platform should an indie develop its

              • People buy these games in their Wii form. People do not buy these games in their Flash form. As an independent developer without experience in the game industry, I do not have access to an official Wii devkit. So the question remains: for what platform should an indie develop its first commercial game in order to demonstrate "game industry experience" to Nintendo and earn enough money to lease an office for the first year?

                You make a flash game (or Python/Pygame/SDL). That is your portfolio. You don't show

      • That is not "openly hostile." That is "You have to show us that you are able to be professional before we are going to let you see our secrets."

        • by tepples (727027)

          "You have to show us that you are able to be professional before we are going to let you see our secrets."

          I'll accept your interpretation if you can clarify the following: How does a startup acquire the capital to "be professional"? And to satisfy "game industry experience", must one have previously worked for a medium to large game developer on a published title before starting his own company?

    • Wiis is popular with users not game developers. Third party titles sell atrociously on the Wii. And forget about the indie market. If you want to make indie games and sell them for profit your best bet is either PC or XBox Live Arcade/Indie section. Lots of people there who are only a button press away from buying your game.
  • Cost (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mccalli (323026) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @04:41AM (#29081741) Homepage
    I'm buying more games than I've bought in ages at the moment, but 'the industry' may not like the reasons I'm doing so. My two primary platforms are iPhone and Wii, in that order. iPhones games are anywhere from 59p to an eye-watering £2.99, the Wii has Gamecube games available which I can get for £1.99 second-hand.

    That's about what these are worth to me. Looking at games appearing for £29.99, even £49.99 etc....I'm just not interested. The only games I've bought within the last year or so at full price have been Guitar Hero III (thinking about it, must be more than a year now) and err...err...hmm. Actually that's it. Oh yes, World of Goo which was already a download and relatively cheap. One glaring exception would be Wii Fit, depending on whether you want to count that as a pure game or not.

    It's really a question of pricing for me. I don't care about licensed IP, I only marginally care about having the latest greatest graphics....it's just that games started costing a huge chunk of cash and I'm simply uninterested at that level. It's not that I can't afford it either, it's that I simply don't think it's worth it and would rather put the money towards a day out, or more bits for the bike, or something other than gaming.

    Bring down the cost, get more buyers. If it's not profitable for you to bring the cost of your current model down, then change the model.

    Cheers,
    Ian
    • Re:Cost (Score:4, Interesting)

      by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @05:29AM (#29081873)

      One glaring exception would be Wii Fit, depending on whether you want to count that as a pure game or not.

      I think it's an important one. Wii Fit isn't just a game that manages to sell stupidly well without pricedrops a long time after its release and even sells consoles too, it's also a game that would be impossible to make online-only because of the balance board. As much as game publishers seem to love the idea of something like OnLive where you basically subscribe to a gaming broadcast Wii Fit would be a killer app against it. Peripherials can't be downloaded and Wii Fit cannot be done without the balance board (there are other fitness games but AFAIK they all come with at least one peripherial to get more data about your body movements). OnLive's promise of playing all games without upgrades is made impossible by games like Wii Fit.

      • Wii Fit cannot be done without the balance board

        No, but if one believes Microsoft's hype, Fit 360 can be done with Natal.

        (there are other fitness games but AFAIK they all come with at least one peripherial to get more data about your body movements)

        The peripherals that come with EA Sports Active are not electronic. They're a resistance band (available at any Dick's Sporting Goods) and leg strap to hold a Nunchuk accessory (can be MacGyvered up).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Stevecrox (962208)
      I've been doing a similar sort thing with the PS3, when inFamous came out it was £49.99 in the shops. Its only been a few months but the games £26.99 now and if you get it second hand I paid £17. The price difference is extreme enough that a 3/4 month delay on games is really worth it. Plus you get a much more realistic opinion of the game (don't trust critics myself).
      • I've been doing a similar sort thing with the PS3, when inFamous came out it was £49.99 in the shops. Its only been a few months but the games £26.99 now and if you get it second hand I paid £17.

        Both times I tried this, it failed. I bought PS2 games from the bargain bin, and the day I took off the shrinkwrap, put the disc in my PS2, and go online, I found that Sony had already pulled the plug on online play: "DNAS Error -103: This software title is not in service."

        • inFamous is a single player title, not multiplayer. Apples and Oranges.

          There's still plenty of PS2 games with internet play still up, you just chose the wrong games. Try the original SOCOM (2002) or EQOA (2003).

    • The only games I've bought within the last year or so at full price have been Guitar Hero III [...] I don't care about licensed IP

      Would you have paid full price for a copy of a Guitar Hero game if it didn't have any songs that you recognized? Some people would; I know I bought a copy of Dance Dance Revolution Konamix for the original PlayStation to get away from the crappy licenses that characterized DDR at the time. But a lot of people buy Guitar Hero games for the set list.

    • I've been doing the same thing, but with computer games. Stardock sells older titles via their Impulse downloader for very little money. If you watch the sales, often under $5. I had a blast playing through Space Rangers II - many hours of wasting time for all of $5. Recently downloaded the Penumbrum games trilogy, when the linux versions were on sale for $10, I think. I've played through the first two, and they are very interesting. They're first-person-horror-puzzle games with quasi-realistic physics. I'v

  • overhead bloat (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There is a lot of senseless cost in making many games today. Paying famous celebrities insane sums of money for voice overs, the bean bag chair mentality, the never ending focus on improving on graphics instead of just making good gameplay and so forth. Plus publishers and distribution costs. Game costs are rivaling the bloated costs of making movies these days.

    Somewhat off topic but think about this. How can District 9 which is such a great movie with some of the best unique effects Ive seen in a recent Sc

    • Re:overhead bloat (Score:5, Informative)

      by julesh (229690) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @07:32AM (#29082237)

      Somewhat off topic but think about this. How can District 9 which is such a great movie with some of the best unique effects Ive seen in a recent Sci Fi movie cost 30 Million and yet Transformers 2 cost $228 million, GI Joe Movie $170 million etc. All icing and no cake.

      It's called Hollywood accounting [wikipedia.org]. The quoted cost of producing a film that's expected to do well typically actually includes costs of earlier films that didn't do so well when they were released. By doing this, they reduce royalty payouts on the successful movie (as Hollywood typically pays royalties to writers, IP holders, etc. as a percentage of profit rather than percentage of net takings as most other IP-related industries do).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The dreadful sequelitis has messed up the whole industry.
    You see while Doom / C&C and whatever game here were indeed groundbreaking and innovative, Doom 25 / C&C MCXIII and Sims 2014 isn't.
    Sorry, treating a initially good idea solely as a cash-cow and milk it for all it's worth is not a feasible business model in the long term.
    This has killed many game companies and will still kill them in the future.

    The second problem is the utter lack of story telling these days. The most telling sign for this is

    • by nomadic (141991)
      Sorry, treating a initially good idea solely as a cash-cow and milk it for all it's worth is not a feasible business model in the long term.

      Id still seems to be doing fine.
  • Physical media isn't the problem. He would like people to think that so they can force people into download only media where they can kill the used games market and even kill off old popular titles if they wanted. The problem is that the business model for gaming is shit. No one makes profit on the hardware (except Nintendo as they always have) so when MS & Sony ramp up the cost of their hardware to out do each other they have to pass that cost on via licences which will drive prices up. That's why we'
  • by Xelios (822510) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @06:27AM (#29082057)
    Didn't Sins of a Solar Empire have a budget of just $1 million? Didn't the game sell more than 500,000 units? Wasn't it a good game? Maybe other developers should follow their lead, and for the record not every game has to be ported to all 3 consoles to make money.
    • by tpgp (48001) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @08:23AM (#29082457) Homepage

      Didn't Sins of a Solar Empire have a budget of just $1 million?

      Just 1 million you say? Wow! Let's hear it for those small budget indie games!

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by mathx314 (1365325)
        Sins of a Solar Empire wasn't a small indie game, it was made by Stardock, an already established studio and released for full retail price. For a better indie game, consider World of Goo: two coders, $10,000 development (including food and rent), sold over $450,000 on WiiWare alone.
        • by tepples (727027)

          For a better indie game, consider World of Goo: two coders, $10,000 development (including food and rent)

          How does that mesh with Nintendo's policy against working from home [warioworld.com]? Or are you talking about $10,000 to develop on and for the PC and an unspecified amount to port the completed PC game to Wii?

        • by brit74 (831798)
          Sins wasn't developed by Stardock. Ironclad Games was the developer, Stardock was the publisher.

          For a better indie game, consider World of Goo: two coders, $10,000 development (including food and rent)

          "According to Carmel, the tiny two-man company spent $96,000 during a span of two years as it created World of Goo."

    • by tepples (727027)

      Maybe other developers should follow [a PC-exclusive low-budget video game developer's] lead, and for the record not every game has to be ported to all 3 consoles to make money.

      One problem with this reasoning is that as of 2009, there aren't a lot of home theater PCs (defined as PCs connected to a monitor big enough to fit several people around). One reason for this is that the majority of living rooms still have CRT SDTVs purchased before the late 2000s when HDTVs finally became affordable. This means PC games need to put each player on a separate PC, and the cost of doing that within a household limits a game's market. So until HDTV displaces SDTV, real-time games designed for f

    • For those who haven't played it, Sins is the definition of good navigation in an expansive RTS world. I have NEVER seen a game with controls that polished, useful, and intuitive. Plus it's fucking beautiful from top to bottom. If you haven't played it, do yourself a favor and go get it. It was a fantastic game, and I still go back and get sucked into it.

      That game is the reason I have Stardock's Impulse downloader installed. It's a download-store where you can purchase their other games, and a bunch

  • What makes the difference between Western firms and Chinese developers was the way they went about getting products to players

    And the disparity in the growth rates of their economies.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by KDR_11k (778916)

      Yeah, that analyst seems to forget the old adage about correlation and causation. China uses online and China has growth therefore online means growth? No, China grows by itself and it uses online because they can't get people to pay in any other way. Makes you wonder what kind of sucker hands this guy a paycheck for faulty reasoning like that.

  • Maybe it is time for those people who have no ability to come up with anything new to come up with their own intellectual property, instead of just making games based on movies and books. Seriously, a good game is a good game, and I am sick of how few original ideas and stories show up in the game industry.

    If license fees are too expensive, come up with your own original works that share the same vibe as what you are looking to make, and if you make it solid, people will play. Gamers are STARVED for g

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by KDR_11k (778916)

      The thing with the PC market is that it's fairly small and relying only on it when you've sunk a hundred million into your game is suicide. The number of people who have a PC that's gaming ready and care about having it is fairly low though there is a HUGE market of people who have a PC, don't care about its game readiness and want something simple to play. PopCap is serving that market.

    • by tepples (727027)

      If license fees are too expensive, come up with your own original works that share the same vibe as what you are looking to make

      It's not just the licensing for copyright in the underlying works. It's also the licensing for patents and digital signatures needed to run the game on video game consoles. Not all genres fit the PC. (You can prove me wrong by showing me a four-player platform fighting game for PC that is even half as good as any game in the Super Smash Bros. series.)

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @09:25AM (#29082755) Journal

    Anyone remember the old x-wing and tie-fighter games? What did these games have? Relative long gameplay, you couldn't finish those games in a weekend. And then when you were done, there were TWO expansions for both games, released at a small price that offered another few days of gameplay.

    Compare that to Kotor and Kotor2. You can't of course compare gameplay of an RPG with a space-sim but you can compare the expansions. Or rather the lack of them. Had Kotor2 been produced as an expansion right from the start and not been shuffled out of house AFTER lucasarts realized that a sequel might make some extra money (gosh, a SW rpg might be a success, who would have thought).

    If games were tv, then they would produce a pilot to test the audience, tear down the set, kill the actors and de-invent the camera. If the pilot happens to be liked, they start filming. One episode at the time. But no more pussy-footing about. They don't just tear down the set but nuke the state. Kill the actors entire lineage through time-travel and get god himself to remove light from the universe.

    What exactly is taking so long with Mass Effect 2? They seems to be adding a lot of stuff (yet more planet surveying, my favorite part of the game) but the delay really shouldn't be necessary to tell a story. The series really should have ended now OR at LEAST we should have had a few expansions produced for some quick cash and extra gameplay.

    Games really just don't to be produced sensibly.

    Of cours the tech has to advance, but it doesn't have to happen for every game.

    Tell me this, if a producer had simple done Planescape: Torment 2 with absolutely no advances to the engine, just purely another story, would you have bought it? I think the answer is yes.

    So why do companies produce so few "expansions" and so many year long sequels that look fantastic but are the equivelant of making a television series with episodes 2-3 years apart.

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