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Dollar Apps Killing Traditional Gaming? 343

Posted by Soulskill
from the transitional-period dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "There can be no denying that the rise of smartphones and tablets has had a major impact on the gaming business. The prevalence of free and 99-cent apps has changed consumers' perception of value. Mike Capps, president of Gears of War developer Epic Games, said, 'If there's anything that's killing us [in the traditional games business] it's dollar apps. How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it? They're used to 99 cents. As I said, it's an uncertain time in the industry. But it's an exciting time for whoever picks the right path and wins.'"
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Dollar Apps Killing Traditional Gaming?

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  • by Hultis (1969080) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:41AM (#35891306)
    Oblig. Dilbert: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-02-12/ [dilbert.com]
  • by Draaglom (1556491) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:46AM (#35891334)
    Your $60 game should be incomparable to a $1 game, in terms of both gameplay and technology. If it's not, you are Doing It Wrong.
  • Daft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symes (835608) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:57AM (#35891410) Journal

    Isn't this the same as asking whether short scruffy videos on You Tube are going to usurp Blockbuster films? I think the only threat would be if smart phone games could be developed so that the game arena was the real world and the phone was some mission interface. That would be neat - best it isn't a FPS though...

  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:04AM (#35891448) Homepage Journal
    Really. Most of what you game dev studios/industry was producing, was CRAP. $60 was the perception of the 'price point' that the marketing types came up with - "hey, what is the maximum people in america will pay for a game ?" turned out, that perception was wrong.

    you were rehashing the same crap over and over and pushing it to masses with marketing. just like movies. trailers, marketing hype, ads, showing only the best few parts you added to the game, whereas the rest was rehash of the previous version or other games. taking no risks to please shareholders. a few cents per share more for every shareholder, more important than satisfaction of your customer.

    that was why there was rampant piracy.

    thank mobile apps. this '$60 blockbuster' bullshit will end.
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:23AM (#35891562) Homepage

    How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it?

    Perhaps it isn't worth $60.
    If a $1 game provides me with about 1 week of entertainment, a $60 game should provide me with 60 weeks of entertainment.
    There aren't many games that can do that, and there are even less that give me the convidence to pay for those 60 weeks up front.
    I fear TFA calculates "worth" as "the amount of money we had to spend to make it". There used to be a day when games could be fun without gigabytes of graphics and sound. That day has never really gone, it's just been obscured by an increasing focus by developers on adding stuff that isn't part of the actual game.
    If I bake a cake and package it in a golden, diamond encrusted box designed by some guy that changed his first and last name into a single, unpronouncable word, the cake hasn't increased in value at all. Sure, it looks much nicer with all the shiny bits, but it can't compensate for the fact that I can't bake a decent cake.

  • by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:06AM (#35891872)

    hiring rock star programmers and artists on a $1.00 iOS game is utterly stupid

    It's not that expensive although the cost is rising quickly. There's a significant number of rock star programmers out there who want to write for their phone and are willing to take a pay cut to do so. Try hiring for a console game right now. That's become even more expensive because so many developers no longer want to write for consoles or work on a multi-million dollar title. The stress involved in doing so can be substantial.

  • Re:99c games suck (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:10AM (#35891908)

    But for every person like you, there are lots like me who only want to play Angry Birds for a few minutes a couple of times a week. Honestly, I've spent more on phone games in the past year than I have on PC or console (PS3 and Wii) titles and frankly I've been disappointed with purchases on all the platforms. The difference is that when I buy a crappy phone game, I'm only out a few dollars. When I buy a crappy PS3 game (like I did twice last year - GT5 and ModNation Racers), I'm out $60 each time.

  • by Xian97 (714198) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:20AM (#35892010)
    My feelings are the exact opposite. I prefer the single player experience, whether it be on the PC or Consoles. I am looking forward to games like The Witcher 2, Elder Scrolls Skyrim, and other single player games. I have zero interest in multiplayer; when I get home from a hard day's work after dealing with difficult people the last thing I want to do is to have more social interaction. The games I play are usually 40 hours or more in length, that's pretty cheap entertainment and well worth the $60 price tag.

    I find very little of the $1 games that can hold my interest for very long at all, where many PC and Console games I have played for hours on end.
  • by NoSleepDemon (1521253) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:31AM (#35892124)
    I feel compelled to write this because I recently played the diabolical port of Bullet Storm on PC. I have absolutely no sympathy for Epic, nor for any other studio that shovels millions of dollars into a 10 hour title and can't even be bothered to support 4:3 aspect ratios. I remember when Epic actually released games with any sort of longevity - Like Unreal Tournament. Now they, like many other 'AAA' developers ship bloated, 'HD' (nonetheless held back by aging console hardware), soulless games that focus more on treating the player like, frankly, a fucking idiot without any free will than a thinking, feeling human being. Unsurprisingly, $60 IS too much to charge for a title and hopefully consumers will vote with their wallets. Perhaps soon we'll get back to having games with well thought out and engaging stories, instead of gratuitous crotch shots and a script that seems to revolve almost exclusively around killing dicks (no matter how funny that occasionally is). In recent years I've had more fun playing 'low-key' titles like Pixel Junk Shooter, Scott Pilgrim and Amnesia than any major title shipped by a big developer.
  • incorrect (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ephemeriis (315124) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:32AM (#35892128)

    'If there's anything that's killing us [in the traditional games business] it's dollar apps. How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it? They're used to 99 cents. As I said, it's an uncertain time in the industry. But it's an exciting time for whoever picks the right path and wins.'

    I've got a Droid, but I'm not a big mobile gamer. I'm used to spending $50 on a video game for my PC, or Nintendo, or whatever.

    And what's killing you [in the traditional games business] is that your games are not really worth it.

    Used to be that I'd buy a game for $50 and get 20+ hours of gameplay - not counting multiplayer. And I'm not talking about an RPG either... RPG's would be a good 60+ hours of gameplay.

    I remember playing the first Unreal, or Quake, or Marathon, or Half-Life - and they all took me over a week of late nights to finish.

    And then you'd have multiple hours of multiplayer on top of that... Usually with some terrific mods bolted on... And then some mods for the single player... Often the modding community would double or even triple the gameplay you got from your original purchase...

    Now you shell out $60 for a game and get 5-10 hours of gameplay, plus the multiplayer. Then they'll start releasing more single player content, and multiplayer map packs, and skins, and whatever else as DLC. And the game will be designed around consoles, so there'll be very limited support for modding.

    $50 for 20-80 hours of gameplay... Compared to $60 for 5-20 hours of gameplay...

    Is it any wonder you're having a hard time selling your games?

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:01AM (#35893086)

    A third of the apps are free, so figure an average of $8600/paid app. Free apps tend to be subsidized with ads, &c., which aren't included in the $2B figure.

    Then take out the shovelware, the apps that got thrown together in a week or less by throwing a few appkit controls together, making a glorified web page, and/or duplicating the same app 50 times with slightly different content. Not many people buy these apps, but they take so little time to produce that developers can earn a decent living on them. I'd say these account for at least half the App Store; some would guess closer to 90%.

    Then take out the apps that are too specific to really catch on; even if they were well written, there just aren't that many people who need to diagnose a token ring network in Esperanto or reproduce the call of Cerorhinca monocerata. Often these apps were written to benefit a specific party (probably the developer) and later polished up and stuck in the App Store to try and make a bit of extra cash.

    And now you're left with the small percentage of apps that are well designed and appeal to a broad audience, and a large percentage of that $2B revenue figure. Granted, not everything will be a hit, but that's true of every industry. And with the market growing tremendously every year you'd be crazy not to get your feet wet.

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