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Games Entertainment

Next Gen Squeezes Existing IP 47

The transition from the previous generation to Next-Gen consoles is hitting game publishers right in the intellectual property. Existing franchises are going to struggle to keep their publishers afloat, because of the immense costs and problems involved in adapting to the new console market. From the article: "The strong possibility of a new Medal of Honor game from EA could also affect Activision's numbers. The analyst estimates Gun sold 980K since launch, and that any sequel will struggle to match this, probably hitting no more than 780K. Another declining franchise is X-Men. The 2004 game X-Men Legends sold 1.2 million with last year's X-Men Legends II probably hitting around 750K. A third game this year is estimated to manage only 550K."
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Next Gen Squeezes Existing IP

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  • Tired of sequels? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spez ( 566714 )
    Maybe people are tired of sequels?

    Anybody want to try something new?
    • It's not just sequels -- it's repetitive sequels. X-Men Legends II was little more than extra boards for Legends I.

      Ditto for Baldur's Gate: DA and Champions of Norrath.

      When you have a sequel that uses the same engine, and has very similar graphics and gameplay, of course it will sell fewer copies -- for many people, playing the first iteration or two is enough. The upside to this is that dev costs are lower, so reduced sales are still profitable.

      The problem occurs when you develop a sequel for a nex
      • Well, sluggish sales on some of those are not due as much to their being sequels as to their being bad games.

        Baldur's Gate: DA was pretty good. Its still pretty good. The sequel is horrible (bad player classes, ugly texturing and modeling, very poor color palette, and very bad level design, etc).

        X-Men Legends was also pretty good. Its sequel is also horrible (removed better characters than they added, levels with bad design and/or no sense of scale, combat balance tedious, etc).

        Champions of Norrath I'll
        • "Baldur's Gate: DA was pretty good. Its still pretty good. The sequel is horrible (bad player classes, ugly texturing and modeling, very poor color palette, and very bad level design, etc)."

          That's why I treat CoN as a sequel to BG:DA (Same engine IIRC, even if different franchise, slightly different gameplay -- this is how sequels should work, IMO).

          I've never played Hunter, so no idea on that one -- but I'm sure you can Google sales figures.
      • I agree wholeheartedly with the comment about sequels that use the same engine...I *hate* those.

        Total waste of money.

        Yeah, I know, "It's not just about the graphics..."

        Well, I want a new engine to go along with my new game.

        Unless it's a $20 add-on pack.
      • I wonder whether Doom I or II sold more, since they are also a case of two games and one engine. Perhaps Doom is an exception though, since I imagine Doom III, which did sport a new engine (understatement), sold far less than either Doom I or II.
        • There's also the issue of publicity. Lesser-known, less-hyped original titles often will have significantly more sales in the 2nd iteration. The article is mainly looking at titles that were hyped and well-marketed for consoles.

          The other issue, when comparing PC and console titles, is hardware capabilities. Even with the same engine, Doom II could have much better graphics than Doom I, just because the hardware imporvements in PCs are not so much a step function. With consoles, once you've released yo
    • why pay $50 for X-Men III when you can get I and II for $40 ($30 off ebay)? There's a real glut of A-Grade titles in the market right now. I've got 30 some ps2 games I've paid and average of $7 bucks for. Except for Star Ocean 3 they're all used (and I paid $20 for Star Ocean). Making sequels that are substantially different from the first game'll help the industry, but they're still going to have to face the glut of used and cheap games from the last generation, and all that backwards compatibility isn't h
  • by mindhaze ( 40009 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @02:23PM (#14447296) Homepage Journal
    Listen, it's not the next generation consoles that are doing this, it's the freaking franchise! If I played X-Men legends 1, unless you drastically change this up, and make X2 extremely compelling (i.e.: the Splinter cell guys have made each revision far more interesting then the last), then why would I even bother playing X2?

    It's the content that hurt sales, not the development platform or anything else. How many X-Men do we really want crammed down our throats anyhow?
    • While I completely agree with the above poster, I also believe that the other thing hurting all publishers is the high entry cost to the next-generation market. Because of this, they are more likely to go with a known franchise, which will have known sales, even if it has predictable gameplay and a tired plot. If they have an innovative game, such as Katamari Damacy, they are less likely to green light it due to the (larger) cost of creating the game. And until the game is created, it's somewhat uncert
  • The larger issue (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShadowsHawk ( 916454 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @02:34PM (#14447382)
    I think the issue that is not covered is that companies are now expected to make certain profit margins. If they don't, their stock tanks and so do they. I realize the old saying is true. "Either you're growing or you're dying." This however, does not mean you need to maintain a 20% growth rate every single year.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Like the one we had in 84. That'd be refreshing.
  • ... you might as well try something new. Of course there's little predictability in introducing a brand new concept in gaming or even inventing a whole new genre. But, if a big name publisher is sure to lose money on a sequel, while hoping for some sort of success, then why is it a big deal to try something new. If you aren't gonna cut with the old stuff, then take that same investment and push it into something outrageous. Losses will likely be the same, but its a gamble too. The Sims was such a gambl
  • by LordPhantom ( 763327 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @02:53PM (#14447601)
    People are tired of eye-candy being the only compelling thing about a game. If you simply remake the -same- game again and again with "more polygons" is it still significantly more fun to play? For -many- games the answer is "no". Companies have to either allow you to do something new or have a unique idea in order to attract customers - and 30 iterations of EA NFL Exxxplosion 2130 isn't going to be better then than the current sequel "blah" that they put out. In short- if I want to play a good football game, why not buy a PS2 and 04 or 05? For the difference in cost, the game has to be that much more compelling. Of course, the other argument can (and should) be made that at some point we're going to get graphics -so- good, and controls -so- intuitive that we max out the abilities of the current hardware tech. There is, after all, only so close of an approximation of reality you can reach on a screen and gamepad...... Personally, I can't wait for VR :)
  • "The 2004 game X-Men Legends sold 1.2 million with last year's X-Men Legends II probably hitting around 750K. A third game this year is estimated to manage only 550K."

    Here's one (of many) simple reason why this happens. In 2004, X-men Legends was new, the first time (to my knowledge) the X-men had an RPG. People bought it, and as the year went on, the price dropped on it as new releases came out. Then the next X-men Legends was announced and the price dropped even further. Now, you could get X-men Legend
  • What bugs me is, with all these rehashes of old games, why can't they retain past good ideas? Why are they still selling console FPS games without individual button control customizeability? Why don't they all have eight or more bots in four-player multiplayer mode? Why don't they all have a decent camera system? Why don't they all standardize on what "Invert Y Axis" means? I've been hooked on FPSs since Goldeneye 64, but I can only count two FPS games that have somewhat improved on what Rare presented
  • I think the problem is that the 'sequels' we are getting are actually more of a mix between remakes and sequels (call them 'requels'). There's very little innovation, but there are enough changes to disappoint gamers who liked the original.

    Let me give you an example: I am playing Wild ARMs: Alter Code F. I thoroughly enjoyed the original Wild ARMs, but this game changes a few 'minor' things, that I think take away from the game (no equipment? why, oh why do new RPGs hate letting you have equipment?). OK,

  • Falling right into the trap of forced updates. What's wrong with XBox? PS2? Nextgen consoles are not so damn next-gen when a first-gen PS2 game beats a XB360 game not only in quality, but in *visuals*! Pathetic.

    The XB360 is truly dead on arrival. Shoot it, go back to developing for an established console that's known to already be in millions of homes (XB, PS2), and let the crappy "next-gen" pile of crap die as it should have way back when some overpaid idiot at MS came up with this piece of garbage.

    • "Nextgen consoles are not so damn next-gen when a first-gen PS2 game beats a XB360 game not only in quality, but in *visuals*! Pathetic."

      Which game are you reffering to exactly??
  • So you are saying pushing the same crap out the door over and over again doesn't mean you win big every time?
  • It makes sense that if someone wasn't interested in the previous iteration, that they won't be interested in the next, and thus of course customer numbers are going to decrease over time because some of your old customers just don't want to play franchise X anymore. Also, you're competing with your own previous title that's sitting there in the bargain bin with a much more attractive price.
  • The "transition drought" appears to be coming from analysts who believe that there will be a transition drought. As such they pencil in lower current generation sales, and don't believe there will be enough next-gen consoles to sell any games to. And this gets used as evidence that there will be a transition drought. See the circular logic?

    The Genesis and Playstation both had some of their best games (and best-selling games) after their successors had come out. There is some life in the old systems yet.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission