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Video Game Industry Thread: 300+ people lose their jobs. Curt Schilling still rich.

Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo HAPPY WAALUWEENRegistered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
edited May 2012 in Games and Technology
Welcome to the Industry Thread: your place to post about the business side of the hobby. Behavior in past threads has been dipping below acceptable levels, so we're going to review what this thread is all about. Failure to abide by these rules can result in an infraction, and continued poor behavior in this thread as a whole could result in loss of this thread So please take the time to read this OP. Failure to read this OP does not absolve you of the responsibility to behave yourself.

1. This is about the industry: if your post has something to with the business of making video games, then you are probably on the right track. Sales numbers, hiring or firing of employees, opening or closing of development teams, and so forth are good topics. Minute details on the quality of games, what Reggie had for breakfast, Sony's TV sales, and so forth tend to be outside the scope of this thread.

2. This is not a chat thread. It's not a place to shoot the breeze and casually talk about video games as a whole. While you don't have to be super serious to post here, there is going to be substantially less tolerance of content-less posts that are comprised of an image macro or YouTube video.

3. Discussion on why a game/company failed or succeeded will come up. It's fine to kick around gameplay or other factors as reasons to why. Getting into a multiple page discussion on why nerfing wizards caused this MMO to lose 100,000 subscribers is when you have crossed a line into inane chatter. If you are unsure where that line is, then I recommend not making that particular post.

4. This is not a place to proselytize nor antagonize. "Console war" crap will not be tolerated, nor will needlessly crapping/cheering on a particular game/company/etc. Pondering about why Capcom hates Megaman is not really relevant to the industry.

5. You are not the arbiter of what is discussed here. Farmville is a game. Kinect games are just that: games. If you don't like that a large number of recent posts are discussing something you are sick of hearing about, then bring up other industry topics or take some time off from this thread. Do not complain that people aren't talking about what you want to talk about. If you feel that the discussion is detrimental to the thread (whining about Mass Effect 3 for the billionth time), then feel free to use your report button.

6. While an economics degree is not required to post in here, one not versed in the subject would do well to read and think carefully before posting. Sales do not necessarily reflect on the game's quality! A game can sell a lot but still be a failure if was expensive to produce! Before immediately posting something, think critically a bit and remember that business is a different beast that tends to be very much detached from the hobby itself.

Bottom line: business is for adults, and thus you should post in here like an adult. If you want to casually chat about video games, then we have a whole forum for you to do that in. This thread is not the place for that. Nor is it the place for petty bickering amongst yourselves (we, in fact, have no place on these forums for you to do that).

Having said all that, enjoy the thread.

EDIT: VGChartz is mostly horseshit and should not be taken seriously. Why? Read about it here.

Bobkins Flymo on
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Posts

  • Gandalf_the_CrazedGandalf_the_Crazed Vigilo ConfidoRegistered User regular
    So rule #3 means the Mass Effect 3 ending is a fair discussion topic, right? 8->

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  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Death Groupie Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    So would talking about recent gaming news be kosher?

    Undead Scottsman on
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  • EVOLEVOL Registered User regular
    Former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling is opening a game development studio called Robotoki.
    After abruptly leaving developer Infinity Ward in late March, former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling is opening a game development studio called Robotoki.

    Speaking to Game Informer through e-mail today, Bowling said the decision to form his own company began immediately after resigning from his long-time position with Activision.

    “Robotoki is focused on being a developer development studio that just happens to make games,” he said. “We are focused on our team first and everything else second, because I believe as an industry; we have a lot to learn on how to treat talent. While we continue to out stride film and music entertainment in other areas, we are falling severely behind in how to properly inspire and support our creative talent.

    ...

    Robotoki’s first project, which will be revealed later this year, is slated for release on next-gen consoles, PC, and mobile devices (iOS, Tablet, Android). “As a developer, our focus is on creating a universe first, experiences second, and game mechanics last, “ Bowling said. “With focus being on universe, we aim to create experiences that transcend platforms and genres and allow our players to connect to our world, their characters, and gameplay via any medium (console, PC, or mobile).

    http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2012/04/23/robert-bowling-opens-game-studio.aspx

    "our focus is on creating a universe first, experiences second, and game mechanics last" Oh dear God. Please focus on game mechanics first, thanks.

  • Gandalf_the_CrazedGandalf_the_Crazed Vigilo ConfidoRegistered User regular
    I think most games should focus on game mechanics first, yes.

    But there is something to be said for creating a fascinating universe + plot, and then asking, "How can we insert the player, mechanically, into that experience?" I think both approaches can work, as long as the dev doesn't half-ass any of the 3 steps.

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  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Death Groupie Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    EDIT: I think I misunderstood the comment.

    Undead Scottsman on
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  • RobesRobes Registered User regular
    EVOL wrote: »
    Former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling is opening a game development studio called Robotoki.
    After abruptly leaving developer Infinity Ward in late March, former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling is opening a game development studio called Robotoki.

    Speaking to Game Informer through e-mail today, Bowling said the decision to form his own company began immediately after resigning from his long-time position with Activision.

    “Robotoki is focused on being a developer development studio that just happens to make games,” he said. “We are focused on our team first and everything else second, because I believe as an industry; we have a lot to learn on how to treat talent. While we continue to out stride film and music entertainment in other areas, we are falling severely behind in how to properly inspire and support our creative talent.

    ...

    Robotoki’s first project, which will be revealed later this year, is slated for release on next-gen consoles, PC, and mobile devices (iOS, Tablet, Android). “As a developer, our focus is on creating a universe first, experiences second, and game mechanics last, “ Bowling said. “With focus being on universe, we aim to create experiences that transcend platforms and genres and allow our players to connect to our world, their characters, and gameplay via any medium (console, PC, or mobile).

    http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2012/04/23/robert-bowling-opens-game-studio.aspx

    "our focus is on creating a universe first, experiences second, and game mechanics last" Oh dear God. Please focus on game mechanics first, thanks.

    Along with EA, this is the second developer I've read about that is talking about this multi-platform-accesible-world, which so far sounds like an interesting concept.
    It's good to see him out from under Activision's thumb.

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  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    Do you create your universe first, and then shape your game mechanics around it? Or do you create the game mechanics first and shape the universe around them?

    I dunno, both designs seem equally valid. Either way, the worst thing you can do is have an utter disconnect between the two.

    "The sausage of Green Earth explodes with flavor like the cannon of culinary delight."
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  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    Hey Waluigi could you put in something about how VGchartz is a bunch of made up numbers and isn't reliable at all for forecasting purposes?

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Don't fuck with a witch Time to go VROOM!Registered User regular
    I think most games should focus on game mechanics first, yes.

    But there is something to be said for creating a fascinating universe + plot, and then asking, "How can we insert the player, mechanically, into that experience?" I think both approaches can work, as long as the dev doesn't half-ass any of the 3 steps.

    Yes, this

    To bring it around to (sorry) Mass Effect 3, I think they've created a really engaging universe with the Mass Effect series, but I really dislike the core fast-paced shooter-type gameplay of ME3 even while working through it for the story bits, compared to the slower pace of ME2 (which itself was faster than ME1). If BioWare had gone along with that Mass Effect first-person shooter they were considering, maybe the core series wouldn't have been tampered with as much, and people could have used different avenues to enjoy that same universe, potentially even opening them up to genres they would never touch before.

    I really applauded when MS went with the decision to make Halo Wars. It wasn't for me, but it got me to try out a strategy game, a genre I normally abhor, and it worked out well financially for them.

    I am still bummed that I never got to play Starcraft Ghost, because now that whole fiction is closed off to me.

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  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    I'ma take a stab at this new-old-intent-of-thread thing!

    The NPD says that 40% of freemium game players pay for in-game upgrades.
    The Insights into the Freemium Games Market report, which surveyed over 6,000 individuals including both children and adults, notes that women and girls are "significantly more likely" to play freemium games than men, yet are less likely than men to pay.

    The NPD Group says that around 38 percent of the U.S. population currently plays some form of freemium gaming, with the majority of those players who opt to pay doing so within the first month of playing a particular game.

    [...]

    Elsewhere in the report, the group says that only 15 percent of gamers who are aware of freemium games choose not to play them, while a notable 84 percent of gamers who try freemium gaming will then stick with it.

    However, while females are more likely to continue playing a freemium game after the initial try, males aged 13 to 34 are most likely to abandon freemium gaming entirely after trying it.

    I dunno if anyone here in G&T saw it (I forget if it was a forum-wide announcement) but Robert Khoo had a poll at the start of the year pertaining to gaming habits and one of the questions was about how much money you dump into freemium games. I think the top option was like $80+, which was nowhere close to how much I'd personally spent on freemium games in a year - I spent more. So I'm very much one of the 'suckers.' But I think it's a valid business plan, it's just a matter of how it's handled in games, what's on offer, etc. It's not universally a bad idea.

    But at any rate, what's shocking to me is that if the 40% mark is true, it really goes to show how much mileage freemium games (CoX, DDO, smart phone apps, etc) get. Like DDO increased their profits on this plan, and most of their userbase isn't handing over any money? I'm sure we'll see studies being done on how to get some of, or all of, that 60% to pay money they otherwise wouldn't.

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  • EVOLEVOL Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Nintendo has been stepping up their online game these days. Is this a continuation of this trend? Or is this just a typo?

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    Update: Shit. Typo. And I wanted to believe so bad..

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    EVOL on
  • RainbowDespairRainbowDespair Registered User regular
    Hey Waluigi could you put in something about how VGchartz is a bunch of made up numbers and isn't reliable at all for forecasting purposes?

    Seconded. Feel free to include a link to this article in the "Why VGChartz can't be trusted" section: http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2008/06/analysis_what_vgchartz_does_and.php

  • Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo HAPPY WAALUWEEN Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    VGChartz stuff added to OP.

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited April 2012

    a pretty interesting video on booths at PAX and the work that goes into them. these dudes made it themselves, and this video shows that process.

    Local H Jay on
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  • RainbowDespairRainbowDespair Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Lone Survivor (a 2D indie survival horror game - practically a retro version of Silent Hill 2) is currently climbing the Top Sales chart on Steam. It was #10 an hour or two ago and right now, it's #6.

    I'm guessing the game sold less than 1200 copies day 1 when it was released on the developer's site (i.e. I bought the game late that night and the "First 1200 to order get this" bonus was still available when I bought it) so it's good to see that he's seeing much more success now that it's on Steam.

    In other Steam indie game sales news, Noitu Love 2 came out today and was briefly in the Top 20 Overall Sales list. It's currently #1 on the Under $5 Top Sellers list. Haven't played the full version but the demo reminded me of Gunstar Heroes.

    RainbowDespair on
  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    Tis a good age for indie gaming it is.

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  • MaddocMaddoc I'm Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother? Registered User regular
    EVOL wrote: »
    So basically an indie game not getting on Steam is a death sentence in terms of sales? Damn.

    I wonder why that is. Is it the extra exposure? Or are people really that devoted to Steam? As in, no Steam no sale?

    While there are the people who will only buy stuff on Steam, I'd attribute it more to the incredible exposure Steam gives to games. Bearing in mind that it's not just a storefront, it's a social networking tool that shows you every game your friends are playing.

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  • EVOLEVOL Registered User regular
    So basically an indie game not getting on Steam is a death sentence in terms of sales? Damn.

    I wonder why that is. Is it the extra exposure? Or are people really that devoted to Steam? As in, no Steam no sale?

  • agoajagoaj Hey You Pichu I don't like your girlfriendRegistered User regular
    Steam's exposure is absolute. You'll see it on the front page of the store and you'll see your friends playing it.

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  • RainbowDespairRainbowDespair Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    EVOL wrote: »
    So basically an indie game not getting on Steam is a death sentence in terms of sales? Damn.

    I wonder why that is. Is it the extra exposure? Or are people really that devoted to Steam? As in, no Steam no sale?

    It's some of both. Steam owns a huge percentage of the non-super-casual PC market. Throw on good exposure to indie games and the fact that you get notifications on what your friends are buying and playing and it's easy to see how indie games could sell exceptionally well on Steam even if they didn't sell well elsewhere.

    My personal guess would be that it's something like this:

    Gamer Market (PC):
    Steam 85%-90%
    Everything Else Combined (Impulse, Origin, Desura, Gamersgate, GOG, etc.) 10%-15%

    Of course, this excludes the super-casual and mainstream stuff like Amazon and the Flash portals.

    RainbowDespair on
  • Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo HAPPY WAALUWEEN Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Steam encourages you to stick with Steam. You don't want to have 15 programs on your computer for gaming, and you also don't want to juggle 15 chat programs and libraries as well. Valve did it first and (arguably) best, so that's why it dominates the market.

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  • chocoboliciouschocobolicious Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Lollipop chainsaw, or, why Japan should never change:



    Inspired or trolling. You decide.

    Edit: alright, at work so I didn't finish this.

    Stuff like this reminds me of the old Japanese stuff I played on the 16 and 32 bit consoles, heck even on ps2. I notice a lot of Japanese games just not selling as well, but I begin to think its just because they try to hard to appeal to western gamers. Simple point is, we have a ton of western developers.

    So while grasshopper and suda51 and similar might not make record breaking sales, I know I'll usually pick up their games day 1 simply because its going to be something distinctly crazy Japan.

    chocobolicious on
  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    You're blaming Japan but didn't James Gunn work on it with Grasshopper?

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  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    Warner Bros. does a great job marketing their games so this has a decent chance of being the best selling Suda game ever.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I can never make up my mind on what to think about Lollipop Chainsaw. I'll be interested to see how it sells.

    In related news, Prototype 2 came out here today and I couldn't even find a copy of the game anywhere on 360 (I just wanted to look at the box more than anything else). I knew I should have preordered it if I wanted the game, but oh well - it can wait until next month.
    DoctorArch wrote: »
    Tis a good age for indie gaming it is.

    Personally I think with iOS development and Steam it's just a good time to be a developer if you want to reach a lot of customers - not to mention being an actual gamer who loves older genres. For example Aquaria started on PC with Steam, but got ported to iOS perfectly and IMO is one of the best actual "games" on the iOS store (which means you should absolutely buy it if you haven't already). Honestly if Microsoft and Sony wake up to digital distribution as a genuine thing like Steam has, then I can't help but be very excited for the next generation. Digital only games on Xbox live, iOS and (when I get a new PC) steam are filling gaps in genres I love that don't get made by regular publishers often (like turn based tactical combat games), or just being really out there (Stacking for example).

    Throw kickstarter onto this and I think this is the happiest I've been about games in years.

    Aegeri on
  • Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo HAPPY WAALUWEEN Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Uh, Prototype 2 had a really...muted launch. That doesn't bode well.

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  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Uh, Prototype 2 had a really...muted launch. That doesn't bode well.

    Yeah I knew it was coming out today, but I didn't notice any major push or anything like Mass Effect 3 (or even Witcher 2) had pre-release. It seems to have done well locally here. Curious to how this sells, because Prototype was one of those "Came out of nowhere" titles that did much better than anyone expected it to. If it wasn't for the Witcher 2 on 360 I would have got the game this month.

  • chocoboliciouschocobolicious Registered User regular
    ... Prototype 2 came out?

  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    ... Prototype 2 came out?

    Yeah and I couldn't even find it anywhere on 360 (there were a handful of PS3 copies now I think of it).

    I had no idea this news would be so remarkable.

  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    there was one other dude at my midnight launch for it

    it's pretty good though, which is what matters

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  • EVOLEVOL Registered User regular
    There's a Prototype 2? Huh. News to me. ..That really isn't a good sign is it.

  • MaddocMaddoc I'm Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother? Registered User regular
    Ah yes

    The Sega Saturn approach

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    icon-18x18_zps3f731cae.png Basilius | TF2 Backpack | SMITE - Laitarne | PSN - Masked_Unit
  • RehabRehab Registered User regular
    ... Prototype 2 came out?

    This is the only reason I noticed.
    Spoiler:

    Ad creeeeeeeeeeeep like a motherfucker. You would think gaming sites would have learned after the whole Spider-man 2 ad integration thing and the Kane and Lynch debacle.

  • UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Prototype 2 has been advertised A LOT on TV during the stuff that I tend to watch, and also was a primary sponsor of - and got to run it's extended TV commercial during - the PPV UFC 145 this past weekend.

    Basically, if you're a male age 16-30 you should have been inundated with advertising for it.

    Ultimanecat on
    SteamID : same as my PA forum name
  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    Well they're actually airing ads on TV for it, which is more than you can say of the average game. Though it's the typical ad that neither shows nor tells fuck all about the gameplay. Just a bunch of black actors screaming and looking angry.

    "The sausage of Green Earth explodes with flavor like the cannon of culinary delight."
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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    ... Prototype 2 came out?

    I only know it exists cause youtube won't shut the fuck up about it.

  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Don't fuck with a witch Time to go VROOM!Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I actually thought it came out the 17th, which I guess that part was poor marketing. But Wal-Mart's marketing strategy of throwing in the first game? Wonderful.

    I was in the mood for something stupid to buy on Thursday night and I was at Wal-Mart thinking "Hey, I'll grab a copy of Prototype 2 here, since it comes with a free copy of Prototype 1," proving that, at the very least, Wal-Mart's marketing of their store-exclusive bonus had been done somewhat decently. Headed back to electronics and looked everywhere and couldn't find it, and my only thought was "Wow, I can't believe Prototype 2 sold out so fast! Though I guess being packaged with the first game is a nice sales tactic." Wal-Mart had done the same thing with Arkham City/Arkham Asylum and it seemed to do very well for them.

    But then I bought a 3DS instead on a whim, and when I got home I saw the thread title here on Prototype 2 about things "getting goopier on April 24th" and came to my sudden realization. Now I don't have the spare cash to spend on a game whose first iteration seriously underwhelmed me, the definition of that impulse purchase.

    But they had me for a second there. More marketing needs to seriously pump up the release date of any given game, especially if they don't have a flashy date to work with (9/9/99 for the DC launch, 11/1/11 for Uncharted, 11/10/09 for MW2)

    EDIT: I just realized that the PA forums advertised Prototype 2 to me better simply by saying things would "get goopier on April 24th." That's not even the thread title anymore and I still remember it.

    UnbreakableVow on
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  • TurkeyTurkey Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I fucking envy you people. I have seen at least a dozen Prototype 2 ads every single day for the last month. At some times, there's one in every commercial break, and usually it's the butt-punt DLC.

    Turkey on
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  • chocoboliciouschocobolicious Registered User regular
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I wonder if it's different on satellite, because they're advertising the fuck out of it on cable.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
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