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[Video Game Industry Thread] Nobody is Buying Anything.

AllforceAllforce Registered User regular
edited April 2013 in Games and Technology
Hi and welcome to the Video Game Industry Thread, a place for discussing the business side of the games market. This includes sales figures, happenings with publishers and developers, goings-on with important people in the business, interesting development trends and similar things.

To keep things civil, informative and (most importantly) unlocked, here's some mod-enforced guidelines:
  • Stay on topic. Don't just randomly chat about your day, don't post things that are just stupid images or memes, and don't get too distracted by talking about how much you personally think Game X is awesome or sucks. Though pointing out a game sucks due to publisher mistreatment during the development process and sold horribly as a result is fair game.
  • No System Warzz. This includes keeping calm in the face of bad news. Just because someone points out that a system/game sells horribly doesn't mean he's saying it's poop from a butt. Sometimes great stuff doesn't sell; this is the nature of the beast.
  • No posting random fluff articles. We don't care about poorly thought-out lists or gaming sites doing reviews of cheezy poofs, or how awful those articles are. We're not really the general games journalism thread, except for big stuff like publications going out of business or getting sued.
  • Don't cite VGChartz. Ever. They literally make shit up. Read more here.
  • NEW:Take care when citing Forbes blogs. Yes, Forbes the magazine is a highly respected business publication. But Forbes blogs are completely different -- they'll allow any gibbering diseased simian that can pound on a keyboard to contribute, and it's quickly become legendary for garbage. So if you see an article saying stuff like "Sony will kill the PlayStation division next month!" don't assume it's likely true because it has the respected Forbes name attached to it.

This is NOT a general new game announcement or date change thread. There are a few exceptions to this that are on-topic for us -- unexpected collaborations between companies, games that mark unusual new directions/risks for a company (like Nintendo announcing a microtransaction-based dating sim or something), delays of games so big they cause quarterly reports to be affected and stockholders to freak out, or scheduling conflicts with other big games that almost guarantee someone will fail. Beyond that, don't just post that a new game exists. There are plenty of people on this board who would like to talk about Game X in its own thread without us rambling on about financial crapola.

That said, have fun! We ain't stodgy accountants.

Allforce on
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Posts

  • Snake GandhiSnake Gandhi Des Moines, IARegistered User regular
    edited March 2013
    To continue from the last thread...

    There's a neat discussion Jeff and Patrick from Giantbomb had with Ken Levine where he talks about the business side of things and said that basically 2K has a habit of finding talented people ( like Levine and the Housers) and pretty much lets them do their thing. And for the most part it seems to work for them. Both GTA IV and RDR had enormous mega budgets ... but both sold like crazy and are pretty well regarded.

    It's not something every publisher can do but it's not altogether crazy.

    Snake Gandhi on
  • cloudeaglecloudeagle Registered User regular
    Bless you.

    Something that might be a good idea to add to the stuff on the OP (feel free to change the wording):
    This is NOT a general new game announcement or date change thread. There are a few exceptions to this that are on-topic for us -- unexpected collaborations between companies, games that mark unusual new directions/risks for a company (like Nintendo announcing a microtransaction-based dating sim or something), delays of games so big they cause quarterly reports to be affected and stockholders to freak out, or scheduling conflicts with other big games that almost guarantee someone will fail. Beyond that, don't just post that a new game exists. There are plenty of people on this board who would like to talk about Game X in its own thread without us rambling on about financial crapola.

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  • BlindPsychicBlindPsychic Registered User regular
    To continue from the last thread...

    There's a neat discussion Jeff and Patrick from Giantbomb had with Ken Levine where he talks about the business side of things and said that basically 2K has a habit of finding talented people ( like Levine and the Housers) and pretty much lets them do their thing. And for the most part it seems to work for them. Both GTA IV and RDR had enormous mega budgets ... but both sold like crazy and are pretty well regarded.

    It's not something every publisher can do but it's not altogether crazy.

    As I've said before elsewhere, 2k is perfectly happy to hand out money as long as GTA continues to keep them afloat. One mis-step from GTA would be a total disaster though. Although I've come to doubt Rockstar would do that.

  • DrovekDrovek Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    Why was Diablo 3 so much higher?

    I always assumed Starcraft was, by far, the more popular franchise.

    Is there some other sales technique used in South Korea that eliminates a lot of sales? Or were people simply slowly to convert, SC1 and Brood War being so beloved?

    No, Diablo is a juggernaut in my experience.. People you'd never imagined played games, play Diablo. I usually think of it's popularity as The Sims melded with a regular gamer game popularity wise.

    Heck, I starter playing Diablo (2) when somebody in a Disney f'ing Channel recommended it.

    The demo hooked me.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited March 2013
    Drovek wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    Why was Diablo 3 so much higher?

    I always assumed Starcraft was, by far, the more popular franchise.

    Is there some other sales technique used in South Korea that eliminates a lot of sales? Or were people simply slowly to convert, SC1 and Brood War being so beloved?

    No, Diablo is a juggernaut in my experience.. People you'd never imagined played games, play Diablo. I usually think of it's popularity as The Sims melded with a regular gamer game popularity wise.

    Heck, I starter playing Diablo (2) when somebody in a Disney f'ing Channel recommended it.

    The demo hooked me.

    I've had, like, uncles and grandparents and shit who I didn't even know could use computers be like "Did you hear Diablo 3 was coming out? That's gonna be awesome!" That game has the weirdest market-penetration ever.

    Starcraft, for all it's fame among gamers, is kind brutal and is kind of a niche genre (especially these days) and just doesn't have any non-gamer market-penetration in my experience.

    shryke on
  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    To give the current thread subtitle some context:
    SirUltimos wrote: »
    Looks like Bioshock Infinite cost $100 million, plus another $100 million on marketing according to Destructoid.

    http://www.destructoid.com/bioshock-infinite-among-most-expensive-games-of-all-time-249310.phtml
    Developers, like Rockstar, have bragged in the past that games make more than films at the box office, so why not fund games like Hollywood does? 2K Games is doing just that by throwing nearly $200 million at BioShock Infinite, according to The New York Times which cited unnamed analysts. Not since Grand Theft Auto IV -- allegedly $100M and produced by 2K's owners Take-Two -- has so much money been thrown at a project

    Around $100M was spent on Infinite's production and as much as another $100 will be spent on marketing. Remember when we were all gobsmacked that Gears of War cost $10 million? While game budgets have gone up, BioShock Infinite is pushing to the top of the list of most expensive productions. Shenmue ($94M in today's economy) says hi!

    Destructoid recently reported that Ken Levine decided to axe the BioShock film when Universal declined its $200 million budget. I wondered where that ridiculously high number, usually reserved for major franchise sequels (Harry Potter, Transformers), came from. Well, it may have come from BioShock Infinite's budget. Hard to go back to a measly $80 mil, right guys!?

    The exclusive review, generous pre-purchase offers, and massive marketing push around this game is all starting to make sense: 2K doesn't want to take any chances after investing so heavily in this risky venture. Even a 90+ Metacritic score and strong ad push may not be enough to make this bird fly. I sure hope so, as the resulting dialog among publishers may lead to less ambitious games in the future.


    Read more at http://www.destructoid.com/bioshock-infinite-among-most-expensive-games-of-all-time-249310.phtml#iAjrCoLEztJll2yj.99

    That fucking blows my mind. This game better be well received and sell like a motherfucker because if it doesn't earn back what was spent on it, things are going to change for a loooooot of people who worked on it.

  • LorahaloLorahalo Registered User regular
    The $100 million on development is already pretty mind blowing, but adding it again JUST FOR MARKETING it's insane. That's a fucking stupid amount to spend on marketing.

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  • The Dude With HerpesThe Dude With Herpes Lehi, UTRegistered User regular
    Lorahalo wrote: »
    The $100 million on development is already pretty mind blowing, but adding it again JUST FOR MARKETING it's insane. That's a fucking stupid amount to spend on marketing.

    I thought so to, and almost said as much, but then went and looked up marketing budget for some relatively recent big budget films...

    Oz the Great and Powerful, as an example, has an estimated marketing budget of $125million.

    So $100million on Infinite might not be that out of the question.

    Yes, that is a fucking stupid amount to spend on marketing; but it just seems to be the norm these days for this stuff I guess. :rotate:

    I get that they need to get the word out sometimes, but when a low budget film is considered a 'flop' even when it makes more than its production budget because they spent as much on marketing as on production it's just...the system is just dumb.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Didn't we learn years ago that marketing budgets for big games are like the same size as the budget to make the game?

    Elvenshae
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    Err, cloudeagle, Nintendo released a microtransaction filled dating sim on the 3DS a month and a half ago.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
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  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    It blows my mind that marketing is that expensive to begin with.

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  • DragkoniasDragkonias That Guy Who Does Stuff You Know, There. Registered User regular
    Well, Take 2 did spend 50 million advertising GTA4 so I can't say I'm surprised.

  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    It blows my mind that marketing is that expensive to begin with.

    Do you mean for this industry or in general? Because I've got some Super Bowl commercial spot time values to show you.

  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    It blows my mind that marketing is that expensive to begin with.

    marketing executives use a LOT of hair product.

  • DragkoniasDragkonias That Guy Who Does Stuff You Know, There. Registered User regular
    Really. I remember reading a article a while ago(and this is movie related but it gives a general idea) that the average blockbuster films budget tends to be so inflated because of actor salaries and marketing.

  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    Dragkonias wrote: »
    Really. I remember reading a article a while ago(and this is movie related but it gives a general idea) that the average blockbuster films budget tends to be so inflated because of actor salaries and marketing.

    Depends. There's two means of paying actors in films - a flat huge rate, or a scaled rate based on film success that could end up being more than the flat amount. Agents are the ones that negotiate this.

    ... Off topic.

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    Games that I know had massive advertisement budgets: Halo 3, LBP1, GTA IV, Assassins Creed 1,2,3, Every CoD game since Modern Warfare, WoW expansions after the first one, FF VII-X.

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  • DragkoniasDragkonias That Guy Who Does Stuff You Know, There. Registered User regular
    Yeah. I think hovering around 50 million is probably how much the really big titles have spent on advertising this gen.

    But double that is still pretty shocking.

    Spoit
  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    Games that I know had massive advertisement budgets: Halo 3, LBP1, GTA IV, Assassins Creed 1,2,3, Every CoD game since Modern Warfare, WoW expansions after the first one, FF VII-X.

    How much money did Blizzard spend on that WoW ad campaign that had every celebrity ever claiming to be a class?

  • Ov3rchargeOv3rcharge R.I.P. Mass Effect You were dead to me for yearsRegistered User regular
    edited March 2013
    How can the marketing budget be 100 freaking million smackers? I've seen one commercial for it maybe six or seven times. With that kinda money I'd expect that shit to be on buses, billboards, and what not. (Maybe I just live under a rock.)

    Ov3rcharge on
  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    Ov3rcharge wrote: »
    How can the marketing budget be 100 freaking million smackers? I've seen one commercial for it maybe six or seven times. With that kinda money I'd expect that shit to be on buses, billboards, and what not. (Maybe I just live under a rock.)

    What channel(s) do you see the commercial on? If it's a network non-cable/satellite channel the price is gonna be fucking huge.

  • DragkoniasDragkonias That Guy Who Does Stuff You Know, There. Registered User regular
    edited March 2013
    I know Walking Dead is a popular one for gaming ads since the young adult male demo for that show is huge.

    Dragkonias on
  • Ov3rchargeOv3rcharge R.I.P. Mass Effect You were dead to me for yearsRegistered User regular
    edited March 2013
    Henroid wrote: »
    Ov3rcharge wrote: »
    How can the marketing budget be 100 freaking million smackers? I've seen one commercial for it maybe six or seven times. With that kinda money I'd expect that shit to be on buses, billboards, and what not. (Maybe I just live under a rock.)

    What channel(s) do you see the commercial on? If it's a network non-cable/satellite channel the price is gonna be fucking huge.

    Yeah AMC for the Walking Dead. I imagine that's not the only channel. But it still boggles my mind that it takes that much dough for that kind of exposure.

    Edit: Xeno just covered the whole shebang

    Ov3rcharge on
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited March 2013
    If you see the ad during a football game; they spent a lot of money on it.

    If you see the ad during the Daily Show or other demographically appropriate show ala The Walking Dead; they spent a lot of money on it.

    If you see the ad during a championship game; they spent A LOT of money on it.

    If you see the ad before a big hollywood blockbuster; they spent a lot of money on it.

    If the game wins a major award on Spike TV or is featured on their shill program; they spent a lot of money on it.

    If the ad has licensed music that may or may not even be in the game; they spent a lot of money on it.

    If footage of the game is actually in a movie; they spent a lot of money on it.

    When you see all of those: It's either a big Activision release, a numbered AC game, GTA or Halo.

    Xenogears of Bore on
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    Henroid
  • Doctor DetroitDoctor Detroit Registered User regular
    Ah, so that's what the "Infinite" means...it's the budget. :p

    And I know I've seen a few commercials for BI...and yeah, it was probably when I happened upon Walking Dead.

  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    Ov3rcharge wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    Ov3rcharge wrote: »
    How can the marketing budget be 100 freaking million smackers? I've seen one commercial for it maybe six or seven times. With that kinda money I'd expect that shit to be on buses, billboards, and what not. (Maybe I just live under a rock.)

    What channel(s) do you see the commercial on? If it's a network non-cable/satellite channel the price is gonna be fucking huge.

    Yeah AMC for the Walking Dead. I imagine that's not the only channel. But it still boggles my mind that it takes that much dough for that kind of exposure.

    Well to extrapolate on the ad funding to exposure ratio, remember how Microsoft put a billion dollars into Kinect's advertising? That was when I was seeing it advertised in physical ways in Wal-Mart and such. It has hard to not notice.

  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    Ov3rcharge wrote: »
    How can the marketing budget be 100 freaking million smackers? I've seen one commercial for it maybe six or seven times. With that kinda money I'd expect that shit to be on buses, billboards, and what not. (Maybe I just live under a rock.)

    I live in NYC and there are Bioshock Infinite ads literally on the side of buses. I'm pretty sure there are also ads in the subways (there were for previous high-profile 2K games that weren't GTA games, such as Borderlands 2 and Mafia 2)

    I am idly curious if $100M is the marketing budget for all the markets they're releasing Bioshock Infinite in, or just North America.

  • Ov3rchargeOv3rcharge R.I.P. Mass Effect You were dead to me for yearsRegistered User regular
    Henroid wrote: »
    Ov3rcharge wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    Ov3rcharge wrote: »
    How can the marketing budget be 100 freaking million smackers? I've seen one commercial for it maybe six or seven times. With that kinda money I'd expect that shit to be on buses, billboards, and what not. (Maybe I just live under a rock.)

    What channel(s) do you see the commercial on? If it's a network non-cable/satellite channel the price is gonna be fucking huge.

    Yeah AMC for the Walking Dead. I imagine that's not the only channel. But it still boggles my mind that it takes that much dough for that kind of exposure.

    Well to extrapolate on the ad funding to exposure ratio, remember how Microsoft put a billion dollars into Kinect's advertising? That was when I was seeing it advertised in physical ways in Wal-Mart and such. It has hard to not notice.

    Pffff, screw this industry I'm selling brownies.

  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    100 million doesn't shock me too much. It's when it's in tandem with a 100 million developing cost that it gets into WTF territory. And I also haven't seen neither hide nor hair of an advertisement for a game that's coming out in just 5 days.

    I mean fuck. The last game that has a 100M development cost? APB. Made by Realtime Worlds. You might remember it as the MMO that didn't even last 90 days.

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  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    If you see a game being advertised all over the place during major media events expect the ad budget to be over 50 million. Especially if it is weeks before and after the game comes out.

    Assassin's Creed is doing the bold move of advertising a game what, seven months early?

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  • BastableBastable Registered User regular
    100 million doesn't shock me too much. It's when it's in tandem with a 100 million developing cost that it gets into WTF territory. And I also haven't seen neither hide nor hair of an advertisement for a game that's coming out in just 5 days.

    I mean fuck. The last game that has a 100M development cost? APB. Made by Realtime Worlds. You might remember it as the MMO that didn't even last 90 days.

    Shenmue in 1999 was $70million

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmXVco0Bkyk&amp;eurl=http://shenmue.planets.gamespy.com/

    Tera Online was $431 million
    http://www.sooperarticles.com/art-entertainment-articles/tera-online-gaming-worlds-most-expensive-76974.html


    I think Final Fantasy VII was $45 million development in 1997

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  • krapst78krapst78 Registered User regular
    edited March 2013
    There are quite a few errors in that article. Tera's development cost was revealed to be around 40B KRW which would equate to $35 million. If a Korean game cost over $400 million to develop, it would be ground shattering news here in Korea. Even the actual $35 million dollar price tag was pretty much front page news on most Korean gaming blogs. The MMO developers in Korea are hurting big time due to these high dev costs these days. That's why everyone is jumping ship to the mobile bandwagon. The top mobile games in Korea make close to a $1M a day and are developed for a few 100K. The top mobile game in Japan, Puzzle and Dragon by Gungho, made over 8B JPY (around $85M USD) for just the month of February.

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  • korodullinkorodullin What. SCRegistered User regular
    Star Wars: The Old Republic cost at least $200 million to develop, and probably another $50-60 million in marketing.

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  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    100 million clams to advertise a game that cost 100 million bucks to make seems... very excessive. I mean, aside from letting people know when it will be released, either the Bioshock name will sell or it won't; throwing out a billion different avenues of advertising won't change that a whole lot, since the several million who bought the other Bioshock games and liked them probably already know if they'll be getting this one.

    Just seems like massive overkill to me; doubling the cost of the game thanks to the advertising budget isn't going to double the profit. On the upside, at least a franchise that's got a solid chance of being a big hit with a new game is having this done, as opposed to dropping an insane amount of money on something like Star Wars MMO with no idea of whether or not it would take off.

  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    I could have sworn spending as much advertising as making the game was the norm, but I can't find any articles to support it

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  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    It's the norm for movies, the big ones especially. Not so much for games.

  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    edited March 2013
    Regardless of whether that kind of spending is the norm for big games, it just doesn't make sense to me to do it for an established franchise or franchise name like Bioshock. I mean, Microsoft at least does stuff that gets people involved in the game and the setting when it comes to the Halo stuff. Forward Unto Dawn was surprisingly good for military fiction that came out of a game franchise; I've seen plenty of movies with military focus that were way more stupid on the military angle, and a couple of the live-action things for ODST were astonishingly good. It's marketing, but it's also incorporated into the actual fiction; the advertising feeds into the game itself, rather than it being a bunch of words and pictures just to say "buy this game!"

    But I've only seen a single CGI commercial for Bioshock Infinite, and it's pretty standard "this is what we want you to think the game is like even though it isn't really just like this because this is all prerendered stuff" business. If that's what 100 million dollars buys for advertising, it seems like a big, big waste.

    Ninja Snarl P on
  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    Movie advertising also seems to be more prolific. Ads are everywhere, on multiple channels at multiple times of the day. There might be a fast food promotion going on. Then you got the talk show circuit, from Leno to Stewart and everything in between. It makes sense that it costs so much, because by comparison they seems next to impossible to avoid.

    Video game advertising on the other hand... doesn't. It seems only once in a blue moon will I see regular commercials for one game. One game, over the multitudes that are released in any one month.

    I mean, show of hands people. How many have seen ads for The Hobbit? Or The Avengers? They were all over the place. Now how many have seen ads for Bioshock Infinite?

    They're 200 million in the hole. This needs to be an insane blockbuster to have a hope of a prayer of turning a profit. So they need to advertise the fuck out of this. To everybody. So then... where are the ads?

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  • -SPI--SPI- Osaka, JapanRegistered User regular
    edited March 2013
    The Bioshock Infinite "Truth from Legend" trailers are amazing, sadly it seems like no-one has seen.

    Also I have to wonder how much of that 100mil was spent literally years ago and has been utterly forgotten by now.

    -SPI- on
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    Aren't those numbers just some extrapolation from Destructoid? Is there any REAL, ACTUAL quote for them?

    Marketing is ridiculously expensive, yeah, but the ad exposure doesn't seem to add up to a cool hundred million.

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