Lootboxes, Microtransactions, and [Gambling in Gaming]

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  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    To be so bold as to quote myself from last page, even if 'games are more expensive to make these days';
    Forar wrote: »
    That still doesn't justify predatory microtransaction and gambling mechanics.

    If their game can't exist without that predatory bullshit, then they fucked up somewhere.

    It's a nearly 44 Billion dollar industry.
    Video game revenue in 2018 reached a new peak of $43.8 billion, up 18 percent from the previous years, surpassing the projected total global box office for the film industry, according to new data released by the Entertainment Software Association and The NPD Group.

    I'm sure a happy balance can be found wherein studios manage to release games with scope and scale and feature sets that don't require them to bleed parts of their userbase dry. Like that Jimquisition video talks about, much of this is intentionally parasitic behaviour. They are willfully engaging in manipulative tactics used to draw obscene amounts of money out of a segment of the playerbase. This isn't just 'oh, $10 worth of Day One DLC', it's horrifying how casually they'll talk about driving players towards paying, and then paying some more, and then by god lets squeeze them dry.

    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
    zepherinElvenshaebowenJeep-EepThawmusCaedwyrIncenjucarmcdermottoverride367HefflingshoeboxjeddyHappy Little Machine
  • Martini_PhilosopherMartini_Philosopher Registered User regular
    An enormous reason why game development is so "expensive" is because the fucking executives are grossly overpaid.

    If games are legitimately so expensive, how about taking those record profits they're constantly having and dumping it back into development, instead of just padding already already over inflated wallets?

    The word you're looking for is Finanicalization.

    Yes the execs are getting theirs but it's the financial class that's getting the majority of profits. It's contractual at this point. Put $2mil in a game, expect to get $20mil back. Put $20mil in and get $200mil back. Or else.

    Or else what?

    We'll sell the studio and get our pound of flesh that way.

    All opinions are my own and in no way reflect that of my employer.
    bowenJeep-EepIncenjucarBucketmanjungleroomxdispatch.oBullheadHeffling
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited July 2019
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    I'm looking at codblops in particular and it looks like the bulk of the staff is things like porting to multiple platforms and literally anyone who touched the code at any one point. So if you've got a team of people who work on your graphics engine in house that services every game you write and have been working on it for 10 years, they're in the credits just as much as the team who designed maps, models, meshes, and scripts that actually make the game.

    I'm skeptical that half of those people actually worked on the game directly. They're still important pieces of the puzzle, but certainly doesn't justify why AAA studios seem to think they need to charge $500 a unit to break even. If anything, it should be lower than it used to be because of how reusable and efficient those components are now compared to writing a new engine every game.

    To actually break it down, treyarch had the following people working on CODBLOPS IV
    28 Animators
    145 Artists
    95 people working on audio
    67 Engineers
    36 Production managers and the like
    103 QA people
    24 people as being "treyarch", so I'm assuming the higher ups in the company
    and 46 as 'additional Support'.

    So, discounting Production managers and "treyarch" and then adding in "additional support" to be generous to your point, that makes 438 people that worked on the game directly.

    I wonder how many of these people only exist for grind unlocks and lootbox items.

    Only exist? None.

    I'm finding it difficult to believe that can be determined from the information given.

    The authoring of any assets for grinds and lootboxes is going to be split across multiple people anyway, and it won't be the only thing they do.
    If you're making weapon skins, you'll make them for base items, and unlocks.
    If you're working on audio lines, then it'll be for base gameplay, as well as any unlocks.
    If you're working on icons, you'll be doing that for menus, hud, and unlocks

    Nobody is hiring hundreds of people to only sit there and make things that will be in unlocks.

    Out of 145, how many artists do you actually need after removing all unlocks and mtx items?

    Given that all game development staff are overworked, at least 160.

    Lol

    Everyones fucking overworked.

    No. In the games industry you see people sleeping under their desks because they work so much they can't go home. At major publishers While not making enough to afford their own apartment.

    People do this and then lose future opportunities for not working enough. Because the only acceptable amount of work is all the work.

    The major AAA studios budget a form of turnover they call "stress casualties." This is an old military term for when a soldier is exposed to continuous combat for so long they are no longer fit for duty.

    The games industry takes overworking beyond the levels of the robber barons, and the labor strikes those provoked are so huge they're called wars with a capital W and everything.

    Hevach on
    Incenjucarzepherin
  • HerrCronHerrCron It that wickedly supports taxation Registered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    You know that they could just... still design all those items and put them in the game, just not as MTX items? Have them be unlockable via achievements or hidden sidequests or purchased from in-game shopkeeps with your fantasycoins?

    Or, and bear with me hear, if they don't need that many people working on a game because of the reduced development needs because of the elimination of MTX, they could be assigned to work on a different game. Lots of studios are working on more than one game simultaneously!

    Making skins and shit to sell is almost certainly the most cost efficient part of game development so no, that doesn't work.

    People are being incredibly unrealistic about the actual costs of game development.

    You mean the incredibly inflated salaries and bonuses awarded to executives and top-levels managers?

    In terms of overall development budget, you could take all that money and funnel it back into development... and you'd barely notice the effects.
    While they're certainly earning obscene amounts of money, it's nothing compared to the combined costs of hiring all the people that actually make the games.

    I don't think you're doing this on purpose, but what you've said reads to me as "well the combined salaries of all these people ends up being more than the salaries of these few select people, so what's the real cost?"

    If you took those inflated salaries from the top and distributed them to the people who were doing the actual work, you'd be paying the people who were already there better wages. You can make the argument that not having more people working there would mean you "wouldn't notice the effects" but there's also a case to be made that people making better wages and having better job security leads to better productivity and higher quality work because they'll be less stressed out.

    If the current industry model isn't sustainable even if we eliminate the executive salaries... then it's still the fault of those who made the decision to implement those models... you know, the executives.

    To avoid misunderstandings - this is exclusively talking about salary.
    Top level compensation packages are mostly in stock, not money, so pointing to the total figure of compensation isn't accurate.

    But you very much will get no argument from me if the executive pay got seized and redistributed around the rank and file.
    But my point was that if you took the cost of developing a modern game, then take that number and subtracted the pay of the top level execs and then compared the two results, they would not be noticeably different.

    Exec pay is arguably over inflated, but it's not so big that removing it would make a noticeable dent in the budget of a modern video game.

    sig.gif
  • HerrCronHerrCron It that wickedly supports taxation Registered User regular
    Dac wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Dac wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    People seem to be sceptical that games are getting more expensive to make, well, there it is in black and white.
    Development teams are ridiculously big compared to fifteen years ago, and even thought they're not getting paid enough, they still gotta get paid.

    How people feel about what they produce isn't really relevant.

    It's not really black and white, though. 2003 was sixteen years ago. Games cost more to make since the advent of the HD era, but the audience for games has massively exploded since then. Video games are now the most popular form of entertainment in the world. Even if their profits per sale are smaller, their potential sales, especially for a franchise like Call of Duty, are much, much larger. For comparison's sake, the first CoD reaped about 1,000,000 copies sold in 2003, its release year. CoD: Black Ops 3, twelve years later, sold 6,600,000 units in its first week.

    Pricing is also not what it was. Big "AAA" games routinely offer multiple editions - your bronze, silver, and gold editions, etc. A lot of people, myself included, do end up shelling out for these editions and their often exclusive items because of FOMO.

    Game companies also infamously are stellar at avoiding having to pay things that other companies do. Like paying royalties to their voice actors and paying their fair share of taxes.

    Distribution is also a completely new ball game. Digital distribution has massively cut into the cost of having to actually print and ship physical copies around the world.

    And we can't forget the sponsorship deals that massive games like BO3 enjoy.

    I would surmise, given these points and others, that video game companies already make plenty of profit off of the raw sale of games, despite the increased costs. It's hard to know for sure, though, because outside of the occasional leak, it's extremely difficult to get these "AAA" companies to admit how much their products cost to make.

    So nah, you can't just look at team size and say that's the answer.

    Nothing you've said has anything to do with the cost of making the game.

    Except we only care about costs in making games in so much as they drive undesirable behavior like loot boxes, and we ask "is such behavior required."

    I doubt anyone here actually thinks that games cost less as an absolute dollar value to make today than sixteen years ago. That's silly. If that's the point you're trying to make, then congrats on winning the Obvious Awards.

    The question that sparked all this off was "Games getting more expensive to make? Show your work."
    So, yes, it is silly, but here we are.

    sig.gif
    shryke
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited July 2019
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Quid on
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  • MillMill Registered User regular
    I'm trying to figure out exactly where game prices should be because currently, the consumer isn't given a good set of metrics. Yes, we know they have massive teams, but we see indy games that beat the shit out of some AAA games. I also have to wonder, how many of these people are these massive teams are fully devoted to a game's development, how many only play a very minor part or left early and how many are being split between multiple projects. From what I know thus far.

    -The locust top execs are being pay far more than they should be and very likely are a major factor in AAA games costing so much.
    -I don't think they use much in the way of minimum wage employees; however, they do overwork them to the point where they probably make less than minimum wage, if they have salary pay.
    -There are a ton of piss poor decisions that cost a ton of money. Ranging from over focus on reinventing the wheel, to wasting money on questionable advertising choices (if I was a developer I wouldn't ever pay money for a celebrity endorsement). Hell marketing is all sorts of fucked up. The asshole locust class will pay tons of money on marketing stuff that is being over valued (I have to question the wisdom in the current model, when a fair number of consumers are investing resources into programs to hide their online profiles as much as possible and that this model is likely to get nuked pretty soon by some governments. Company's did just fi with advertising before the invasive shit that silicon valley sales was possible and I can't help but feel they are spending way more for very little benefit). Also bad decisions like "let's appeal to everyone, where either the whole experience is shit or it's diminished because shitty stuff gets added, when it should have either been cut or not even made.
    -I'd argue we aren't getting the quality we use to get. I don't expect bug free games, even before patching was an option, top tier companies would always have some level of bugs in their games. These days, it seems like a fair number of games are really buggy on paid content release dates because the companies are more concerned with getting their money than a quality release. Hell, it seems like often they'll either half ass the fixes or take forever doing so.
    -Too much shit is being locked behind DLC or loot boxes.
    -We see indy companies pull some solid releases, while spending far, far less. Sure there are plenty of caveats here.

    I'd say a big elephant in the room, is that too many assume that most of this is too pay the workers. I'd wager that if the assholes at the top were forced to take reasonable pay levels, it might just be possible to lower game prices, while still giving the workers reasonable pay increases, cutting all the paid DLC & loot boxes, while having less buggy as fuck game releases. Even if the prices couldn't be cut, probably wouldn't have to raise game prices if the locusts at the top couldn't take most of they money from everything, while having to pay their people fair wages and not be allowed to use predatory behavior. Hell, even if prices went up, I doubt it would be by that much, Papa Johns only had to add like a fucking nickel to their prices, when they had to provide healthcare to their employees. In short, tons of people justify some of this shit because they think it's the only way to fairly pay the staff of these companies, while missing the fact that the fuckers running these companies are liable to take the vast majority of DLC and loot box revenue, while leaving little to known for their employees.

  • HonkHonk Honk is this poster. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    The big publishers have humongous profits. I don’t know how it matches when directly compared to what they make on loot boxes but there is a lot of money just whizzing past through the company and into shareholder and C suite kickback. I don’t think current game scopes are dependent on that side business.

    Unless most of the profits necessarily needs to convert into kickbacks.

    PSN: Honkalot
    zepherinoverride367
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Dac wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Dac wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    People seem to be sceptical that games are getting more expensive to make, well, there it is in black and white.
    Development teams are ridiculously big compared to fifteen years ago, and even thought they're not getting paid enough, they still gotta get paid.

    How people feel about what they produce isn't really relevant.

    It's not really black and white, though. 2003 was sixteen years ago. Games cost more to make since the advent of the HD era, but the audience for games has massively exploded since then. Video games are now the most popular form of entertainment in the world. Even if their profits per sale are smaller, their potential sales, especially for a franchise like Call of Duty, are much, much larger. For comparison's sake, the first CoD reaped about 1,000,000 copies sold in 2003, its release year. CoD: Black Ops 3, twelve years later, sold 6,600,000 units in its first week.

    Pricing is also not what it was. Big "AAA" games routinely offer multiple editions - your bronze, silver, and gold editions, etc. A lot of people, myself included, do end up shelling out for these editions and their often exclusive items because of FOMO.

    Game companies also infamously are stellar at avoiding having to pay things that other companies do. Like paying royalties to their voice actors and paying their fair share of taxes.

    Distribution is also a completely new ball game. Digital distribution has massively cut into the cost of having to actually print and ship physical copies around the world.

    And we can't forget the sponsorship deals that massive games like BO3 enjoy.

    I would surmise, given these points and others, that video game companies already make plenty of profit off of the raw sale of games, despite the increased costs. It's hard to know for sure, though, because outside of the occasional leak, it's extremely difficult to get these "AAA" companies to admit how much their products cost to make.

    So nah, you can't just look at team size and say that's the answer.

    Nothing you've said has anything to do with the cost of making the game.

    Except we only care about costs in making games in so much as they drive undesirable behavior like loot boxes, and we ask "is such behavior required."

    I doubt anyone here actually thinks that games cost less as an absolute dollar value to make today than sixteen years ago. That's silly. If that's the point you're trying to make, then congrats on winning the Obvious Awards.

    The question that sparked all this off was "Games getting more expensive to make? Show your work."
    So, yes, it is silly, but here we are.

    like all things businesses do, the answer is "maybe" or "it depends" and finally "sometimes no, sometimes yes"

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Mill wrote: »
    I'm trying to figure out exactly where game prices should be because currently, the consumer isn't given a good set of metrics. Yes, we know they have massive teams, but we see indy games that beat the shit out of some AAA games. I also have to wonder, how many of these people are these massive teams are fully devoted to a game's development, how many only play a very minor part or left early and how many are being split between multiple projects. From what I know thus far.

    -The locust top execs are being pay far more than they should be and very likely are a major factor in AAA games costing so much.
    -I don't think they use much in the way of minimum wage employees; however, they do overwork them to the point where they probably make less than minimum wage, if they have salary pay.
    -There are a ton of piss poor decisions that cost a ton of money. Ranging from over focus on reinventing the wheel, to wasting money on questionable advertising choices (if I was a developer I wouldn't ever pay money for a celebrity endorsement). Hell marketing is all sorts of fucked up. The asshole locust class will pay tons of money on marketing stuff that is being over valued (I have to question the wisdom in the current model, when a fair number of consumers are investing resources into programs to hide their online profiles as much as possible and that this model is likely to get nuked pretty soon by some governments. Company's did just fi with advertising before the invasive shit that silicon valley sales was possible and I can't help but feel they are spending way more for very little benefit). Also bad decisions like "let's appeal to everyone, where either the whole experience is shit or it's diminished because shitty stuff gets added, when it should have either been cut or not even made.
    -I'd argue we aren't getting the quality we use to get. I don't expect bug free games, even before patching was an option, top tier companies would always have some level of bugs in their games. These days, it seems like a fair number of games are really buggy on paid content release dates because the companies are more concerned with getting their money than a quality release. Hell, it seems like often they'll either half ass the fixes or take forever doing so.
    -Too much shit is being locked behind DLC or loot boxes.
    -We see indy companies pull some solid releases, while spending far, far less. Sure there are plenty of caveats here.

    I'd say a big elephant in the room, is that too many assume that most of this is too pay the workers. I'd wager that if the assholes at the top were forced to take reasonable pay levels, it might just be possible to lower game prices, while still giving the workers reasonable pay increases, cutting all the paid DLC & loot boxes, while having less buggy as fuck game releases. Even if the prices couldn't be cut, probably wouldn't have to raise game prices if the locusts at the top couldn't take most of they money from everything, while having to pay their people fair wages and not be allowed to use predatory behavior. Hell, even if prices went up, I doubt it would be by that much, Papa Johns only had to add like a fucking nickel to their prices, when they had to provide healthcare to their employees. In short, tons of people justify some of this shit because they think it's the only way to fairly pay the staff of these companies, while missing the fact that the fuckers running these companies are liable to take the vast majority of DLC and loot box revenue, while leaving little to known for their employees.

    Using numbers posted on the previous page,
    EA has about 10000 empolyees so if none of those people got paid anything you could give everyone a $12000 raise - a nice amount but not enough to offset the overall underpayment issue in the industry and certainly not enough when you account for extra hours worked

    From their financials, EA spends 2.5 billion on R&D, sales, admin & general expenses. If you paid those execs nothing and saved their salaries that would represent only a few percent cut to overall expenditure, not enough to shift anything, and if you to try to apportion it to individual games, EA makes a bunch of them so the individual impact on any one game is diluted

    zepherinHerrCronshryke
  • ThawmusThawmus Registered User regular
    If devs are being overworked while their games are simultaneously grifting people, then there's some internal economics at play that need a fucking sledgehammer brought to them, not protected.

    If the industry legitimately can't survive without lootboxes and people sleeping under their desks while unable to afford a living space, then the industry doesn't fucking survive.

    Dissecting the economics of the gaming industry so that it can survive without lootboxes is a trap. I don't have enough information to do it, and it's not my responsibility, either.

    steam_sig.png
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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Thawmus wrote: »
    If devs are being overworked while their games are simultaneously grifting people, then there's some internal economics at play that need a fucking sledgehammer brought to them, not protected.

    If the industry legitimately can't survive without lootboxes and people sleeping under their desks while unable to afford a living space, then the industry doesn't fucking survive.

    Dissecting the economics of the gaming industry so that it can survive without lootboxes is a trap. I don't have enough information to do it, and it's not my responsibility, either.
    And it isn't necessary. It's just shite project management and unrealistic expectations.

    There is a point of negative productivity, where after you work someone so hard, for so long, they reach a point where they do worst work than if they had only worked 40 hours. Here are some fancy charts I found on the interwebs.

    daily-productivity-graph.jpg


    overtime-negative-productivity.jpg

    In most cases you can get that horse (worker) off the gate for a good 2 weeks, before they start slowing down and need a break.
    There are complex worker fatigue formulas that factories tend to use, construction and facilities have tried various versions of this, but construction is almost as bad as the games industry when it comes to working their salaried staff, many facilities have gone to an 8 (10s) 6 day off type of schedule to really maximize workers.
    However the games industry goes for a 90 day 12 hour shift model, and then they graciously give you a half day off when you pass out at your desk. It's barbaric and just not effective.

    JuliusThawmusIncenjucarbowenMartini_Philosopher
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited July 2019
    Honk wrote: »
    The big publishers have humongous profits. I don’t know how it matches when directly compared to what they make on loot boxes but there is a lot of money just whizzing past through the company and into shareholder and C suite kickback. I don’t think current game scopes are dependent on that side business.

    Unless most of the profits necessarily needs to convert into kickbacks.

    Publishers have stopped making a big deal about sales numbers, but they talk to their investors and the serious games journalists make sure to own whatever stock is required to be on those calls.

    EA has boasted that several of their games launch without recurrent monetization, turn a profit on their launches, then patch in recurrent monetization (after the review cycle is basically over) and double their revenue or more, and it's all free because the game was already in the black and they just flipped the switch on the money magnets for free.


    Based on investor calls, the only games that "need" loot boxes are sports games, and that's ONLY happened recently, the leagues have massively raised license fees partially because the games are making so much more money with loot boxes and partially because they're mostly exclusive licenses now and they use them as hostage negotiations, pay the fee or EVERYONE will be making a FIFA game next year and then you're fucked.

    Hevach on
    zepherinoverride367
  • [Expletive deleted][Expletive deleted] The mediocre doctor NorwayRegistered User regular
    And makes laughable the claim that capitalism is inherently rational in the sense of maximising profits.

    Sic transit gloria mundi.
    override367Echo
  • CaedwyrCaedwyr Registered User regular
    zepherin wrote: »
    Thawmus wrote: »
    If devs are being overworked while their games are simultaneously grifting people, then there's some internal economics at play that need a fucking sledgehammer brought to them, not protected.

    If the industry legitimately can't survive without lootboxes and people sleeping under their desks while unable to afford a living space, then the industry doesn't fucking survive.

    Dissecting the economics of the gaming industry so that it can survive without lootboxes is a trap. I don't have enough information to do it, and it's not my responsibility, either.
    And it isn't necessary. It's just shite project management and unrealistic expectations.

    There is a point of negative productivity, where after you work someone so hard, for so long, they reach a point where they do worst work than if they had only worked 40 hours. Here are some fancy charts I found on the interwebs.

    daily-productivity-graph.jpg


    overtime-negative-productivity.jpg

    In most cases you can get that horse (worker) off the gate for a good 2 weeks, before they start slowing down and need a break.
    There are complex worker fatigue formulas that factories tend to use, construction and facilities have tried various versions of this, but construction is almost as bad as the games industry when it comes to working their salaried staff, many facilities have gone to an 8 (10s) 6 day off type of schedule to really maximize workers.
    However the games industry goes for a 90 day 12 hour shift model, and then they graciously give you a half day off when you pass out at your desk. It's barbaric and just not effective.

    For fieldwork that involves heavy machinery we find that 14 consecutive 12 hour days is pretty much the limit for people. After that accidents increase significantly and the technical quality of the data being collected starts to deteriorate. Going more than 28 consecutive 12 hour days starts to produce data that might as well be random. This is for fairly rote observational data and not something that requires higher level analysis or troubleshooting. In fact, if you have someone who has been on site for 28 days have to perform a task that requires troubleshooting it isn't uncommon for them to end up screwing up and damaging the instrument in some way.

    zepherinbowen
  • FoefallerFoefaller Registered User regular
    And makes laughable the claim that capitalism is inherently rational in the sense of maximising profits.

    It's entirely rational if maximizing shareholder value and dividends year after year isn't just the most important thing, but they only thing that matters.

    And when you are a CEO making insane amounts of money, it doesn't bother you at all if the Jenga tower you've made starts to tip over, because you can afford a parachute.

    steam_sig.png
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Caedwyr wrote: »
    zepherin wrote: »
    Thawmus wrote: »
    If devs are being overworked while their games are simultaneously grifting people, then there's some internal economics at play that need a fucking sledgehammer brought to them, not protected.

    If the industry legitimately can't survive without lootboxes and people sleeping under their desks while unable to afford a living space, then the industry doesn't fucking survive.

    Dissecting the economics of the gaming industry so that it can survive without lootboxes is a trap. I don't have enough information to do it, and it's not my responsibility, either.
    And it isn't necessary. It's just shite project management and unrealistic expectations.

    There is a point of negative productivity, where after you work someone so hard, for so long, they reach a point where they do worst work than if they had only worked 40 hours. Here are some fancy charts I found on the interwebs.

    daily-productivity-graph.jpg


    overtime-negative-productivity.jpg

    In most cases you can get that horse (worker) off the gate for a good 2 weeks, before they start slowing down and need a break.
    There are complex worker fatigue formulas that factories tend to use, construction and facilities have tried various versions of this, but construction is almost as bad as the games industry when it comes to working their salaried staff, many facilities have gone to an 8 (10s) 6 day off type of schedule to really maximize workers.
    However the games industry goes for a 90 day 12 hour shift model, and then they graciously give you a half day off when you pass out at your desk. It's barbaric and just not effective.

    For fieldwork that involves heavy machinery we find that 14 consecutive 12 hour days is pretty much the limit for people. After that accidents increase significantly and the technical quality of the data being collected starts to deteriorate. Going more than 28 consecutive 12 hour days starts to produce data that might as well be random. This is for fairly rote observational data and not something that requires higher level analysis or troubleshooting. In fact, if you have someone who has been on site for 28 days have to perform a task that requires troubleshooting it isn't uncommon for them to end up screwing up and damaging the instrument in some way.

    You see very similar kinds of things with non physical labor too. At roughly that point they start under performing people who work less than 20 hours a week even though they're working 60.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    zepherin
  • HerrCronHerrCron It that wickedly supports taxation Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    sig.gif
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    I don't know how we're defining AAA games, but I am playing (played recently) several games that I would define as AAA that dont have lootboxes. Witcher 3, God of War, Spider man (still boxed actually), HZD (so close to done), RDR2 (though I don't know how the online space looks tbf).

    Couple of mid-budget games that are really good like Hellblade, which looks like a AAA game and surpases most AAA games on several levels. It's really good you guys shoyuld try it.

    If the AAA lootboxes driven games die and all we're left with are the Witchers and the Alien Resurrections and all those niche games from Stellaris to Subnautica then I'm sure we'll cope in someway.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
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  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I personally can't think of a game I bought in at least the last 5 years where I got it because the graphics were the shiniest. The big fad game right now is, what, Fortnite? Which is anything but photorealistic graphics. Overwatch was a big hit and, again, no photorealistic graphics. Something around half of the current global top sellers on Steam are not games with photorealistic graphics. Games have hit a point where the average player is going to have a tough time picking out any actual visual improvements game to game for something like the Call of Duty franchise, but they definitely kick up a ruckus about things like balance and unlockables.

    As far as causing a collapse, the market that will collapse will be the mega-budget games, not the games market in general. Any company currently making a profit without lootbox shit and by having reasonable profit expectations will be fine.

    The big lesson here seems to be "stop spending so much fucking money to make video games", not that they should cost more or be propped up by something like lootboxing.

    I don’t know about “shiniest,” but I’ve definitely made purchasing decisions based on general graphical shininess.

    If they want my money for Battlefield V it’s gonna have to look better than Battlefield 4 and 3 (and offer at least some marginal progression from 1). I’m not buying FIFA if it looks the exact same as last year’s. Tomb Raider, Ace Combat, Forza, these are all games that sell on visuals.

    Yeah, some people play nothing but Fortnite and Enter the Gungeon. And I love me some lo-fi indie games too. But much as I will go see both Booksmart *and* Endgame, I play both Battlefield *and* Overcooked.

    Just to quickly address the BF graphic progression, I find they've gone to far in V. I can't see anything with all the particle effects and things they've added in this one over the last 2 itterations.

    Most (all?) posts I've seen about tweaking your gameplay experience suggest turning off or down a lot of the graphic sections.

    And that's true for most multiplayer pvp games. Turn off shadows, turn off shrubbery, turn off optical occlusion and motion blur etc etc.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
    bowendispatch.oDac
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited July 2019
    Yeah I was going to say I own a lot of triple A games that don't have lootboxes

    (RDR2 by the by has microtransactions out the wazoo online but none for SP)

    Anyone who is saying AAA games can't survive without lootboxes is being as honest as a drug company representative telling you they have to sell insulin for $300 a pop or whatever because research is expensive.

    I'm with Jim Sterling on this, the only credible claim is sports games, and there's no way FIFA is going to let a year go by without a FIFA game by overcharging for the license - they only charge a billion dollars because the games are making many multiples of that

    override367 on
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  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited July 2019
    Mortious wrote: »
    I don't know how we're defining AAA games, but I am playing (played recently) several games that I would define as AAA that dont have lootboxes. Witcher 3, God of War, Spider man (still boxed actually), HZD (so close to done), RDR2 (though I don't know how the online space looks tbf).

    Couple of mid-budget games that are really good like Hellblade, which looks like a AAA game and surpases most AAA games on several levels. It's really good you guys shoyuld try it.

    If the AAA lootboxes driven games die and all we're left with are the Witchers and the Alien Resurrections and all those niche games from Stellaris to Subnautica then I'm sure we'll cope in someway.

    Of the games in your first paragraph, three are first party games funded to sell consoles, and RDR2 will probably eventually (if it hasn't already, I stopped following it) go the way of GTAV, which is so successfully monetized that it's STILL consistently in the steam top 10 to this day. Not lootboxes and probably doesn't need to be illegal per se, but pretty shit and scummy I think.

    The rest of the games in your list are good examples, and they have something in common: they're not backed by heavily invested companies beholden to shareholders and their representative boards of directors.

    The core of the problem is that your EAs and Ubisofts and Activisions are blazing full flame with their brakes ripped out down the same end stage capitalism road that's slowly selling all the profitable retailers to Bain Capital for having a year of non-record-setting profit.

    Hevach on
    Thawmusoverride367
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Whoops! P.A.T.W.N.S.E! Whoopsie doodle! Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I personally can't think of a game I bought in at least the last 5 years where I got it because the graphics were the shiniest. The big fad game right now is, what, Fortnite? Which is anything but photorealistic graphics. Overwatch was a big hit and, again, no photorealistic graphics. Something around half of the current global top sellers on Steam are not games with photorealistic graphics. Games have hit a point where the average player is going to have a tough time picking out any actual visual improvements game to game for something like the Call of Duty franchise, but they definitely kick up a ruckus about things like balance and unlockables.

    As far as causing a collapse, the market that will collapse will be the mega-budget games, not the games market in general. Any company currently making a profit without lootbox shit and by having reasonable profit expectations will be fine.

    The big lesson here seems to be "stop spending so much fucking money to make video games", not that they should cost more or be propped up by something like lootboxing.

    I don’t know about “shiniest,” but I’ve definitely made purchasing decisions based on general graphical shininess.

    If they want my money for Battlefield V it’s gonna have to look better than Battlefield 4 and 3 (and offer at least some marginal progression from 1). I’m not buying FIFA if it looks the exact same as last year’s. Tomb Raider, Ace Combat, Forza, these are all games that sell on visuals.

    Yeah, some people play nothing but Fortnite and Enter the Gungeon. And I love me some lo-fi indie games too. But much as I will go see both Booksmart *and* Endgame, I play both Battlefield *and* Overcooked.

    Just to quickly address the BF graphic progression, I find they've gone to far in V. I can't see anything with all the particle effects and things they've added in this one over the last 2 itterations.

    Most (all?) posts I've seen about tweaking your gameplay experience suggest turning off or down a lot of the graphic sections.

    And that's true for most multiplayer pvp games. Turn off shadows, turn off shrubbery, turn off optical occlusion and motion blur etc etc.

    I find the confusion from these things to be far more "true to life" than a turned down version.

    Whether or not that makes for a better game is purely a matter of opinion and game design.

    P.A.T.W.N.S.E claims another.
    mcdermott
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited July 2019
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    Got any proof the game cost more to fund than it made? I don't care what the motives behind the funding are. I care whether or not it made more than it cost to make.

    Quid on
  • HerrCronHerrCron It that wickedly supports taxation Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    Got any proof the game cost more to find than to make? I don't care what the motives behind the funding are. I care whether or not it made more than it cost to make.

    It is estimated to have cost 45 Million USD, according to the games wikipedia page.
    I don't know if that helps you.

    sig.gif
  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    Okay, so the evidence is out there that a 30-35 hour work week is probably more efficient than a 40 hour work week. You can Google it. There are lots of studies about it.

    And also, Activision CEO made 28.5 million last year, which if you devided it by the number of people that worked on CoD Blops whatever of 400ish people? Could pay them 63k a year for full time employment.

    So, yes, executive pay matters in the cost of the game. And, yes, the 'crunch time' period of game development is probably less efficient than the pre-crunch. And, no, capatilism doesn't give a shit because it doesn't care about efficiency or money, even. All it cares about is making the 1% superior and more in control, which it is very good at.

    MegaMekJuliusIncenjucarkimeLord_AsmodeuszepherinVerminionshoeboxjeddy
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    Got any proof the game cost more to find than to make? I don't care what the motives behind the funding are. I care whether or not it made more than it cost to make.

    It is estimated to have cost 45 Million USD, according to the games wikipedia page.
    I don't know if that helps you.

    Its sold 10m copies. So if we assume that only 10 dollars of that goes to the cost accounting of the game it made double its budget.

    Steam takes 30% as an example. So if those copies were sold on steam at 25 dollars a pop(on average) it would have made 125m profit and 3.5 times its budget.

    In general the revenue numbers of triple A games are bonkers from a RoI perspective. And while there is failure risk... you gotta have a lot of failure to overcome success.

    wbBv3fj.png
    ThawmusQuidkime
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I personally can't think of a game I bought in at least the last 5 years where I got it because the graphics were the shiniest. The big fad game right now is, what, Fortnite? Which is anything but photorealistic graphics. Overwatch was a big hit and, again, no photorealistic graphics. Something around half of the current global top sellers on Steam are not games with photorealistic graphics. Games have hit a point where the average player is going to have a tough time picking out any actual visual improvements game to game for something like the Call of Duty franchise, but they definitely kick up a ruckus about things like balance and unlockables.

    As far as causing a collapse, the market that will collapse will be the mega-budget games, not the games market in general. Any company currently making a profit without lootbox shit and by having reasonable profit expectations will be fine.

    The big lesson here seems to be "stop spending so much fucking money to make video games", not that they should cost more or be propped up by something like lootboxing.

    I don’t know about “shiniest,” but I’ve definitely made purchasing decisions based on general graphical shininess.

    If they want my money for Battlefield V it’s gonna have to look better than Battlefield 4 and 3 (and offer at least some marginal progression from 1). I’m not buying FIFA if it looks the exact same as last year’s. Tomb Raider, Ace Combat, Forza, these are all games that sell on visuals.

    Yeah, some people play nothing but Fortnite and Enter the Gungeon. And I love me some lo-fi indie games too. But much as I will go see both Booksmart *and* Endgame, I play both Battlefield *and* Overcooked.

    Just to quickly address the BF graphic progression, I find they've gone to far in V. I can't see anything with all the particle effects and things they've added in this one over the last 2 itterations.

    Most (all?) posts I've seen about tweaking your gameplay experience suggest turning off or down a lot of the graphic sections.

    And that's true for most multiplayer pvp games. Turn off shadows, turn off shrubbery, turn off optical occlusion and motion blur etc etc.

    I find the confusion from these things to be far more "true to life" than a turned down version.

    Whether or not that makes for a better game is purely a matter of opinion and game design.

    Yeah, it’s 100% the point in this game. You’re watching for actual movement of pixels and camouflaged characters in the confusion of dust and foliage. Not watching for icons over the bad guy’s head. It’s definitely aimed at higher end, higher resolution systems where you can actually see all these things. Or you can everything down and try to make it WWII Fortnite.

    jungleroomx
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Caedwyr wrote: »
    zepherin wrote: »
    Thawmus wrote: »
    If devs are being overworked while their games are simultaneously grifting people, then there's some internal economics at play that need a fucking sledgehammer brought to them, not protected.

    If the industry legitimately can't survive without lootboxes and people sleeping under their desks while unable to afford a living space, then the industry doesn't fucking survive.

    Dissecting the economics of the gaming industry so that it can survive without lootboxes is a trap. I don't have enough information to do it, and it's not my responsibility, either.
    And it isn't necessary. It's just shite project management and unrealistic expectations.

    There is a point of negative productivity, where after you work someone so hard, for so long, they reach a point where they do worst work than if they had only worked 40 hours. Here are some fancy charts I found on the interwebs.

    daily-productivity-graph.jpg


    overtime-negative-productivity.jpg

    In most cases you can get that horse (worker) off the gate for a good 2 weeks, before they start slowing down and need a break.
    There are complex worker fatigue formulas that factories tend to use, construction and facilities have tried various versions of this, but construction is almost as bad as the games industry when it comes to working their salaried staff, many facilities have gone to an 8 (10s) 6 day off type of schedule to really maximize workers.
    However the games industry goes for a 90 day 12 hour shift model, and then they graciously give you a half day off when you pass out at your desk. It's barbaric and just not effective.

    For fieldwork that involves heavy machinery we find that 14 consecutive 12 hour days is pretty much the limit for people. After that accidents increase significantly and the technical quality of the data being collected starts to deteriorate. Going more than 28 consecutive 12 hour days starts to produce data that might as well be random. This is for fairly rote observational data and not something that requires higher level analysis or troubleshooting. In fact, if you have someone who has been on site for 28 days have to perform a task that requires troubleshooting it isn't uncommon for them to end up screwing up and damaging the instrument in some way.

    You see very similar kinds of things with non physical labor too. At roughly that point they start under performing people who work less than 20 hours a week even though they're working 60.
    After 5 or 6 weeks it’s like what’s the fucking point and then you kinda stop giving a shit.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    Got any proof the game cost more to find than to make? I don't care what the motives behind the funding are. I care whether or not it made more than it cost to make.

    It is estimated to have cost 45 Million USD, according to the games wikipedia page.
    I don't know if that helps you.

    Meanwhile it's sold over 10 million copies. Even if we assume a *very* low average sale of $30 each, the game made its budget over several times.

    So again, Horizon: Zero Dawn was a AAA title with zero loot boxes that made a massive profit with only a single profit to sell on. I remain comfortable saying loot boxes are not necessary for a game to be financially successful.

    FANTOMAS
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    Got any proof the game cost more to find than to make? I don't care what the motives behind the funding are. I care whether or not it made more than it cost to make.

    It is estimated to have cost 45 Million USD, according to the games wikipedia page.
    I don't know if that helps you.

    Does that count marketing?

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    Got any proof the game cost more to find than to make? I don't care what the motives behind the funding are. I care whether or not it made more than it cost to make.

    It is estimated to have cost 45 Million USD, according to the games wikipedia page.
    I don't know if that helps you.

    Why would you bother even implying this argument if you have nothing to back it up.

    kimeThawmus
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    Also I just checked Wiki and that estimate is actually 45 Euro. Which is like 50 million USD.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • FoefallerFoefaller Registered User regular
    edited July 2019
    All this talk about cost of games has me looking at annual shareholder reports.

    Ubisoft was the first I checked. When it comes to AAA microtransactions they are arguably the least terrible, so I figure they would be a good baseline to how much lootboxes et al "pay" for development.

    In 2018, Ubisoft had a revenue of €1.7 billion, with an Operating Income (i.e. revenue minus expenses, but before taxes and intrest payments) of €222 million. If that seems like a lot of money for little profit, quick napkin math I did says that it is a better profit margin that Amazon had in the same year. Of the roughly €1.5 billion in expenses, €671 million was what was used to actually make their games and other media (Ubisoft is trying to make movies after all, and apparently they have a Raving Rabbids cartoon in France...) leaving €800 million, or about 53% of all expenditures for other expenses, which I haven't found an itemized breakdown for, though it might be there and just buried in the 280 page annual report.

    EA had a revenue of $5.15 billion with an operating income of $1.43 billion. Since they are traded on NASDAQ, it's a lot easier to see how their costs break down; 1.3 billion for development, 1.1 billion for sales and admin, and 1.27 billion for "Cost of Revenue" expenses, which Wikipedia tells me is the money spent getting the product to the gamer, which could include everything from manufacturer and distribution of physical copies, electric bills, server maintenance and the cut (if any) they have to give to consoles per sale or to credit card companies to let people use said cards on Origin or in-game purchases. That puts it at about 2.5 billion, essentially two thirds of all expenses related to things other than making the game.

    Now, let's compare that to an indie developer. Paradox Interactive just entered into the console market last year with the console version of Stellaris, though not in time to make it's annual report. Revenue from 2018 was 1.127 billion krona (a Swedish Krona is about 1/10 a euro, so essentially €113 million) with operating income being 455.2 million krona. 408 million of expenses were related to development and royalties to 3rd party devs, 102 million for advertisements, events and other "selling expenses," and 106 million administrative costs, which includes developing and maintaining their in-house store and nacent digital platform, as well as data collection and analysis. Roughly another 100 million krona was spent to purchase shares in another developer and to outright buy Harebrained Schemes.

    Now, Paradox might edge a little too close to the microtransaction line, especially for games made prior to Stellaris (though they've been better since then) but they are also the only one of the three that can claim that the majority of their money spent was actually used to make video games or pay outside developers to make video games, even though until recently they were almost exclusively a PC publisher and developer.

    Gut take on all this is that it isn't the games themselves that have become more expensive to make, but rather the advertisement, selling and administrative costs have increased for the AAA industry to the point that making videogames is no longer the primary expenditure. It would be fascinating to figure out how this happened, whether it has anything to do with size or if it's simply inertia after years of the marketing people being better than the devs at convincing the execs on how indespensable they are and someone like Ubisoft could still have a similar level of success if their expense reports read more like Paradox's.

    It also kinda explains why the top of the industry is so hesitant with creating new IPs, since they are putting almost as much money into promoting the game as they are making it.

    Foefaller on
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    Elvenshae
  • DacDac Registered User regular
    The unfortunate reality is that even though games are profitable without microtransactions and lootboxes, it's not enough to, as Jim Sterling says, make some of the money. They need to make ALL of the money, or else their shareholders won't be happy. They're never happy unless every conceivable penny is being squeezed out of the user. And if that means having to participate in what is nakedly gambling, they're thrilled to do so until the law catches up.

    Look at EA's and Activision's stocks from 2016 to mid-2018. Everybody wanted in on that gold rush. And look what happened to those stocks once the eyes of governments turned towards loot boxes. It's an aberration, a bubble. It's completely unsustainable.

    The sooner lootboxes get banned, the better it will be for the industry in the long run.

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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    Got any proof the game cost more to find than to make? I don't care what the motives behind the funding are. I care whether or not it made more than it cost to make.

    It is estimated to have cost 45 Million USD, according to the games wikipedia page.
    I don't know if that helps you.

    Does that count marketing?

    Nope! But I strongly doubt that it exceeded another hundred million.

    The idea that Horizon is some sort of loss leader is quite frankly ridiculous and without merit based on available evidence.

    kimedestroyah87CaedwyrIncenjucarForarLord_AsmodeusMegaMekHonkshoeboxjeddy
  • HerrCronHerrCron It that wickedly supports taxation Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    Got any proof the game cost more to find than to make? I don't care what the motives behind the funding are. I care whether or not it made more than it cost to make.

    It is estimated to have cost 45 Million USD, according to the games wikipedia page.
    I don't know if that helps you.

    Why would you bother even implying this argument if you have nothing to back it up.

    What on earth are you talking about?

    sig.gif
  • FoefallerFoefaller Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    Got any proof the game cost more to find than to make? I don't care what the motives behind the funding are. I care whether or not it made more than it cost to make.

    It is estimated to have cost 45 Million USD, according to the games wikipedia page.
    I don't know if that helps you.

    Why would you bother even implying this argument if you have nothing to back it up.

    What on earth are you talking about?

    You dismissed the comparison of Horizon to games like FIFA because console exclusives are typically made to promote the console, and that it is therefore not nessisary for them to make a profit.

    Which is true, but in terms of High quality games being possible without lootboxes, is really only applicable if Horizon Zero Dawn did not, in fact, make a profit. But you made that statement without knowing one way or another if it did.

    steam_sig.png
    QuidmrondeauElvenshaeLord_Asmodeus
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Foefaller wrote: »
    All this talk about cost of games has me looking at annual shareholder reports.

    Ubisoft was the first I checked. When it comes to AAA microtransactions they are arguably the least terrible, so I figure they would be a good baseline to how much lootboxes et al "pay" for development.

    In 2018, Ubisoft had a revenue of €1.7 billion, with an Operating Income (i.e. revenue minus expenses, but before taxes and intrest payments) of €222 million. If that seems like a lot of money for little profit, quick napkin math I did says that it is a better profit margin that Amazon had in the same year. Of the roughly €1.5 billion in expenses, €671 million was what was used to actually make their games and other media (Ubisoft is trying to make movies after all, and apparently they have a Raving Rabbids cartoon in France...) leaving €800 million, or about 53% of all expenditures for other expenses, which I haven't found an itemized breakdown for, though it might be there and just buried in the 280 page annual report.

    EA had a revenue of $5.15 billion with an operating income of $1.43 billion. Since they are traded on NASDAQ, it's a lot easier to see how their costs break down; 1.3 billion for development, 1.1 billion for sales and admin, and 1.27 billion for "Cost of Revenue" expenses, which Wikipedia tells me is the money spent getting the product to the gamer, which could include everything from manufacturer and distribution of physical copies, electric bills, server maintenance and the cut (if any) they have to give to consoles per sale or to credit card companies to let people use said cards on Origin or in-game purchases. That puts it at about 2.5 billion, essentially two thirds of all expenses related to things other than making the game.

    Now, let's compare that to an indie developer. Paradox Interactive just entered into the console market last year with the console version of Stellaris, though not in time to make it's annual report. Revenue from 2018 was 1.127 billion krona (a Swedish Krona is about 1/10 a euro, so essentially €113 million) with operating income being 455.2 million krona. 408 million of expenses were related to development and royalties to 3rd party devs, 102 million for advertisements, events and other "selling expenses," and 106 million administrative costs, which includes developing and maintaining their in-house store and nacent digital platform, as well as data collection and analysis. Roughly another 100 million krona was spent to purchase shares in another developer and to outright buy Harebrained Schemes.

    Now, Paradox might edge a little too close to the microtransaction line, especially for games made prior to Stellaris (though they've been better since then) but they are also the only one of the three that can claim that the majority of their money spent was actually used to make video games or pay outside developers to make video games, even though until recently they were almost exclusively a PC publisher and developer.

    Gut take on all this is that it isn't the games themselves that have become more expensive to make, but rather the advertisement, selling and administrative costs have increased for the AAA industry to the point that making videogames is no longer the primary expenditure. It would be fascinating to figure out how this happened, whether it has anything to do with size or if it's simply inertia after years of the marketing people being better than the devs at convincing the execs on how indespensable they are and someone like Ubisoft could still have a similar level of success if their expense reports read more like Paradox's.

    It also kinda explains why the top of the industry is so hesitant with creating new IPs, since they are putting almost as much money into promoting the game as they are making it.

    The movie industry is pretty similar I believe and I would bet other industries too. With films the rule of thumb is to double the budget for those expenses and thus the rule of thumb for when a movie starts making it's money is generally when it makes twice what it cost. There's a lot of variation for things. Big tentpole films get ludicrous advertising budgets and not all these costs scale down linearly so a cheap film's ad budget can often much more then double it's cost and so on.

    Basically, video games having massive cost increases (doubling their budgets or the like) on top of the dev cost would not, at least from a cursory look at it, be out of line in any way and is probably just a function of video games become a mainstream big media business affair.

    Martini_PhilosopherThawmus
  • HerrCronHerrCron It that wickedly supports taxation Registered User regular
    Foefaller wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, didn't rely on loot boxes, and was massively successful financially even when limited to a single platform.

    I am comfortable saying that loot boxes are not at all necessary to make a successful AAA title.

    Horizon: Zero Dawn exists to sell PS4s, and was funded by Sony to exactly that end.
    It's an entirely different proposition to making a multi format title, and comparisons between the two are limited at best.

    Got any proof the game cost more to find than to make? I don't care what the motives behind the funding are. I care whether or not it made more than it cost to make.

    It is estimated to have cost 45 Million USD, according to the games wikipedia page.
    I don't know if that helps you.

    Why would you bother even implying this argument if you have nothing to back it up.

    What on earth are you talking about?

    You dismissed the comparison of Horizon to games like FIFA because console exclusives are typically made to promote the console, and that it is therefore not nessisary for them to make a profit.

    Which is true, but in terms of High quality games being possible without lootboxes, is really only applicable if Horizon Zero Dawn did not, in fact, make a profit. But you made that statement without knowing one way or another if it did.

    I am sure I never said that.
    What I said it's a console exclusive is a different proposition to a multiformat game, and it is.

    That it makes a profit is secondary to promoting the sale of the hardware it is released on, Sony bankrolled it for exactly this reason. Therefore it doesn't map onto why multiplatform games are made.

    sig.gif
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