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Game Companies Face Hard Economic Choices

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the competition-is-a-good-thing dept.

Businesses 511

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that the proliferation of free or low-cost games on the Web and for phones limits how high the major game publishers can set prices, so makers are sometimes unable to charge enough to cover the cost of producing titles. The cost of making a game for the previous generation of machines was about $10 million, not including marketing. The cost of a game for the latest consoles is over twice that — $25 million is typical, and it can be much more. Reggie Fils-Aime, chief marketing officer for Nintendo of America, says publishers of games for its Wii console need to sell one million units of a game to turn a profit, but the majority of games, analysts said, sell no more than 150,000 copies. Developers would like to raise prices to cover development costs, but Mike McGarvey, former chief executive of Eidos and now an executive with OnLive, says that consumers have been looking at console games and saying, 'This is too expensive and there are too many choices.' Since makers cannot charge enough or sell enough games to cover the cost of producing most titles, video game makers have to hope for a blockbuster. 'The model as it exists is dying,' says McGarvey." As we discussed recently, OnLive is trying to change that by moving a big portion of the hardware requirements to the cloud. Of course, many doubt that such a task can be accomplished in a way that doesn't severely degrade gameplay, but it now appears that Sony is working on something similar as well.

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Obama Policies Will Bankrupt USA Tsarkon Reports (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398625)

Obama Policies Will Bankrupt USA Tsarkon Reports
(Note: We are not a GOP-sters, Republicans or affiliated with any parties, and as George Washington warned against parties We do not believe in parties and, unlike most people, We evaluate every issue on a case by case basis and do not defer to the judgments of politicians who are corrupted and untrustworthy as a group.)

Obama is controlled by the same people as Bush see The Obama Deception documentary []

Yuan Forwards Show China May Buy Fewer Treasuries, UBS Says []
Anemic Treasury auction effects felt beyond bonds []
The Sherminator Kicks Some Wall Street Ass []
China Angry That Fed Is Deliberately Destroying The Dollar []
China suggests switch from dollar as reserve currency []
What are the reserve currencies? []
Anatomy of a taxpayer giveaway to investors []
Geithner rescue package 'robbery of the American people' []
Geithner just put only the rich in Titanics lifeboats []
Geithner Plan Will Rob US Taxpayers []
A False Choice []
Bargain-hunting house buyers wearing on sellers []
Time to Take the Steering Wheel out of Geithner's Hands []
Socialising and Privatising []
Fannie, Freddie to pay out bonuses []
Fitch Raises Prime Jumbo Loan Loss Estimates Sharply []

Chinas central bank on Monday proposed replacing the US dollar as the international reserve currency with a new global system controlled by the International Monetary Fund []

- Russia on an new world reserve currency: It is necessary to work out and adopt internationally recognized standards for macroeconomic and budget policy, which are binding for the leading world economies, including the countries issuing reserve currencies - the Kremlin proposals read. []

- President Barack "The Teleprompter" Obama is deeply connected to corruption. Rahm Emanuel, his Chief of Staff, is radical authoritarian statist whose father was part of the murderous civilian-killing Israeli terrorist organization known as IRGUN who is obsessed with gun control and compulsory service to the country in a capacity which he has yet to define. (Think brown-shirts.) Barack is intimately connected to disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (Rahm inherited Rod's federal-congress seat). Barack Obama is also connected to William Ayers (who ghost-wrote his books); Ayers is a man who promotes the concept that civilian collateral damage is ok in a war against freedom. Saul Alinsky, a man who made the quote as follows, "From all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom - Lucifer," is a man who had much influence on the young Barack Obama. A man who admired Lucifer for gaining his own kingdom in an act of rebellion. Barack also subscribed to Preacher Jeremiah Wright, who is himself a Afro-elitist who wants all the people who largely "pay the freight" to suffer at the hands of angry African-American mobs. There are over 30 million Americans on food stamps, and more blacks are in prison and on food-stamps per capita than anyone else. The problem with Wright is simply this: the facts are "racist." There is no conspiracy against African Americans here by citizens.
- Obama himself is a racist, an AIPAC-bootlicker, corrupted to the bone Chicago-style and a traitor to the US Constitution and a liar whose real "legal" name could very well be Barry Sotero and an Indonesian citizen (The US does not allow plural citizenship) (If you care, not that it matters anymore under a lawless authoritarian totalitarian regime such as Barack Obama's, you can see more here at an aggregator; [] )
- Raytheon lobbyist in Pentagon, many lobbyists getting exemptions even though Obama promised not to have them. This is one of many things Obama has lied about.
- Goldman Sachs insider second in command at Treasury. Bumbling tax cheat idiot Timothy Geithner in "command" of Treasury, with 17 positions unfilled as of late March 2009.
- Obama's cabinet has had several nominees and appointees with multiple tax fraud issues.
- Obama lied about having a new degree of accountability and a "sunshine" period for new laws; Obama has signed bills with little or no time for public review at as promised. In fact, one of the largest spending bills in US history was passed into law with several members of the House and Senate telling the public there was no time to review the bill, let alone the public.
- Pork Spendulus Bill (The Stimulus Bill) contained language that came directly from Tom Daschle (who published a book detailing his machinations to slip healthcare under the radar in some back portion of a budgeting bill). This language included the funding and authority to set up a central database of all medical treatments rendered, and the Stimulus bill also contains language that alters the Medicare-style instructions to doctors: The most economic treatments should now be used, no longer use the treatments with the most efficacy. Rationed health care, courtesy of a disgraced tax cheat, Tom Daschle. When you relatives are dying in a state hospital because their quota was reached, see how you feel.
- Obama appointed a Second-Amendment violating-denying Rich-pardoning treasonist Eric Holder as AG, a man who helped a fugitive evade justice and thinks of Americans and cowardly racists.
- Obama has put no money at all in for a single new nuclear power plant but wants to help bridges and roads - apparently to promote more driving.
- Obama, Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel have a lot to hide. They literally lived very close to each other, Rahm had (until being Obama's Chief of staff) Blagojevich's old federal congressional seat. Blagojevich helped "The Teleprompter" Obama cheat his way to the Illinois senate by getting other candidates thrown off the ballot in Illinois. Why do you think Blagojevich was so mad? Obama did owe him, big time. Rahm and Obama are preemptively using Blagojevich and trying to publically malign and discredit him because he has information that can bring Obama and Rahm Emanuel down. This is the true face of Obama, ruthless, calculating conniving cheat that will stop at nothing to gain and retain power at any cost breaking any rule.
- Tony Rezko, Iraqi Arms Dealer Nahdmi Auchi, and of course Aiham Alsammarae. Barack "The Teleprompter" Obama is so corrupted it's a joke. He is connected to international arms dealers, shady property dealings and people of ill repute to gain what he needs from them: financial bootstrapping of his campaign to rule America.
- Fools and "useful idiots" twist the US Federal Budget pie charts by leaving welfare, workfare, interest on debt, social security, Medicare and Medicaid out and focusing only on non-whole "discretionary" pie charts.
2007 high level pie chart, Federal Budget, USA []
2009 Pie chart, detailed, Federal Budget, USA []
Now Obama wants to drastically expand the areas of the budget which are getting the most funding by far. There is simply not enough money to fund the obligations made to the public thus far (Unfunded debt obligations which are to pay for the guarantees of social security), let alone Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and other social spending which seeks to guarantee a standard of living to people which is lower what they could gain for themselves. This is an attempt to break the middle class' back so they now need government aid to survive.
- Barack Obama is drastically increasing spending and creating more entitlements that will make the US less competitive (especially against China, India, East Europe/Russia). This will be a huge disaster and "change you can believe in" will strap you, your children and your grandchildren with more debt. "No taxation without representation!" Obama is spending money for the next two-three generations and they can't even vote yet, or even have been born. This is co-opting those who cannot vote to pay for this man's reckless and illegal endeavor to make everyone a feudal serf of the federal government.
- An alternative to the dollar and a forex and a reserve currency came up at the last G20 meeting. The world will not take faith in Obama's liar-socialist spending and welfare state, why should the taxpayers (plebian citizen-slaves of a police state)?
- The spending going on now vastly eclipses all previous spending. In fact, the massive trillion plus debts is a thing of the 80's onwards. Congress signs the checks, remember that year after year, as egregious as the pentagon spending is, that the social spending is completely a waste of money and it is unfunded over the long term. Eisenhower built the interstate highway system, the USA could build a new power infrastructure with this money but instead this money is being pissed into creating more of an entitlement system that is still unfunded, and without massive head-taxes and far more aggressive progressive taxes, could never be funded.
- The budgeting being done today were recently reported by a non-partisan auditing commission will lead to about 10 TRILLION in new debt over the next 10 years. Obama is going to double the national debt while doing nothing to address the unfunded debt obligations of Social Security, or address any of the out of control egregious spending going on today via the budgets, the federal reserve and its taxation via inflation, or by bailouts and stimulus bills. This is the worst, most unintelligent and most hated congress in the history of the United States, and we have a seriously incompetent and potentially dangerous-to-the-free-constitutional-republic Barack Obama rubber stamping this bloody mess.
- Clinton appointed David Walker of the GAO, he recently quit; the unfunded debt obligations have rendered the USA insolvent according to accounting standards. The USA is already broke and cannot conceivably pay its obligations today.
Taxpayers on the hook for $59 trillion []
US Public Debt Unfunded Debt Obligations []
- Most of the world population gets nothing from their governments, or a very bare minimum or services that benefit only the upper echelons of society. However, the liar Barack Obama says the USA needs his universal "state-hospital" rationed health care to be competitive. This is pure folderol and a lie. China and India give nothing, and they are the biggest threat to the American worker. By forcing healthcare and higher taxes, Americans will be less competitive.

- If you think 60% tax rates end to end (income, accounts receivable tax, building permit tax, CDL tax, cigarette tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, federal income tax, unemployment tax, gasoline tax, hunting license tax, fishing license tax, waterfowl stamp tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, liquor tax, luxury tax, Medicare tax, city, school and county property tax (up 33 percent last 4 years), real estate tax, social security tax, road usage tax, toll road tax, state and city sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, excise tax, state franchise tax, state unemployment tax, telephone federal excise tax, telephone federal state and local surcharge tax, telephone minimum usage surcharge tax, telephone state and local tax, utility tax, vehicle license registration tax, capital gains tax, lease severance tax, oil and gas assessment tax, airport and FAA taxes and fees, estate tax, misc internet sales tax and many more taxes that I can't recall at the moment) will make the US competitive, along with compulsory programs to provide everyone with health care is going to make the US competitive in the age of India and China, you are incapable of understanding what it takes to build and maintain a successful industrialized republic.

- As the US nationalizes/rations healthcare to the least common denominator of affordability without regard to efficacy, people with money will simply look into medical tourism so those with money can go to medical parks in India and get real health care. Those who have lived in Canada or in the UK can tell you "free" healthcare is not a panacea. If you think this, you are again, a useful idiot. The NHS in the UK has given bad blood and Hepatitis and AIDS infected blood to people, and Jade Goody who just died was misdiagnosed twice resulting in her death (She was "all cleared" twice of the cervical cancer which she just died of). The NHS in the UK is not able to be sued or held accountable. Neither will Obama's rationed health care service for America.
- Sorry to bust the socialist bubble, but support of these types of policies will simply lower the standard of living in the USA, particularly for the middle class. At least at the end of the Eisenhower projects the USA got roads to show for the spending, and with this new spending, the USA could have built power plants that get the USA out of funding the middle east via constant demand for middle-eastern oil, but the age of government for the sake of government is upon us, and the useful idiots line up and believe empty promises.
- The pentagon along with Bechtel, Kroll, Bluewater, Halliburton, etc, could get less than half of what they get today, but that will fix nothing fundamental in terms of government spending. It is simply not enough to make a difference when compared to the Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, workfare and social security entitlements.
See: YouTube - US Government Immorality Will Lead to Bankruptcy []
- If Obama thinks its ok to lie to 300 million people about being able to "take care of them" without even being honest about what that care would look like, then being an idiot and believing in Obama is for you.
- The head of the IRS and the head of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, is a Tax Cheat
- Lied about no lobbyists - their numbers are growing within Obama's ranks as he issues exemptions.
- The US Government already has over 50% of the budget spent on Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, workfare and social security. Socialists: Good job on that one, its working great. Solution to the current near-collapse-due-to-over-spending: add more unfunded entitlements! And this is still a "George Bush" budget. Over half is being spend on Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, workfare and social security.
- This man is such a propagandist that he invented "The Office of the President Elect," the seals, the flags, the podium and that forum was all props and the media never once questioned any of it. It was an invention. This is the power of Obama, technicalities and rules do not apply.
- The Socialist-liars can break my spirit and my financial back to force me to "need" a federal government that is turning this country into a police state and is turning it into a quasi-socialist lie, but I will, I must put up a fight. I have kids to educate and feed, and the stuff the pseudo-socialist authoritarian Obama sells (which is failing to various degrees everywhere else as implemented) is simply forcing a culture of failure on a once great, libertarian free country.
- I will not be complacent with your "change," and there will be a point where civil war will become an option. See how hard you can push before you get it. How much more than half can the truly productive workers in this country afford to pay. Keep pushing to find out how to start a civil war. The scariest thing about Obamabots is the amount of pleasure they derive from completely defying the US Constitution and giving the government non-enumerated non-extant powers to rule over everyone's quality of life.
- The socialist-lie of a plan will not work, its not fundable, it will destroy the currency to fund it, and its really as simple as this: if this insanity is funded by borrowing from the US's economic and military adversaries then Obama and his socialist cabal is not fit to administrate society. Rome fell. Kings who mis-manged their treasuries all fell. Every example of unhinged spending leads to the same result: systemic collapse.
- Obama and his sycophantic lunatics would want to have a civil war to get Obama's way and force the socialist-lie system on my already tax paying law abiding ass. And as far as "no new taxes" for those under 250k, its a lie, the tax is called inflation, which is set to begin just about now that the Chinese wont want the USA's worthless treasuries to fund the socialist-lie fantasy (one that COMMUNIST China doesn't even try and sell to its people!) Also, what Obama fails to mention is the states are now compelled to implement his new rules, and to follow the rules the states must raise taxes. Obama may not tax those under 250k, but every last one of the 50 states will.
- Barack Obama's numbers don't add up. There is a $59 trillion dollar hole (UFDO) in social security alone. AIG $150 billion here, TARP $350 billion there. $800 billion for a highly dubious pork laden stimulus package. Another one on the way. $59 trillion hole in the balance sheet IGNORED. China saying they aren't going to buy treasuries, calling for new reserve currencies, Clinton clamoring to find buyers now. $3.6 trillion dollar budget, potential military action on Mexico, Iran still a "terrorist state" at the behest of the AIPAC, spending up, dollar about to fall, inflation over time since Breton Woods extremely easy to document, yet, the socialist-liars question when the numbers (the Federal Government numbers) simply don't add up to the point where if the US-GOV was a company it would be insolvent.
-How dare the taxpayers question what Barack Obama's drastic spending increases are going to do to the purchasing power of our savings because Barack Obama wants to recklessly spend and try to maintain and American empire AND guarantee a standard of living, and Obama doesn't even want to build a single nuclear power plant to do it? Barack Obama must be a complete and total lunatic moron at best. He is a man child, akin to Michael Jackson, who does not live in the real world. This guy has turned the White House into a Neverland Ranch.
- Obama is either a negligent idiot or an unhinged maniac with delusional fantasies. Meanwhile, Obama's tax dodging Treasury Secretary has 17 unfilled positions, the Treasury Dept. isn't even functioning at this point while the rest of the world steadily loses faith in one of the two things that makes the USA relevant in the world at all: the dollar as a "hard" or reserve currency and the US military.
- "General welfare" in the constitution was, according to the man who wrote it, Madison, meant to be extremely limited in scope. The federal government per the constitution doesn't even have the enumerated POWER to deal with economic messes. A lot of these "POWERS" were created while there is a crisis to dupe the public into accepting an un-constitutional authoritarian regime as the government and to usurp authority over the people.
- The USA is a constitutional republic. A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting to eat a sheep. Also a constitutional republic isn't about using a barely-majority or a plurality to stuff your (un-fundable disastrous) crap down the disenfranchised other-half's throat.
- With Obama's authoritarian corrupted criminal (aiding and abetting a criminal in flight of prosecution, Rich case) Eric Holder in charge, we won't have our inalienable and enumerated rights to firearms much longer. For a constitutional law expert, Obama must have never read the federalist papers or he would simply hand himself as a traitor. Already there is talk of banning firearms to help Mexico's fight against the cartels. What they fail to mention is the firearms that are being used there are Mexican Military firearms being used by those who defected from the Mexican Army into the cartels directly! The firearms in question were sold to the Mexican military, over 170,000 soldiers are gone with the guns. And now the US citizens have to give up inalienable and enumerated rights? This is insanity.
- The arbitrary expansion of "general welfare" is not only unconstitutional, it may very well lead to a serious conflict on the issue.
- Here is a debate on general welfare and how stuff like this came to pass, but was clearly no intended by the authors of the document of root law.
In Federalist No. 41, James Madison asked rhetorically: "For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power?" (In reference to the general welfare clause)
So strongly did the founders believe that "general welfare" wouldn't be expanded as written:
In Federalist No. 84, Alexander Hamilton indirectly confirmed Madison's point. (That the "general welfare" clause was "clearly" not a free pass for government)
Hamilton argued that a bill of rights, which many were clamoring for, would be not only unnecessary, but dangerous. Since the federal government was given only a few specific powers, there was no need to add prohibitions: it was implicitly prohibited by the listed powers. If a proposed law a relief act, for instance wasn't covered by any of these powers, it was unconstitutional.
"why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?"
Hamilton goes on to argue that making Amendments (e.g., enumerating Free speech, press and assembly) and enumerating the 'right' would have the following effect:
(A bill of rights) "would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power that is, a power to regulate the press, short of actually shutting it down. "
"With respect to the words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers (enumerated in the Constitution) connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." --James Madison [The US Supreme Court has found the meaning of "general welfare" in the Constitution to be much more elastic than did Mr. Madison. But as the "author of the Constitution," what does he know?]
James Madison, when asked if the "general welfare" clause was a grant of power, replied in 1792, in a letter to Henry Lee,

If not only the means but the objects are unlimited, the parchment [the Constitution] should be thrown into the fire at once.

"...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government , and to provide new Guards for their future security. ...--The Declaration of Independence
- Monetizing failures causes more. Japan showed us this for decades. But hey, Barack Obama is actually dumb enough to think you can fix a problem DECADES in the making with a quick fixer-upper. He is screwed in the head or, more likely, lying to the American public to quickly get done the things he wants to get done before he gets thrown out on his ass.
- The complaints are with the Federal government (in general) since Breton Woods. The Federal Government and Obama's minions STILL didn't listen to David Walker, a Clinton appointee and former head of the GAO. This isn't about political parties anymore- its about spending the future to the point where today collapses. History is replete with examples of fiat currencies and deficit spending leading to collapse.
- Show me a single federal budget that was less than the previous. If this $3.6T budget goes, it is never coming back barring systemic collapse. The only President to ever see the US Public Debt at $0 dollars is Andrew Jackson.
- The United States Federal Government, The United States Federal Reserve, and the banks which were enabled to continue down reckless paths by a quasi government agency known as the Federal Reserve whose actions are not subject to congress and whose members are unelected. This situation is untenable and unconstitutional.
- Every inflationary road taken in history ends in collapse. Keynesian policies are widely regarded as no longer workable. And while Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, David Walker, Nouriel Roubini, Warren Buffet and Jim Rodgers warn about or predict all the failures, people still refuse to listen to the possibility that the US economy may contract for many years, and spending at these levels is something that can give way to a collapse.
- Inflation is a tax: What ignorant tax and spenders don't take into account here is the relative percentages of people's wealth (both net and gross) and the costs of owning and maintaining houses, cars, standards of living.
- Inflation via deficit spending is going to make it such that you will be paying a lot more by percentage of your income to maintain a given standard of living. Obama's arguments are so poorly thought out and seek to blame "Republicans" for the mess, its really simply laughable - this unhinged budgeting and currency management crisis needs cleanup now, not worsening.
- You can't spend your way out of a hole if the creditors (e.g. China) start telling the USA they won't buy. It is that simple. Now America starts to have to collateralize the debt with assets. The USA will be selling off chunks of American assets to back the new debt. One day, it may even be necessary to sell Alaska back to Russia because no one will take greenbacks to prop up a failing version of a modern Rome.
- Ah, here we go with the Matthew Lesko arguments. []
Interest rates were on the rise before the government stepped in with free money for everyone (the fine print of course indicate massive strings attached).
Other economies, for example, India, have the central rates set to far more reasonable/realistic rates (at the moment ~ 8+%), which is still tends to be too low, but shows that if you need someone else capital you need to pay a premium for it, and given that capital is in short supply, it would stand to reason that a premium must be charged for it.
The problem is the unrealistic growth rates of mature economies don't allow for profiting via growth projections (rather than simply earning money). So the government steps in, turns on the free money spigot, gets the interest rates for savings down in the 1-2% range while diluting the value of the whole currency in order to prop up dying companies that ran the business like a Madhoff Ponzi scheme. Ponzi schemes need new money or they cease to exist. This is why the Federal Reserve is trying to issue more Reserve Notes. Without this fresh input of printed money, the Ponzi scheme will collapse.
- The Republicans aren't solely responsible for the crisis as Obama's minions would have you believe, congress is (no particular congress), the Executive of the US government (no particular one) and the US Federal Reserve System are all at fault.
- Fundamentally, the government is trying to fix the prices of various things to "make it all work." This pulling on the invisible hand is a fools venture. It was predicted long ago the housing collapse (and those, such as myself, in the know, wished while realizing the housing collapse coming that we were wrong for everyone's sake - but the truth is the truth) . It may be that the Austrian (von Mises) economists will ultimately be proven right.
- We are a nation of partially educated whiney grabby idiots, and we got the government that represents this. The Chinese, India and other up and coming nations will show no mercy for this arrogant abuse of our status as the world's forex reserves.
- War and asset sales will continue to be the only option for this scheme until it is corrected at the core. And to say that the government has already averted a depression by doing what they did (most of the monies injected wont be "felt" for some time), is just arrogance and stupidity. Price fixing prolonged the Great Depression. Price-fixing (or attempting to) houses will do the same, but probably worse.
- Obama's minions simply don't care if the US is bankrupted and rendered insolvent, they just want a say in how its done, presumably to "feel safe." Rather selfish.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." AND "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin (Possibly Richard Jackson)

- Everyone better realize that inflation will pay a major role in funding un-fundable fantasies, wiping the savers and the middle class out. The problem is, that other countries are growing tired of making our Federal Reserve notes worth something by buying our debt as treasuries. Obama's minions talk about spending, but in order to "get what YOU want" you will sell debt to potential economic and military adversaries? Real bright. What's really sad is that despite David Walker being an authority on these issues, people refuse to even watch him and listen to what he is saying. Instead of seeing the truth and the bottom line of the unfunded debt obligations, they want HOPE and CHANGE, which are simply concepts which the foolish change into their own personal hopes and changes, but Obama never bothered to outline what to hope for exactly or what he will be changing.
- We have a fraud, a huckster, an empty suit for a President, a Community Organizer. This man does not have the ability to formulate an original thought, or to command action. He is a know nothing that lives in a pretend world just like Michael Jackson ensconced himself in Neverland ranch, he will hide behind those who surround him, which happen to be incompetent people who have no compunction about spending the country into oblivion to achieve personal agendas.
- On the success of Canada and its form of Socialism: A huge country like Canada with massive amounts of uranium and tar sands and natural resources and a huge land mass with a scant 30 million people is an order of magnitude less of a problem to manage than a country with 10x its population, a serious leaky southern border, backfiring aggressive foreign policy, particularly with Iran, and the US is competing with countries like India and China whose middle classes are larger than the US's entire population. The top 5 students in every Indian and Chinese primary school out numbers all the kids in primary school in the US. Canada is a idyllic island, the USA is front and center in an all out economic and political clash of ideologies.
- Cap and trade (and pollution control for solving global problems) will never work unless the top 10 countries in the world (in terms of GDP, manufacturing capacity and population) are on board. Period. end. If the world doesn't quickly move to nuclear now and fusion shortly, it is over. Possibly not if every home on the planet gets a wind vane, but that seems unlikely to happen (since its possible now).
- Keynes calls it "the paradox of thrift" and suggested that policies forcing people not to save is a "good idea." The guy wanted people spending all the time, or if he didn't, he never conveyed that to his protégés well enough for them to not do what they are doing. Right now the plebeians in the US are actually stashing cash, and everyone from Obama to the media is trying to get people to spend spend spend. The best thing for the long term is for people to prepare for the coming hell, not set out with no reserves.
- I have seen Keynes invoked to justify nearly every bad move in the past decade, and its warming up to be a potential currency collapse, the collapse of the US Treasury and Federal Reserve notes, and a collapse of the NYSE. And then they invoke Keynes to suggest the best way out of the mess is to spend out of an already near-critically debt massed black hole.
- A house is run like a town is run like a country or business is run like a state is run like a government. If there are things the government is doing that would either force your home into bankruptcy or into jail via fraud charges, then the government and banks shouldn't be operating in that fashion. A certain degree of stretchy liquidity is in order, but in terms of percent of GDP, there is no way of justifying what they US has now.
- Iceland failed at 850 percent debt to GDP. The US is at 350 and rising. It is not a good thing at all.
- What is happening to the dollar as a forex standard. []
- March 19, 2009 C-SPAN - "Let's Quit Destroying Our Dollar!" []
- HR 1207 (A bill to make the Fed more accountable and to answer questions regarding the dollar policy) []

Title: Obama sidetracked by fiscal mess, but presses on []
"Being heard above the din may prove difficult. Lawmakers are wrangling over taxing people who got big bonuses and worrying the president's budget could generate $9.3 trillion in red ink over the next decade."
- Kremlin to pitch new global currency []
Russia proposes creation of global super-reserve currency.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

Silly Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398715)

what's the point of this?

thank you for the obama deception biography (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398953)

I will make sure to spread this information to everyone i know.

am i missing something? (5, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398649)

am i missing something, or is the answer to this 'crisis' painfully obvious to everyone?

stop making these huge, expensive games.
go back to making small, experimental fun games.

it seems so simple.

every game should be a new experience, or at least bring something new to the table. adding a few more polygons, and some better shading algorithms does not make a game more fun.

Re:am i missing something? (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398759)

stop making these huge, expensive games.
go back to making small, experimental fun games.

it seems so simple.

I agree, you'd think that with the new controller and the lower graphical capabilities, game devs would have thought "well, all we can do with this is make something new and innovative, rather than doing the same thing we did last year with prettier graphics. Spend less money, but put a little more thought into it."

Most instead went with the tactic of "Lets put out games we already made for older systems with only the control scheme changed.

When we run out of old games, we'll just

1. slap something together in 2 hours that will hardly be playable
2. come up with a silly title like 'ninjabread man' []
3. ??? maybe hope that enough people will accidentally buy our game instead of another game that...
4. Profit"

It's not like there's a shortage of good ideas for games on the wii, I honestly don't know why game makers are so resistant to new ideas when their current strategies aren't working.

Re:am i missing something? (3, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398873)

I agree, you'd think that with the new controller and the lower graphical capabilities, game devs would have thought "well, all we can do with this is make something new and innovative, rather than doing the same thing we did last year with prettier graphics. Spend less money, but put a little more thought into it."

I'm sure any dev with half a braincell did.

The people making the decision, however...

Re:am i missing something? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399267)

Ninjabread Man was a port of a PS2 title that was probably blocked from a US relase by SCEA. It was released in Europe (on the PC as well).

Re:am i missing something? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399399)

The designers of Ninjabread man have figured out a way to save money when they later created Ramses II:

Many critics have called it a carbon copy of Ninjabread Man, due to the identical music, gameplay and level layout, the same basic attacks, and enemies (as well as having most of the same bugs and glitches), because of the use of DDI's GODS engine. (wikipedia)

Re:am i missing something? (4, Insightful)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398891)

I am not a expert on the process of game development, but it is possible that what you propose would actually be *more* expensive. If the games companies can reuse their research, graphics libraries and game engine software and use it to produce a multitude of similar games that presumably saves money. If they have to re-design, re-draw and re-engineer every title they produce I would think that would be the more expensive option.

How many sequels to the final fantasy series have their been now?

Re:am i missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398973)

Every Final Fantasy game (except the direct sequel, X-2) has had new, unique art and description for nearly every aspect. Even the chocobos have a unique aspect to them in every game. Final Fantasy is not a series where they borrow from prior games resource wise.

Re:am i missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398977)

But how many of those final fantasy games have used the same game engine as the previous one? Or the same graphics? They've always redone the whole thing. The concept is the only thing that they've kept similar to previous titles and we keep playing them because each has the familiar concept we love with something new added to it and well made (good atmosphere, etc.).

However... 25 million to make a game? I am only a student. I've never been in a game company. I admit I have no idea of all the costs involved. Even so... 25 million without marketing costs included? On average? I will not believe that a good and interesting game couldn't be made with a lot less money.

Hell, as they said, it was less than half of that for previous generation consoles!

Re:am i missing something? (2, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399423)

Go by Heinlein's adage that you can track all costs eventually to labor. Figure a game takes three years to develop, and they pay an average salary of $50,000. That's 166 warm bodies. Probably half are artists, modelers, and other creative types; the other half are designers, coders, quality assurance, project managers, and so on. That seems in line with the length of credits I've seen for big-budget games. And remember to figure in $200,000 to get a big-name Hollywood star to spend four hours in the voice recording studio.

Re:am i missing something? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399009)

If they produce every title with graphics, sound effects and music taking full advantage of the console you're probably right.

Looking at it, the problem seems to be that games studios have set themselves an impossible task - make every game look and sound better than the last. But games have reached a point where achieving this is becoming ever more expensive and the economics are such that producing a console title for mainstream sale which doesn't look like complete arse next to all the others in the shop is virtually impossible unless you've got the resources of someone like EA.

Re:am i missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399207)

also, development tools purchase model is changing: before developers where paying for the tool chain once, now they pay for each single game released - and the ps3 kit + license + binary signature + sony approval is extremely expensive.

Also there is a cost involved in "interesting" emergent gameplay. Even stripped of its fancy graphics effects Battlefield Bad Company would have been quite a money hog, just for developing the destructible terrain; GTA4 still has a huge world to be built, need for speed a lot of cars to be licensed...

Re:am i missing something? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399315)

Final Fantasy is not an example of reusability, it's being remade pretty much from scratch every time.

Game engines can be reused between dissimilar games to varying degrees of success. They aren't the main cost in development though, the money mostly goes to the data that gets fed to the engine. Levels, characters, etc. That stuff gets more expensive to make as the graphics get better because every detail on every object costs man hours and those cost money.

A simple game would require fewer assets to be implemented and as such cut down on the main cause of costs.

Re:am i missing something? (4, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398945)

It's the Hollywood blockbuster syndrome. Everyone spends a ton of money on big name titles, and the majority of them lose money or barely break even. A tiny number actually do make money, so people keep trying.

Re:am i missing something? (4, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399041)

I thought it was more along the lines of:
1) Woo venture capitalists for funding for a huge, AAA game. Talk lots about the AAA games that make money.
2) Pay yourself and your friends sh*tloads of money because you're awesomesauce producers working on producing a AAA game.
3a) Spend all your venture capital on (2), and on flying yourself and friends around the world to industry expos.
3b) Set crazy deadlines because only 1/3 of your capital is going towards the actual development of the game.
4) Step back, let the company fold, and leave with your 3 years' worth of executive salary. Blame everyone else for the game's failure.

I'm still trying to figure out whether 3a or 4 is the '???'.

Re:am i missing something? (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399381)


Re:am i missing something? (1)

noselasd (594905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398991)

That's assuming those small games would make a profit.
Do you have any backup that such small games would sell well enough to turn a profit. (Other than "I like small fun games, so they must sell well !")

Re:am i missing something? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399411)

That can't be answered without more specifics. Can a well designed small game sell well? Yes, look at the Wii. Will my small game sell well? That depends entirely on what I've made.

Re:am i missing something? (2, Insightful)

BenevolentP (1220914) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399165)

Yes. No more Fable, Fallout, Final Fantasy, Resident Evil. Who needs big, epic games you can dive into for dozens of hours. Tower defense, world of goo and dwarf fortress should be enough for everybody.

Re:am i missing something? (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399449)

You know, ChronoTrigger on the SNES had a budget probably 1% of Final Fantasy 12, and yet has just (or more) as epic story and gameplay that you can lose yourself into for many dozens of hours. Gameplay and quality storelines don't require massive budgets for CGI, and inexpensive games don't need to be simple fluff.

What I don't understand... (4, Insightful)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399213)

What I don't understand is capitalism!

When 25 Million dollar games are not turning profits, then either:
1) Pay less to developers and artists
2) Make less expensive games

To me, (1) makes most sense. Isn't that how capitalism supposed to work?

Re:What I don't understand... (1)

hasdikarlsam (414514) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399345)

"To me, (2) makes most sense." -- Fixed that.

Sure, you could pay less to the developers, but then you'd get worse developers. Game development is already a sort of ghetto; most programmers worth their salt wouldn't touch it with an eleven-foot pole, and that would just make it worse.

Re:am i missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399239)

The real question should be "why does a game cost 25 MILLION DOLLARS?!??!?!?!!?!?1/1!??1?". What am I missing? 25 million dollars (marketing not included) is the equivalent of 500,000 working hours at $50/hour. Let's say a game dev company has 100 employees, that means that the average game takes 1.7 years to come out (except for Duke Nukem Forever [] ). Sounds about right...

Now, think about it... How many of those 100 (?) employees are actually working for $50/hour? Most of the work is still outsourced to eastern Europe or China where a developer earning $5/hour is rich. Suddenly, 25 million for research and development doesn't sound right anymore...

Re:am i missing something? (1)

PseudoIdiot (1513789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399321)

stop making huge games? No. Come up with a better model, like the one OnLive is working on? Yes. Even if you don't try a developers title with OnLive, they still get paid. Even if you try 1 title that you even slightly enjoy in a month, the cost of OnLive is as cheap as entertainment gets (with the exception of NetFlix/Gamefly as it would be the same price ;))

Re:am i missing something? (1)

SpecBear (769433) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399431)

And didn't Valve already show that one solution was to charge less for games [] ?

This is easy to fix: (2, Funny)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398661)

Only make good games.

I could easily predict what titles will only sell a few hundred thousand copies just by reading design proposals.
Where can I sign up to be paid for this cost cutting service?

Re:This is easy to fix: (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398687)


Reggie Fils-Aime, chief marketing officer for Nintendo of America, says publishers of games for its Wii console need to sell one million units of a game to turn a profit, but the majority of games, analysts said, sell no more than 150,000 copies.

That's because the majority of wii games are shit that SHOULDN'T turn a profit. Why people aren't changing that I don't know. It seems to me that if you put out a crappy game for the wii and it sells crappy, that might tell you something.

(Hint: put out a good game for the wii for good sales)

Re:This is easy to fix: (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399187)

Here's a simple formula almost every publisher uses. For every $1MM of development budget, I need to sell ~100K units to break even. (This assumes normal cost of goods, 20 - 30% of the dev budget spent on marketing, etc.) So, if you're pitching at $10MM game, you better expect to sell a million units. But few Wii games especially have bdugets anywhere close to that. OnLive doesn't fix this model, anyway, although I guess it lowers COGs.

Re:This is easy to fix: (1)

dword (735428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399283)

Of course they don't make profits! Those pesky pirates keep cracking their DRM and distributing the games online for free... If it wasn't for them, every single game would become a best-seller and hundreds of millions of people would buy it instantly, because all the games that cost around 25 mil must be really good! It's one of the basic principles of economics: if you want something good, you have to pay the price, so, if we put in a lot of money in a game, it's pretty clear that the more money we push into a game, the better it will sell! It's the same like it is with the banks: more loans lead to a better economy.

These are things that everybody knows about economy!

$25 million? (4, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398669)

It takes $25 million to take the exact same game, shine it up a bit and put a new cover on it and expect people to shell out $60 for it?

Maybe spend some of that on coming up with something new.

Re:$25 million? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398765)

No kidding. No wonder games with such a production budget needs to sell a million copies to break even. On the other hand, I picked up Chicken Shoot for the Wii a few months back. It's not exactly the best game out there, but I can guarantee that the production budget for that game was way less than $25 million (I'd peg it at $50k at most) and the game certainly doesn't need to sell a million copies to break even.

Re:$25 million? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399455)

Coming up with something new is easy. Coming up with something new that works is harder. A publisher stuck in the blockbuster mindset would see it as a big risk because it could ruin a game completely without any chance to recover. What Iwata described in his GDC keynote was that they do prototyping, tons of it and it's completely unpredictable how long that will take. No wonder that publishers are unwilling to fund that, not knowing when a given project will start turning a profit is going to be pretty nerve wracking for a businessman. Of course if they were willing to accept that uncertainity they'd probably find the process to be more effective at finding cost efficient game designs that then sell millions. Not going to happen, they're probably just going to keep running into the same wall, incapable of properly influencing the variables that determine success or failure. Of course when you invest money into a project that at best will only return 2-3 times what you invested and most likely won't break even that's a bigger risk than throwing smaller amounts of money into projects that have a potential payoff of 20-30 times the investment even if their chance of success is somewhat lower.

Hollywood Business Model (4, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398693)

When I worked at Atari/Infogrames, it was all about convergence with the Hollywood business model. Everyone was running around spending money like a Hollywood mogul. Takes only a few flops (*cough* Enter The Matrix *cough*) to send your business model into the crapper.

Re:Hollywood Business Model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399093)

Enter the Matrix cost $30 million to create, but sold 5 million copies.

Re:Hollywood Business Model (3, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399159)

Enter The Matrix was a disappointment inside the company. Even in the article you cited, Atari declined to make the other two games under the license. Probably because the security to keep the game content hush-hush was a huge pain in the ass. When a disc went missing, a handful of people who had access to the disc got fired. I stayed cleared of the game and only spent three days testing the Rabbit Hole that was a black hole (including a hole to fall out of the world) on the GameCube version. A miserable title.

Already proven model (3, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398705)

As we discussed recently, OnLive is trying to change that by moving a big portion of the hardware requirements to the cloud. Of course, many doubt that such a task can be accomplished in a way that doesn't severely degrade gameplay, but it now appears that Sony is working on something similar as well.

This model is already proven in the case of my Win Mobile phone [] . See, IE mobile takes suck to whole new levels. There's Opera, which does much better, but is still slow as sin, even with a dual-core 400 Mhz ARM chip powering the unit. It honestly feels like Navigator 4 back on my Windows 95 Pentium 90 way back when...

Enter Sky Fire [] . They have a Linux rendering farm of (get this!) instances of the Mozilla rendering engine that pre-render websites for you, and you download the rendered result, much like Google Maps - in square sections, ajaxy-style.

It's fast enough for me to watch YT and Hulu video meaningfully if I'm connected via a decent Wifi. Now, it's not FPS games, but if it's good enough for a video, it's probably good enough for pre-rendering and/or AI computation.

Re:Already proven model (2, Insightful)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398813)

I would be hesitant to equate rendering and serving web pages and running and streaming a game like Crysis or Call of Duty.

Not to mention the terrific problem that network latency is going to be.

I, and many other gamers like me, can easily tell the difference between the response times of wired and wireless mice, and they think that they can run my commands back to their servers fast enough?

I frankly don't think it's possible other than maybe in the huge metropolitan areas where 100meg fiber is available.

Re:Already proven model (3, Insightful)

skrolle2 (844387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399013)

Now, it's not FPS games, but if it's good enough for a video, it's probably good enough for pre-rendering and/or AI computation.

No, no, no. A video stream can be efficiently encoded because you can look at multiple frames when doing your compression. For a game that is rendered in real-time, you have to encode frame by frame. OnLive claims 30fps, so each frame you wait introduces 33ms lag, which is unacceptable given that you already will have lag from the game server being remote. You have to get the total lag below 150-100ms, otherwise it's really noticeable, and discerning gamers will probably react badly to lag above 50ms. Good luck getting those rates over the internet.

But the video part isn't that big a problem, I could imagine they have solved that, and there's plenty of custom video compression hardware. What doesn't exist though is custom graphics hardware that can be virtualized, and you need graphics hardware for the games they announced, you absolutely cannot CPU-render it.

Re:Already proven model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399057)

Surprise, SkyFire's rendering farm is Windows!

You dumb mofo it ain't got no dual core (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399323)

It's an arm for GP and a separate/ondie dsp for phone. You bought into a lie. You a dumb mofo/,/,

The answer isn't more marketing nonsense... (5, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398711)

It's true that the cost of game development is significant, and growing all the time. The answer isn't to flail desperately at the latest fad or wow potential customers with marketspeak, though. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Focus on quality instead of marketing hype. If a project isn't coming together, it's better to cut your losses than to shove a piece of garbage out the door and lose the confidence of your customers.

2) Develop your code with reuseability and extensibility in mind. Never accept quick hacks or shoddy workmanship. It never pays off in the long run. Also: quick hacks for funding milestones = long-term disaster.

3) Don't work your employees insane hours at crunch-time. You'll just lose the best ones after the project is over. Treat them with respect, pay them decently, and give them a stake in the financial success of the company.

4) Invest in internal tool and systems development. It's a longer-term payoff, but high-quality internal tools allow a small team to do what otherwise requires a small army to accomplish.

5) Betting on safe and sure things is a surefire road to stagnation and failure. You can't be afraid to shake up the status-quo and innovate. There's nothing wrong with sequels per se, as fans of your first are likely expecting a second (I'm working on one now), but you can't just remake the same game and expect everyone to buy it a second time.

Pretty boring list, huh? But I'd bet 9 out of 10 companies probably don't really follow this advice. It's sort of like advice on how to lose weight: eat healthy and exercise regularly. Stupid and simple, but it's just to tempting to take the easy road.

The game development company I work for seems to be adhering to these principles pretty well, and is hiring developers while other companies in the area are laying employees off. We'll see if it pays off in the long run.

Re:The answer isn't more marketing nonsense... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398805)

But I'd bet 9 out of 10 companies probably don't really follow this advice.

I'm really at a loss as to why that is too. Since you actually work in the industry, could you give any educated guesses as to why specifically they don't? I mean, those all seem like issues every company runs into from time to time, but they usually seem to learn from it. Not the case with game developers. Maybe that's just flawed perception on my part and most companies of all flavors continually try to take the cheap way out?

Re:The answer isn't more marketing nonsense... (1)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398831)

I've always assumed that it's because of the movie industry's influence.

They appear to do the same thing, relying on endless repeats of the same worn out formula and then blaming piracy for their inability to interest anyone in their tired old product.

Re:The answer isn't more marketing nonsense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398987)

I'm really at a loss as to why that is too.

PHB. Really. To be a "manager" you need a MBA. Another name for MBA is PHB training.

Re:The answer isn't more marketing nonsense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399413)

But I'd bet 9 out of 10 companies probably don't really follow this advice.

I mean, those all seem like issues every company runs into from time to time, but they usually seem to learn from it. Not the case with game developers.

Much of it is the fact that development houses operate on extremely slim margins at first. It's all new development and they have to burn through tonnes of investor capital. They get this money by promising big returns, real soon. These returns don't happen and most development houses get bought up by bigger companies or just close their doors. Many are started by coders or designers from larger companies who think they can go it alone and the lack of business sense that comes from that is their ever present hurdle.

Plus building future expansion into your engines is a tricky thing. It's notoriously difficult to accurately predict where the hardware will take you and hedging your bets adds bulk to the code. On PCs you may be able to suck up the extra since a new CPU comes out fairly rapidly, but on consoles you don't want to be less impressive than your competition.

This I think has been illustrated by things like The Last Remnant. They took the Unreal engine and used it for the console versions. Unfortunately all that extra code to make it scalable and impressive on high end hardware has caused the consoles to have to slide much farther down than perhaps they should have. Granted the developers could have handled it better, but usually a simpler engine winds up much better overall. Your customers don't care that the slowly appearing shaders and textures are going to allow for awesome things for the next game, they care that this game they wanted to buy turned out shoddy.

Re:The answer isn't more marketing nonsense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398815)

1) Say you failed your project instead of trying harder until you really failed?

2) In the long run we're all dead. A game engine is reusable, but not the game itself. Engines are bought, not made in house.

3) If the project is on track, you might be right, but if it starts to fail, you have to show some compassion.

4) High-Quality external development tools cost much less than internal ones. But you're right. You have to have tools and know how to use them to get anything done. But only develop tools, that noone sells, it is hellalot expensive and tends to fail often. After all you don't develop tools for a living but games.

5) Flies will buy shit seven days in a row. The successful thing gets stretched until it snaps at your face. (read: The competition gets stronger than you and the market is overcrowded and prices turn down.) Only then you have to try something new and fail 9 out of 10 times. Let's hope you have enough money to survive until number 10.

10 out of 10 companies might have followed your advice and the 10th is greatly successful while the other 9 were just unlucky because they didn't get the right idea in the right time.

If you're a big company, you just buy the successful company and use their new game and make it a big success through professional polishing and marketing. This makes it almost a sure thing to produce (or rather steal) a success.

Re:The answer isn't more marketing nonsense... (1)

Damn The Torpedoes (1279448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399091)

Well said

Return to 1993 (4, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398719)

Best game I ever played was X-com UFO defense, circa 1993. It featured 320x240 (256 color) VGA graphics and mono sound. I don't know how many people were on the development team or what the budget was, but I'll bet it's not a lot.

Gameplay is everything. None of the $25 million-budget modern games can touch the X-com in game quality and sheer fun IMO.

But I guess console games today do cost tens of millions of dollars to develop... if cheap iphone games are putting the big studios out of business, I don't mind. Lots of little guys putting out lots of little games = more chances for a true gem to come out, as opposed to fewer megaexpensive titles by a handful of big companies.

BTW X-com would probably work just fine on a iphone, which has twice the screen resolution of the original game (!)

Re:Return to 1993 (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398747)

Hear hear. I still play, mainly, the 90's era games. Ports of Call was great, too.

The only games I've bought the last 15 years are (a gold license for) PoC, Half-Life, and the Space Quest Collection.

Re:Return to 1993 (1)

benbean (8595) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398825)

Agreed. If I were in charge of one of these companies I'd work on a modern version of M.U.L.E. for all platforms. It'd work beautifully in the modern connected world, on the major consoles, on DS, PSP, iPhone. It's a very scalable idea. I'm sure there are many other examples if the gaming companies would think beyond World War II shooters and Wii shovelware.

Re:Return to 1993 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398871)

I dunno how much the original X-Com cost, but according to the developer's website, X-com Alliance was canceled with a lavish amount of money spent on it.

Go figure.

Re:Return to 1993 (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398939)

I agree 100% I'll take Fallout over Fallout 3 any day.
Bethesda probably spent more on marketing for Fallout 3 than Interplay spent making Fallout, and I'm willing to bet that people who love the franchise will still be playing Fallout long after they uninstalled and forgot about Fallout 3.

Re:Return to 1993 (2, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399027)

Eh, X-com was definitely fun, but Civ2 was the true life killer for me (then later, Alpha Centauri).

Re:Return to 1993 (1)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399101)

Eh, X-com was definitely fun, but Civ2 was the true life killer for me (then later, Alpha Centauri).

Those are both among my favorites but the 90's game that got the most play time out of me was the X-Wing/TIE Fighter series from Lucasarts. I never figured out why they haven't updated that game with newer graphics and network play.

Re:Return to 1993 (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399095)

X-COM was an absolutely great game. I loved to name my soldiers after famous people and watch them get demoralized: "Tom Hanks has gone berserk" and start shooting teammates in the back.

So good!

And the aliens were actually hard to beat.

The ambiance was great too, and kept you scared on scary missions. (city missions were especially tense)

Ah, good memories.

Also, the feeling of losing an entire team except one guy back on the shuttle and out of the lz.

They should make a X-COM Vietnam 1966 with CCR soundtracks. It would be the best.

Re:Return to 1993 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399231)

So you are saying that if you get a crappy idea, remove all the dazzling graphic, music and so on and downgrade it to the capability of '93 hardware youll get automatically a stroke of genious like ufo, mom or simcity?
sorry pal, its not the graphics, its the genious that got the idea and developed it at the best of the current time hardware capability.
in '93 there were -hundreds- of utterly crappy games vanished and forgot in the fog of time, it's easy to remember only the really good things but reality its another thing altogeter.

Re:Return to 1993 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399481)

...if cheap iphone games are putting the big studios out of business, I don't mind. Lots of little guys putting out lots of little games = more chances for a true gem to come out,

But this can cause the true gems to be lost in a sea of mediocrity. The last thing we need is a return to the Spectrum and C64 days where every bedroom coder barfed out some nonsense and it appeared alongside, and for the same price, as real games made by talented people.

How many times has someone said to you "I used to love X" and you've never heard of it?

Reggie Fils-Aime ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398737)

As in "boy-lover"?

Oh man, he must have had a hard time in school.
May have been better to have been called Sue.

Re:Reggie Fils-Aime ? (1)

mephist01 (122565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398837)

more like "beloved son".

Not everyone can win all the time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398753)

If you bet too high, chances are, that you lose even in capitalism.

Development costs rising to the sky are a sign of a dead-end-market. Sure the producers and publishers made a lot money in the past and want to make more in the future. But the market now turns into saturation and now suddenly not everyone can make the return they hoped for. Instead they have to hope for a blockbuster - a failed hope for most of the competitors.

Let's face it, what makes a blockbuster:
* Development costs are only the least part of the equation.
* First you need a new fun idea. (New to most of the audience, might be stolen from an older lesser known game.)
* Be right in time, hit the nerve.
* Control your development team, hit as high as possible but not higher or you produce an epic fail.
* Polish the game with much effort. This is like polishing a diamond, if you have one. If you don't polish, you cannot advertise.
* Advertise, Marketing Campaign, Total Madness.

Now the publishers think that polishing shit or well known titles plus an expensive marketing campaign make profit, because that's where the money goes with successful games. But they are plain wrong if they haven't got a novel game to start with. Let them fail... badly.

The vapor cloud (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398761)

And how, exactly, is moving part of the compute load to the "cloud" supposed to reduce development costs?

OnLive is amusing. The technology isn't that interesting; it's the business model. Casual games can have a "console-like experience". It also has the ultimate answer to piracy. Since the game software runs entirely in OnLive's data center, there's nothing playable the end user can copy. The OnLive client is just a video player.

But they need an incredibly good bandwidth/latency combination to make it work. They need 5mb/s with under 20ms or so round trip delay to equal the console experience. Unless they have a data center at each cable headend, they're not going to be able to deliver that.

Worse, all the capital costs fall on the provider. Who's going to fund this thing?

Re:The vapor cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398811)

Worse, all the capital costs fall on the provider. Who's going to fund this thing?

The taxpayer of course! Developers need their bailout too.

Re:The vapor cloud (5, Insightful)

skrolle2 (844387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398957)

Actually, the technical part of OnLive on a small scale isn't that impossible, you could imagine that if your ISP hosted some OnLive servers close to you, you'd get a pretty ok experience.

No, the thing that makes OnLive completely ridiculous is the economy of it. They're promising the latest games, that require the best gaming-specific hardware. So how is their datacenter going to cope with 1000 people playing Crysis at the same time? Are they virtualizing the games? I could imagine that for lesser games that can be entirely CPU-rendered, but you can't use the CPU for modern games, you need a GPU. Or two. Have they found a way to virtualize that? Or do they have multiple GPUs per server? How the hell are they gonna cool it and power it? And how are they gonna afford it? How could it possibly be cheaper to buy and host and manage a server that can serve, say, 10 players at the same time, than for those 10 players to just go to a store and pick up a game console each?

Console hardware is dirt cheap and has really good price/performance. Server hardware is very expensive, and has really bad price/performance. And on top of that, you need server hardware for the overhead of virtualizing, and you need server hardware for the video encoding.

And then, assuming they could magically assemble this hardware for a price that is competitive with cheap consoles, they choose to do GAMES with it? I could think of dozens of other uses for hardware like this, and games is way, way down on the list.

No, this whole thing smells fishy...

Re:The vapor cloud (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399195)

IM highly skepical of OnLive's ability to deliver, I cant even play PS1 titles on my PSP via remote link with my PS3 on a local network without noticeable delay.

Hmm, almost right .. (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398789)

I have a Playstation 3 and ..

[games are] too expensive and there are too many choices

is about half right .. the games are definitely too expensive, most retails in the street sell the games at about £40 or higher, you can get bargains on line though, Little Big Planet is just over £10 nowadays (not to mention the only *really* good game imo for the PS3..)

The other part, "too many choices", well, kind of. There are 100s of pretty much identical FPS games with ever so tiny tweaks to set them apart but nothing in the classic styles! I would kill for a side scrolling shoot em up with today's graphics, or some more fun LBPesque platformers!

Maybe I bought the wrong console?


free games consoles [] and games including Playstation 3, XBox 360 and Nintendo Wii!!

Nothing ever changes (4, Insightful)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398799)

Every few years the game industry goes through a big shake up. Companies die, people lose their jobs. Then it starts all over. I worked on games way back in the Sega Genesis cartridge days (yes, I'm that old). When my job disappeared I chose to get out of the game industry entirely. The pay seems ok on the surface, but you work horribly long hours, so you're actually getting ripped off. The games always suck at the beginning. The physics are experimental, the graphics are blocks and circles, the story line is just a twinkle in someone's eye. By the time the game is even half completed you are so sick of playing it you want to scream. I bet the industry hasn't changed since my days in it.

They are spending too much (1)

salarelv (1314017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398823)

A small/indie game producer can make a decent game with $100K. If the BIG game producer would use 10 times more ($1M) their games should come out 5-10 times better why they use 200 times more money for that task?


Unoriginal_Nickname (1248894) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399039)

Small game companies can make a decent game for a pittance because they have no choice. They either make do with what they have, or they pack up and go home.

Huge game companies spend a lot of money because there is no pressure for frugality. Usually this total lack of moderation takes the form of having hundreds more developers working on a game than they need to. The extra labor goes into go-nowhere projects like the EASTL, an utterly bizarre version of the STL for low-memory consoles, or trying to integrate all of the obscenely expensive middleware that's needed to be advertised on the box.

Re:They are spending too much (1)

AverageBear (761569) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399325)

Lets see... World of Goo was made for approx. $10,000 and look at the sales! This is an extreme example, because you are talking about two (later three) guys who made the game while sitting in their basement. And the game is very good (for it's genre: casual, physics based) and got great word of mouth to spread [including slashdot beacuse of no DRM]. But the point is how do you manage to get costs in the range of $25 million anyway? If the excuse is because you have the overhead of a large corporate, then definitely also synergies to exploit because you can reuse stuff from others too.

SDKs are too expensive and exclude developers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398865)

I wanted to write software for consoles but found the startup costs too high. I wanted to start by homebrewing some prototypes and then further developing them to get backing. I couldn't get a console SDK etc without jumping through many complicated hoops.

So I targeted the web.

Now I've gone ahead with non-console platforms, gotten financial backing then written those games and made very good money in the process... and had a lot of fun as I go.

Cry me a river.

Re:SDKs are too expensive and exclude developers (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399121)

I wanted to do web games development but the numbers in my business plan didn't make sense over the long run (i.e., I would have to invest far more time and money than I was willing to give). I decided to write a fictionalized version of my six years in the video game industry. If William Shakespeare got rich writing tragic-comedy plays, I can do the same. ;)

Where does the money come from? (4, Insightful)

squoozer (730327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398893)

I read articles like this (well the summary anyway) and I am always left wondering where the money to produce these games comes from. The companies are saying that to break even they need to sell a million copies but they are typically selling 150k so therefore they are making a huge loss on every game. How do they stay in business? The console manufacturers can't be bailing them out as they are making a loss on each piece of hardware so they need to make their money from games sales so who is paying? I can only assume that when a company gets a blockbuster it makes so much money that all these total failures (from a business point of view) are paid for.

Re:Where does the money come from? (2, Informative)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399075)

This is quite unreadable (source below for a more readable version), but the answer to your question is that the money comes from the people owning the stock, or the people willing to lend the company money. Below are the financial results for EA. I've bolded the only two quarters in the past three years where they've actually made money. I love video games, but I'd never buy the stocks. The financial results are terrible!

Earnings Per Share - Quarterly Results
FY (03/09) FY (03/08) FY (03/07)
1st Qtr -$0.30 -$0.42 -$0.26
2nd Qtr -$0.97 -$0.62 $0.07
3rd Qtr -$2.00 -$0.10 $0.52
4th Qtr NA -$0.30 -$0.08

Re:Where does the money come from? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399083)

With Infogrames they got a $200 million loan from the French government, and went on a spending spree buying up smaller developers for two to four times more than they were worth before the dot com bust. The game plan was to become a U.S. media powerhouse, replant the flag in New York City, and tell the French people to screw themselves. Except the French government neutered Infogrames with the loan agreement, and Infogrames started selling everything they bought for pennies on the dollar. Last I heard they were trying to become an online software provider (a la Steam without the steam).

Re:Where does the money come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399141)

They're lying. It's humorous that the thought never crossed your mind. They're rolling in the dough, but in the current bailout culture it's not cool if you make a profit. They're just trying to fit in and grab some free government money.

It dosen't matter how much $ they pump into a game (3, Insightful)

Captian Spazzz (1506193) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398919)

The game industry is falling into the same traps the film and music industries are.

There are a few big name players that control 70+ % of the market share. They pump more and more money into marketing and development rather than actually making good games. They then raise the prices on a product that is inferior than what they used to put out.

When market forces retaliate in the form of people not buying their craptastic overpriced games they then resort to adding DRM that cripples the game and the rights of the users who PURCHASED and OWN the end product which further alienates their customers resulting in a downward spiral. By the way YES I said cripple the game. I have had to download a crack for a game before not because I did not own it but because the DRM make the game unplayable on my computer.

There's a reason I don't play many commercial games anymore. Myself, and people like me, are/were this industry's bread and butter. Piss us off and your industry collapses. That's why were the effing customers.

The solution is 2D games (4, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398921)

The solution is 2D games

The obsession with 3D pushes every cost through the roof. 2D artwork (in a lot of cases) is tons cheaper, and can be made to work on very low end machines. Good luck getting crysis to run on a laptop that didn't cost an arm and a leg, but it's very difficult to balls up a 2D game enough for it not to run on an integrated chipset.

The crysis devs even admitted that their main problem was a game that wouldn't run on so many PCs. 2D games not only run everywhere, but they are easier to understand from a control POV to newcomers to gaming.
They also reduce support costs a lot because if you aren't using cutting edge 3D techniques, you are less likely to get incompatibilities and inconsistencies with video card drivers and hardware.

Of course not all genres can work in 2D, but time and time again we see 3D bump-mapped pixel-shaded shinyness applied to games where it just isn't necessary.
Imagine World Of Goo in 3D. Would it be a better game? Of course not, it would be horrid, and would lack the charm and individual art style that makes a game like that so fresh and awesome.

Journalists and gamers need to finally realise that 3D, and high dynamic range lighting are not what makes a game fun. They make it expensive, and they can make it more immersive, but they do not contribute automatically to making a game fun, which is what it's all about.

Re:The solution is 2D games (1)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399359)

"Imagine World Of Goo in 3D. Would it be a better game? Of course not, it would be horrid, and would lack the charm and individual art style that makes a game like that so fresh and awesome."
Actually, I think it would be pretty sweet having that extra dimension to worry about when building my huge towers. Instead of falling left or right, it could fall towards or away. 3D would really help world of goo. Please tell me katamari damacy would have been best as a 2D game. Go on. Don't blindly dismiss 3D as the root of all problems, because 3D enables a lot of great game mechanics.

Math (3, Informative)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398947)

The cost of a game for the latest consoles is over twice that â" $25 million is typical, and it can be much more. Reggie Fils-Aime, chief marketing officer for Nintendo of America, says publishers of games for its Wii console need to sell one million units of a game to turn a profit

Cost for the developers is $25m, need to sell 1m units at $50-$60. So, what happens with the other $25-$35? I'm assuming the licensing fees to make a console game are included in the $25m. So that leaves, physical production, logistics, and the retailer cut. Those 3 things really make up 50% of the price tag? Maybe that's something that has to be fixed. A lower price tag often has a positive influence on the number of units sold.

As for OnLive going to change things, who's going to pay for OnLive's hardware, and software licenses? Right, their subscribers. Will OnLive get more relaxed licensing terms than normal customers (i.e. don't require a license for each subscriber)? Probably, but when 1000 people want to play game X at one time you still need 1000 licenses at that time.

Re:Math (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399049)

Cost for the developers is $25m, need to sell 1m units at $50-$60. So, what happens with the other $25-$35? I'm assuming the licensing fees to make a console game are included in the $25m. So that leaves, physical production, logistics, and the retailer cut. Those 3 things really make up 50% of the price tag?

Yes, exactly. Of all the parties involved with selling a game, the retailer gets the biggest cut, due to the costs involved (employees, store rent, etc). It's like the last mile of Internet providers.

Obviously, selling online only would greatly reduce the total costs.

Re:Math (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399077)

I'd make a guess that the developer doesn't get anywhere near that $50-$60. The retail store, the distributor, and the publisher all have to take a cut out of that 30 million dollars, and they've got expenses and have to make a profit too.

I always wonder at these sort of articles. If most companies were confronted with a situation in which the vast majority of their products were generating massive losses, they'd look at doing something different. It's fairly clear that increasing prices won't work, so that leaves decreasing costs and/or increasing the percentage of your games that are a success.

The entertainment industry has a real problem because they don't know what industry they're in. They think that they're in the movie industry or the music industry or the game industry. They're not. They don't sell games, or movies, or music, not really, they sell entertainment, and if they can't sell entertainment at a price people are willing to pay then they lose and go out of business. The sooner this happens the better for some of them.

Re:Math (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399223)

Licensing fees for the consoles could easily go up to 50% per unit. You need to sell a million copies to break even. PC titles require fewer copies to break even but that's not where money is.

Re:Math (1)

pdbaby (609052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399463)

Probably, but when 1000 people want to play game X at one time you still need 1000 licenses at that time.

I'd imagine you'd get a licensing agreement with the publisher to charge whatever they want for the game, then subsidise that with a small cut of the subscription revenue based on how much people play that game. That way it's a major win for publishers if their games are successful (and it's basically free money, since most people using Future Cloud Gaming Service wouldn't otherwise be able to play the games because they lack the cash for the hardware

For the cost of the game, there's a huge cut of it which is (pointless and wasteful, IMO) marketing, production, having to cover the cost of returns (from game retailers when they can't sell all the copies they bought). They could probably charge half of the price of the game to subscribers and the publisher would be better off.

The other great thing is that you could offer demos which were the start of the game - 60 minutes playing Crysis, after which time your game is saved and you're asked if you want to buy it. Much cheaper than building a demo. And you're building some idea of progress into the experience - if they pay you, they can continue from where they were. If they don't, they don't get any further. The problem is for games where 60 minutes is just longer than they can hold a players interest with their mechanics...

(by the way, I'm against OnLive as with lots of other digital distribution systems - I want to own something. I want to be able to lend it to my friends. I want to sell it to someone if I want. I know publishers and developers hate the used games market but you've got to factor it into your sales and live with it. Book publishers seem to be able to survive, after all)

just fire all the marketing people (1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399011)

I mean really 25 million on a Game. We all know they don't pay the developers crap, so most of that goes to mindless marketing, parties for media types and HYPE HYPE HYPE.

on the other hand we have guys who just downloaded the iphone SDK to see what they could do and in a couple months released a game that cost nothing but those two months of time, with no marketing, no TV ads and no parties, who are making tens of thousands per day selling games for less then $5.

Overproduction (4, Insightful)

noselasd (594905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399031)

It's quite simple, there is a vast overproduction of games.
People will only buy so many games, and when there's just too many games, eventually some of the producers will have to throw in the towel.

Which is good for the ones that survives, as they have a greater chance of turning a profit again.

Re:Overproduction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399089)

The worst aspect of the overproduction is the movie tie-in.

Not a single one of those games has been any good. I know it's great marketing and trying to take advantage of the franchise, but they're so awful I'd be embarrassed if I worked on one.

Re:Overproduction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399289)

No there is a vast over loading at the end/start of the year. Nearly everything good is released between november and february, the rest of the year is expansions, rubbish or the singualr great game that no one buys.

They need to have better release scheduals, spread through out the year. NFS, tombraider and fallout in the space of a few weeks, Im only going to get one of them. release them a month or a couple of months apart and I might get all three.

Now how multiple companies could arrange that I dont know they all seem to act like kids after all.

Re:Overproduction (4, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399385)

It's the Atari 2600 syndrome all over again. 2000+ games, the vast majority of which were cack. People just gave up buying and the whole market collapsed.

Cost analsysis time... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399061)

How much money does your current generation shooter's 3D assets (Including textures) cost to produce? Let's assume it takes a week to produce a high quality 3D humanoid actor, and another month to do motion captures and animations.

Lets break that down now: 1 month + 1 week = 25 work days, give or take. If we are not working overtime (because we are on schedule-- like that ever happens...) for 8 hours a day, which comes to 200 hours for a single employee in that time frame. If we assume that the dev crew has 3 employees assigned to this task, that is 600 work hours invested. If we tabulate this up with 'Crazy California Wages' (at least 20USD/hr), we get something around 12k to pay those 3 employees for 1.25 months, to produce and animate a quality 3D actor... (*ONE* actor)

What happens to this 12k asset after the game is released? It finds itself in a backup queue somewhere, drawing dust, and adding to corporate overhead, because that model and it's animations are 'yesterday's news'. (But dont anyone else DARE copy it!)

An absurdly simple solution to this problem is a creative development commons repository, into which obsoleted, or true public commons assets (Such as textures, models and animations from public sources) are shared between a consortium of interested corporations.

EG, only one partnered company need develop a 1957 Chevrolet classic, and the other partners can use that asset later with a very minimal licensing fee. In return, that company can draw from the wide selection of physique animated, havok physics boobie girl models and textures that will be in there, rather than having to make one themselves.

Such cooperation between vendors would enable high quality content to still be available, but would drastically slash artistic staff overhead.

Similar collaborations for AI behavior, and engine tweaks/modifications could be kept, allowing work to not be replicated many times between the interested parties, and would allow these companies to continue producing innovative plots, and environments, while drastically cutting the overhead costs.

Looking for a specific make and model of car? Check to see if a partnered affiliate in the consortium has already made one that will fill your needs-- Looking to resolve an issue with AI bots jumping out in the open and shouting "HERE I AM!!" when they should be doing pop-shots behind cover? Check the AI scriptlet repository to see if another AI programmer may have had insight before.

A game title is more than the sum of it's parts, and having a shared resource of stock parts would allow game companies to focus more heavily on game DYNAMICS rather than blowing all their budget on artwork, and technical issues.

However, I won't hold my breath that such an outbreak of common sense will happen any time soon, given the current trend to ever increasing levels of escalating aggression involving tactical IP portfolio warheads.

What did the cold war teach us about standoff stalemates where we have hordes of weapons cached away, "For security"? It leads to economic problems, mismanagement, and bankruptcy.

People never learn do they?

It's not so simple, but it's not so hard... (1)

Damn The Torpedoes (1279448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399065)

Games like Halo and COD 4 have maxed out the FPS multiplayer market; therefore, making a shiny, new multiplayer shooter probably won't sell, since the kid who's finally gotten that sweet perk won't want to toss all the effort he's put online into the garbage. Games like Bioshock, Half-Life, Portal, Halo 1 and pretty much every Blizzard game ever made, take a gimmick or style of play and weave a compelling, engaging story around it. Game developers need to understand that there is no magical gameplay formula for single player games; there is only the story, and whether the player can get attached enough to the elements that make up the gaming experience. As for multiplayer-only oriented games, don't expect to make much money unless the idea you have blows what's already being played to smithereens. I think we know specifically which games are being mentioned here: Starcraft 2 and Diablo III. Both multiplayer, both coming out, both will make Blizzard a boatload of money.

Re:It's not so simple, but it's not so hard... (1)

Cederic (9623) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399169)

Game developers need to understand that there is no magical gameplay formula for single player games; there is only the story

I play a game once for the story.
I play it many times for the gameplay.

Gameplay is king. Give me as many stories as you like, but do note the general theme of posters that "yet another FPS" is always going to struggle because it doesn't give you a gameplay experience you haven't had already.

Doom 2 set the bar, Quake gave you the technology, Duke Nukem 3D showed you how to wrap a story around it and Unreal Tournament took it online properly. All FPS since then are derivative; the successful ones have all added something new to the mix (e.g. BF1942 added vehicles..)

Story is always appreciated, but even Starcraft would've failed to sell without the underlying gameplay.

Isn't that inacurrate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399123)

I mean the good people at Namco said that they need to sell 500k of their games (ps2/xbox/gc/wii) to break even. Now Nintendo is telling us they need 1Mil? Maybe Nintendo's games are costier or maybe they indeed advertised MUCH MUCH more (I mean look at Wiifit and Mario Kart).
Because I don't know about you but I highly doubt Wario Land the shake dimension need 1Mil to break even. Wiimusic, Wiifit or even Mario Galaxy? Yes. Mario Striker, Excite Truck or Endless Ocean? Highly doubt it

Re:Isn't that inacurrate? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399415)

A friend's firm did a Wii download title and I'm pretty sure he said they needed to sell 70k copies to break even.

powermousey (1)

powermousey (1519925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399161)

  Its a Beautiful Life!

      What with these continuing and hard economic times and the inevitable of total world economic collapse. And the rising of unemployment, more housing foreclosures, more businesses reducing and even closing, struggles to find jobs where there are only few, more people low on cash and having trouble making ends meet. Even people poor or even homeless.

  Regardless if game companies, developers and publishers cut costs, and even produce better, more fun and even make games more affordable, a lot of people cannot afford them. Other things such as basic necessities are more important. Also, people will look and find alternate means.

  Myself, I don't buy games anymore. Primarily because: a lot of them are too high priced, either crapppy or mediorce, not my type of game or cup of tea, and beacuse of DRM restrictions and internet server connections required...even on solo and offline games.

  There are some alternatives available.
Yes, there are bargain bins and discount shelf racks of games at stores such as Walmart and Target. But, also freeware and shareware games.
Tons of game demos too. And many free online games too. I'm playing the 4th Coming, and looking into both Fallen Earth and Spellborn.
  Darkfall looks cool too.

One million sales? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399173)

I'm kinda wondering what Fils-Aime bases that number on, especially what expected dev cost and retail price. It seems that many Wii games get made on a sub-million dollar budget so the break-even point got to be pretty low for these. Are we talking about Zelda-esque blockbusters here or indeed every single game? Even with 10 million dollar dev costs breaking even at one million sales seems kinda weird, would mean they get only 10$ per sale and games are supposedly one of the goods with the lowest retailer margins. Pointing at the RIAA situation wouldn't make sense either, the equivalent to a label would be the publisher who made that dev cost investment so the loss/profit numbers are being tallied at their end anyway.

The console games business model is broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399343)

Development costs with huge static in-house teams is ridiculously expensive. Those teams have to be salaried not only for the duration of the game - but for the hiatus between projects. Projects have dramatically different staffing requirement throughout game development.

Game sales and revenues are too small to justify the massive spending on fixed teams - unless you have a sure-fire guaranteed hit.

Massively over-indulged first party developers, who take years, require a team of hundreds and produce me-too game experience should not be celebrated. They should be mocked.

Innovative and fun products come from small core teams who can rapidly prototype, change direction in a heartbeat, and are inexpensive enough to be allowed to make mistakes.

Small teams can hire the very best people. And they can run a product without massive management costs, meetings and complex systems.

Small teams can afford to be creative.

So how can a small team create a big game?


Use specialist expert vendors to provide engine-tech, art services, audio, testing, writing, pre-vis - and so on. Contractors don't get paid when they deliver crap.

Bought-in services are cheaper, better and don't burn cash during downtime. And if you got burned the last time you outsourced, that's because you did it wrong. Don't go for cheap, go for the best.


The Solution (2, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399351)

Make some more damn games for the Wii. Bigger market, cheaper development... why are the big publishers focusing so hard on the smaller, more costly, 360 and PS3 market? They're cutting their own throats.

And onlive is a farce; I can't believe that anybody on Slashdot believes that company has magical 22nd century technology.

Translation for Dummies (1)

Karem Lore (649920) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399457)

We don't like to compete in a fair competition market and thus request that laws are implemented to stop the Indie market. Only established companies should be able to sell games to consumers and alternatives are bringing down a valuable market, thus they should be labeled terrorist to the Western market and their operations should be stopped. We suggest the US Government employ our proposal published under 'Operation Killjoy.'

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