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Analysts Predict Tough Christmas For Game Publishers

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the coal-in-stocking dept.

Christmas Cheer 54

Thanks to Gamesindustry.biz for its article regarding predictions of a tough 2004 holiday season for all videogame publishers, as an analyst report from Banc of America Securities claims "competition in the games market will be much more intense than last year", and argues that "some games will just not receive any shelf space from retailers, and initial shipments of titles will be very low, even by historical standards." The report goes on to highlight some non-specific specifics: "We have very low expectations for games of other developers with less-known brands... including Acclaim, Midway (except Mortal Kombat), Atari, Eidos, Vivendi (apart from Half-Life 2, if it is released) and even Microsoft (apart from Halo 2)... Expect many disasters this holiday." Is there really a reason for game creators to worry about what sales Santa will bring them?

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I consider myself a gamer, but... (4, Interesting)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590119)

...I'm not currently intending to purchase any more games this year. I still play Diablo II about once a week and I'm very much enjoying Sacred with full knowledge that I've got plenty of class, skill and difficulty combinations to explore.

Christmas will most likely by DVD season, not games season. Newly released box sets of SciFi TV shows will feature highly as well as "classic" movies like Office Space.

Diablo 2 (4, Interesting)

vehn23 (684035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590887)

I definitely got my money's worth from this title but I regretfully bought it for my early-60's father a few years ago. He still plays it 10-20 hours a week. Single player. Ugh. I remember having to go to his house and beat a (pre LOD) multishot Bremm Sparkfist for him because he was stuck on him for days. Good times..

Publish games during the summer season! (5, Interesting)

Senator Bozo (792063) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590151)

Hollywood, for example, has its big summer season when all of the blockbusters are released nearly back to back. In fact, releases are even scheduled around dates set by competing films.

So why don't video game publishers try to capitalize on the summer months, when the market isn't flooded with competitors and people seem eager to spend money on entertainment?

E.g.: Blizzard publish Warcraft III on July 3rd, 2002 and WC3: TFT on July 1st, 2003, and each sold several million copies within weeks of their respective release date.

Re:Publish games during the summer season! (5, Interesting)

Dark Nexus (172808) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590209)

When you think about it, most younger gamers get their games as gifts, generally for birthdays and christmas. So for that target audience, christmas is the right time for most releases.

My guess is that publishers are still stuck on that "games are for kids" thought when it comes to release dates, even if they're over that for content. For any target audience that buys their own games, spread the releases around a bit! Some more in the summer, some around late February or early March for that late winter drag, a few in mid or late september, for those who have grown tired of their purchases from early June...

Re:Publish games during the summer season! (5, Funny)

dammitallgoodnamesgo (631946) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590233)

I had heard that the idea was that publishers thought no people would ever want to stay in playing games during the summer, they'd all be out in the sunshine. We know how wrong that is, but it's possible they've not learned yet.

Re:Publish games during the summer season! (1)

Andy Mitchell (780458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590581)

Based on my practical experience of the wargames market which has a similar demographic audience (Typically young, nerdy and male) I would agree with your assessment.

Weather is also a big factor in sales, if it's nice people tend to do outside activities. School holidays also help as well, and the boost we get in sales over xmas is, as you suggest, very substantial

Summer holidays are a riskier release date, if the weather is bad you're onto a winner but if its good everyone will be outside enjoying it.

Of course if your stuck in a "hot" part of the world such as Texas I suspect people are much more inclined to sit in doors during summer as its unbearably hot outside.

Additionally... (2, Informative)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591598)

'When you think about it, most younger gamers get their games as gifts, generally for birthdays and christmas. So for that target audience, christmas is the right time for most releases.'

Don't forget about Christmas bonuses at that time. Around Christmas time, lots of people have instant disposible cash and lots of reasons to blow it FAST.

A serious contest (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9590243)

The full text of this article from The Economist [economist.com] follows. The original content is subscriber-only; it is reproduced here in the hope and expectation that you will find it useful.

----

Video games

A serious contest

May 6th 2004
From The Economist print edition

Can Microsoft's clever strategy level the playing field with Sony?

LIKE the combatants in a beat-'em-up video game, the makers of video-games consoles do battle in orderly rounds, one of which occurs every five or six years. The current round began in 2000, when Sony launched PlayStation 2. In 2001 Nintendo, the firm that once ruled the industry, launched the GameCube, and Microsoft made its first foray into the cut-throat market with the Xbox. Four years on, Sony is the clear winner, with sales of 70m consoles, followed by Microsoft with 14m and Nintendo with 13m.

Next week, the industry's biggest trade show, E3, which takes place in Los Angeles, will provide the first glimpses of the next round. It is expected to be a brutal two-way fight. For, after a difficult start, Microsoft has now established itself as Sony's main rival, and is gaining momentum. Most important, it has won the crucial support of games publishers, says Nick Gibson of Games Investor, a consultancy. That means Microsoft will "pretty much be neck and neck with Sony" in the next round. Nintendo, by contrast, has been less successful at keeping publishers on board, and has survived thanks only to the strength of its in-house software business.

Xbox Live, Microsoft's subscription-based online-gaming service, has also been well received. It provides features, such as global player rankings, that Sony cannot match. And although online gaming is still a minority sport, it is expected to be far more significant in the next round, as broadband connections and wireless home networks become more widespread. By signing up customers for Xbox Live now, Microsoft hopes to retain their loyalty into the next round.

But perhaps cleverest of all is Microsoft's new software-development platform for games, called XNA, a set of software tools that can be used to write games for PCs, Xbox and the forthcoming Xbox 2. According to Robbie Bach, Microsoft's "chief Xbox officer", insulating programmers from the underlying complexity of the console hardware "creates huge cost efficiency and flexibility." While Microsoft will probably not unveil the Xbox 2 at E3, says P.J. McNealy, an analyst at American Technology Research, the XNA tools will enable the firm to demonstrate the kind of things that will be possible on Xbox 2 when it appears.

The contrast with Sony is striking. While Microsoft is focusing on software, Sony is emphasising hardware innovation for its PlayStation 3. Its plan, which it has yet to describe fully, is to use a new kind of chip, called Cell, as the basis for both the PlayStation 3 and its consumer-electronics devices, such as DVD players. With multiple Cell chips working in parallel, the PlayStation 3 will be a powerful machine. But its radical new architecture will require games programmers to start from scratch. In the meantime, Sony is trying to keep developers focused on the PlayStation 2.

Microsoft senses an opportunity. It is widely expected to steal a march on Sony by launching the Xbox 2 towards the end of next year, kicking off the next round before Sony is ready. "Microsoft has taken the gloves off," says Mr McNealy. The PlayStation 3 is not expected until early 2006, and even then only in Japan; analysts do not expect the worldwide launch until late 2006. (Nintendo's successor to the GameCube is also expected in 2006.) Last time around, Sony's 18-month head start and Microsoft's status as the industry's newcomer meant that the Xbox never had a chance of catching up with PlayStation 2; it was always going to be just a trial run for Microsoft. But now Sony and Microsoft look evenly matched--and the battle can begin in earnest.

::: the economist troll

Re:Publish games during the summer season! (1)

v_1matst (166486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591502)

"So why don't video game publishers try to capitalize on the summer months, when the market isn't flooded with competitors and people seem eager to spend money on entertainment?"

My best guess would be because most people go outside and do things in the summer. Most of my gaming is done in the winter when there isn't much to do outside and I just feel like being lazy and warm inside.

Most people want to get out of the office/house/dwelling/box/whatever during the summer and enjoy nice weather and outdoor activities. I couldn't imagine rushing to the store to get the latest and greatest game only to spend my precious summer hours in front of the TV.

I like gaming just as much as the next Joe Blow, but summer is not the time for it IMHO.

Blame it on Mom (and her stock investments) (4, Informative)

superultra (670002) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591773)

So why don't video game publishers try to capitalize on the summer months

Easy. Games are sold retail, and retail is Christmas. No matter how many dedicated gamers exist that would buy games in the summer, it can't compare to the legion of mothers and wives that walk into game stores at Christmas.

Moreover, because retail is Christmas, investors expect high fourth quarter earnings. Say you're Vivendi, and you release Game X in August. For the same, it sells well. Let's say 2 million units, hypothetically. Now, release the game game fourth quarter (xmas), and due to competition you only sell 1.5million.

You've made less money, and probably spent more in advertising to get it. But because investors pay far more attention to fourth quarter earnings than third, every dollar made during Christmas is technically worth more to the company than if that dollar had been made in summer.

Even Hollywood adheres to retail law. It's best season is probably summer, but when it has to go through a retail channel (DVD sales) the studios plan their most profitable releases for Christmas. If there's any deviation, it's only because the picture companies are more financially secure than the gaming companies.

Re:Blame it on Mom (and her stock investments) (2, Funny)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9592255)

Just so were're straight:

I buy nothing at christmas time. (i hate to shop)
My wife buys nothing at christmas time. (she LOVES to shop)

Why? The mall is a fucking nightmare. 20 minutes to park, 10 minutes to walk from the end of the parking lot, shelves that look like they were ransacked by a bunch of kids on speed, and lines that make the DMV look good.

We finish all our shopping by november 1.

I personally like to do any shopping in the summer, in nice air-conditioned malls where everybody is wearing the skimpiest... I mean, hum, latest...

Re:Blame it on Mom (and her stock investments) (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9597310)

Yes, but you're not part of the sheepish majority. Everybody starts buying thanksgiving weekend because Joe down the street, and Jane at work are buying.
There's a reason the mall is a nightmare, and its cause everybody is there shopping!

Re:Publish games during the summer season! (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 10 years ago | (#9594893)

I agree. We always have the summer lull. Nothing really gets released, especially on consoles until the fall. Then all of a sudden everything blitzes the shelves and it's tough as nails to keep up.

Midway is doing it this way (1)

grahamwest (30174) | more than 10 years ago | (#9596061)

The game biz is more like the music biz than the film biz. Glut of titles in the 4th quarter, only big established artists do well then and the rest wither on the vine. New artists that get launched in the 1st quarter benefit from the breathing space.

We just followed this model by releasing The Suffering in March, NBA Ballers in April and Psi-Ops in June. Mortal Kombat is coming towards the end of the year. The results seem to be paying off since those games have sold decently.

None of this is rocket science, as you point out, and I'd be surprised if other companies aren't working towards it as well. It depends where your games are in their development schedules as to when you can start adjusting their release dates.

I would take slight issue with your use of Warcraft as an example. There are a very few games released each year that will generate monster sales no matter when you release them. Halo 2 and The Sims 2, Gran Turismo 4... no-one wants to go up against them with anything. I'd say the Warcraft games fell into that category. Far Cry might be a better PC example - it wasn't already a guaranteed home run.

Rhetorical or redundant? (3, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590210)

Is there really a reason for game creators to worry about what sales Santa will bring them?
Yes. It's all explained in the article, nice and simple. You even quoted some of it, look!

Re:Rhetorical or redundant? (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590553)

well, the way they explain it is that: ***"The report, authored by analysts Gary L Cooper, Eric K Brown and John P Newell, details key clashes between major titles in almost every genre - and presents a convincing argument for the claim that "apart from The Sims 2.0, we do not consider any game this holiday out of harm's way of the competition.""***

so it should be a sweet season for the _gamer_, the reason why it would be hard for the gamemaker is that CRAP TITLES WON'T SELLL. though, it's all about the marketing anyways and god knows how the hell these guys can even predict what games will actually be on sale durin the xmas shopping season.

Re:Rhetorical or redundant? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9593411)

Any game coming out by Xmas would be 2/3 through development by now likely with screenshots and early betas shown to magazines for previews.
CRAP TITLES WILL SELL. Un-crap titles without heavy marketing might not.

Re:Rhetorical or redundant? (1)

Spankophile (78098) | more than 10 years ago | (#9594679)

Well, you said it yourself:

CRAP TITLES WON'T SELL

Unfortunately, as often happens in the gaming world, GOOD *TITLES* turn out to be CRAP *GAMES*, and *DO* sell... (i.e Enter the matrix, driv3r etc... i know this isn't really what you meant by Title.. but I'm using your language to make a point.

The bigger problem is that GOOD GAMES don't sell because they don't have the brand recognition.. so instead we're getting sequel hell now (Jak3, Ratchet 3, residentEvil 4)... god help you if you have a great new platformer without a number after it.

So... if your local game retailer isn't even going to give shelf space to an unknown brand, what chance does it have of establishing itself?

Meaning of Christmas (5, Funny)

LifesizeKenDoll (783854) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590223)

I think we're forgetting the real meaning of Christmas - The birth of Santa

Re:Meaning of Christmas (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590481)

I thought it was to celebrate how the Tooth Fairy gave birth to Linux, with Santa as the proud father?

Oops, I just got a kernel panic, I have to change diapers. BRB.

Re:Meaning of Christmas (1)

Hassman (320786) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591900)

Santa banged the Tooth Fairy? Man Mrs. Claus is gonna be pissed!

Wait...does this make Linux a bastard?

Re:Meaning of Christmas (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#9594072)

Man Mrs. Claus is gonna be pissed!

Where have you been? Mrs. Santa was having it on with a few of the elves when Mr. Santa came home unexpectedly. She still got the house, two of the reindeer (Donner und Blitzen) and 250,000 miles worth of wrapping paper while Mr. Santa got to keep the workshop, the sled and the rest of the reindeer. Oh, and 600 trillion tons of coal...

I guess this Christmas will suck, after all.

Re:Meaning of Christmas (4, Funny)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590740)

As we all know, Christmas is that mystical time of year when the ghost of Jesus rises from the grave to feast on the flesh of the living! So we all sing Christmas Carols to lull him back to sleep.

Re:Meaning of Christmas (1)

Rethcir (680121) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591049)

Outrageous, How dare he say such blasphemy. I've got to do something. Like, develop a sense of humor?

Re:Meaning of Christmas (1)

FreeForm Response (218015) | more than 10 years ago | (#9593664)

I have nothing to contribute to this post but hysterical laughter. I can only hope it will be enough. =D

Re:Meaning of Christmas (1)

LifesizeKenDoll (783854) | more than 10 years ago | (#9597111)

Ah, Family Guy is great

Re:Meaning of Christmas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9593739)

Yeah, ham.

Mmmm... ham.

Christmas Madness (4, Informative)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590239)

It's crazy some of the titles that get released at Christmas. All the big boys (well, er... let's make that EA) release big, often licensed games for Christmas, with a huge amount of advertising.

I find it bizarre that publishers put out games like 'Metal Arms: Glitch in the system' at that time which while being a very good game, is hardly going to be able to compete with all the big-name licenses out there at the time.

You have to remember that many of the games that are bought around Christmas are bought for someone else. When Mum, Grandpa or Uncle Alf goes into a game store looking for something to buy little Jimmy, they're going to go for something safe with a brand they recognise. That means FIFA, James Bond, The Matrix, Star Wars, WWE, or something they've seen a lot on the TV.

Re:Christmas Madness (2, Interesting)

jennifer_l (755361) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590765)

Publishers seem to think that because lots of people buy games at Christmas it means that lots of people will buy THEIR games. It's just not the case. However we're seeing more and more games released throughout the year, but with fairly bad sales - because there just isn't that impetus to buy, buy, buy! Releasing a fairly low-cost game around about the January sales might work, when people are actively hunting through the bargain bins, but a full price blockbuster without a "hook" to get the consumer buying it (and so MANY of these hooks are movie tie-ins, or sequels!) just isn't gonna cut it at christmas. I'm surprised that this is "news" -- but then previous years have seen a lot more innovation and a lot less reliance on piggybacking off big names and sequels, I guess.

Re:Christmas Madness (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590782)

Dont people usually ask the kids what the want for X-mas?

I remember getting Mega Mans, Super Marios, etc. for birthdays and holidays...

Oh wait... That was before we had licensed stuff like Mary-Kate and Ashley, WWE, etc.

Speaking of liscensed games, can anyone blame Nintendo's old iron-fist managment over what came out? Look at half the stuff on the market today! What once was gestapo tactics would almost be a blessing now

And the rest of the world marches on... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9590242)

Somehow making it through the day doing a thing called work instead of thumping buttons.

Re:And the rest of the world marches on... (1)

YaRness (237159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591720)

and since most of us sit at desks all day in front of a computer, how is it again that work is different from thumping buttons all day?

Doom 3 anyone? (1)

sammaffei (565627) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590745)

Did they forget that this is coming out? Will sell tons...

Re:Doom 3 anyone? (3, Informative)

EddieBurkett (614927) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591199)

Doom 3 is scheduled for an August release, and this article pertains to the Christmas season. I know retailers are trying to start that earlier and earlier every year, but assuming Doom 3 comes out on time, I don't think its applicable to the discussion.

Besides, someone mentioned that the article talks about how publishers will have clashing titles. Doom 3 will probably clash with Half-Life 2, so again that would affect its ability to *guarantee* being a hit, at least as far as this discussion goes.

That said, I too expect Doom 3 to sell like gangbusters.

Re:Doom 3 anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9592351)

That said, I too expect Doom 3 to sell like gangbusters.

Just a minor point: I actually played Doom 1 and Doom 2 when they came out, and I can tell you that their popularity was largely based on the fact that they were completely free. Everybody had a floppy of it! Therefore, I expect Doom 3 to get a few sales, followed by a few million uploads and/or CD burns. Expect ID to write off the development cost and later charge out the @$$ for licensing the engine.

On a related note (5, Interesting)

Slyght (784581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590858)

Is it just me, or has anybody been noticing that everything's just been going bad for developers nowadays? I mean, it seems like every other day you go on Slashdot or Gamespot and there's an article about a development studio getting shutdown, or a publisher laying workers off, or a company's earnings report lower than last year, etc. People always talk about the video game being a growing industry, but all it seems to be is shrinking. This is very discouraging to somebody such as myself who is in the game development industry, because it feels like this industry is going to collapse any second.

Re:On a related note (4, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591423)

2 things are happening.

Firstly, PC games are being overtaken by console games.

And secondly, larger studios are getting bigger and more market share at the expense of smaller studios.

Re:On a related note (1)

gamgee5273 (410326) | more than 10 years ago | (#9594471)

And a third:

Games are cooling down in Japan, which has always accounted for many of the sales in the gaming market.

That said: I think it can be reignited once the PS3, the next Game Boy and (if it is more compelling than the GameCube) the Nintendo Revolution come out. But, other than the PS2 and the Dreamcast, this crop of console hardware and games has been rather underwhelming over there...

Re:On a related note (1)

Propagandhi (570791) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604743)

Just as a clarification, console games have nearly always dwarfed PC games in terms of net sales (aside from a few exceptions)...

Sure enough. Acclaim down the drain. (3, Informative)

ballpoint (192660) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590905)

link [yahoo.com] .

Re:Sure enough. Acclaim down the drain. (1, Funny)

FeetOfStinky (669511) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591527)

No one can incur the wrath of Mary-Kate and/or Ashley Olsen and survive!

Alas, poor Acclaim! I knew them, SubZero: fellows of infinite bugs, of most craptastic entertainment...

But will the prices actually go down? (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591711)

Of course some games will crash and burn. If the industry insists on fixed pricing, then it is inevitable that consumers will only buy the most publisised games, as this is the only criteria, other than biased reviews [slashdot.org] that they have. Whereas if some games were cheaper they could take that into consideration when buying.

If studios are worried, then they should cut the prices of their games. That way more will sell. Better than none selling at all.

Re:But will the prices actually go down? (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 10 years ago | (#9599541)

In an interesting twist on the standard in industry pricing (which Slashdot [slashdot.org] previously covered), Sega's ESPN NFL 2K5 is an astoundingly low $20.00.

Remarkably (and understandably, imho), some fans of the series have been worried that because people view $50.00 as the entry point for "good" games, people will pass on a $20.00 game because it obviously sucks if it's so cheap.

Visual Concept (the developers of the game) and Take 2 interactive's response to this argument can be read here [gamespot.com] . Quite an interesting read. Gaining market share is absolutely crucial for the future of the Sega NFL franchise, and they know it.

you have to remember the different demographics (4, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591748)

They need to sell/market games based on demographics.

For example, games aimed at younger kids should come out around christmas because thats peak season for them. (being that most of those games are bought by parents).

And games aimed at older kids/teenagers/young adults (who increasingly have part time jobs e.g. paper round, fast food or whatever as a source of money to spend on games) should be released at the times of the year when the target audience is most likely to have disposable income and/or free time.

Another thing to remember is that for younger kids, the parents (or grandparents etc) are more likely to be the ones making the decisions on what to buy. Although kids will ask for stuff, just because the kid asks for Gorefest Fighters 3005 Extra Special Extra Super Gore Violence Edition doesnt mean that they are going to get it (cue simpsons quote about episode with bart wanting Bonestorm and ending up with a golf game instead)

On the other hand, bigger kids/teanagers/young adults (and also adults) are going to be more liklely to be making their own decisions on what games to buy (especially if its their own money they are spending)

I do think that there is a market for smaller games (that dont have a huge name/licence attatched). However, that market disappears when the studio does the wrong thing and spends big $$$ on the production.

Ooh, the insight (4, Funny)

metamatic (202216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9591922)

GTA: San Andreas will be coming out in, what, late October early November?

Ooh, the poor publishers, I'm sure they'll hardly sell a single unit of it.

shelf space (2, Insightful)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9592168)

some games will just not receive any shelf space from retailers,

Looks like there's opportunity for more retailers. Or a lumberjack could just go and build them more shelves...

Here's the true question: When will Border's bookstore start carrying video games? They already have videos...

But the greater question is: whay do those games not sell?
Ah, because people don't tire of them as quickly... They are too cheap to make real money for the amount of hours of entertainment they provide. Yet gamers won't spend more than 60 bux.

The solution for the gaming industry: go open source. Work with each other, instead of reinventing the wheel with every little detail. Provide game networks at low cost. It will eliminate piracy (nothing to pirate when the source is available), and you will make money on subscription.

On subscriptions: get together and form a payment association/company, and sell game time cards. Price them at $.25 per hour. That way, if I play 100 hours a month, I'll pay $25, but if I only play 10 (which honestly is all the time I can spare, you'll still get $2.50. Right now you're getting nothing from me, since the games are too expensive, and the memberships are too expensive. The last game I bought was Age of Kings in what, 2000?

Another piece of advice: make games that are cinematographically spectacular, yes, but more than that, make games with good gameplay.

Re:shelf space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9593594)

I have worked for EA and on opensource games, so I know both sides of the fence... and the money is most definately on the proprietary side, my friend. For large companies it is all about FRANCHISE and for smaller ones it is about being BOUGHT OUT or getting bucket loads of cash for EXCLUSIVITY on 1 console.

EA makes billions of dollars per year while open source developers drink from goonie bags and eat cheese toasties for dinner. Seriously though, go tell an open source games developer that they're doing a good job or help them squash a bug. It'll make their cheese toasties taste all the more sweeter.

Re:shelf space (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9593787)

If all you care about is money, then sure, go ahead, make mindless games with many colors and market it to the 5-10 years old.

But you're not getting my business.

Re:shelf space (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9597485)

The solution for the gaming industry: go open source. Work with each other, instead of reinventing the wheel with every little detail. Provide game networks at low cost. It will eliminate piracy (nothing to pirate when the source is available), and you will make money on subscription.
So the business model is
1. Go open source
2. ???
3. Profit!
Game developers already work together, thats why games license other game engines, the reason we have halflife is because they had access [homelanfed.com] to the quake engine.
The problem if you go open source is that everybody will be able to setup their own networks and refuse to pay. Also, having a flexible pay system for subscriptions doesn't make much sense. Its not like the server goes down if you don't play. Whether you play 500 hours or 5 hours, the cost to run the server isn't going to change much.
The last game I bought was Age of Kings in what, 2000?
You do know game prices go down [ebgames.com] over time? You don't have to pay $60 when its released. Game companies release at $40-60 price range to maximize profits, they know there is a certain percentage of people that will buy at that price, then they cut the price later to get the money from another percentage of people, and so on.
Another piece of advice: make games that are cinematographically spectacular, yes, but more than that, make games with good gameplay.
[sarcasm]On another note, Hollywood should make more movies that are as visually spectacular, yet have very deep and thought provoking themes.[/sarcasm]

Games industry should look at books and dvd's (3, Insightful)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9592396)

The games industry needs to get alot better focus on their target audience and the way they spend their income on entertainment (Books, music, dvd's and games). It is simpel micro-economics. Only a small fraction of a monthly income is spent on entertainment in these areas and in my personal experience, if I have bought a book for 20 euros, I won't easily buy a new dvd or game of the same price. It is not that I am not tempted, but I just don't have the money.

The problem with newly released games is that they cost twice as much as a new book (take for instance Confusion Neal Stephenson) For me they go beyond my monthly entertainment allowance and I therefore have bought CSI in the bargain bin this month (only 7 euros) but certainly haven't bought a 50 euro game.

Even worse is that many new games are not as much fun as they appear to be. This is true for cd's, dvd's and books as well. However, the pain in buying the wrong thing is much lower because of the lower prices.

So all in all the games industry needs to make it worthwhile for me to buy a game at a whim, without considering the enormous price and without making me scared that I might have bought a lemon. In order to do this, prices have to come down. Way down to the same level of a good book, cd or dvd.

Christmas sales- only for the blockbusters (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9593424)

Christmas is popular because sales double to triple. However, the number of titles released is an order of magnitude greater. *That* is the fundamental problem-- too many titles chasing too few dollars.

hmm,easy one (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 10 years ago | (#9597202)

"Is there really a reason for game creators to worry about what sales Santa will bring them?"

If they make good games, they dont have to worry.

Sooo... (1)

daemon_mf (786046) | more than 10 years ago | (#9599429)

There saying that games aren't going to make any money except for the ones that do.

You forgot STALKER shadow of chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9601707)

Read all about it on http://www.iamstalker.com
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