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intersting article "the rise of costs the fall of gaming"

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by fr, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. fr

    fr

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    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  2. Morning

    Morning

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    Many AAA companies spend WAY too much money on a single title. Especially when most of it goes to graphics. How about investing in fun gameplay. Because you don't need eye cutting, screen shattering visuals to make a fun game. In the end you get barely 7 hours of eye candy, which is funny because games on consoles don't look all that eye candy any more. Why not invest the money into longer game? People don't want to pay $10 per hour of gameplay. All that combined with DRM on PC makes games a lot less attractive to people.

    I don't mind good graphics but when you sacrifice gameplay for visuals you might as well just make a movie. Nintendo is smart in a way because their games don't need or have complex visuals which cuts costs. Then they rehash their titles a million times which requires less design but they can sell by riding their reputation. Similar to call of duty right now. Businesses make so many bad decisions it's not surprising they're having problems.
    But that's a cursed circle because since they have financial problems they're afraid of risk of implementing new features or even a new IP. Most games shown on E3 2012 were either spinoffs or sequels/prequels. Come on, we want more new IP like Watchdogs or The Last of Us. I am personally tired of Gears of War 35 and Halo 9. I almost feel sick of seeing same bulky men over and over. It's like eating same food all the time. Even if you love it, you still get sick after eating it a lot. Same with games.

    This is why I like indies, while their games are not visually AAA and not nearly as polished, they offer new experiences and a fresh view on gaming. A lot of variety, fun gameplay.
     
  3. echtolion

    echtolion

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    The amount of money that goes into marketing for an AAA title is ridiculous.

    Good graphics can be done on a small budget, look at The Witcher 2, it's one of the best looking games this gen and had something like a $6m budget.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  4. I am da bawss

    I am da bawss

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    Yep, that's the whole reason why console gaming is going to disappear due to the high cost of development and the inherent high risk with such big investment and uncertain return. The extremely high expectation for return of investment force almost every console developers to go for the "safe" bet - sequels and proven gameplay mechanics - which in turn is a vicious cycle that bored the gamers everywhere and decrease the sales. This couple with high initial setup cost for starting a console development studio (licensing, hardware, staff...etc) means there will be fewer and fewer developers going to console development.

    On the other hand, mobile gaming is taking off - with hinted rumor of Apple TV going to support App Store (and possible Apple Smart TV / Apple i-Panel with built in App Store) means mobile gaming will take over from the console gaming.
     
  5. I am da bawss

    I am da bawss

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    That's because the developers CD Projekt RED are from Poland. Many former eastern bloc studios enjoy good profit due to the difference in standard of living and cost of wages.

    The average wage in Poland :
    Software Developer $16,838
    Software Engineer $18,017
    Sr. Software Engineer / Developer / Programmer $27,330
    Software Engineer / Developer / Programmer $14,896
    .NET Software Developer / Programmer $14,723

    http://www.payscale.com/research/PL/Country=Poland/Salary

    It is obvious the wage is 1/4 to 1/10 of average comparable wage in developed western countries.
    So, no, it would take 4x~10x more if the The Witcher 2 was to be developed in western country. That would put it in $24 million to $60 million ballpark - inline with the average development cost in western countries.
    http://www.notenoughshaders.com/2012/07/02/the-rise-of-costs-the-fall-of-gaming
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  6. Aguy

    Aguy

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    Hey I like Gears of War 35 dammit :)

    It's the same thing with movies. They go with a formula that works and beat it to death until people stop buying.
    Friday the 13th 1021
    Nightmare on Elm Street 354,
    Batman Begins, Starts Over, BatChild is Born.

    The formula works which is part of the problem.
    Indies need to keep pushing and finds ways to get the coverage that AAA titles get, even a portion of that market can open the door.
    Live Arcade was supposed to help and that went to the majors also.
     
  7. Morning

    Morning

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    Oh god movie remakes is something I absolutely detest. They pretty much never stay true to the original.
     
  8. yuriythebest

    yuriythebest

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    those are per-year right? cause in ukraine a programmer can expect 1000-2000$/ month
     
  9. Noisecrime

    Noisecrime

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    Interesting article.

    Though like others I feel the costs of producing AAA titles has got silly, anywhere from $30-$100milion (which I would assume includes marketing), and thus requiring millions of copies to be sold just to break even, from a financial point of view its not that outlandish.

    For example Max Payne 3 needing to sell 4 million copies to break even and Dead Space 3 needing to hit 5 million. That sounds like a lot, but then sales wise there are 69 million xbox 360 and 64 million PS3, lets say 100 million total ( reduced for failures/repurchases and people owning both systems), that means the above games only need to sell through to 4-5% of the market, less if they are released on PC.

    Looking at it like that you can easily see how companies might not see it as a problem. Except of course with a few exceptions it is a problem as titles just aren't selling enough. Max Payne only sold 500k at launch and I very much doubt Dead Space is going to do as well as it needs ( indeed all the EA fiddling is in serious danger of putting me right off the franchise).

    I guess it comes down to playing the numbers, hoping that one of the games will hit, as it has been for decades now. One big hit will cover the losses on the misses and then some. Trouble is I don't think that view point is going to be sustainable for much longer. There are better cost to profit ratios from emerging markets (smart phones/tablets), the existing markets are flooded (and have been for some time), whilst there is no new hardware from MS or Sony on the horizon.

    The question is can publishers or rather developers change their ways before this all comes crashing down?

    Although I feel costs need to come down, I don't think that has to impact quality. There was a quote in the article from someone saying they had to spend double the amount of money on new systems due to increase polygon counts and textures. Thing is I don't buy that completely. As far as I'm aware for many years now, artists have been creating very high polygon assets (e.g. characters with millions of polygons) and down sampling the meshes in order to generate good looking normal maps from the originals. In which case, there is no extra cost involved there as you simply downsample to a lesser degree.

    Textures are a bit more problematic, but again just because you increase the resolution of a texture doesn't really mean it takes more time to create, especially as these days most textures come from source photo's or the like.

    I think its more a case of needing to generate a greater number of assets in order to populate your world that is the real problem, but that's solvable by buying in pre-made stuff and tweaking to your own style/needs or even going procedural. We may not be at that point yet, but the market will easily fill that void.


    However overall that article is really only trying to push the Wii-U, which I have serious doubts about. The Wii, was in the right place, at the right time, with the right innovation and at the right price. None of which the Wii-U has going for it IMHO , although it looks like the price will be very reasonable, its likely to be too expensive in the current economic climate. That's not to say it will be a failure, but I just don't expect it to be anywhere like as big as the Wii was, in which case its not going to be as attractive for developers as this article tries to make out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  10. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    Actually it doesn't, marketing is $millions++ more on top of that.

    --Eric
     
  11. I am da bawss

    I am da bawss

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    Yes, per year. In western countries, salaries (for career/permanent position) are usually refer to as "per annum" (per year) basis. So, if you look for a job or offer a job (or just visit any career website) they ALWAYS quote the salary in yearly basis (again, "per annum"). The other norm is to quote for per hourly basis (which is almost always refer to contractors/contract jobs/menial jobs - eg. flipping burgers at McDonald, cleaning toilet, be a code monkey....:D I am joking about the last one!).
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  12. Alex Cruba

    Alex Cruba

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    Todays big companys just do safe stuff... Safe game titles that was selling in the past, safe music actors like bieber, safe film concepts. Don't forget James Bond is frenchise! Normally everyone could do a James Bond filf so. Everything is twisted so.

    Howmany independent titles probably could be done with 6m?

    Most people don't know it's remakes. Ask 100 people around 25 years old, maybe 10 will know where the vault scene in Impossible Mission comes from. It comes from the film Topkapi (1964), funniest thing: They call it a homage officialy... Great...





    Maybe 1 from 10000 knows where the basic idea from Matrix is from... Are you 1 of 10000? So tell me the name of the original movie... ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  13. jasonkaler

    jasonkaler

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    The Matrix is a modern version of the bible ;)
     
  14. andorov

    andorov

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    so... fictional?

    *ducks*

    Anyway, to the topic at hand. AAA studios have lots of costs, and unfortunately, they're susceptible to group-think, which is surprisingly prevalent in human organizations. It basically comes down to studios trying to compete on features that aren't necessarily a requirement, like a full voice acting, etc. Why does this happen?

    Part of it is about covering your ass. If all your peers have full voice acting, do you want to be the CEO who moves against the herd? What if the project fails, what are the chances your decision making is going to get the blame? The larger the organization, the less "controversial" decisions its willing to make.

    Sometimes, its just about competition. Well, they have feature xyz, and we /have/ to compete with that. Its in human nature. You don't want to be the developer with the least shiny game. We all want to impress our friends/peers.

    Sometimes, its about the marketing folks. Polling says multiplayer is hot, SO PUT IT IN EVERYTHING. Like.. Mass Effect 3. I'm not sure anyone buys ME3 for the multiplayer, but they probably spent a lot of time programming all the multiplayer specific stuff in. How much value does it add to the customer? How much would sales be different if ME3 did not have multiplayer? (my guess is, not very much!)

    Overhead. As organizations grow, lots of overheads creep in. Some of the most vilified by the general public are things like "executive compensation," that don't directly impact development. As teams explode in size, there's going to be a huge need for people who are there solely for administrative tasks.

    A lot of it is about risk/reward and profit taking. The video game industry is generally considered to be risky hit-driven business. While this could change over time, current stock holders will assume it to be risky for the given future. As such, they will demand high profits to compensate for the risk. Without getting into too much detail, the market at large has generally provided for a 7% yearly return. So at the very minimum, the game needs to realize that much profit; but usually muuuch more to be worth the investment.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  15. Filto

    Filto

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    Hehe +1
     
  16. n0mad

    n0mad

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    Precisely.
    But once again, investors just don't want to take any risk in front of the kids crowd yelling that a game is S*** if it doesn't have latest DX11 super AA triple fast forward buffering manta vision effect.
     
  17. outtoplay

    outtoplay

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    It's symptomatic of our entire culture - more, faster....the latest blah blah blah. Need to replace your phone ever 9 months? Recall for a moment that your parent's phone probably hung on the wall for years doing it's job, unupgraded. Can't make it to the grocery store or end of the driveway without checking your Facebook wall or texting your BFF? Sorta makes ya sick.

    I secretly hope a new wave of cool creeps over modern culture at some point...the urge to disconnect. Yeah, I wanna play a game by myself and not share my score. I don't wanna know what the hell you did this morning after breakfast. Yeah...I deleted my privacy sucking FB account. Fu_k Mark Zuckerberg, I am not his commodity. I doubt it will happen though. These days folks seem to drawn their personal identity from how many people know how often they scratch their balls.
     
  18. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Really happy they don't stay true to the original. Even better if the story is altered with a different ending. You would agree if they just made a 1:1 remake, because you'd go "um I know what happens next" with better visuals. The point was again...?
     
  19. Morning

    Morning

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    You're not a person who re-watches movies, are you?
     
  20. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    Probably not, but i also hate remakes that are 1:1 with better visuals, i always expect to be surprised somehow you know... XD
     
  21. goat

    goat

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    It's called cooking the books. It's rare that anything is a success unless it's a new company that's too naive to hide their profits. That way they write off the game without having to pay taxes.
     
  22. n0mad

    n0mad

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    I can agree with that.
    This reminds me of this picture I saw on the Fight Club facebook page :

     
  23. rockysam888

    rockysam888

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    (bookmarked)
     
  24. imahaxor

    imahaxor

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    Yeah, glad I'm not the only one who thinks that. The world as we know it thrives on technology, it defines our entire lives. The odds of people giving it up are nonexistent. Personally I think we will end up in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland before we know it, worst case scenario. Or the Hunger Games, that wouldn't be too unrealistic.
     
  25. fr

    fr

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    It's certainly going too fast but I think new technology, if it's not purely marketing, is for the better.
    Imagine if we were still (and only) playing 8 bits games... Or coding in assembler ( ok I exaggerate a little bit).
    And thanks to the evil facebook and twitter it seams to me that it's a lot easier for indie devs to promote their games.
     
  26. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    Thank you for the interesting read, fr.

    I have to wonder how much of the unnecessary cost is derived from the huge development teams. 2 people working for an hour does not equal one person working working for 2 hours. It seems like it would be better to have their staff split up on multiple projects with longer development cycles. I can't imagine the hours that must be wasted just trying to get 1000 people on the same page.

    Yes, imagine if we were still playing 8 bit games. Do you really think kids these days are having more fun playing God of War 3 than we did playing Mario 3?
     
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