Thread: A Thought
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January 11th, 2013, 16:08
Hello,

I just stumbled over this article : http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/1…p#.UPAa5kc0NI4

I quote from there the imho most interesting piece (italics partially by me) :

"The publishers' fear was that, in a climate where piracy is commonplace, original games and new mechanics are far less likely to be successful than games based on previously successful mechanics, established licenses, sequels, and sports."

This is the crux of Ong's argument: it doesn't matter whether piracy is actually a real issue or not. If publishers believe it to be the case, then it all falls down for the developers too.

"There's a perception that the parents/grandparents/non-enthusiast/mainstream/etc. are less likely to go about pirating games," he notes. "Now I want to make this point loud and clear: Regardless of whether it's true that enthusiast/hardcore gamers are more likely to pirate than mainstream gamers, the fact that publishers believe it to be true has a very real, unfortunate and ugly impact on games."
Interesting, isn't it ?

- Publishers believe that Franchises are less likel to be copied ?
- Publishers believe that *original* stuff is more likely to be copied ?
- Publishers decide not to support creators of original stuff because they rather trust their biased view ?

Or what else should I think of this ?

This reminds me of the "Vocal Minority" thing : Assumed the Publishers are the Vocal Minority … - then everything - in the end - revolves around them, and NOT around the original creators !

Two other quotes from that article :

He continues, "Publishers end up catering to that type of buyer instead of the enthusiast/hardcore players. This means that not only are gamers presented with more and more sports/licensed/sequel games in favor of original IP games, but also that even within non-original IP games, the type of design and gameplay will tend toward less innovative/risky mechanics."

As he sees it, the threat and perception of piracy is what is hindering and constraining the potential for innovation and new IP, because publishers are looking to play it safe when it comes to game design.

[…]

"A publisher would go as far as to avoid spending the investment necessary to even release our game in Europe due to their projections of how piracy would impact its sales."

This, adds the Dreamrift founder, means that studios are left in the hugely disappointing position of not being able to release their games worldwide, simply because a publisher believes that the piracy in certain regions will overshadow the potential sales.

A different, although perhaps not even unrelated topic :

On sales in the UK and in the US : http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/1…p#.UPAa7Uc0NI4

Regarding the UK :

And there it is: all the time that software revenues have been decreasing and the total unit sales have been decreasing there has been a rise in average prices each year since 2008. The total rise over the period here is right at 10 percent.
So just what is going on in the UK to drive up prices at the same time that the market is shrinking in value? It's similar to the death of the middle-market that I talked about last year, but worse. I'd refine that thesis now and say that the middle-market and down is falling out, leaving what are largely the big games at the top propping up the entire system.

That is, you have companies like Electronic Arts, Activision, and Ubisoft sinking immense resources into games like Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Skylanders, and Assassin's Creed III and chasing the high-margin consumers. These are the consumers willing to buy two or three new releases in a relatively short period, not the ones who, I suspect, were previously buying Just Dance or Brain Training.

[…]

And when those consumers are gone, the ones willing to pay for cheap software, what's left is just that fat top of the market. That's precisely how one could get average prices to rise while the whole market itself appears to be tumbling into oblivion.


[…]

Moreover, these top 15 titles now represent 71 percent of the entire software market's revenue, up from 63 percent a year earlier. And, although I suspect you've guessed already, it's also true that the average price across these titles also increased.

Olson and his colleagues wrote about this that “these data points suggest well-capitalized publishers with a focus on proven, cross-platform franchise titles are able to outperform the rest of the video game industry despite an aging console cycle.”
Bold printing by me :

Prices on the best-selling products are rising, as the publishers require more margin to pay for their ever larger bets to grab more of the shrinking market. As they abandon the low end consumers, they cede the market to insurgent players who play by different rules in terms of margin and distribution and consumer expectations.
Their real competition now are the developers and publishers who address completely virtual markets with far less overhead. They were born into markets that companies like Electronic Arts and Activision simply weren't bred to address.

These new developers and publishers can make a living, even thrive, selling games at $1 or $2 per unit on platforms like iOS and Android. They are inheriting those consumers who no longer buy traditional game systems and physical game software, reeling them in with inexpensive or even free-to-play software with in-app purchases. These games simply cannot deliver the experience that Call of Duty can on a console, but they don't have to. They just have to be good enough and priced low enough for consumers to buy them.
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/1…p#.UPAa7Uc0NI4

If you read the whole article, make sure to read the comments there, too !

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; January 11th, 2013 at 16:25.
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