This Week In The Business: A Price Cut Already?

What's happened in the business of video games this past week ...

QUOTE | "We expect the Xbox One to sell as many units as the PS4. If we are wrong, we think that Microsoft is prepared to lower price next year." — Analyst Michael Pachter, reacting to Microsoft's reversal of policies concerning connectivity and used games for the Xbox One.

QUOTE | "Nintendo are brilliant about bringing people into the industry, and I think their hardware is starting to get in the way of that." — Veteran designer Peter Molyneux, talking about how the Wii U just doesn't seem to be world-changing like some earlier Nintendo hardware.

QUOTE | "Massively harder. Ridiculously harder. Most of us are dead and gone." — Digital Extremes creative director Steve Sinclair, explaining what it's like for mid-size development studios these days.

QUOTE | "We're a believer on the Wii U." — Martin Tremblay, Warner Brothers Interactive president, talking about how the publisher is still committed to doing more Wii U titles.

QUOTE | "We're not actually talking about Wii U yet." — Call of Duty: Ghosts executive producer Mark Rubin, explaining that he really doesn't know if Activision will do a version of the game for the Wii U.

STAT | $US12 billion — Projected revenue from mobile gaming worldwide in 2013, according to App Annie and IDC; in-app purchases account for more than half of that, and the percentage is growing.

QUOTE | "People lost friends and colleagues that they have battled through projects with." — Mark South, COO of Little Big Planet Vita developer Double Eleven, talking about the strain of downsizing the studio.

QUOTE | "If you don't focus on a few features, then you're going to end up with an average, crappy game." — CD Projekt Red executive producer John Mamais talking about The Witcher 3 design process.

STAT | 44% — Drop in US retail sales of entertainment software in May, according to NPD; hardware sales fell 31% and accessories fell 6%.

QUOTE | "The fact is it's a tool — a weapon — wielded with a heavy hand by publishers." — Veteran designer Warren Spector, talking about the use of Metacritic in the game industry.

QUOTE | "When you get criticism, that means people are paying attention to your work." — Killer is Dead developer Suda 51, responding to criticisms of how his games portray female characters.

QUOTE | "It's got a lot more legs left in it and the PS4 has given it a shot in the arm." — Sony's UK managing director Fergal Gara, talking about why he thinks the PS Vita has a bright future ahead.

QUOTE | "If you create that structure and have an inclusive culture, women will come to the industry." — Pernilla Alexandersson, CEO of gender equality consultancy Add Gender, talking about improving the role of women in the industry.

QUOTE | "We're not gunning for Call of Duty. We're doing our thing." — Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella, talking about how his new game Titanfall is not competing with the franchise he helped create for Activision.

This Week in the Business courtesy of GamesIndustry International

Image by Shutterstock


    In all seriousness the XBone would be an easier choice if the price was the same or lower than the PS4. Especially now that there's no 24hr check in.

    Last edited 24/06/13 11:13 am

      Yeah, at the same price I would be very tempted. Y'know. For teh haloez.

      I won't, because we've seen the True Face of Evil nice and early, so Sony (who have been much better at hiding their face of evil) will get my initial cash blowout. But later, when I have cash again? Maybe.

        Nintendo taxed us $50 or $80 for being Australian, MS is taxing us $100, Sony is taxing us $150...

        Personally I have no faith what so ever in the Kinect, I'd like to see it work in my own living room before I give them the benefit of the doubt. I also think despite the machines being nearly identical that the PS4 has superior specs and more resources available due to not running 3 bloody Operating Systems. There's a theory that the Eye Toy for the PS4 will push it higher than the XBone but it's not required so I consider it a moot point.

        Microsoft did show some interesting games, and I'd be up for more Haloez, but they really need to woo me back, and a free game I already own for my 360 isn't enough. With no backwards compatibility here going to XBone or PS4 is a fresh start for everyone.

        Oh and does anybody know if MS learned it's lesson and will allow us to use USB headsets on XBone rather than patch it through the audio system? 360 Headsets are USB powered, I want it to work like a PC/PS3/Wii U where I plug it in a USB slot and it works.

    Jesus. Warren Spector... STILL talking about metacritic? I don't know what's worse. That he's still whining about something which the publishers would have invented themselves if it didn't exist, or that we're still hearing about it.

    Just go back to making games already. Check that... GOOD games, not this Epic Mickey shit.

      I'd be happy with having more Epic Mickey if he actually made it into a good game. The world and stuff is awesome, if it could be not an absolute chore to work your way through it that would be nice.

      See, there's this thing that is fucking up a lot of studios and preventing them from being able to make those great games. It's the standard in the industry that says they only really get paid enough to survive as a studio if they meet an obscure and arbitrary goal with barely defined parameters.

      So he's trying to make a good game. By talking about a really big barrier to the studio and trying to change it.

        The barrier isn't meracritic. The barrier is publishers trying to qualify an artistic/creative work to justify financial decisions. It's a bad place to be in for both parties. In other businesses (and games ARE a business) you can pay your enployees bonuses based on the quality of the work they produce. but how do you measure quality in a subjective medium? You search for an aggregate of critical review.

        If the site didn't exist, publishers would be performing their own, in-house analysis of review scores to create a metric for industry opinion of the 'quality' of the work produced. It's a metric they feel they need to measure performance on to offer financial incentives.

        Try going to the bargaining table and arguing that you deserve bonuses for completion regardless of the quality of the work. And from all we've sen so far, we're only talking bonuses here, not penalties from base pay. What is the point of a bonus if you get it for just turning up?

        If developers have a problem with that line of thinking, they should be pushing - when their contracts are negotiated - for bonuses based on sales performance instead of the quality of the work. However, and this is just a guess, I think developers may have looked at the odds of selling well vs producing good work and decided that they had more control over the latter.

        Spector's complaint seems to me like he's not upset that they're using metacritic as a metric, but that publishers have the nerve to treat a multi-billion dollar industry like a business.

          Is there a single other creative industry that relies on such an arbitrary measure for paying their talent?
          New Vegas is a good example of why it doesn't work. The game sold well and reviewed well. It made a lot of money for the publisher and they were denied something in the realm of 2 million dollars because it scored one point below an arbitrary notch that suddenly made the game worth 2 million more than before.

          I don't have a solution, but I don't think it's a zero-sum game as it sounds like you are suggesting. Fact is that damn near every studio has a problem with this stuff, but they don't have the power or stability to do anything about it. Probably because they are always working the studio equivalent of paycheque to paycheque. Pushing in negotions only works when there is an alternative, or you have something that the publisher knows cannot ever be replicated. When the business model of the publisher doesn't care about artistic merit, your excellence as a game maker has no power.

          He won't shut up about it because he's one of the few with the industry clout to talk about it without being blackballed. I don't have a solution, but clearly there's a problem and not talking about it isn't going to fix it.

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