This Week In The Business: Basically Dead

This Week In The Business: Basically Dead

"Most developers never really made money. They were able to stay in the business. But the way the deals were structured, they were basically dead." -- Oddworld founder Lorne Lanning, talking about why capitalism is killing games.

Elsewhere in the business of video games this past week ...

QUOTE | "At BioWare, we spent our careers getting people to sit on their butts for hundreds and hundreds of hours. So now this is a way to get kids off their butts and get them outside." -- Greg Zeschuk, co-founder of BioWare, talking about his new game company Biba that creates mobile games for playground time.

QUOTE | "I do not like to use the term 'Free-to-play'. I have come to realise that there is a degree of insincerity to consumers with this terminology, since so-called 'Free-to-play' should be referred to more accurately as 'Free-to-start'." -- Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata, talking about some of his concerns with making mobile games.

QUOTE | "It's always been massively frustrating to me, the 'me too' attitude of many publishers." -- Kuju Entertainment's Gary Bracey, talking about why they have moved from work-for-hire to publishing games.

QUOTE | "We were like, 'Wow, this is it.' This is the future. Then we decided to bet it all on VR." -- Minority Media creative director Vander Caballero, explaining why the Papo & Yo developer is now developing VR games.

QUOTE | "The decision for us to be on the Super Bowl was decided by a bunch of guys in a hot tub while we were on an offsite." -- Supercell media lead Jimmy Lee, explaining why Supercell created the Super Bowl ad starring Liam Neeson.

STAT | $US1.7 billion -- Amount of money Supercell made in 2014 from its hit mobile games, according to the company's earnings report; this is triple its 2013 revenue, and their profits more than doubled to $US565 million.

QUOTE | "I think the issue with whales is that most developers don't actually psychologically get into the head of whales. And as a result, they don't actually empathise with those players." -- Boss Fight Entertainment's Damion Schubert, talking about why we should use the term "patrons" instead.

QUOTE | "The seven-year upgrade lifecycle doesn't work in the face of the two-year upgrade cycles for every other hardware platform. It's so intrinsically built into how consoles get manufactured... I'd be surprised to see another generation." -- Twitch CEO Emmett Shear, talking about why he expects console generations to change form.

QUOTE | "As you play games, you get impact points and you're able to use those impact points for causes you care about." -- Tom Kang, CEO of new mobile game company Zig Zag Zoom, talking about how they plan to have game players be social activists.

STAT | 2.8 per cent -- Amount GameStop revenues rose in 2014, according to the company's earnings report; new hardware sales were up 17 per cent, but new game software sales dropped 11 per cent for the year.

STAT | 3.7 per cent -- Amount digital console game sales dropped in February versus February of last year, according to SuperData; Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare brought in the most money at $US31.6 million.

Top image via Shutterstock

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Comments

    Most developers never really made money

    So, videogames are art, after all.

      Sort of. They're a lucrative product made by artists, but we can't have artists making money, they wouldn't know what to do with it. Money belongs in the hands of corporations and their shareholders. That's why they helpfully arrange to take it out of developer hands, putting it back where it rightfully belongs - with people who already have lots of it.

      Last edited 30/03/15 2:20 am

    Micro transaction is a game genre, Period.

    The seven-year upgrade lifecycle doesn’t work in the face of the two-year upgrade cycles for every other hardware platform. It’s so intrinsically built into how consoles get manufactured… I’d be surprised to see another generation.” — Twitch CEO Emmett Shear, talking about why he expects console generations to change form.

    I suppose if you keep saying this every generation eventually you will be right. At the start and half way through somebody always says there won't be a next generation. If people in 2018 still play consoles than there will be a next generation.

      I think if anything last generation proved that upgrade cycles don't need stay cutting edge. Graphics are better now than they've ever been, but the need for up to the minute top notch power is decreasing. For the majority of it's life cycle the 360 was crap graphically and yet it kept going strong. The XBOX One and PS4 weren't blowing minds at launch and yet they've still succeeded.
      I think the only example of a system dying to hardware going out of date was the Wii, and that was basically just a GameCube. If it had of had HD graphic output it probably could have lasted a lot longer. The PS4 and XBOX One can only really fall to the 4K problem if A) 4K gains more momentum or B) a 4K console comes out and takes off.

      Console specs are viewed relative to the other consoles on the market, and Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have no interest in investing in upgrading and relaunching their hardware every two years, so even if they're in second place due to specs they'll all happily keep the peace by not pursuing shorter generations.

        Current gen consoles are still lacking killer games (system sellers). Games that are fun, engaging, and push the envelope on tech enough they couldn't work on the previous gen. Console specs only matter to the extent that they create new options that are used well by game devs.

        The reason phones are updated every 2 years is that contracts expire and to get you signed up again they need to give you a carrot. Not because the hardware is lacking.

        Hell mobile games seem to be tap the screen and wait or pay.

        I kind of beg to differ - the 360 and PS3 were mind blowing the first time I saw them. I remember in 2009 watching footage on YouTube of the first Ass Creed and GTA IV and thinking that it looked photo-realistic.

        Most people (myself included) weren't cognisant of the great strides in PC graphics leading upto the 360. Case in point most people bought a Wii.

        Ironically this generation looks like less of a graphical leap because so many games (BF3, Halo 4, SC Blacklist) ran HD texture packs off the hard drive to avoid load times issues and RAM bottlenecks

        Last edited 29/03/15 9:42 pm

        Regardless of the why, I think it's a pretty sad state to be in where developers are already running into the limitations of the current/next-gen hardware compared to what they want to do, and CAN do on PCs. From the obvious hitch of load times/draw distance, to the less obvious map/UI/gameplay designs that structure movement so it doesn't run into memory-intensive situations (save points/slots or Destiny's 'orbit' ie: poorly-disguised matchmaking lobby). Hardware is why we can't have nice things, like a Hong Kong in Sleeping Dogs that is a bit more true to life with, say... more than a dozen pedestrians on screen at any given moment.

    Good Guy Nintendo. Saying what we're all thinking.

    FTP is a demo at best. A launcher at worst.

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