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    iTech Post: The B Game is Doomed

    As the cost of developing video games continues to rise, big publishers like Ubisoft and Square-Enix have become increasingly conservative. The recent releases of BioShock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Call of Duty all point to the continuation of sequelitis that's been happening for years now, and, to many, it's doubtful the PS4 and Xbox 720 can turn things around.


    "On one end of the spectrum you will have all the big, AAA blockbuster games that [offer] more and more production values, more value for the players, but there will be fewer of them taking a bigger chunk of the market," Mallat said to GamesIndustry International.



    As with any industry, though, big budget blockbusters are important. But even as more artists break free, go indie, and publish their games digitally, or on tablets and mobile phones, games that could previously be developed using mid-size budgets will become rarer and rarer.


    "The in-between, the belly of the market, is the one that just collapsed in a way and disappeared," Mallat added. "Meaning there is no room for B-games, if I should say so, which proves the point of quality. I think that companies that put quality and consumer value as a primary focus, as we've been doing at Ubisoft, will enjoy great success."
    Even though development costs are expected to rise with the arrival of Xbox 720 and PS4, Mallat said that, for his company at least, money issues have become more manageable. Still, it looks like in order to make money as a mainstream, physical disc developer, you need to go big or not bother.


    "It's a question of bringing quality content to the gamers and enjoying great success thanks to that," Mallat explained. "So it's OK to invest more when you get more in return."


    Ultimately, this isn't really a surprise considering the market already. Most big-selling PS3 and Xbox 360 games are sequels, but the continuation of this development is still a shame. BioShock Infinite and Call of Duty are fine, and I'm sure Assassin's Creed 4 will delight, but many of the most memorable PS2/Xbox/GameCube games were B titles. In their absence we can only hope that the greater relevance of (and access to) indie games will make their disappearance less painful.
    Source.

    A lot of this has been said before and is expected, but I definitely think they're right and that this is a good thing. I think it's excellent that developers continuously have to up their standards in order to stay relevant, and it'll mean that the video game library, while perhaps not as large as it has been in the past, will contain only high-quality titles.
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    I don't understand. Nextgen's move to an x86 style development should actually lower costs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rekmon View Post
    I don't understand. Nextgen's move to an x86 style development should actually lower costs...
    I thought this as well. Anyone care to clear this up?





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    Quote Originally Posted by Rekmon View Post
    I don't understand. Nextgen's move to an x86 style development should actually lower costs...
    But wasn't the xbox already using x86? So wouldn't this be mute In a way. I thought x86 was just a big deal because ps4 its using it.

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    They do have a point. I believe moving to x86 is starting to make sense now. If they don't try to combine the tech cross-platform, we will continue to have a split base.

    It's almost like MS and Sony both went behind doors and said, "Ok, let's go with a similar architecture so we can port games easily across our platforms." This should also include PC for obvious reasons.

    You have to understand that not everyone is going to buy the next-gen console...the market is getting saturated and millions of gamers are happy with PS3/360/Wii-U and even Wii.

    All of those B games are moving to handhelds where it's still viable to make profits off them. Then we have mobile gaming for indie developers...that's also something both MS/Sony are going after.

    They're really trying to cover all bases, thus why they're both sort of going after the mainstream (including women).

    The economy ain't getting better, especially the world economy. They know that it's time to go for the tried and true rather than going crazy and making development more costly.

    The issue is that gamers are split between different platforms so it's going to kill the B game market even more than it did this time around...thus why we didn't see a new Jak or Thievius Raccoonus etc. People are interested in online games, it's easier and much more profitable to sell them a $#@!ty game that has a great co-op mode.

    So why spend time with creativity when you can just keep rehashing with newer content.

    I'm sure I'm not hitting all sides of it but it's very clear that next-gen is going to decide if the market can continue to survive or not. So we should be sort of cheering for both MS/Sony for trying to get mainstream into it and/or their attempt to find other means of revenue (entertainment).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robardian View Post
    But wasn't the xbox already using x86? So wouldn't this be mute In a way. I thought x86 was just a big deal because ps4 its using it.

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    No, 360 uses a PPC processor. Thought that's a lot closer to x86 than the CellBE in the PS3 is!

    The "big deal" about the PS4 (and supposedly the NextBox) using x86 is that it is an old been around tried, true, and understood hardware setup to code for. It should be easier, faster (and in turn cheaper) to code for than say for example the Cell.

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    Ca we define B game for a bit of clarity, some examples maybe? Obviously you have AAA like Halo, Uncharted, GTA, COD. And you have little PSN/XBLA games, are B games everything in between?

    Also, costs will only rise significantly if publishers are retarded and continue to push the industry down the road of implosion

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rekmon View Post
    No, 360 uses a PPC processor. Thought that's a lot closer to x86 than the CellBE in the PS3 is!

    The "big deal" about the PS4 (and supposedly the NextBox) using x86 is that it is an old been around tried, true, and understood hardware setup to code for. It should be easier, faster (and in turn cheaper) to code for than say for example the Cell.
    That's true but the issue is that the market just won't be there...so even if it's easier, it's still more costly overall than it used to be 10 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn View Post
    Ca we define B game for a bit of clarity, some examples maybe? Obviously you have AAA like Halo, Uncharted, GTA, COD. And you have little PSN/XBLA games, are B games everything in between?

    Also, costs will only rise significantly if publishers are retarded and continue to push the industry down the road of implosion
    i.e. Twisted Metal would bomb in today's market.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sufi View Post
    i.e. Twisted Metal would bomb in today's market.
    Only because the goal posts have moved this generation. These games aren't selling less but publishers expect them to sell more. It's unrealistic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn View Post
    Only because the goal posts have moved this generation. These games aren't selling less but publishers expect them to sell more. It's unrealistic
    Exactly right. When I see a game that sold 1 to 2 million and publishers still aren't happy I just kinda lose faith. Especially when that means we can't a sequel to a fantastic game like bulletstorm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robardian View Post
    Exactly right. When I see a game that sold 1 to 2 million and publishers still aren't happy I just kinda lose faith. Especially when that means we can't a sequel to a fantastic game like bulletstorm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn View Post
    Only because the goal posts have moved this generation. These games aren't selling less but publishers expect them to sell more. It's unrealistic



    Quote Originally Posted by Sufi View Post
    That's true but the issue is that the market just won't be there...so even if it's easier, it's still more costly overall than it used to be 10 years ago.


    i.e. Twisted Metal would bomb in today's market.
    Didn't twisted metal kinda bomb anyways?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rekmon View Post
    I don't understand. Nextgen's move to an x86 style development should actually lower costs...
    I think it just to draw in more devs(indies, small third party) support and not really have anything to do with cost. because it doesn't matter how friendly they make the hardware these things here--->licensing, actors, high end mocap tech, famous music composer(ex. Hans Zimmer), etc. will drive up cost faster than u can say "WTF?"

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    I have to completely disagree. This to me is like, in the movie biz, saying you're gonna throw out the Sundance festival and all B movie production. Will those movies ever make as much as Hollywood and their big budget movies? No but there is a market for those movies.

    Its not improving the standard. Its forcing companies to spend more money. There are a great many indie low budget games I've played on PC and that's where they will stay for just this reason. Consoles are not friendly to those kinds of games.

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    I don't think the cost will be close to as much compared to developing for the PS3. There is no way in hell that even an upped cost for developing will be just as much. Bioshock: Infinite, they spent so much money on that game that a return of any kind would be impossible. To what the game is and how much money they put into it, they were going to get a kick in the ass no matter what.
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    Yeah, this is definitely not a good thing. Smaller developers can only compete with higher budgets and it's killing them. As a high-risk formula, everyone is continuing to do the tried-and-true, lacking in innovation. It's the smaller games that innovate. Also this gives developers less options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn View Post
    Only because the goal posts have moved this generation. These games aren't selling less but publishers expect them to sell more. It's unrealistic
    Quote Originally Posted by Robardian View Post
    Exactly right. When I see a game that sold 1 to 2 million and publishers still aren't happy I just kinda lose faith. Especially when that means we can't a sequel to a fantastic game like bulletstorm.
    Sent from my HTC-PG762 using Tapatalk 2
    Well, the issue isn't that they aren't happy with a couple of million now, the issue is that a couple of million now means the break-even point. The costs are so high that they don't make much money off a couple of million.
    Quote Originally Posted by Robardian View Post
    Didn't twisted metal kinda bomb anyways?

    Sent from my HTC-PG762 using Tapatalk 2
    Exactly my point. Now look at Twisted Metal on PS1 and see how well that game was received.

    Quote Originally Posted by podsaurus View Post
    I have to completely disagree. This to me is like, in the movie biz, saying you're gonna throw out the Sundance festival and all B movie production. Will those movies ever make as much as Hollywood and their big budget movies? No but there is a market for those movies.

    Its not improving the standard. Its forcing companies to spend more money. There are a great many indie low budget games I've played on PC and that's where they will stay for just this reason. Consoles are not friendly to those kinds of games.
    You can't compare movies to games. Everyone can watch any movie (virtually), whereas if I don't have the next-gen console, I can't play certain games. That is their biggest problem, on top of rising costs as people will only buy the next console if the games are better technically (which means high costs). So instead of making the generations longer (than it already is) so more people jump to the next when it's time, they're just trying to keep the costs low, let's see how it works out for them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Coconut_Crunch View Post
    I don't think the cost will be close to as much compared to developing for the PS3. There is no way in hell that even an upped cost for developing will be just as much. Bioshock: Infinite, they spent so much money on that game that a return of any kind would be impossible. To what the game is and how much money they put into it, they were going to get a kick in the ass no matter what.
    The development cost for PS3 is fraction of the issue at large. With next-gen coming around, we'll see more prominent actors, more sophisticated tech for motion-cap, more features, more add-ons, just more of everything. The costs are going to go up because as it's going to get more sophisticated, it will take longer to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Naxi View Post
    Yeah, this is definitely not a good thing. Smaller developers can only compete with higher budgets and it's killing them. As a high-risk formula, everyone is continuing to do the tried-and-true, lacking in innovation. It's the smaller games that innovate. Also this gives developers less options.
    I think a lot of these developers also need to get smarter. They can just put out more digital games at lower costs, I know that didn't really take off this generation but I think it's the future. Look at Steam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sufi View Post
    I think a lot of these developers also need to get smarter. They can just put out more digital games at lower costs, I know that didn't really take off this generation but I think it's the future. Look at Steam.
    This is the only place where the middle can live. Sell it on the internet or through crowd-sourcing, that doesn't really work with console games though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn View Post
    Only because the goal posts have moved this generation. These games aren't selling less but publishers expect them to sell more. It's unrealistic
    I agree. It seems like publishers are viewing games that sell 1 or 2 million copies as failures or not enough. And then on top of that theres talk that they are considering raising game prices to $70. Ridiculous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radgamer420 View Post
    I agree. It seems like publishers are viewing games that sell 1 or 2 million copies as failures or not enough. And then on top of that theres talk that they are considering raising game prices to $70. Ridiculous.
    They're not doing it to be greedy. Think about it, did we have motion capture on PS2 (I bet very few games had it), did we have it on PS1? All of this stuff requires a lot of money and is expected by everyone.

    I'll guarantee you that people would whine if GTA5 did not have a popular hollywood actor in it.

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    Developers are going to have to get smarter if they want the market to survive. As Sufi said, the more prices and expectations rise, the more saturated the market will become. The most feasible way for this to happen would be for developers to continue embracing digital formatting over physical distribution. I imagine that alone would reduce costs quite a bit, although perhaps not as much as possible, at least not until more developers to decide to do a full-shift, as opposed to a side-by-side digital and physical release.

    It is troubling to consider that the innovation of gaming is passing away, but I think that there's potential for that to change. Sony and Microsoft will continue doing what can make them the most revenue, but eventually (as we've seen in several threads on these forums) the gaming community's demand for new experiences will rise. Sony's 'Knack' for the PS4 is one good indication that these companies realize that there is still a demand for new, creative experiences that go outside of the charted territory. With that, I think it's possible for us to continue getting innovative experiences throughout the next generation, even if they're fewer and far between than they've been previously.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sufi View Post
    They're not doing it to be greedy. Think about it, did we have motion capture on PS2 (I bet very few games had it), did we have it on PS1? All of this stuff requires a lot of money and is expected by everyone. I'll guarantee you that people would whine if GTA5 did not have a popular hollywood actor in it.
    Well then why is it that PC games are cheaper and go down in price faster? As for GTA5 I couldn't care less who's voice is in it. I just want it to be a good game.
    Last edited by mistercrow; 04-15-2013 at 20:08.

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    I don't think they will change the prices of games on the PS4 or the next Xbox. I just don't see the cost to develope being risen so much that it's going to make a different. I believe the cost will be much lower but it will depend how they develop the game. A game like Bioshock: Infinite to cost as much as it said on this site is horrible. I really think that the cost is so high, if it was just made for a PC it might have been much cheaper to produce and if it isn't then it's the developers that $#@!ed it all up and not really the technology being at fault but more on how they executed it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by radgamer420 View Post
    Well then why is it that PC games are cheaper and go down in price faster? As for GTA5 I couldn't care less who's voice is in it. I just want it to be a good game.
    Console games have platform royalties and PC games don't sell as much. There's also Steam which is really generous with prices.

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    i think that companies that put quality and consumer value as a primary focus, as we've been doing at ubisoft, will enjoy great success.


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    Quote Originally Posted by radgamer420 View Post
    Well then why is it that PC games are cheaper and go down in price faster? As for GTA5 I couldn't care less who's voice is in it. I just want it to be a good game.
    I think they're cheaper because they know they don't sell that well. And yea, like Naxi said, no royalties, also extra charge for patches other than the cost to produce them.

    I'm sure there are other factors that I'm still missing.

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