News Article

n-Space CEO Describes the Games Industry as a Mess

Posted by Trevor Chan

"n-Space is down, but definitely not out"

It seems n-Space – the company behind several DS instalments of home console titles – is one of the latest development studios that's resorted to reducing its staff numbers due to the pressure of the economic climate of the last several years. Last Friday's undisclosed number of lay-offs has had the company CEO, Dan O'Leary, updating n-Space's official blog to clear up the situation and prevent further rumours of the studio's collapse from spreading.

After supporting 70-90 employees for several months without funding, Fridays [sic] layoffs were unavoidable. I will be back in the office next week, along with our core team, to firm up a few of the many deals we are negotiating. If all goes as planned we’ll be calling people back before the end of the week.

n-Space has been a long-time developer for Nintendo systems, with several games that have been penned for a 2010 release spread between console and handheld platforms. DS games include titles such as Toy Story 3, TRON: Evolution, GoldenEye 007, and Call of Duty: Black Ops, with the Wii also getting TRON: Evolution - Battle Grids. However, with the growing use of the App Store as an outlet where people can purchase games, O'Leary sees the playing field changing and not necessarily in a beneficial way:

The games industry is, frankly, a mess... Huge budget titles have to sell massive numbers to return a profit and the App Store has disrupted our industry in the same way iTunes changed consumer expectations for music. People that use to buy many games every year now buy a few AAA titles, supplementing their need with games that are free or cost less than a pack of gum. Anything in the “middle” is struggling. The Wii and DS markets have nearly collapsed and 3DS is a brave new world the publishers are excited about but also very cautious to enter. Even for an extremely successful Wii/DS developer like n-Space, with a long history of delivering quality titles on time and on budget, this creates a very challenging business environment.

The latest wave of redundancies was the result of a deal falling through at the last minute. With a positive outlook though, O'Leary wants people to know that n-Space is far from finished:

n-Space is down, but definitely not out.

[via nspaceinc.wordpress.com]

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User Comments (21)

HugoSmits

#2

HugoSmits said:

and we haven't seen the worst yet. I think we will soon see a videogame crash like '83.

A big hollywood movie, which has easily the same budget or more (and a large staff) comes out on DVD for 20 euro (EU) while a game comes out for 60 euro (EU).

I understand that movies also generate a big precentage of income through cinema viewings. But from a consumers perspective that doesn't matter.

And it shows, because apperently people are more then willing to buy cheap games (as the Iphone App market shows).

Shiryu

#3

Shiryu said:

I'm so gonna buy the hell out of "Tron Evolution Battle Grids" for the Wii and their DS counterpart.

PS: The Wii verion is 1-4 players, btw. Your info is outdated.

Hardy83

#4

Hardy83 said:

The problem with movies is at this time they are cheaper to make then games. Indie films cost next to nothing and only a handful of big budget movies surpass the cost of a big budget game, forcing companies to charge games for 60-80 dollars.

There's also the issue of value. Movies get you a 1.5-3 hour of value, maybe a couple more viewings, but consumers are now expecting at LEAST 20 hours of gameplay for a single player game and an almost unlimited amount for multiplayer.

Combine the expectations of replay value and the cost of actually making the games people will buy, you're damn right the industry is in a horrible situation...Well not all of the industry.

"indie" games, if you even want to call them that anymore, will survive. cheap apps on phones are thriving because the cost meets consumer demand, even though most might give someone about half an hour of entertainment.

So yeah, N-Space is right that either you're an "indie" game maker or a huge budget AAA game maker. There is a growing gap in between.

Who's at fault? Ehhh..In my eyes, everyone, consumer and industry are both at fault, though I'm sure some will disagree.

I think it might get better when/if the industry decides to start selling games at half the cost but essentially half the game were DLC really is half the game, but until then, consumers need to get out of the mindset that games have to be a single cost thing now, where everything is in the box so to speak.
Games now a days provide far more value then the old PSN, SNES and NES days. That form of selling games just doesn't work anymore.

Nintendoftw

#7

Nintendoftw said:

The ipod isn't taking any chunk of the DS's market.Only an idiot buys an ipod for games. Especially with it's 2 hour battery life while playing the little 2D flash games.

Slapshot

#8

Slapshot said:

@Nintendoftw... nope your a bit wrong man. People are not buying the DSiWare and in some cases the DS games that are all ports of really good iPhone games because of price. It simply cost too much money to develop for Ninendo consoles and they cant get there return.

But I do have to say this. They are marketing big budget titles in lesser form with Wii and DS. I bought ONE Call of Duty for DS and it wasnt good despite all the high reviews. Simply no reason to own it when I already had the console version.

There games are mostly stripped down versions of their HD brethren and are marketed to the same gamers who mostly own the HD stystems. The same gamers who already own the HD version of the game. Expecting blockbuster success on a stripped version of a game, well its not exactly great for buisness.

HugoSmits

#9

HugoSmits said:

@Faildude:

That's a horrible assumption to make; Most people don't even play
through the hole game.Alot of people don't even have the time
to invest 20 hours in a game. So having 20 hours of gameplay is
worthless to them.

Besides that, people like quality over quantity in the long run.
People rather watch a good movie that only takes 2 hours than to play through 20 hours of boring gameplay.

Ofcourse there are exeptions; games that feature a great expierence for 20 hours. But most of the games don't.

Take the DS market for example, alot of games make the player play the same levels again.. backwards! sure it takes another 5 hours to complete this way.... but is that really justifying the high price tag !?

irken004

#10

irken004 said:

Here's a tip N-Space: You don't have to make the Tron Evolution Battle Grids characters look like something from a Saturday morning cartoon just because it's on the Wii. Just saying :3

Egg_miester

#11

Egg_miester said:

i agree that the gaming industry is a mess nowdays its all about making any many games as quickly as they can to produce more a year to get more money, no matter on the type of dev they are and now with the love of dlc it gives companies the reason to make more half games faster then charge money for users to download parts of games for a complete game

LuWiiGi

#13

LuWiiGi said:

Just spotted a mistake. You said Goldeneye is for the DS but it's actually for the Wii (I think).

@Egg miester I totally agree with you.

JebbyDeringer

#16

JebbyDeringer said:

I've been expecting a crash for the last couple of years and it's in a much worse state now then it was two years ago. The price isn't the only problem, it's also the amount of games. There are so many games out there it's really hard to find the good ones without resorting to reviews. If you thought the Wii was bad have a look at the app-store. Limitless games with most of them $5 or even much less. A lot of them go on sale regularly and there are a number of quality games you can get for $0.99. The prices are starting to rise due to the need to now develop for essentially 3 different devices but they are still cheap. With such low prices it's easy to take a risk but it's also easy to get burned. Thankfully most of the bad games aren't anywhere near as bad as some of the Atari 2600 games that came out.

The problem is compounded by the fact there are so many AAA titles on past generation consoles that can be picked up for cheap as well. The older games are cheap and other than technologically they are as good or better than a lot of newer games. I think a lot of gamers have found themselves more collectors than gamers since they don't always have the time to play everything they buy,

0-172

#17

0-172 said:

@ LuWiiGi: Goldeneye is coming out for both the Wii and the DS. n-Space is developing the DS version.

Token_Girl

#18

Token_Girl said:

The question is, why would people spend $30-$50 (price range for games "in the middle") when there are ports of many of those games for less than $10 on the App Store? It's just obvious.

Yes, you are seeing a "race to the bottom" with App Store games, but it's obviously very possible to turn profits on games or else you wouldn't see so many games on there. Nintendo needs to give third parties MUCH more flexibility on pricing on the DSiWare/WW stores. If you have an iPhone/Pad/Touch WHY would you buy an $8.00 game on DSiWare when the game is $0.99 on the app store? You won't.

I think it'll be a real issue for small devs considering developing exclusives/porting to the 3DS store. If the 3DS is more expensive than the iTouch to begin with, there may not be much of a market for more pricey ports of App Store games.

MeloMan

#19

MeloMan said:

All I know is saturation is NOT the answer when it comes to the shear number of games out there... there's just too many companies putting out too many games, and since everyone can't put out AAA big budget with every hit, everyone is doing smaller good or bad games... mess is a good word, and chaos is another good one. The good part about today is we have more media communication going on than before, so the good games and companies get to rise above the rubbish, but then there's the issue of bad press, which can make or break a game or company... a whole 'nother subject...

rustythekid

#20

rustythekid said:

I like the part where they say they might start calling back staff asap, that's how a real company must act.

And the problem with games not selling is with gamers most of the time. Look at MadWorld for example: Only six bucks at amazon right now. And it's a shame because the game it's awesome.

realar

#21

realar said:

With the big annoying shutdown of knowing sales figures each month, the point of sales doesn't matter anymore. The industry has now sunk this low.

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