News Article

Talking Point: Playing it Safe in Big-Budget Console Games is Stifling Creativity

Posted by Andy Green

Developers cannot afford to take risks

The video game industry is going through a transformational period at the moment. It used to be all about console gaming — whether that be on a system hooked up to a TV in your living room or on the go in the form of a handheld such as the 3DS — but now the market is broader, with the likes of subscription-based gaming, social games and of course the ever-growing area of mobile gaming all competing for consumers' hard-earned cash.

With all these new market entrants, console gaming has found itself losing considerable market share, in fact recent analysis revealed at the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco found digital games, DLC, mobile games, subscriptions, and social network gaming made up a combined 40% of sales in 2012.

For this reason console developers are being squeezed, and one wrong move can lead to the eventual demise of a company.

Junction Point recently closed its doors for good after Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two failed to generate sufficient interest in gamers; Disney deemed the studio unprofitable and simply shut it down. It appears harsh but in an increasingly competitive environment, it’s no surprise that studios can be ultimately closed after one disappointing set of sale figures.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Jade Raymond of Ubisoft said there was still a market out there for big-hitting console blockbusters, however it is now much smaller and she believes there is only room for ten successful ‘triple A’ titles every year:

I think there's still room for really great triple A games that can, despite the budget, retain the classic model of expecting people to pay in one big chunk. There's still room for that. But the big publishers have to be honest with themselves – there's only room for let's say ten successful titles a year on those sorts of budgets. So you have to go all-in on those; you have to be sure you'll have a hit, and when you make it you have to invest everything to make sure it's amazing.

Making sure you have a hit is certainly not an easy task and there’s tonnes upon tonnes of market research involved. Companies have to find out what consumers are currently playing, figure out what they’d want in a couple of years’ time and then develop a game accordingly.

Failure is quite simply not an option, and this seems to be leading to major video game publishers and developers choosing against taking any risks. For this reason we quite often see titles emerge on consoles that are fairly familiar. For example Call of Duty has a system that seems to sell pretty well, therefore the developer will largely stick to the formula when releasing new iterations. New Super Mario Bros. U features tried and tested gameplay that nearly all Nintendo gamers are familiar with; many may have liked to have seen it evolve further, but changing it too much could leave consumers disappointed and the game’s sales may suffer as a result. As a business, Nintendo doesn’t really want that.

Recently, Lars Gustavsson, creative director at DICE, revealed Battlefield 4 would not be coming to the Wii U. The reason behind it was not that the system couldn’t support the game but that his company didn’t want to take the risk of releasing a Wii U edition.

Sometimes, at least for us, it's focusing on what you do well and what you know well, and ensuring that you deliver something good than trying a bit too much, stretching yourself too thin and risking it.

I'd rather play it safe, deliver something really good and then look at the future and what could possibly be done than trying a bit too hard and [failing].

Playing it safe is something a lot of developers are doing, simply because their games need to sell in order for the company to turn a profit. After spending millions of dollars on a game for several years, a failure can kill a company – and it has.

Because of developers ‘playing it safe’ we find a lot of sequels on the shelves of our games retailers. The Assassin’s Creed series is now releasing a game every year, Mario has become one of Nintendo’s biggest staples alongside The Legend of Zelda, and it’s easy to lose count of the amount of Final Fantasy games there are in existence.

Companies have to offer consumers what they want, offering something different is risky and for that reason we find very few new franchises cropping up. Some have tried, but the risk of doing so has been highlighted in recent years with the closures of several businesses.

The Darksiders series, developed by Vigil Games, was something new, but unfortunately the second game in the series, Darksiders II, reportedly failed to meet sales targets, meaning a profit could not be made.

Vigil Games is currently in limbo, with no parent company after the bankruptcy of THQ. Picking up the studio would have been seen as a risk by publishers as it is unknown if there is even a market anymore for the Darksiders franchise. Investors are clearly thinking hard when considering buying the studio, while Volition, for example, was snapped up immediately due to it holding the tried and tested Saint’s Row series.

Other forms of gaming, such as mobile games, have budgets that are much smaller in size than those given to blockbuster titles being developed by the likes of Nintendo and Ubisoft. The money might not be as big, but the fast development turnaround and the ability to be more creative is becoming an attractive option for video game developers.

Recently, five members of staff at Rare made the decision to leave the company and form their own studio. It’s called Flippin Pixels and it specialises in creating games for mobile platforms.

Now, instead of working hard for months on end on a big console title, the team turn games around much faster and is enjoying the creative freedoms brought about by the change.

In an interview with Edge, Steven Brand, studio director at Flippin Pixels, gave his reasons for leaving:

I could either stay in console-land, picking up my salary, and continue to enjoy it… or I can just make that jump and do something I could really grab hold of and make a success out of. For me it was about seizing the opportunity

Small developers such as Flippin Pixels are more adaptable to changes in the industry. New innovations can be brought in and new trends can be captured much more effectively than they ever could be by the console market. Experimentation is also something that can be done in this area, according to the five members of Flippin Pixel.

Steven Hurst, art director at the studio had this to say about what he was so used to after working at Rare for over a decade:

In the console market you just cannot take risks nowadays. If you’re making a AAA title there’s so much invested in it. So much manpower – everything. You have to give the people what they want.

Now he’s creating games on a much smaller scale, but with an increased amount of creative freedom.

Based on the way the market is changing, it’s likely that the most creative games will be found either in virtual stores - such as the Nintendo eShop, PSN and Xbox Live Arcade - or on smaller platforms such as mobiles and tablets. There is just too much at stake for big-budget console developers to experiment in the ways we're seeing in these other areas.


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User Comments (73)



Epic said:

They will soon need to take risks they won't be able to hold like this forever when after all the PS4 and Next Xbox is coming 2013-2014.
Developers must remember you can't stop progress.



Epic said:

Are those games that take millions of dollars to make like Halo, Call Of Duty, Bioshock etc...



Giygas_95 said:

I don't feel like the Wii U is missing much with some of these AAA titles not coming to the platform. Battlefield is just another first person shooter. Sure the graphics are great, but I can get the exact same gameplay out of any current or old CoD or MoH because, regardless of how good graphics are, all you do is run around a battlefield shooting people. It also seems like some of the industry's biggest disappointments are AAA titles, and some of the best games I know of are ones made by independent developers that try NEW ideas. I just can't see how much longer people are going to be interested in games that re-cycle the same formula again and again (same goes for a lot of Nintendo's games). Besides, if you want to play Battlefield, get an Xbox or PS3 (or PS4 when that comes out) because the primary reason you buy a Nintendo console is to play Nintendo's games.



SethNintendo said:

This post pretty much covers my thoughts on most third party developers and the current indie market. I believe this article follows one of my posts in a recent Wii U article almost exactly... I won't take all the credit though.

I'm also tired of hearing that Nintendo doesn't make new IPs. People who say this obviously don't visit Nintendo's eshops.



MAB said:

There will be alot of closed doors during the next gen... Or is that the current gen... Maybe it's this gen... (closes front door)



Peach64 said:

I think you're really twisting the words of the guy from Dice. By playing it safe, he means they have a limited number of guys so want to focus on a few platforms and make those versions high quality, rather than spread their guys out trying to get a version of every platform and have quality suffer. There is no relation to the creativity, the risk is taking guys off the 360/PS3/PC versions to make a Wii U game, and then no version having enough people on it to end up really good.

The end of a generation is ALWAYS like this. The consoles have huge install bases and you need a name to make sure you get the attention of a big percentage of them. It's the start of each generation that usually sees new IPs, since publishers don't want to use up their big name games when install base numbers are still so low. Last gen we got some great games early on such as Condemned, Prey, Dead Rising, Viva Piñata, Gears of War, Lost Planet, Crackdown, Bioshock, Assassin's Creed (although the first game was not great, they were trying something new and nailed it with the sequel), Mass Effect and Mirror's Edge. There were plenty of other new IPs that didn't turn out so great, but they still tried something new such as Ninety Nine Nights, Shadowrun, Call of Juarez, Blue Dragon, Eternal Sonata, TimeShift and Stranglehold.

Studios will close, but those developers will get employment elsewhere. New studios will rise, making smaller games, and the best ones will get bigger again. 2014 and the early part of 2015 will see plenty of new IPs and new ideas. Now is not the time.



SethNintendo said:

@Peach64, EA made a decent amount of new IPs last gen which they are now pumping out the sequels for. However, Activision is a major offender of milking a series to death. We got to say goodbye to Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk. It would be nice to see CoD share the same fate.

You are right about most new IPs coming out early in gen then they sit on their established IPs throughout the rest of the gen.

You could have listed a few new IPs on the Wii like No More Heroes, Endless Ocean, Little King's Story, etc...



rjejr said:

I've been thinking this for awhile now. I've been thinking about it alot as I wonder aloud if the KinectXbox720 will become a DL only system. The Xbox360 pretty much only had Halo and Gears of War anyway, why not do away with big exclusive titles entirely? I play as many PSN games as I do disc based games. I didn't play that many Wiiware games but the pickins were slim, the WiiU looks to be better. Throw tablets into the mix w/ their 99c games and you have to ask yourself, if you can buy a 99c game or a $10 game or a $15 game WHY EVEN BOTHER buying a $60 game?

And that's the real problem. $. $60 games can be awesome, but nobody wants to pay $60 anymore. Wait a few months, wait a year, and that $60 game is $15 or $20. By then the company is bankrupt.

And as much as I usually agree with Peach64, I don't think a huge new wave of IPs are coming out in 2 years @ $60, not when companies can make money selling 99c and $15 games. There will be some of course, but not a ton. Who's left to make them?



Peach64 said:

@SethNintendo Yeah, I was just trying to show that even the consoles that now just get the yearly sequels did get some originality early on. No More Heroes and Zak and Wiki are two of my favourite Wii games, and I even have a soft spot for Elebits.



Ichiban said:

Back when i was in school, games like Banjo-Kazooie, Resident Evil 2, Ocarina Of Time, Goldeneye, and Final Fantasy 7 were what people were playing.
Fast forward to today and everyones playing the same old nonsense like Cod, Assassins Creed, and Fifa year in year out.
People just seem to lack imaginations these days...too much reality tv i say.....such trash



CptStone said:

We need to get Nintendo to advertise this system, Keep sending them emails.. It sucks that Nintendo is the only one to blame, Wii NEED U Nintendo to start fighting like the rest of us for this system, Not getting Battle Field is the biggest hit for me. . . They need to get some real demos on the kiosk's so people can play something like need for speed, that game is great!! If people knew about Miiverse they would buy the system, ITS FREE!!! not the $500+ dollars you spend on the life of a system to play online!!



Dogpigfish said:

If you keep rehashing the same games, you begin to compete with yourself. Current gen consoles are powerful enough and most people haven't owned a high def gaming machine for more than a couple years. The libraries already have enough bargain games similar in quality. Developers need to create a 'Starcraft' or 'Mario kart' that spans several years in sales if they hope to survive. Creativity is the only successful model.



Giygas_95 said:

Funny how consoles keep getting more and more powerful and expand the horizons of what could be done, yet developers just keep making the same sort of games only with better graphics. Eventually, I think, they're gonna have to try something new or people are going to lose interest.



Slapshot said:

Yet, there are still those who are still taking risk out there. 2K Games took a massive risk last year with the absolutely stomach-churning storyline it chose to use in its title, Spec Ops: The Line, which literally gave the finger to the vast majority of modern shooters stereotypical cast and narratives. Instead, it opted to bring the realities of war to a videogame format - it worked, in an way that will give you nightmares for a few weeks.

BioShock Infinite takes an even higher risk by challenging many of the societal issues that plagued modern society for centuries: racism, oppression and glamorization to name a few.

I do agree that the vast majority of big budget titles are going the route of least resistance, but it is just as you stated: the home console market is losing its share to other/newer forms of virtual entertainment. Those who take risk and fail are severely punished. This isn't because of the developers and it most certainly isn't because developers want it to be this way - it is this way because this is how consumers are choosing to spend their money.

Nintendo played a major hand in these changes. It got non-gamers and casual gamers hooked on cheaper titles that are pick up and play friendly hooked, and then the mobile market rushed in to take absolute advantage of this new trend. Nintendo, on the other hand, failed to captivate these new gamers with the Wii U and lost many of its core gamers in the process of acquiring the casuals with the Wii.

New Super Mario Bros. U played it safe, but it isn't selling consoles either - showing that this method doesn't always work too.



chiefeagle02 said:

Enter Kickstarter. Propose a new idea and raise funds for it to see how sufficiently interested people are. Because your funds are independent, you're largely in control of the content.



aaronsullivan said:

I generally agree with the picture painted in the article. I'm really curious about what type of opening salvo is really going to come with the next set of new consoles. What an insane risk to make an exclusive to these systems that is high budget.

On Battlefield and losing it: If you think of Battlefield as a single player game then it's the same old thing, but the multiplayer team play is great in those games, not just typical run-and-gun, gung-ho action like COD. It's somewhat ruined by the progression system which creates a wider divide between inexperienced players and experienced players much faster than usual (or you can pay extra to be "better") but the core ideas for multiplayer including balanced vehicle play (driving, tanks, helicopters, jets) are great. No idea if BF4 is going to fixing any of its problems in multiplayer or what real improvements there will be, but losing it as a possibility on Wii U stinks. For many people it'd be a strong attraction and the 2 screen thing (like COD has) could be a big differentiator in a team game like that even when compared to the new consoles.



BlatantlyHeroic said:

I'm tired of having the same thing over and over again, developers need to get over it and try to create something new.



bizcuthammer said:

This is why things like kickstarter exist: so devs interested in creating something unique and cool can test the market to see how much interest there is in their idea.



Slapshot said:

@aaronsullivan The price develop triple-A titles for next generation isn't actually much higher than the current generation consoles. The PS4's architecture is so developer friendly that not only are many developers showing commitments to it - many are showing real excitement to develop for it.



Legromancer said:

still, one of the biggest and importent games this year is Bioshock Infinite.
And like Slapshot said that game takes some routes that many other studios/publishers would never take.
But it rightfully gets praise from not only every major gaming site but also from mainstream press.
And sadly Nintendo systems will not get the game. And that is a rap you will hear for years to come. Only Nintendo games won't cut it this time. It is okay for me, i have Steam, but it looks like Big N won't take headlines this gen like it hoped it will. It is kind of sad. Not that this is important, but...
Really, games like Bioshock Infinite are the future ( i believe) and show that games can be so much more than just shooting people with nice grafics.
You won't get this headlines from Nintendo this generation.
Just my 2 Cents.



Raylax said:

This is where the Wii U is really going to struggle to keep third parties on board - the Wii had limited 3rd party support, and developing games was relatively "cheap," compared to the huge budgets thrown at PS360 titles. But now the Wii U is running PS360 comparable tech: for 3rd parties looking to the next generation (PS4, X720), "porting down" or making special Wii U versions is suddenly a cost on par with current PS360 titles - really bloody expensive.

And the Nintendo community has proved, continually, that 3rd parties have little place on Nintendo's consoles. Sales are massively poorer compared to Nintendo's own 1st- and 2nd-party titles, and every vague piece of bad news is met with an astonishing level of bile and furious outcry. Nintendo can do no wrong, apparently, yet third parties are always promptly lynch mobbed should one so much as suggest that Nintendo's sinking ship is rather a large risk investment.



Nintenjoe64 said:

Although I'm completely bored with certain big 'AAA' franchises, I don't think their popularity stifles creativity because the big hits pay for the more experimental stuff. I look at the best of the successful games and see loads of creativity, more so than in many of the big Indie games.

My big problem is that all the big games are blending into each other. Eventually even Tetris will be an open world 3rd person action rpg adventure puzzle game where you have to hunt and farm the blocks.



DarkKirby said:

Epic Mickey was a poor example of a game being made out of the norm. Epic Mickey failed because the game was terrible. Disney itself was part of the problem, changing the original idea of the game because they said Mickey games CAN'T have a bad ending, which made all your choices meaningless. The game was also BORING. I purchased the 1st one, and after reading that they didn't even fix the camera for the 2nd one, and Disney still insisted that no bad ending can be allowed so your decisions are still meaningless, there was no way I was purchasing the 2nd one. FPS games keeps selling in the U.S. because there is a devoted FPS fan base who are willing to pay tooth and nail for whatever copy and pasted game with $100 of DLC they are told to buy. If people want to make money on smartphone games I can't blame them, but to say smartphone games are more creative or a better experience then console or PC is ludicrous.



Giygas_95 said:

@Slapshot I read about the plot of SOTL that you mentioned. Sounds bone-chilling...Even Future Soldier, as good as it is, doesn't have that good of a plot.



Squiggle55 said:

For a long while now I've been spending a lot more time playing downloadable PSN games than retail games. Give me lots of those high quality, creative $10-15 games and I'm happy.



AbeVigoda said:

This isn't all that different from any other entertainment industry. Movies, music and television all only have a handful of guaranteed money making franchises/groups/genres, so the companies focus most of their efforts on those that they know are more likely to turn a profit.



brucelebnd said:

devs have forgotten about gameplay. Darksiders 2 isn't a good game. it's full of bugs and glitches and it feels half made. it could have been good if they took more time on it. the same could be said any AAA failure. people just are going to be willing to invest $60 in a bad game.

make a good game and people will buy it, it's really simple. it's not about blowing through cash to make the prettiest game but taking the time to make a quality product, which isn't the case these days.

it'll be even worse in the next gen when Microsoft and Sony kill the second hand market. no too many gamers will be willing to take a $70 risk on a bad game.



SpaceApe said:

Most definitely the Wii U is missing out on the big console games. The Wii U lacks big games and not having them is a problem.




Sometimes I think gamers are their own worst enemies. Take the darksiders games for example, they were like a breath of fresh air in a crowded room of generic fps games.

But not many people bought it and now we may never see a third, such a shame. That's just one example, look at binary domain, one of my favorite games of last year and nobody bothered with it.

In the end I think we will end up with just a load of SHOOTING STUFF games, and that frightens me a bit because if things do go that way then it's over.

And I can't play games on a phone or tablet.

In a strange way I also find the industry contradicting itself, because developers are asking for more creative freedom, so they are looking to mobile devices to develop for. It's been revealed that console gaming is on it's last legs because of mobile gaming which (lets be honest) has a small screen with NO buttons and is no substitute for the proper thing, but at the same time these so called industry experts think the Wii U is doomed and that the nextbox and PS4 will dominate the next gen because they have way more power.

Am I missing something ?



misswliu81 said:

really good piece, which also highlights the state of the video games industry today. i feel that with many games from established publishers and developers such as capcom, konami, activision, sega to name, it appears that with consoles becoming twice as powerful than their predecessors, the lack of creativity and diversity is what is depriving the games industry. say what you like about the 80s and 90s and 8 bit, 16 bit graphics of the nintendo and sega systems, but those games had replayability, interesting characters, great gameplay and there were all types of games available. shoot em' ups, beat em' ups, platformers, puzzles, RPGs. plus, it was at a time before video games became more mainstream and accepted alongside movies, tv shows, music.

as for the whole 3rd party issue, there is that argument that wii U, wii owners only buy nintendo games. but here lies a lose- lose situation for those of us who have been blighted by 3rd party support, ever since the N64 era. when we wanted third party games on the wii for example, we got mostly shovelware because mainly 3rd parties were put off by the lack of processing power.

the third party support issue used to be a worry for me, but you know, i could care less. i am content with mario, zelda, metroid, smash bros. i play nintendo games on nintendo consoles and anything that third parties bring to the wii U that appeals and interests me, such as monster hunter, wonderful 101, bayonetta 2, is a bonus.



Dpullam said:

It's unfortunate that video game developers are having trouble earning enough money to continue making games. It does end up hurting the development process and the game as a whole. I am willing to sacrifice a little bit of creativity in order to be able to continue playing video games but I do believe there is a line that shouldn't be crossed. Thankfully I am mainly a Nintendo gamer so I am never short on creative experiences.



hypercoyote said:

Many digital games and DLC are for consoles. That 40% figure is a whole lot less staggering when you consider that a large portion of that may have gone to consoles.



WiiLovePeace said:

@Nintenjoe64 "Tetris will be an open world 3rd person action rpg adventure puzzle game where you have to hunt and farm the blocks." Wooooooaaaaaaaah! Where do I sign?! That sounds awesome! Someone should kickstarter this! Seriously!



Eien1239 said:

Darksiders 1 was great but D2 left a bad taste in my mouth the first world was the best and it died afterwards.



Slapshot said:

@Five-seveN Ha! Yeah, there was one point in that game that I just had to set my controller down and walk away for a few hours. It was one of those rare moments in gaming where I actually questioned my morality, because the unintentional end result of my choices was so terrible that it made me sick to my stomach. Very rare moment indeed.



mookysam said:

Games don't need to cost $100million to make in order to be successful, yet it's this fallacy that is really hurting the industry. The practice of publishers and developers putting all of their eggs in one basket and making HUGE financial gambits is incredibly risky. The bigger the budget the more a game has to sell to break even and then more still to make a profit. And so we get games made by committee and creativity is stifled.

Does it have to be this way though? If a game like Dragon's Dogma can sell "just" 1 million copies (or thereabouts) but be considered enough of a success by CAPCOM to warrant talks of making a sequel, why can't other titles? Same goes for games like Demon's Souls. The budgets for those can't have been enormous! Then there are the incredibly niche JRPGs published in the west by the likes of Ghostlight. Sales are likely tiny by the standards of the AAA market but must still be high enough to keep these companies in business.

Then there are cheaper distribution methods like PSN, XBLA and now the eshop, which are perfect for companies to take more of a risk, particularly if they don't want to go up against blockbuster games in the physical retail market.



Jewelarchon said:

@CptStone I can understand your frustration, but at the same time, I believe Nintendo already has their advertising campaign planned out. Over the last couple months (when we haven't seen many ads) there were no new games coming to talk about. Most early adopters already knew about the system even if they didn't have it yet. Give it time...six months from now and you won't remember the lack of adverts because 1st party titles will finally be released. Remember Nintendo consciously delayed their 1st party titles in lieu of the 3rd party launch window titles as to not compete against them. Be a little more patient with this. I promise the're not reading the internet articles to find out what they're doing (or need to be doing). They are too busy getting ready to blow everyone away with games and content! There is a reason shareholders are reacting in the opposite of concern...



gsnap said:

I guess this is one of the reasons I don't really mind the NSMB franchise. It's not very interesting, but it's a safe money maker. And Nintendo seems to be putting that money into being creative or different with other things like KI: Uprising, Sticker Star (even though that didn't work out for me), LM: Dark Moon, paying for Bayonetta 2, FE X SMT, etc.

I'm willing to sacrifice a few 2d mario games to blandness (for a little while) if it results in other games like these. Of course that can't last forever, and they'll have to do something different with NSMB eventually, but that money does help out.

Alsoooooo, this whole situation kind of shows how the Wii U might not need 3rd party support like people keep saying it does. So many of these companies are having a hard time making money. They're in trouble themselves, and a few of them will likely go out of business in the coming years. How are companies that are in a worse spot than Nintendo save Nintendo? And if the number of successful AAA games is gonna be as small as Jade Raymond says (a decent number of which will be Nintendo's own titles), what does it really matter if the Wii U never gets a game like Battlefield 4?



fzerofan said:


you are correct the EA guy said he didnt want to ruin quality spreading his guys to thin, however EA must have decided it wouldnt have been profitable to hire more people to put battlefield on the wiiu, which is a huge problem for the wiiu!! It will rarely if ever be profitable to port a game to three consoles and pc, vs two consoles and pc given that most people only buy nintendo consoles to play nintendo games.



McGruber said:

This doesn't just apply to big budget console games. Every single one of the first party 3DS titles after maybe Pilot Wings has played it safe as well. They have all been the same games we've played before. Except on eShop, I haven't seen much creativity come out of Nintendo for years. And it sucks since theirs are the only consoles I buy



fzerofan said:

the wii u needs third party support for the wii u to be profitable. Nintendo makes its money in the following ways

1) profit from consoles (which it is not doing now

2) money from accessories (pro controller ect)

3) profit from their published games

4) licensing fees from third party support.

so the only reason to make a console is to get money from licensing fees, accessories and hardware. If they dont get third party support, nintendo gets little profit from licensing fees. Since they already dont make money from the console itself, that leaves only profit from accessories which will never make the company meet sales goals.

Nintendo needs third party support to keep them in the hardware business!!



MasterGraveheart said:

The biggest problem is the death of an effective rental medium, like what we once had with Blockbuster and the Ma & Pa video stores. This is keeping new ideas from getting their legs. And who is to blame? Our favorite pawn shop, GameStop, who not only kills the attempt at new IPs with their business model of the used game sales, but also the perpetuated the cartel of game retail pricing. The sad thing is, I have no idea how this gets better. It may end up killing the medium in the long run.



banacheck said:

I don't think a huge new wave of IPs are coming out in 2 years.

There's two new IP coming out in a few months "Remember Me" & "The Last of Us", also the PS4 is releasing with a few new IP's too. So there is some new IP's on the way and this is before what E3 has to offer.



Smug43 said:

The real question is.. who is going to go first... the console manufacturers, or the developers/publishers? It's understandable that console manufacturers have to come out with new hardware but some companies like Epic and Mr. Rein are looking to bankrupt the industry... and the funny thing is.. the western developers have the same obsession with graphics and realism.. more so than even gamers... sad thing is, I'm not sure they see it coming, the titanic has already begun to sink and now AAA game cost could be doubled? Even if they somehow reduce costs, the model isn't working.. there are dark times ahead... I can only hope somehow there is new perspective and find a way to keep my favorite hobby alive and healthy!!



Guybrush20X6 said:

I think the problem is the sales target are WAY too bloated. EA wanted Dead Space 3 to sell more that Dead space 1 and 2 combined. I think they need to dial back on the "throw money at it and make it the same" strategy. No wonder indie games are increasingly becoming the focus.



Melkaticox said:

Have you guys heard of Spec Ops: The Line? It bombed for 'playing it safe'...

...Thing is, it wasn't playing it safe. It got ignored by EVERYONE just for what it looked like: A generic 'strategic' shooter when, in fact, it was an strategic shooter with a very deep story, a different way of 'choose your path' gameplay and interesting characters (just read the reviews around the world...)

And then games like Bioshock Infinite are incredibly successful just because most Sony and Microsoft fanboys don't know sh...about art style...



gavn64 said:

i just played mario 3 for about an hour, amazing game it was the big budget game of its time and it was nearly as innovative as the original super mario bros. ,its not like that for big budget sequels anymore sadly :'-(



swordx said:

This is why I LOVE the eshop. Nintendo has a place to really experiment, and if it becomes successful, they make more. Prime examples of this experimentation are Pushmo and Dillon's Rolling Western. Pushmo already got a sequel, and Dillon's Rolling Western will be getting one shortly. I think that both titles may become retail franchises within the next few years.



TromboneGamer said:

@mudjo Presumably a game made by a large development team. Ubisoft has studios all around the world and companies like it and Activision have "smaller" studios do work on their big budget titles as well. A lot of talent, research, and the money for it go into a AAA title. In the end the consumer decides if it was worth the while though.



sr388survivor said:

It's funny you mention Final Fantasy in there. I think that franchise actually does try to experiment with new ideas in each of the core 13 titles and often people are unhappy because it isn't FFVII. lol. Gamers want something that's even better than what they played before without it being at all different lol.
It is a very difficult time for devs. Also, anyone else feel the gaming industry is becoming way too pretentious?



MadAdam81 said:

Publishers play it safe. If you have a different type of game that differs from the current formula, you will have a hard time getting the funding for it and picking up a publisher. It's also the same with books and movies - the formula is seen as instant gold and anything that differs is either adapted to fit the formula, have an advertising campaign to trick buyers into thinking it fits the formula or just doesn't get done with a big company on board and you have to do it independently. That's why indy publishing is great for games, movies and books.



QuickSilver88 said:

Unfortunately what is happening is that casual gaming is dumbing down the industry. I own iphone and ipad devices and for the most part they are not to be considere formidable gaming devices.....I mean cut the rope and angry birds is what gaming has come to? I remember the day I brought the Wii home I thought OMG lucas has to make a lightsaber star wars fighting game for this system...never happened. Red Steele 2, mad world and the skyward sword finally gave me something but why not Vader vs Luke or Doku vs Yoda? The BF4 thing is crap because much of the expense is in Story, Voice acting, music, and rendering... All this is done and a lot of these games use engines like Unreal so the cost to bring an already developed game to another platform isn't that high. I too think dark times are ahead. I mean when companies cant make money off of installed bases of what like 70mil each on ps3 and x360 how the hell are they going to make money on much smaller bases in the next few years? I think Nintendo will surprise in that Nintendo always has solid business plan despite their 'wacky' ways. Their AAA titles are always finished and never rushed and while they struggle in the west with devs they are building relationships in Japan with companies like capcom and namco. Microsoft is already signaling they want to be less gaming focused and Sony is saying they want to be more....hmmm wonder where this will end up?



Zombie_Barioth said:

This is probably the biggest reason the industry needs a tiered pricing system, or at least a more varied one like in the past. Save the $60 price tag for these big AAA money makers like COD or Assassin's Creed and sell smaller budgeted games for around $40-$50.

AAA blockbuster games aren't inherently bad after all most people enjoy them just as much as they enjoy hollywood blockbusters like Avatar. The problem is that publishers have this weird attachment to set pricing for retail games despite every other form of media offering a range of prices.



Wyvernqueen said:

@Lionsgate You really though Kid Icarus Uprising was uncreative and the same stuff you have been playing for years, same with Luigis Mansion 2? Those were 2 big risks for Nintendo



Boukman said:

I think Nintendo is the one who tries it's best to do something new and isn't afraid to push their more risky franchises as well (Fire Emblem). There is also a shift that gamers are more willing to try the Japanese games that didn't come out in the west before. See what happended with Xenoblade. Nintendo once united the hardcore gamer and the casual gamer with the Wii and DS. The times are changing again. Those markets are being pulled apart again. Anyway I don't need the same shooters on the WiiU or 3DS as we see on the Xbox360 and PS3. I want to play Fire Emblem, Etrian Odyssey and a new Advance Wars.



cornishlee said:

So, twenty years after Sega crashed and burned people are worried about the stifling of creativity in the industry?



cornishlee said:

@ brucelebnd
Ignoring the fact that having played Darksiders 2 through twice and not noticed any major bugs, your argument is a conceit. How would people know about things like that without playing them? Which means buying them.



MAB said:

Even that Billy Corgan headed lookin' bloke from 2K said one of their most successful IP's was Carnival Games on the Wii. That game was probably put together in a month and cost the company $50 to make but sold by the boatloads... The only FPS in it was the one where you shoot the water gun at the big clown head to fill up the balloon.

Carnival Games saved them from the brink of destruction you could say



alLabouTandroiD said:

I just hope they're ready when the interest in the current blockbusters is waning.
Without huge titles dedicated game consoles may not appeal to a lot of people anymore.
Before that happens i hope all the great devs have something creative up their sleeves.



Rapadash6 said:

This generation will really be defined by the independent developers out there in my opinion. The blockbuster game will always have its place of course, but we are kind of at a stand still currently within the industry, creatively speaking. Nintendo is wise to have been catering to the smaller studios for Wii U developement, and I think they see the same trends as I do; working on big projects which require years of developement time and cost millions of dollars to produce, exclusively, is no longer a sustainable business model. We are in for a renaissance of ideas and the whole paradigm is going to change, for the better.

It reminds me of the NES era, actually, when everything you played was new and different. That sense of wonder as you looked at the back of the box of a game you've never played before... I look foward to feeling that again.



AlexSora89 said:

Using a CoD pic as the thumbnail for an article about "Stifling Creativity".

Made my day.



Smug43 said:

Absolutely. . Nintendo has been super pro active towards indie devekopers, as they realize a ton of great content is like the nes/snes era all over again! It will be interedting times.



Wilford111 said:

I hate these conspiricy theorists saying the video game market is gonna crash again... It probably will for those huge companies, but never for smaller, indie developers... and Nintendo



biglittlejake said:

I think the people at Nintendo should go back and remember how they got popular. Also they need to go back to remember why they are the most family friendly instead of trying to compete with PS3 or 360. You don't buy a Nintendo product to play COD or Zombie U. No you buy a Nintendo product to play Mario, Zelda, Pikmin, Kirby, Yoshi, and Classic Games.

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