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Topic: Attach Rates are Stupid and Games Don't Need to Sell Millions

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Krull

@StuTwo Another good post. I like this thread.

I have a couple of quibbles. First up, both Sony and Microsoft also have first-party titles on their consoles - although, admittedly, Microsoft doesn't have a huge collection of IPs and shares them with PC anyway. However, Sony has clearly tried to develop a Nintendo-like stature on its own consoles, with a slew of first-party studios developing exclusive content. So why has each generation of PlayStation also had so many third-party titles? Is it simply install base? Ease of architecture? Less strict licensing policies?

My hope is that the Switch will be successful enough to compete on install base, or have a voice anyway, and the Nvidia chip and Unity support should also tackle the second point. Licensing is always going to be down to Nintendo.

My only other quibble is that Nintendo do seem quite open to marketing for third-party titles. There are plenty of USF II videos in the Switch news page, not to mention Sonic Mania and all the indies. I don't know if this is reflected on other systems, though.

Edited on by Krull

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StuTwo

@Krillin_ I think it's a matter of emphasis.

However good Sony's first party games have been down the years (and some of them have been really great) the focus of Sony's business with Playstation has always been to profit from licensing. Sony has always understood the value of that and also the ways in which you turn it into a successful business - it's why they have repeatedly tried to create or at least be involved in the creation of media formats.

So while Nintendo's first party games are the company's bread and butter - they sell hardware to sell their own games - Sony sees first party games as an additional lure to attract people to buy their hardware so publishers can sell more on their platforms (sales from which Sony themselves profit). Their first party games are designed to push and promote Playstation and to add certain values to the brand.

So while Sony's obviously delighted when something like Horizon: Zero Dawn sells millions of units they don't need it to so long as it promotes a message about what the Playstation brand is and where it's going in the future. Parappa the Rapper, Journey, Shadow of the Colossus - they're all games that were put out to be the centre of a conversation and shape the perception of Playstation and not necessarily to sell millions of copies.

There are of course many other reasons why Sony's consoles have more third party support too - a greater willingness to offer marketing support and pay for exclusivity, a more aggressive stance on price, promoting the console to an audience more likely to be receptive to the types of game that third parties put out etc.

And they're simply better at it because as a company they have decades of experience of being one of the premier media publishers and consumer electric marketing companies.

StuTwo

Switch Friend Code: SW-6338-4534-2507

NaviAndMii

I fall somewhere in the middle on this one - I wouldn't say that attach rates are the be-all-and-end-all, but I wouldn't describe them as 'stupid' either...

Take Nintendo as an example - their core games have high attach rates; Zelda, Mario, Pokémon, Mario Kart - if they didn't, Nintendo would be in a bit of trouble...but, because they do, Nintendo can afford to widen their appeal by creating a whole bunch of other games that they perhaps don't expect to sell as well, but target different niches and help to broaden the scope of their brand. If Nintendo were to stop making, say, Kirby or Yoshi games - I'd argue that their brand would be weakened...larger developers/publishers need good attach rates on their core games to keep the money coming in - but the smaller titles add variety, which only strengthens the brand.

Smaller studios, however, don't have that luxury - if a game doesn't sell, they have little choice but to cut their losses and move on for the sake of the business...it's immensely frustrating to fans of the affected franchises - but, if the numbers don't stack up, it's just the way it has to be...it's the reason TimeSplitters games don't get made any more - personally, I used to find them so much more fun to play than games like those in the Crysis franchise (which effectively replaced it), but the lack of a central protagonist made the TS brand difficult to market, which was reflected in the sales figures...so it made business sense to focus on the more marketable and profitable Crysis brand instead. It is what it is..

Edited on by NaviAndMii

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Krull

@StuTwo Another very interesting response - thanks! I certainly hadn't thought about it in those terms. Nintendo's greater experience in the video games sector ought to count for something, but I hadn't considered how Sony came in with a different approach thanks to its background in other media and consumer electronics. However, I'm not sure that particular difference explains the third-party conundrum.

Both Sony and Nintendo will take a cut from third-party sales - particularly, in Nintendo's case, when those sales are physical. Yet both companies also - mostly - enjoy the greatest attach rates from first-party titles: Mario, Zelda, Kart for Nintendo; Uncharted and Gran Turismo for Sony.

Both companies are fiercely protective of their brands and Nintendo just as much as Sony will develop titles to support the brand as much as to sell the software itself. Take the forthcoming Metroid Prime 4, for example, which I'm sure will sell well, but the series generally doesn't get anywhere near Mario platformers or karting. Metroid keeps resurfacing because it's a critical darling, which reflects well on Nintendo. As @NaviAndMii points out, Kirby and Yoshi games are also as much about the strength of the brand as outright sales.

Ultimately, I suspect when you say there are other reasons why Sony has more third-party titles, it's those other reasons that matter. Marketing, support, paying for exclusivity (though Nintendo has done that too), and, one you rightly pointed out, the market sector of the PS4, dominated by young professional males.

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mav-i-am

I would argue Kirby and the like appear on systems as a justification for the purchaser - I want a PS4 it has this awesome shooting zombie game AND I can play little big planet with little Dave............

As for the (ace) posts above, look at the love Nintendo are giving Nindies and Skyrim - says to me someone has noticed we need to change.

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Legend of Zelda BotW, Human resource machine, NBA Playgrounds, Street Fighter 2, Super Bomberman R, Snipperclips, Overcooked, World of Goo.

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Snaplocket

@StuTwo The PS4 and Xbon...... well the PS4 has a ton of well received games published by Sony which sell well and THEY (third parties) still profit on them despite the competition. Even third party Wii U games like Lego City Undercover and Rayman Legends (Wii U version sold the most) despite competing with Nintendo. Why not the Switch?

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skywake

It goes something like this.....
Untitled
Think of the install base as simply a function of how much space is under that line. The time since launch is the X-axis and the type of consumer is labelled. For a console with a low install base like the Wii U? Typically most of its sales came from early adopters because it never hit a majority peak. The same is true for a new platform like the Switch which has yet to hit its peak.

Why does this matter? Well it explains why the Wii U had such a high attach rate for games. It also explains some of why the Switch currently has such a high attach rate for games. Most of the users are early adopters. When the Switch hits that early majority peak? The attach rate will shrink as the proportion of early adopters shrinks. But those early adopters don't disappear so with the bigger install base sales of games will be higher.

Unless the Switch does a Wii U and only manages to appeal to early adopters.....

Some Aussie musics: Pond, TFS, Genesis Owusu
"Don't stir the pot" is a nice way of saying "they're too dumb to reason with"

Filth_Element

There are some great posts on here. Can I just add that for some time now.... N64 that is...Nintendo have made it harder and harder for 3rd parties to release games on their systems. The N64 stuck with cartridges which were more costly than the alternative at the time. The Wii was severely underpowered compared to the competition,which the Wii U and Switch have followed suit. It goes back to what someone said earlier games are stupidly expensive endeavours now. If I as a company were to make a game if said game can be played on PC, PS4 and XBONE with only a few adjustments for each port it's very hard for me to justify throwing extra money at a somewhat more complicated port for Nintendo hardware.

Once over I thought it was a smart idea to underpower the console as so many publishers and games industry analysts were decrying that games were becoming too expensive to make for not enough gain. In that climate I thought (stupidly) that reducing the hardware therefore limiting the cost of making games was a good solution. But ppl still go on about graphics even though imo the jump from PS3 to 4 didn't seem that impressive to me an now look at the excitement over XBONE S etc. I still kinda think that devs are missing a trick when it comes to not getting too caught up in pushing graphics and lighting and blah blah blah as they could save money but still make very good games. But that's just me and I don't think anyone shares the same opinion except maybe Nintendo lol.

Another point I want to raise is because the 3rd party games are mostly ports to me seems like such a stupid idea. I think a lot of Nintendo owners realise if they want to play some of the big AAA titles they need to own 2 consoles which I have done for a long time now. So why would I buy a brand new gimped version of something I bought ages ago.... if I do end up trying something like let's say Batman Armored edition for instance I wait to buy a preowned cheap copy because I may have interest in trying it but I'm not gonna invest a lot of money into it.

Which brings me to my final point. Preowned games, that market is so big now that it seems like a lot of people don't buy day one and wait till cheaper copies show up in the preowned section I've always wanted to know just how much money is made from preowned compared to brand new games. Something which I think is pretty much impossible as there are so many ways of buying games 2nd hand.

Anyway just wanted to throw in a couple of my ideas into the mix as so many seem to have already brought up excellent points.

Some of Mario Odyssey is seriously giving heart palpitations.... that plumber is trying to kill me!

kkslider5552000

In two years, the smart devs should be making Switch temporary exclusives that get slightly upgraded ports a year later. Srsly, just make games that will cost less money and then port them later.

Of course literally like 98% of devs have no reason to make a game that's too powerful to run on Switch in the first place when Minecraft and GTA 5 still rule the world.

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JaxonH

@Filth_Element
So why would I buy a brand new gimped version of something I bought ages ago

That may have been true during the Wii/Wii U era, but I don't think it holds any weight now. Unlike past consoles, Switch actually makes the other versions seem like the ones that are gimped. Even if I already own a game, I still want to buy it for Switch because in most cases, it's the first ever handheld version of that game released on the market. Disgaea 5, for example. Bought it on PS4, played it a little bit, but then it released on Switch with full parity to the PS4 version, alongside being a handheld version- and a full console quality handheld version of that. But it's not just the fact that these games are offering themselves as a handheld version, it's the fact that you can switch between the two at will. You could buy a handheld version separately, but have no save transfers between your console version and your handheld version, and even if you did you'd have to go through the painful process of uploading to the servers and then downloading and all that crap- whereas with Switch, it's seamless.

So I think a lot of that conventional reasoning has gone right out the window this generation. Even if a game is releasing later on Switch, there hasn't been a single instance of a game where I wasn't willing to wait to get the better version- and I say better version because the value offered by a full console and handheld version with seamless transition far outweighs the negligible benefits of say, a slightly better frame rate, or cut scenes in a sports story mode, or whatever the case may be.

And it is for this reason that I believe we are going to see a lot more third-party support than we have in the last 10 years. We see the benefits- everyone is talking about how they'd like this game on Switch and that game on Switch- everyone wants the games they enjoy to be on Switch because it's just the best console to have a game on now. And I think that appeal is pretty obvious- so these developers likely see that the same as we do. And will likely capitalize on the demand for games on a hybrid console.

Edited on by JaxonH

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Peek-a-boo

JaxonH wrote:

We see the benefits - everyone is talking about how they'd like this game on Switch and that game on Switch - everyone wants the games they enjoy to be on Switch because it's just the best console to have a game on now.

@JaxonH Who is this ‘we’ and ‘everyone’, and why is the Switch suddenly the best console to have a game on nowadays?

Granted, it is the most technically impressive portable system on the market however, it’s nowhere near to being the best home console. If you are purely talking as a handheld device, then that should be clarified.

Needs more ‘IMO’ in your posts.

Edited on by Peek-a-boo

Peek-a-boo

StuTwo

@Snaplocket I know Sony make and publish their own (often very good and very successful) first party games. I just think there's a difference in emphasis.

Sony makes most of their money from PlayStation via 3rd parties paying them a fee to release on their platform. So they can prioritise that. In Sony-land 1st party exclusives are designed to sell consoles and encourage brand switching from XBox so that 3rd party games sell more.

If Uncharted only sells 2million copies and just about breaks even but attracts a lot of plaudits and adds to the positive perception of PlayStation then, from Sony's perspective, its successful.

Nintendo have to sell their own first part games in big numbers. The format is just a means to that end. It's a subtle but very important difference.

StuTwo

Switch Friend Code: SW-6338-4534-2507

skywake

Peek-a-boo wrote:

Who is this ‘we’ and ‘everyone’, and why is the Switch suddenly the best console to have a game on nowadays? Granted, it is the most technically impressive portable system on the market however, it’s nowhere near to being the best home console. If you are purely talking as a handheld device, then that should be clarified.

Well if the game can run on the Switch that extra convenience makes the Switch the best place to have that game. And if you want to argue that convenience means nothing then you're basically arguing that a decent gaming PC is the best platform. Clearly that's not the case given the number of times you see people blasted when they try to argue the merits of PC gaming on forums like this.

Speaking for myself? There are some games I'd rather play on PC but mostly for the flexibility of control options. If a game can run on the Switch and is suited for a traditional controller? The Switch is the platform I'd want to own that game on. Hands down. If convenience matters more than visuals for a game why wouldn't I want it on the most convenient gaming platform?

Edited on by skywake

Some Aussie musics: Pond, TFS, Genesis Owusu
"Don't stir the pot" is a nice way of saying "they're too dumb to reason with"

crimsontadpoles

JaxonH wrote:

So I think a lot of that conventional reasoning has gone right out the window this generation. Even if a game is releasing later on Switch, there hasn't been a single instance of a game where I wasn't willing to wait to get the better version- and I say better version because the value offered by a full console and handheld version with seamless transition far outweighs the negligible benefits of say, a slightly better frame rate, or cut scenes in a sports story mode, or whatever the case may be.

It's very subjective, but I'll take the exact opposite opinion. Portability doesn't usually bother me, so I'll prefer the version that is the best graphically or has the most content.

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Filth_Element

@JaxonH I'm sorry but what?!?!? I love my Switch and want the platform to do great, but what you saying doesn't make sense at all.... If what you are saying is true then why are they finding it so hard to port Steep, why have some devs come out and flatly said no f ing way is our game coming to the Switch..... because it is not powerful enough to get their games on.
I love the enthusiasm but it's just crazy talk lol.

Some of Mario Odyssey is seriously giving heart palpitations.... that plumber is trying to kill me!

JaxonH

@Filth_Element
Um, it makes perfect sense. Steep and certain games not making it is completely irrelevant to what I said.

I never claimed the system was on par power wise, I never said every game would come. No idea what you're talking about

Edited on by JaxonH

PLAYING
NS: METROID DREAD (10/10 muah!)
3DS:
Steam:
PS5:
MOST EXCITED FOR
NS: SMTV, Bayonetta 3, Splatoon 3, Triangle Strategy, MH Rise Sunbreak, Zelda BotW 2, Metroid Prime 4

Jesus is Lord.

JaxonH

@crimsontadpoles
There are some people like that, but I think the majority of Switch owners who claimed such are now backpedaling that viewpoint. Even the most staunch anti-portable gamers are finding the portability a huge asset. Of course, it took actually owning the system for them to see that.

When you can just grab the system and walk downstairs with it, or take it to work, or the bathroom, or wherever, there's no reason not to. Wii U tried doing the "in the house" thing but lack of consistent methods meant never knowing what button to press for off tv play, and poor range and sub HD put people off. When it's grab and go, full HD without compromise, it's too easy not to.

PLAYING
NS: METROID DREAD (10/10 muah!)
3DS:
Steam:
PS5:
MOST EXCITED FOR
NS: SMTV, Bayonetta 3, Splatoon 3, Triangle Strategy, MH Rise Sunbreak, Zelda BotW 2, Metroid Prime 4

Jesus is Lord.

JaxonH

@crimsontadpoles
Well, the polls showed only 1/3 Switch owners cared nothing for portability when they got it, and all I read is people saying "Ya I was one of those people who didn't care about portability, but now I see the light". Even the people at my work who've never owned handhelds, use it almost exclusively in handheld mode.

So, just speaking from my observations here. Maybe you'll never care about it, but I've got a feeling you very well might. Most people who don't care about portability, what they actually mean, is I've never cared about it thus far. But we've never had a hybrid system thus far. We've never been able to play full console games with real, separate controllers from anywhere. No one has ever had the opportunity to, when they're super into a really great game, keep on playing it anywhere. Home, work, friends house, downstairs, you name it. And play it like you actually are at home. There's no reason not to care about portability. If you like playing games, why limit yourself to a small window of time when you don't have to. If you can prop it up in tabletop mode and enjoy that very same game, with real controllers, leaned back in a chair... from anywhere. Who would rationally be actively against that.

PLAYING
NS: METROID DREAD (10/10 muah!)
3DS:
Steam:
PS5:
MOST EXCITED FOR
NS: SMTV, Bayonetta 3, Splatoon 3, Triangle Strategy, MH Rise Sunbreak, Zelda BotW 2, Metroid Prime 4

Jesus is Lord.

crimsontadpoles

@JaxonH I still play my 3DS, so I know about portability. Portability occasionally comes in useful for me, but it's not a big deal to me.

Having a hybrid console does have it's disadvantages, such as the cost of the console, cost of the games, and graphical performance. My view is that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages in this case.

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