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KAOS Studios Postmortem

Gamasutra has a postmortem on the rise and fall of KAOS Studios, the developer formed by the team that created the Desert Combat modification for Battlefield 1942. An interesting element of the story is how the studios expansion resulted in hiring developers with more complete resumes than the managers they were working for and other hurdles they had to overcome to succeed in an increasingly competitive FPS genre.

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41. Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jul 8, 2012, 14:30 Parallax Abstraction
 
ASeven wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 11:56:
Also mobile games are not profitable. Like AAA games a small handful of them are, the rest are not. If publishers move to mobile platforms a problem will arise which is the price of games. Mobile gamers are used to pay $5 top for a game, if publishers start pushing for mobile games costing $20 or more then they will meet with utter failure of sales since demand for such high priced games on mobiles is none when far cheaper games also offer quality gaming for a mobile. The mobile market is not in any way or form any sort of salvation for publishers, quite the contrary in fact, if they jump to mobiles than the demise of publishers will happen even faster.

I've been hammering a version of this point for a while now. Basically, that mobile games are in a gold rush and that contrary to the message the games press pushes by constantly referencing only the handful of big successes, the risk of failure in that space is just as great. Even Mark Rein from Epic (who is riding on the sadly massive success of Infinity Blade) said that most iOS games gross $700 in their lifetime, making them a failure for most who don't make games on the side for fun. The barrier to entry is much lower than AAA which mitigates some of those risks right now but as tablets keep evolving in power (which they will since Apple et al. need to keep moving hardware to maintain their own profits), soon it's going to cost a lot more to make mobile games that don't use pixel art. At that point, the $0.99 model no longer works and prices have to go up and marketing campaigns will be needed to get titles noticed. And the cycle repeats.

The one part I'm curious what you think about though is the new kind of gross freemium model a lot of mobile stuff is going to. My girlfriend and I bought a used iPad 2 earlier this year, mostly so I could try to see what all the hype was about. Most of the newer games coming out on that now are either $1 or free but they're all becoming full of these gross Skinner Box powerup and advancement methods to try to get far more money out of you for things even less valuable than a new skin or something. Pocket Planes is positively disgusting in this way (it's basically FarmVille with planes) and other titles like the follow-up to Flight Control and Infinity Blade do the same thing. Flight Control Rocket is a score driven game where you can artificially buy your way onto leaderboards and though you can ignore it, you can't be competitive otherwise and the games will constantly nag and remind you that you can and should be buying in. What people like Paul Barnett have been saying lately is that mobile gamers have become so used to paying practically nothing that even games at $5 are not viable anymore. But if everything becomes a Skinner Box, that's just bad for the medium I feel. Do you think that's going to get to be a bigger and bigger trend and how mobile's going to keep itself from burning out in a couple of years or do you think the public will get tired of it?
 
Parallax Abstraction
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