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Morning Consolidation

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24. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 9, 2012, 11:47 avianflu
 
"Shopping 3. (inside joke? There was an alternate title for Diablo 3)"

Tumbler that was a good one
 
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23. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 7, 2012, 23:36 Jerykk
 
With digital distribution the saved costs in physical media are overtaken by server and bandwidth costs and administration (remember back in 2003 we all thought that Steam would mean lower game prices, but it became pretty apparent that maintaining the systems was just as expensive as preparing game boxes and media for retail sales).

You're neglecting the fact that most publishers don't host their own digital distribution services. Steam/Gamers Gate/GMG/Gamefly/GOG/Impulse/GetGames handle all server and bandwidth costs. The only thing the publisher has to do is provide them with the game files and activation keys. Also, digital distribution has led to lower prices. On GMG, you can routinely pre-order games for 20-40% less than MSRP. Digitally distributed PC games go on sale sooner and more often than the physical copies. All of these discounts and sales are permitted by publishers because they know that the profit margin on digitally distributed games is higher than physical games. They also know that the ease of digital distribution, combined with significant discounts, means that the sheer quantity of games sold more than compensates for the lowered prices. Digitally distributed games also have an infinite shelf life, unlike physical games which have a shelf life of a few months at best. If publishers know that their games will continue to generate revenue for years, they are more open to early discounts.
 
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22. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 20:47 Parallax Abstraction
 
Kitkoan wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 18:49:
For those mentioning the $1-$2 Android and iOS games, Square Enix isn't having a problem selling their games on those two at prices between $10-$15 each.

Yeah but most of those are Final Fantasy remakes and trading on that branding. It's very easy to charge a premium when you have a very strong install base of fans who will buy anything with Final Fantasy on it. Companies like Cave are also charging $10+ for iOS updates of their old shmups and they're in bad financial shape and recently had their CEO resign.

killer_roach, I think you're reading more into what I was saying than I was. I'm not saying that only the Top 25 Angry Birds level of mobile titles can succeed. Far from that and those board games you are right in claiming have a nice long tail and sell well. Granted, those are IPs established from elsewhere. If someone tried to put out a wholly original board game idea on iOS tomorrow, how much notice would it get? But there are exceptions of course.

What I was addressing are people like Paul Barnett who I recently heard on the Giant Bombcast basically claiming that in a couple of years, anything that isn't $0.99 or free is going to fail and that people are soon not going to be prepared to pay any real up front price for games. I think that argument in the way he presented is it ridiculous and if it's true that everything is going to be a $1 title full of skinner box microtransaction crap, I guess I'll have to find another hobby. The world is still in a bad way economically, a fact many in the gaming press don't seem to remember. iOS devices are selling as well as they are because they're fashionable (don't take that to mean they won't continue to sell well but Apple's current growth trend is unsustainable) but that's going to taper off when people start to get tired of replacing a $500 device every two years because the old one has been artifically obsoleted.

Mobile games are here to stay and I think gaming is better for that. And there's a good chance that the next generation of consoles may be the last and that how people acquire and play games will be changing a lot. But I think the notion I referenced above is ridiculous. The enthusiast press is very good at proclaiming short-term trends as the new norm and then pretending like they never said that when they're wrong. This is an industry that loves to quote Michael Pachter after all. The mobile market in its current form has only existed for less than 5 years and there's simply no evidence to assert that the current trend of growth there is sustainable or that a few well publicised successes in any way represent the common trend in mobile development.
 
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21. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 20:18 Agent.X7
 
Jivaro wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 18:27:
Agent.X7 wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 18:06:
ViRGE wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 17:48:
avianflu wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 12:14:
Dedicated portable game consoles are floundering even in Japan.
I believe you're mistaken. The 3DS is selling extremely well over in Japan. It's the Vita that's struggling in Japan, and then both are struggling in the west.

Yeah, the Japanese LOVE handheld gaming. The Vita is in trouble there and here because it has, what? 20 games? That's 6 months after launch. Almost half of the launch games slipped their release date, and of those another half just disappeared, apparently no longer in development. That awesome feature where I can play the game on my PS3 or Vita, and switch on and off? Yeah, no games let you do that yet. Controlling my PS3 from the Vita? Yeah, almost nothing works.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Uncharted on the Vita, I like Gravity Rush a lot, and I'm sure I will like the Assassin's Creed game, but that's 3 games on a $250 system. Most people will not shell out for a system like that with very few good games.

Exactly right. I love the Vita...still haven't bought one yet though. I can't justify that kind of money for such a limited library when it comes to new titles. Even if they made all the PSOne and PS2 titles downloadable and functioning on the Vita....so what? I don't want it to retro game. All that new tech so I can Pac-Man Championship Edition? lol. I have heard Uncharted on Vita is a spectacular game though...portable or otherwise.

Yeah, that's what made it so good. It wasn't "Oh, this is a good game...for a handheld." It was "Damn, this is a great game!"

Same with Gravity Rush, although you have to like weird Anime stories to get into it. (And even then I'm not sure I get what is going on half the time.)

I'm kind of thinking Sony was testing the ground with the Vita. You can get 100% of the games through the PSN at $5 to $10 cheaper than retail, and you can get most games at retail on a chip. That would make a lot of sense for the new PS4. You want to save money on new games and you have the net connection to do it, you download. Those that want to sell their games or who don't have a connection, they can buy it at retail.
 
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20. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 18:49 Kitkoan
 
For those mentioning the $1-$2 Android and iOS games, Square Enix isn't having a problem selling their games on those two at prices between $10-$15 each.  
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19. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 18:35 Cutter
 
Whatever, it's the last console cycle anyway. I think Sony and MS already know this and are looking to make the transition out of this market and back to PC and digitial distribution.

 
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18. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 18:27 Jivaro
 
Agent.X7 wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 18:06:
ViRGE wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 17:48:
avianflu wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 12:14:
Dedicated portable game consoles are floundering even in Japan.
I believe you're mistaken. The 3DS is selling extremely well over in Japan. It's the Vita that's struggling in Japan, and then both are struggling in the west.

Yeah, the Japanese LOVE handheld gaming. The Vita is in trouble there and here because it has, what? 20 games? That's 6 months after launch. Almost half of the launch games slipped their release date, and of those another half just disappeared, apparently no longer in development. That awesome feature where I can play the game on my PS3 or Vita, and switch on and off? Yeah, no games let you do that yet. Controlling my PS3 from the Vita? Yeah, almost nothing works.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Uncharted on the Vita, I like Gravity Rush a lot, and I'm sure I will like the Assassin's Creed game, but that's 3 games on a $250 system. Most people will not shell out for a system like that with very few good games.

Exactly right. I love the Vita...still haven't bought one yet though. I can't justify that kind of money for such a limited library when it comes to new titles. Even if they made all the PSOne and PS2 titles downloadable and functioning on the Vita....so what? I don't want it to retro game. All that new tech so I can Pac-Man Championship Edition? lol. I have heard Uncharted on Vita is a spectacular game though...portable or otherwise.
 
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17. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 18:06 Agent.X7
 
ViRGE wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 17:48:
avianflu wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 12:14:
Dedicated portable game consoles are floundering even in Japan.
I believe you're mistaken. The 3DS is selling extremely well over in Japan. It's the Vita that's struggling in Japan, and then both are struggling in the west.

Yeah, the Japanese LOVE handheld gaming. The Vita is in trouble there and here because it has, what? 20 games? That's 6 months after launch. Almost half of the launch games slipped their release date, and of those another half just disappeared, apparently no longer in development. That awesome feature where I can play the game on my PS3 or Vita, and switch on and off? Yeah, no games let you do that yet. Controlling my PS3 from the Vita? Yeah, almost nothing works.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Uncharted on the Vita, I like Gravity Rush a lot, and I'm sure I will like the Assassin's Creed game, but that's 3 games on a $250 system. Most people will not shell out for a system like that with very few good games.
 
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16. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 17:48 ViRGE
 
avianflu wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 12:14:
Dedicated portable game consoles are floundering even in Japan.
I believe you're mistaken. The 3DS is selling extremely well over in Japan. It's the Vita that's struggling in Japan, and then both are struggling in the west.
 
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15. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 16:57 killer_roach
 
Flatline wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 16:33:
Actually the small publishers are already there charging 5-10 bucks for apps when it comes to digitized board games.

Summoner Wars (sort of) launched yesterday and to unlock all the factions it's 8 bucks. Haggis, another extremely popular board game, costs 5. Carcassone costs like 12 and while they aren't top 25/angry birds levels of insane sales, they sell steadily, for long periods of time.

Quit bothering them with pesky things like facts and logic. They don't like it.

That being said, it's becoming clearly evident that no dominant pricing strategy exists for video games, although a newly-discovered successful one will attract a lot of attention from the big money players out there. As a result, for smaller studios the smart play will likely always be in cutting against the grain. If the big guns focus their resources on big-budget AAA titles priced at the current retail norms, then the indies will go downstream to mid-tier and lower price points. If the big guys go subscription-based, then the indies have a play with episodic gaming. If the incumbent publishers move into free-to-play, then developers of niche titles might, oddly enough, have an angle at pushing all-encompassing titles at higher price points to better cater to the demands of their customers, who want it all and are willing to pay for it all.

What I'm getting at is there's no single pricing model that fits all needs, and that, contrary to Parallax Abstraction's fears, no matter where the big money goes there's likely no way for them to squeeze out other players.
 
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14. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 16:33 Flatline
 
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 14:24:
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What happens then? Costs spiral and games start costing $10 instead of $0.99. Then $20. Smaller indie players can't compete, the publishers take over and we're right back where we are now.

Mobile has revolutionised gaming and for the better in many ways but I'm getting real tired of hearing lazy press outlets talking about how all we'll be doing is playing games on tablets in 5 years and how $0.99 is the future and we're somehow going to be playing AAA blockbusters for that soon. It's just ridiculous to think that way. The industry needs major change but all that's happening right now is everyone's moving from one broken model to another model that they're trying their damndest to break again.

Actually the small publishers are already there charging 5-10 bucks for apps when it comes to digitized board games.

Summoner Wars (sort of) launched yesterday and to unlock all the factions it's 8 bucks. Haggis, another extremely popular board game, costs 5. Carcassone costs like 12 and while they aren't top 25/angry birds levels of insane sales, they sell steadily, for long periods of time.
 
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13. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 15:26 Beamer
 
eunichron wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 15:04:
Marketing is usually by word of mouth, or just on the AppStore itself.

That's no marketing at all. People need to find your game for word of mouth to spread, and that's a total crapshoot. There are hundreds of great games no one ever discovered to talk about. Instead it'd more self-fulfilling, as making it to the "Top Games" list means you stay on the top games list because most people only look to find new games there.
 
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12. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 15:04 eunichron
 
Agent.X7 wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 13:47:
Gruntstein wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 13:41:
eunichron wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 13:22:
That's a joke right? The comparison between a $60 console/PC game and a $2 iOS game is... well, there is no way to compare them, they're not even the same target market or audience. That might be the dumbest statement anyone has ever made, even rivaling Pachter.

You took that statement too literally. He's not saying that every game needs to be dirt cheap. He's saying that there meeds to be more flexibility in pricing on the mext gen consoles if they're to compete with Apple at the low end of the market. He also said that the current pricing model ($60 games) isn't sustainable. His assumption that digital distribution will bring prices down is naive, but his observations are fairly sane.

Except that a $2 iPhone game is no issue for almost anyone to download over the airwaves. A $60 PS3 game weighing in at 14GB? It takes forever, and not everyone has the net connection to get it. In the area aroud my store, only the actual town gets high speed internet. All of the surrounding areas get dial-up. It's about half the population of this area. I;m guessing we are not an isolated case, so making games download only seriously undermines your player base.

Not to mention the increased development costs of a multi-platform AAA title. Take for example MW3 (we can argue about the justification for its $60 price tag based on content, but that's not the point), there's a development team nearly 100 people whose salaries you have to pay, QA teams salaries, development for three separate platforms (Xbox, PS3, PC), ongoing support via patches, DLC, official servers to run, and of course marketing costs. With digital distribution the saved costs in physical media are overtaken by server and bandwidth costs and administration (remember back in 2003 we all thought that Steam would mean lower game prices, but it became pretty apparent that maintaining the systems was just as expensive as preparing game boxes and media for retail sales).

An iOS game might have a development team of a handful of people, usually indie. QA is easier because you're dealing with a single, uniform, system. Marketing is usually by word of mouth, or just on the AppStore itself.

That entire quotation on the relationship between mobile and console games is just completely ridiculous, and makes absolutely no sense.
 
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11. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 14:51 bhcompy
 
1) Don't let it beat you to the market by a year
2) Don't price yourself above the market after you're late to the market

Games were never a problem for the PS3, that was a bullshit argument.
 
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10. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 14:33 Beamer
 
Draw Something is hysterical, too, as it hemorrhaged players. It was a nice distraction, but then people got tired of drawing penises for strangers.

Mobile is finicky and impossible to market and impossible to predict success. So many companies just dump things out there, and others carefully craft games to be monetized by microtransactions.

These seem to be the only games recruiters I hear from these days, too. "We have a great opportunity for you with this company that has one product which is a f2p mobile game aimed at 8 year olds whose parents will buy them virtual things to keep them quiet."
I won't bet my career on a gold rush. Now, some of these companies are founding by gaming people, not games people, who are probably banking on online poker becoming legal again soon. That I may be more willing to gamble on, no pun intended...
 
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9. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 14:24 Parallax Abstraction
 
As broken at the $60 AAA pricing model is (and it definitely is), I am getting really sick of everything being compared to bloody mobile as if anyone who doesn't sell games for $0.99 has already failed. As others have said, mobile is currently a gold rush and anyone who thinks this isn't a bubble is kidding themselves. Mobile isn't going anywhere but remember the Wii? Remember how it came out, was on fire for several years and burned out almost over night? That's going to happen to mobile.

The lazy press only ever reports on the Angry Birds and Draw Somethings but the fact is the vast majority of the 5% or so of mobile titles that aren't absolute garbage lose money and lots of it. I think it was Mark Rein who recently said that the average mobile title grosses $700 over its lifetime and the CEO of Ready At Dawn Studios recently said mobile's already like the rest of the industry where a handful of big players are dominating the space. It's entirely hit driven and soon, mobile games are going to need marketing budgets in order to get noticed and and as Apple keeps pushing higher specs with new devices, making games that aren't pixel art suddenly get more expensive.

What happens then? Costs spiral and games start costing $10 instead of $0.99. Then $20. Smaller indie players can't compete, the publishers take over and we're right back where we are now.

Mobile has revolutionised gaming and for the better in many ways but I'm getting real tired of hearing lazy press outlets talking about how all we'll be doing is playing games on tablets in 5 years and how $0.99 is the future and we're somehow going to be playing AAA blockbusters for that soon. It's just ridiculous to think that way. The industry needs major change but all that's happening right now is everyone's moving from one broken model to another model that they're trying their damndest to break again.
 
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8. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 14:05 Tumbler
 
PS4, Xbox 720 "will fail if they let retail dictate game pricing".

Assuming they mean a price point high enough to give retail a cut of the revenue then I'd say that is accurate. Selling games digitally for $20-$30 would probably help the gaming industry in a big way.

The new game prices are offensive. Competition should be driving the prices down but publishers are just chopping up what you get in the retail boxes and asking for more money for those parts to somehow offset the greater number of people that are waiting to buy until the price comes down or buying used when the real value of the product has time to bring the price down.

The only games I'm buying new at launch these days are $30 and under. Sins Rebellion (special offer for Sins owners), Civ V, techically I bought diablo 3 at launch but that was more about witnessing first hand the whole experience that is Shopping 3. (inside joke? There was an alternate title for Diablo 3...)
 
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7. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 13:47 Agent.X7
 
Gruntstein wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 13:41:
eunichron wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 13:22:
That's a joke right? The comparison between a $60 console/PC game and a $2 iOS game is... well, there is no way to compare them, they're not even the same target market or audience. That might be the dumbest statement anyone has ever made, even rivaling Pachter.

You took that statement too literally. He's not saying that every game needs to be dirt cheap. He's saying that there meeds to be more flexibility in pricing on the mext gen consoles if they're to compete with Apple at the low end of the market. He also said that the current pricing model ($60 games) isn't sustainable. His assumption that digital distribution will bring prices down is naive, but his observations are fairly sane.

Except that a $2 iPhone game is no issue for almost anyone to download over the airwaves. A $60 PS3 game weighing in at 14GB? It takes forever, and not everyone has the net connection to get it. In the area aroud my store, only the actual town gets high speed internet. All of the surrounding areas get dial-up. It's about half the population of this area. I;m guessing we are not an isolated case, so making games download only seriously undermines your player base.
 
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6. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 13:41 Gruntstein
 
eunichron wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 13:22:
That's a joke right? The comparison between a $60 console/PC game and a $2 iOS game is... well, there is no way to compare them, they're not even the same target market or audience. That might be the dumbest statement anyone has ever made, even rivaling Pachter.

You took that statement too literally. He's not saying that every game needs to be dirt cheap. He's saying that there meeds to be more flexibility in pricing on the mext gen consoles if they're to compete with Apple at the low end of the market. He also said that the current pricing model ($60 games) isn't sustainable. His assumption that digital distribution will bring prices down is naive, but his observations are fairly sane.
 
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5. Re: Morning Consolidation Jul 5, 2012, 13:26 Beamer
 
avianflu wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 12:14:
The market for $2 games on mobile platforms is already very wobbly. A few winners that make $$, but most dont sell much and quickly disappear off the radar. And spending $$ to market a 2$ game is a thorny problem with no answers.

In 2010-2011, I think many pubs and devs pinned their hopes on mobile gaming on phones, but it is not panning out.

The game industry is definitely struggling in the recession. Dedicated portable game consoles are floundering even in Japan. Home game consoles are turning into movie-streaming boxes.

PC games actually have a chance to regain some traction in all of this retail uneasiness.






Yeah, the $2 game market is a goldrush. Tons of people just entering to make money, which clouds the market with mechanical crap and which makes it harder to find anything good (which is already an issue.) Also no real way to market, so even if your product is good it's near impossible to make sure anyone knows about it.

We all know the $60 price point is an issue. I really think we can drop that in half safely (and probably go more) without B&M. With B&M I still think we need to drop to $40.
People are always afraid to drop prices, because once you do it's hard to go back up, but someone needs to innovate pricing...
 
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