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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.

32. Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jul 8, 2012, 11:56 ASeven
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 10:58:
Dr. D. Schreber wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 00:35:
I don't see EA surviving any kind of major shake-up; it's pretty common knowledge now that their business practice amounts to "hemorrhage as much money as possible for as long as possible without actually imploding" and they never really make money no matter how many big earners they push out.
I very much dislike EA as a business but they have substantial investments in casual gaming and despite the fact that Origin is just getting up to speed I'm sure it will be making them some decent money, as the margins are huge. I'd love to see them collapse and be bought up by a company like Valve.

Jerykk wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 03:36:
I wouldn't be so sure. At one point, Codemasters was trying to compete in the AAA game market except they failed, so now they only make racing games. Same applies to Majesco, only they've switched to mobile/casual games. THQ will likely follow suit within the next couple of years.
Codemasters made some pretty poor non-racing games and then went back to their strengths, which was a sensible strategy. Majesco isn't a major publisher and they have a particularly poor selection of games, which reflects on them not the industry. And THQ has made a series of incredibly poor investments in games projects - Homefront being an obvious one - and has been struggling to compete on quality for a long time. Just like any industry, if you make bad products and bad investments you're unlikely to survive as a business. I don't expect THQ to survive. The difference is that although EA and Activision make plenty of shitty moves they're design to make them more money (Origin for EA; rehashing CoD to death for Activision) - heck, Modern Warfare 3 is still in the top 20 on Steam (and has been there since launch 7 months ago), at a higher than market average price, with a huge selection of overpriced DLC and is the 8th most played game on Steam. As much as I HATE CoD for being utterly derivative and lacking innovation there is absolutely no doubt it's a huge money making product.

Advertising budgets are the biggest issue with gaming at the moment. For instance, I've seen a lot of TV ads for Spec Ops: The Line which looks shit and is backed up by a score of 75 on Metacritic. It used to be only major games like Bioshock and GTA4 that received advertising like that. However, with digital distribution likely to play a bigger role for the next generation - and Steam and Origin already going that for PC sales - advertising budgets will be better spent on social media, gaming websites and digital distribution sites themselves. Publishers need to be a lot more clever with advertising budgets and because they have investors they cannot afford to keep making bad decisions.

I'd love to see a huge shake-up in the gaming industry and to see shitty companies like EA or Activision goes bust or be forced to change their business practices but people shouldn't be too happy at that prospect. PC gaming is likely to be hit first, followed by a huge number of developers moving into the more profitable social / mobile gaming market. Afterall, Epic stated that their recent mobile game was the most profitable product - relative to investment made - they've ever made.

PS - I really wish that Valve would invest in game development more. Considering the amount they must be making from Steam - and that they're a private company - it's disappointing that their approach to development is so casual. They're one of the few companies that can afford to go crazy with game design and not worry about making a loss (which would be virtually impossible given they own the distribution medium).

To address some of your points:

CoD is not the milking money cow it was once and that started this year. See this article. Kotick, if he's smart, should start to get real worried. This is the first time since CoD4 that sales for the series have strongly declined so soon after the release of the game and this points to an obvious market fatigue of the same IP. And remember that CoD sells way more on consoles than on PC so MW3 being on the Steam charts does not account for much compared to the lost revenue from the consoles. This is a major, huge warning sign and anyone who willfully ignores this is not worth anything as an analyst. When the hugest IP in gaming industry starts to decline people should take notice and it's more alarming Activision still supports this IP, which means when the sales of it really crash it will catch Activision unprepared since they keep pushing CoD over and over again and do not show any signs that they have a contingency plan or a new IP to replace CoD in case the sales crash suddenly.

Advertising and marketing budgets are way off anything realistic in the industry but the gaming developing costs is far worse. We're reaching a point where developing a game, even one with an IP used to death, is starting to hit values that were once reserved to the movie industry. In other words mainstream games are starting to carry with them insane, unsustainable developing costs that, as was said in this thread, will destroy the market since only a small handful of all mainstream games released get anything close to a profit. The industry is cannibalizing itself and apparently they don't care. AAA games today sell more on hype than the quality of the product itself and gamers are starting to get fed up of falling for the hype only to receive a mediocre game at best that does not fit the hype at all. Marketing is, in a sense, killing its own industry by setting unattainable, false expectations that can never ever be met while indies rarely attain such levels of hype and therefore people don't expect much from them and are often pleasantly surprised when an indie game does a lot more than gamers were expecting.

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. PC gaming meanwhile has been experiencing a huge growth and with the indies and the F2P models it means that a crash would virtually have no consequences for a healthy game environment to continue on the PC, it's the consoles, whose only purpose is to play games, that will suffer since publishers are responsible for the vast majority of the games on consoles with an indie scene that still is very tiny, hence unable to keep consoles afloat if publishers vanish. PC will be fine since it's an open platform with all the advantages that it brings. Consoles, even mobiles however should be the platforms that get hit hard the most in case of crash.

As for publishers many of them are in deep trouble, even big names like Nintendo who for the first time in its history had a very worrying and big loss in the past fiscal year. Sony is even worse and rumors say Sony is walking a very fine line to save itself from bankruptcy and I doubt they'll make it. THQ is just an example of what's happening to middle tier publishers right now, they are getting pushed aside by the huge budget giants like EA and Activision throw at their games, also having had a terrible CEO helps for THQ's position right now. But THQ's plight is exactly the same of all middle tier publisher's plight today, like Codemasters.

As for Valve, crash or no crash I don't see them going away at all, they'll stay around since they were smart enough to make Steam, assuring them of their continued existence for a long, long time.
Previous Post Next Post Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
    Date Subject Author
  1. Jul 7, 13:57 Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem LittleMe
  2. Jul 7, 14:13  Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  4. Jul 7, 15:41  Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem DangerDog
  5. Jul 7, 16:33   Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem everyone
  3. Jul 7, 14:40 Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem netnerd85
  6. Jul 7, 16:43 Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem DangerDog
  7. Jul 7, 17:18  Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Dmitri_M
  8. Jul 7, 17:47 Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem AnointedSword
  9. Jul 7, 18:37  Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  11. Jul 7, 19:20   Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jerykk
  12. Jul 7, 19:26    Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  13. Jul 7, 20:54     Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem killer_roach
  14. Jul 7, 21:24      Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  15. Jul 7, 21:59       Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Dmitri_M
  16. Jul 7, 22:03        Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  17. Jul 7, 22:05         Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem killer_roach
  18. Jul 7, 22:27          Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  21. Jul 7, 23:29          Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Asmodai
  35. Jul 8, 12:57   Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Beamer
  36. Jul 8, 13:22    Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem theyarecomingforyou
  39. Jul 8, 13:46    Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  51. Jul 8, 23:24     Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Beamer
  52. Jul 8, 23:32      Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  10. Jul 7, 19:16 Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Techie714
  19. Jul 7, 23:10 Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem TheVocalMinority
  20. Jul 7, 23:16  Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jerykk
  33. Jul 8, 12:07   Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Elf Shot The Food
  23. Jul 8, 00:26  Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem DangerDog
  22. Jul 7, 23:39 Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem theyarecomingforyou
  24. Jul 8, 00:35  Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Dr. D. Schreber
  31. Jul 8, 10:58   Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem theyarecomingforyou
>> 32. Jul 8, 11:56    Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  34. Jul 8, 12:48     Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem theyarecomingforyou
  37. Jul 8, 13:39      Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Kajetan
  40. Jul 8, 13:50       Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  38. Jul 8, 13:46      Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  41. Jul 8, 14:30     Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Parallax Abstraction
  43. Jul 8, 15:34      Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  44. Jul 8, 16:45       Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Kajetan
  48. Jul 8, 21:58    Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Dev
  25. Jul 8, 03:36  Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jerykk
  28. Jul 8, 07:15   Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ViRGE
  29. Jul 8, 08:34    Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  30. Jul 8, 08:52     Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Kajetan
  45. Jul 8, 18:36    Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jerykk
  46. Jul 8, 18:49     Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  49. Jul 8, 23:04      Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Parallax Abstraction
  50. Jul 8, 23:21       Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem ASeven
  53. Jul 9, 00:10      Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jerykk
  54. Jul 9, 04:15       Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Kajetan
  55. Jul 9, 04:32        Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jerykk
  56. Jul 9, 05:15         Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Kajetan
  57. Jul 9, 05:28          Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jerykk
  58. Jul 9, 21:59         Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Dev
  59. Jul 9, 22:47          Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jerykk
  26. Jul 8, 05:54 Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Trevellian
  27. Jul 8, 06:41 Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Dev
  42. Jul 8, 14:43  Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem DangerDog
  47. Jul 8, 21:51   Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Dev
  60. Jul 13, 22:49 Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Ant


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