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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.

38. Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jul 8, 2012, 13:46 ASeven
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 12:48:
ASeven wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 11:56:
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.
True, but how much of the difference has been made up by the extra DLC, especially COD Elite? If they're increasing the profit margin on each sale then that's still a viable business model, especially given that we haven't seen any major changes to the format in half a decade. Don't forget that some of that will be fatigue related to the current generation of consoles, which have seen an equal decline. All they need is to invest in a definitive next-gen engine and throw in a few twists and they're back on top.

It ain't much. If people aren't buying CoD anymore then they sure aren't buying DLC and Elite for it anymore either. As such I'm willing to bet that CoD Elite for consoles, where the DLC is all distributed there, as made a lot less money today comparatively to the amount of DLC sold for past CoD titles in the same timeframe. Activision was proud of sending press releases about the tremendous amount of DLC sold for CoD but with people stopping buying the game then the CoD DLC market has shrunk a lot and not even a monthly subscription from Elite will probably make up for the gamers that are leaving CoD for good and will not buy one more CoD title. And as was said here before, another alarming sign is that people are not excited about the next gen consoles. Making a next gen CoD also won't solve anything because in the end it's still CoD with the same gameplay style. People still won't buy it.

theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 12:48:
ASeven wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 11:56:
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.
Considering that the top games generate more money than the top films it's not surprising that budgets would exceed that of the industry. Is it excessive? Absolutely. But it generates results. Don't forget that the movie industry has just as many flops - just look at Disney's John Carter. That doesn't mean the entire movie industry is going to collapse.

Do they? CoD may have at one point, no doubt but I don't think there's been many games to generate close to the profit a good movie generates when it's profitable. Another problem is that making AAA games no longer brings the results it once brought. AAA games are competing with themselves, on a shrinking market, and only very few of them even break even let alone become profitable. The difference between the gaming and movie industries is that the movie industry actually produces a lot more product and often at a reasonable price of sorts, at least compared to the gaming industry, and also it has a vaster and much larger market of moviegoers compared to the shrinking gaming market where casuals are leaving to other pursuits, leaving a small core of hardcore gamers with a higher expectation of quality that sees publishers regularly fail them with that expectation. The movie industry won't crash because the size of its market and consumers literally dwarfs the size of our own gaming market. Couple that with the fact that gaming, at least AAA gaming, has become hellishly expensive and you have one more problem the gaming industry won't or can't handle. And leave the inflation argument behind, games may be as expensive as they were years ago if we compare the price of money back then and now but games have also become a hell of a lot shorter and less engaging and much more derivative and the actual value of a game is a lot less than in the past. We are served with less of a game today than we were years ago and this is specially true with single player games.

theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 12:48:
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 point is that the market is expanding and those that can create quality products and successfully monetise them will do well. My point wasn't to suggest that mobile gaming was a magic sector whereby even terrible products can make money. However, we haven't even seen the real start of tablet gaming yet - Microsoft is investing heavily in Windows 8 and tablets and Google is starting to build momentum at the lower end with products like the Nexus 7.

The tablet market is expanding alright along with the mobile market, the question that remains to be answered is if the mobile market is a viable gaming market or not and to be honest successful games in that market are still the exception rather than the rule presently.

theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 12:48:
ASeven wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 11:56:
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.
Nintendo is struggling because they failed to capitalise on the incredible sales figures for the Wii. The attach rate is appalling and the console was underpowered, even for the casual market. They also completely misread the market with the 3DS, when mobile and tablet gaming was where everybody was heading. Both the Wii and the 3DS lack decent internet connectivity and digital distribution markets, which is an especially problem for the 3DS when mobile phones and tablets are designed around such market places. Some of the losses are related to development and production costs for the Wii U, though that looks like another product that has misread the market. As for Sony, that was their arrogance in pushing Blu-ray at a time when people are moving to streaming solutions - it made the PS3 dramatically less profitable than it should have been.

I'm not suggesting there aren't some major problems with the way the industry is currently operating but I don't consider them terminal. I buy more games than ever thanks to Steam and I can see digital distribution doing a lot for the next-gen of consoles. Like the movie industry, the gaming industry can survive numerous high profile flops - they may take out some of the weaker players or those that over extend but that's standard for all markets. Markets change, that's just par for the course. Look at Pepsi and Burger King - two brands that have suffered immensely. Yet McDonald's, Subway and Coke continue to thrive. Mismanagement will run any company into the ground. Valve is one of the current winners.

EA is currently somewhat vulnerable - it posted just $76m net income on $4.1bn of revenue. Activision Blizzard is not - it posted $1bn net income on $4.8bn. But EA's trend is upwards, from the huge losses it posted a few years back - based on those trend you'd expect to see them hit $300-400m net income next year. I certainly understand people's concerns but look how many times people have predicted another dot com crash. I see considerable change ahead but not an outright collapse.

It's not only EA, just look at EA's stocks, they're at a 15-years low which is frightening enough as it is. The fact is publishers and manufacturers are in deep trouble. You are correct about the reasons of Sony and Nintendo but what we can't do is discard that they and many other publishers are in deep trouble regardless of the reasons, what is important is that they are in trouble, period, and with weak prospects of returning to form.

The truth is the same mistakes of 83 are being done all over again. Mediocre titles, consumer abuse, oversupply of games to a dwindling demand and market, betting on failed IPs that are not much different from past titles (TOR, Homefront, etc) or using the same IP to utter exhaustion (CoD, etc) that makes gamers shrink away from such games, rising development and marketing costs. Coupled with that the fact that publisher CEOs are utterly blind to what happens in the market and keep making the same mistakes and milking the same games until gamers had enough of it and its abusing practices and, worse of all, having publishers serve to shareholders and investors who understand nothing about gaming instead of serving and meeting the demands of the gamers themselves. All this has taken its toll for years and years and now we're seeing the results of that. Even the big analyst houses like Moody and S&P are advising clients and investors to flee from the gaming market and this alone is a fucking red flag that should scare shitless anyone working within the publishers.

Not even the most ardent of fanboys and apologists can save the industry from what its coming and the publishers deserve all of it since they were the ones who created the conditions for their own downfall in the first place. This is the free market working at its best, you don't innovate and you abuse consumers and sooner or later you will pay the price.
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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