Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«24 »
  • Post
  • Reply
Bushmaori
Mar 8, 2009


Mother posted:

See where this is going? Starflight was almost certainly less than a million to make (adjusted). Take a wild stab at what Destiny 2 cost. Yet, the sticker priceÖ.

Doesn't this buy into the idea that AAA devs were somehow forced into spending many many millions of dollars in creating games in an unsustainable way? It was their choice, they choose to operate this way, they knew what the outcome would be for the bottom line, and they pushed that cost onto the consumer by adding manipulative practices (see Destiny 2's exp scaling or the repugnancy of loot boxes).

Disclaimer: I am one of those people utterly disgusted by loot boxes, and since they absolutely take advantage of gambling addiction and laws playing catch-up I think they are scummy as gently caress.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

CodfishCartographer
Feb 23, 2010

Gadus Maprocephalus


You know I have to wonder if Destiny 2's exp thing is just an extremely unfortunate bug that got WNF'd in QA, and since the game has loot crates it instead looks like manipulation at its worst. (being optimistic here)

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Bushmaori posted:

Doesn't this buy into the idea that AAA devs were somehow forced into spending many many millions of dollars in creating games in an unsustainable way? It was their choice, they choose to operate this way, they knew what the outcome would be for the bottom line, and they pushed that cost onto the consumer by adding manipulative practices (see Destiny 2's exp scaling or the repugnancy of loot boxes).

This is argument is an ouroboros that will never be satisfied, and people who come out swinging on either side are most often already convinced that their side is correct. The cost of developing video games to the level of graphical and gameplay fidelity that is demanded by general mass audiences has indeed risen significantly over the decades while the base cost of a video game at the store has remained static. This is a fact. There are lots more tools and middlewares and outsourcing etc available now than there were decades ago, so certain aspects of video game dev is cheaper. This is also a fact. Personally, I'd state that while middlewares and outsourcing and such make certain tasks cheaper than if it was just raw manpower performing them, the task in general is so complex that it's more expensive than a couple decades ago regardless.

Certain outliers have found themselves in situations where they can achieve AAA benchmark fidelity with smaller budgets, but these are generally outliers, such as CD Projekt Red being located in Poland so they can pay their employees drastically smaller wages, etc.

While game devs are absolutely not absolved of the responsibility of their budgets, the situation is not as simple as you state.

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005

get into shit let it out like diarrhea
got burnt once that was only gonorrhea


mutata posted:

This is argument is an ouroboros that will never be satisfied, and people who come out swinging on either side are most often already convinced that their side is correct. The cost of developing video games to the level of graphical and gameplay fidelity that is demanded by general mass audiences has indeed risen significantly over the decades while the base cost of a video game at the store has remained static. This is a fact. There are lots more tools and middlewares and outsourcing etc available now than there were decades ago, so certain aspects of video game dev is cheaper. This is also a fact. Personally, I'd state that while middlewares and outsourcing and such make certain tasks cheaper than if it was just raw manpower performing them, the task in general is so complex that it's more expensive than a couple decades ago regardless.

Certain outliers have found themselves in situations where they can achieve AAA benchmark fidelity with smaller budgets, but these are generally outliers, such as CD Projekt Red being located in Poland so they can pay their employees drastically smaller wages, etc.

While game devs are absolutely not absolved of the responsibility of their budgets, the situation is not as simple as you state.

Don't forget inflation. Wing Commander: The Secret Missions for SNES cost $59.95 all the way back in 1992, that's $105 2017 dollars.

Bushmaori
Mar 8, 2009


mutata posted:

While game devs are absolutely not absolved of the responsibility of their budgets, the situation is not as simple as you state.

Yeah, I can see how you might be able to push the idea that this is down to things that are "demanded by general mass audiences", although I would like to see the data to back this up.

What I can't see is how this justifies the use of manipulative practices and taking advantage of gambling addiction. If that is what you do, if you need to harm the consumer in such a way to continue business then I am convinced the video game industry would be better off without you.

LIVE AMMO ROLEPLAY
Feb 3, 2006
Cool dude.

Fun Shoe

CodfishCartographer posted:

You know I have to wonder if Destiny 2's exp thing is just an extremely unfortunate bug that got WNF'd in QA, and since the game has loot crates it instead looks like manipulation at its worst. (being optimistic here)

Well if the story that their response was to cut that poo poo out immediately then double the experience required for everyone it doesnít look good.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Bushmaori posted:

Yeah, I can see how you might be able to push the idea that this is down to things that are "demanded by general mass audiences", although I would like to see the data to back this up.

What I can't see is how this justifies the use of manipulative practices and taking advantage of gambling addiction. If that is what you do, if you need to harm the consumer in such a way to continue business then I am convinced the video game industry would be better off without you.

I don't disagree with you, but man, you're being super abrasive so I doubt very many people who aren't already of your mindset are going to consider your viewpoint, if I'm honest.

Bushmaori
Mar 8, 2009


mutata posted:

I don't disagree with you, but man, you're being super abrasive so I doubt very many people who aren't already of your mindset are going to consider your viewpoint, if I'm honest.
I am super abrasive, and I don't mean to try to imply you are in any way at fault if I'm giving that impression. I know a few people with gambling problems, and I also see the direction in which some AAA publishers are taking in regards to this, so it really grinds my loving gears.

On a less abrasive note, I am genuinely interested in the data on how AAA publishers determined that such costly development cycles were "demanded by general mass audiences". I've heard this a few times, but I've also heard people say that this is just a way for publishers to justify their own runaway pursuit of being the best looking. Can you point me in the direction of any studies or resources which show some sort of causal link? No worries if not, I'm sure someone in this thread can point me in the right direction.

e:

mutata posted:

Now if your question is "Where's the data that the masses want AAA-looking games?" then I can only offer you colloquial data, but I think expecting the industry to stop pushing the boundaries of graphical fidelity is probably against the whole industry's DNA.

This was what I was asking. If this is the case then it ties back to it being their choice, does it not? Them choosing to create their own burden and then shifting the weight? I should wait for others to chime in, there are probably some basic stats or studies which actually show people won't buy games that play well if they don't look amazing.

Bushmaori fucked around with this message at Nov 27, 2017 around 07:07

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

The simple fact of the matter is: It costs as much as it does to produce games that look and play as good as AAA games do. There's certainly room for streamlining here and there, absolutely, but the floor even then is pretty high. Now if your question is "Where's the data that the masses want AAA-looking games?" then I can only offer you colloquial data, but I think expecting the industry to stop pushing the boundaries of graphical fidelity is probably against the whole industry's DNA.

On the other hand, certain genres definitely cost more to develop than others do. The fact that a large majority of tentpole releases each year are open world games certainly doesn't help the average cost of development per game. Maybe as the general mass audience's tastes shift so will budgets?

I'll let others pop in here and share their thoughts, though.

John Murdoch
May 19, 2009

I have special eyes.

Just think of all the cool stuff I can see.


CodfishCartographer posted:

You know I have to wonder if Destiny 2's exp thing is just an extremely unfortunate bug that got WNF'd in QA, and since the game has loot crates it instead looks like manipulation at its worst. (being optimistic here)

There's no way it was a bug. If we're being generous, the XP limiter might have been intended as an anti-poopsocking measure. Dis-incentivizing mindless grinding is definitely a noble goal, IMO. But those systems are usually surfaced and not connected to MTX in any way, and their reaction unfortunately came off more like "oh poo poo they caught us, abort abort" rather than an honest mea culpa.

Tei
Feb 19, 2011



When you lose the goodwild of your customers everything is poo poo. Even minor mistakes or problems turn big, and the customer will attribute them to the worse they can imagine.

Tricky Ed
Aug 18, 2010

It is important to avoid confusion. This is the one that's okay to lick.


College Slice

This is a circular argument again. EA is big enough to have no morals other than "return maximum value to shareholders." This is their only purpose. They will only change their practices if they are forced to do so by law or if their revenue falls significantly. As long as they are big enough to be able to hold their IP and hold exclusive licenses to other IPs (Madden, Fifa, Star Wars, Sims) they do not have to think of the consumer as anything but a source for revenue. So far consumers have done nothing but reward this outlook.

If you honestly believe that consumer desires aren't driving increases in graphical fidelity, game complexity, length, size, and story, just imagine if the new Mario game reused most of the models from Galaxy, and some of the maps. It might have been an okay game. Maybe even really good. Maybe even profitable. But it wouldn't have made the impact that Odyssey did.

Now imagine if GTA 6 were the story of three new protagonists, fully voiced, with all new music, cutscenes, missions, and stunts, but it took place in the same world/levels/geometry as GTA 5. That game would still probably take more than 2 years and $200 million to make. Would it make that back? Could they "get away" with doing that again for 7? If they made a smaller world that looked better, how much smaller would be acceptable? How much shorter could the game be? How much more repetition would you put up with in the soundtrack?

Everyone gave Mass Effect: Andromeda crap for how bad it looked and how grindy it got. Imagine if they cut half the story, only had one option for the player character's gender, and they had to cut down on the number of planet biomes and enemy types. With such a drastically lowered budget, could it have made money then?

While it's true that not every new game has to match DICE in graphical fidelity, there is a minimum standard for how a game looks and that minimum goes up constantly. It will always take more time to make a model that looks good compared to the competition three years from now than it does now, and the artist that can make that model deserves to make more money, too. Player bases aren't growing faster than those costs. If there are to be new games at the AAA level, they will have to make more than $60 per player.

This isn't to say that loot boxes are inevitable or that EA is doing it right. EA never does anything right if they can help it. Games, and probably the rest of the world, would probably be better off without EA. But until they are punished for doing the wrong thing they will continue to do the wrongest thing that makes them the most amount of money, because that is why a publicly-owned corporation exists.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

The other thing that will/could change loot boxes as a thing is when/if a different, more effective monetization model arises.

Discendo Vox
Mar 21, 2013

This user's endless pedantry is kept grey.

Key words: nutrition, philosophy, regulatory science, law, shallow realpolitik, fake cheese, game design fanfiction.

In that regard, GaS comes up again- but itís very difficult to execute, especially with such a toxic userbase problem.

Seeing alt-right channer types trying to use EA anger to mainstream themselves, and succeeding, is pretty horrific.

1337JiveTurkey
Feb 17, 2005



College Slice

As a business programmer I donít envy game developers and the inevitable expectation management thatís necessary in the near future. Itís going to take a legitimate $100 million or more write off to break the cycle and itís not going to be pretty when it comes. Even if the displacement mapped rear end in a top hat wrinkles causing it in the first place are

Jordan7hm
Feb 17, 2011

MENS REA? LOL MORE LIKE CHRIS REA AM I RITE

Lipstick Apathy

Bushmaori posted:

Disclaimer: I am one of those people utterly disgusted by loot boxes, and since they absolutely take advantage of gambling addiction and laws playing catch-up I think they are scummy as gently caress.

This, and the fact they're targeted at children as much as at adults, is the problem with loot boxes to me.

This nonsense about "companies exist solely to generate profit" is just that, nonsense. Companies also have an responsibility, sometimes enforced legally after the fact, to act within certain ethical bounds and lots of companies manage that just fine.

Jordan7hm fucked around with this message at Nov 27, 2017 around 15:38

CodfishCartographer
Feb 23, 2010

Gadus Maprocephalus


TF2 HAT MINING RIG posted:

Well if the story that their response was to cut that poo poo out immediately then double the experience required for everyone it doesn’t look good.

Playing devil's advocate, but if it was a bug, wouldn't that be the correct response? As soon as the company is made aware of how pissed people are about it, they fix it and offer a bonus to make up for it?


Bushmaori posted:

This was what I was asking. If this is the case then it ties back to it being their choice, does it not? Them choosing to create their own burden and then shifting the weight? I should wait for others to chime in, there are probably some basic stats or studies which actually show people won't buy games that play well if they don't look amazing.

I don't know if there's any hard data on it, but there's plenty of examples of gamers going WOW LOOK HOW UGLY THIS NEW GAME IS that encourage devs to make every game look like The Best-Looking Game Ever. Mentioned above, but the Mass Effect Andromeda drama is a perfect example. Almost none of the drama was about about how fun the game was, it was all about how ugly the animations were and how someone was holding a space gun backwards.

Chev
Jul 19, 2010


Switchblade Switcharoo

CodfishCartographer posted:

Playing devil's advocate, but if it was a bug, wouldn't that be the correct response? As soon as the company is made aware of how pissed people are about it, they fix it and offer a bonus to make up for it?
They've gone on record saying the exp mechanics were designed like that though.

CodfishCartographer
Feb 23, 2010

Gadus Maprocephalus


Chev posted:

They've gone on record saying the exp mechanics were designed like that though.

Oh, welp, nevermind then.

Patrick Spens
Jul 21, 2006
Probation
Can't post for 3 hours!


Pillbug

Also, it wasn't bonus xp, they dropped the amount of xp gained.

Bushmaori
Mar 8, 2009


CodfishCartographer posted:

I don't know if there's any hard data on it, but there's plenty of examples of gamers going WOW LOOK HOW UGLY THIS NEW GAME IS that encourage devs to make every game look like The Best-Looking Game Ever. Mentioned above, but the Mass Effect Andromeda drama is a perfect example. Almost none of the drama was about about how fun the game was, it was all about how ugly the animations were and how someone was holding a space gun backwards.

That's the thing. Without data, saying this is directly responsible for anything approaching forcing unsustainable practices (and therefore manipulative scumbaggery) is not really a connection we can draw. There are an enormous amount of gamersô who will throw a huge and visible tantrum at how a game looks, regardless of whether or not they are going to buy it and regardless of how the game actually looks. This will absolutely affect the buying rates of a few, but a significant enough proportion to classify the game as a failure? On top of this, we also have to factor in that ME:A had a very rocky production and was (correct me if I'm wrong) a little mismanaged and lacking anything approaching a strong cohesive vision, driving up production cost and contributing to less impressive areas.

If we are using anecdotes: I know three people who bought ME:A, including myself, and the graphics being occasionally hilarious and bad did nothing to stop us from purchasing it.

To Tricky Ed - I appreciate the great post, you obviously know more about the actual environment that I do, but it leaves me with another couple of questions. You frame this as if AAA game development has approached a sort of tipping point where traditional funding through sales alone can no longer keep up. Does this mean that the industry as a whole is approaching this problem? I know that there are still many AAA developers outside of the scumosphere who do not use these manipulative practices. Is the evolving nature of the industry meaning we are ripe for another crash or other such disaster among all AAA developers who strive to overpush the envelope?

In case I was unclear - the issue I take is not with the natural evolution and capitalist competition which will inherently drive us towards to more complicated games, that is always a given. The issue is that developers are seemingly increasingly eager to cross the threshold of sustainability. Many developers don't do this and see no need to do this, so I find the idea that the AAA developers who engage in this behavior shouldn't shoulder all of the blame genuinely confusing.

Bushmaori fucked around with this message at Nov 28, 2017 around 01:03

The Bee
Nov 25, 2012

Making his way to the ring . . .
from Deep in the Jungle . . .

The Big Monkey!


Patrick Spens posted:

Also, it wasn't bonus xp, they dropped the amount of xp gained.

To be fair, those basically mean the same thing. But man, one feels way worse than the other.

Wallet
Jun 19, 2006



The Bee posted:

To be fair, those basically mean the same thing. But man, one feels way worse than the other.

I haven't played the game, but apparently it wasn't a bonus XP kind of thing but rather a large to massive XP penalty if you were gaining XP awards too often, independent of the size of those awards. When people figured it out, they disabled the system and doubled the amount of XP required to level.

Wallet fucked around with this message at Nov 27, 2017 around 23:49

Whistling Asshole
Nov 18, 2005



Jordan7hm posted:

This nonsense about "companies exist solely to generate profit" is just that, nonsense. Companies also have an responsibility, sometimes enforced legally after the fact, to act within certain ethical bounds and lots of companies manage that just fine.

If you're the CEO of a publicly traded company, you can and will be ousted by your board of directors for doing things that cost a lot of money and get little return. Or your company can get sued by your shareholders for similar reasons. Once you go public, you're absolutely beholden to the people who buy shares in your company to grow it and increase revenue (and hopefully profit) in each successive quarter.

In an ideal world, game companies are purely artistic endeavors staffed by passionate people who want to maximize fun and make you forget about your lovely life for a while. In the real world, they're businesses that often make decisions based on things not even tangentially related to "let's make the best game possible."

LIVE AMMO ROLEPLAY
Feb 3, 2006
Cool dude.

Fun Shoe

Whistling rear end in a top hat posted:

If you're the CEO of a publicly traded company, you can and will be ousted by your board of directors for doing things that cost a lot of money and get little return. Or your company can get sued by your shareholders for similar reasons. Once you go public, you're absolutely beholden to the people who buy shares in your company to grow it and increase revenue (and hopefully profit) in each successive quarter.

In an ideal world, game companies are purely artistic endeavors staffed by passionate people who want to maximize fun and make you forget about your lovely life for a while. In the real world, they're businesses that often make decisions based on things not even tangentially related to "let's make the best game possible."

Valve donít have shareholders, do they?

Gearman
Dec 6, 2011



Bushmaori posted:

That's the thing. Without data, saying this is directly responsible for anything approaching forcing unsustainable practices (and therefore manipulative scumbaggery) is not really a connection we can draw. There are an enormous amount of gamers™ who will throw a huge and visible tantrum at how a game looks, regardless of whether or not they are going to buy it and regardless of how the game actually looks. This will absolutely affect the buying rates of a few, but a significant enough proportion to classify the game as a failure? On top of this, we also have to factor in that ME:A had a very rocky production and was (correct me if I'm wrong) a little mismanaged and lacking anything approaching a strong cohesive vision, driving up production cost and contributing to less impressive areas.


To Tricky Ed - I appreciate the great post, you obviously know more about the actual environment that I do, but it leaves me with another couple of questions. You frame this as if AAA game development has approached a sort of tipping point where traditional funding through sales alone can no longer keep up. Does this mean that the industry as a whole is approaching this problem? I know that there are still many AAA developers outside of the scumosphere who do not use these manipulative practices. Is the evolving nature of the industry meaning we are ripe for another crash or other such disaster among all AAA developers who strive to overpush the envelope?

In case I was unclear - the issue I take is not with the natural evolution and capitalist competition which will inherently drive us towards to more complicated games, that is always a given. The issue is that developers are seemingly increasingly eager to cross the threshold of sustainability. Many developers don't do this and see no need to do this, so I find the idea that the AAA developers who engage in this behavior shouldn't shoulder all of the blame genuinely confusing.

This is probably a troll post but I'll bite anyway. Most of the truly relevant data that you'd really be interested in is being produced by market research teams that literally spend millions of dollars to figure out what will or won't sell. That data is behind layers of NDAs that most people will never see. This is largely because that data provides a competitive advantage. However, there are general rules that can be easily extrapolated just through observation of the current best-selling games. A very obvious general rule is that better graphics sell more copies. Why? Because it's incredibly easy to show a target market that a game's graphics are superior to other games. I'm sure if you do some digging you can find some data by a college freshman marketing student has A/B test data that shows unequivocally what we've known pretty much since the beginning of marketing and advertising: better imagery leads to more sales.

As for developers crossing the threshold into unsustainability: it's rarely a choice. Most studios are barely scraping by. However, the majority of AAA studios are doing just fine. The fundamental problem is that it's a hits-based industry.

You need to be able to separate yourself from the hundreds of games showing up on Steam every single day. In order to make a hit you typically either need to spend a lot of money on development, get incredibly lucky, or both. Most non-AAA studios actually have runways of only a few months and end up taking on side projects to keep the company afloat. So, while the idea of game companies choosing not to invest beyond a means of sustainability is a great thought, it's rarely a matter of choice. In this industry, the only tried-and-true way of producing a hit is to spend a LOT of money, and even then, many companies with large coffers still don't get it right.

Bushmaori
Mar 8, 2009


I mean I want to continue, but I'm betting people are already tired of me making GBS threads up the thread.

Whistling Asshole
Nov 18, 2005



TF2 HAT MINING RIG posted:

Valve donít have shareholders, do they?

Every company does, it's just a matter of whether they're public or private. Valve is a privately held company. If they were public, I'm sure we'd start to see HALF-LIFE 2018, HALF-LIFE 2019, DOTA: STAR WARS, etc. and so on.

LIVE AMMO ROLEPLAY
Feb 3, 2006
Cool dude.

Fun Shoe

Whistling rear end in a top hat posted:

Every company does, it's just a matter of whether they're public or private. Valve is a privately held company. If they were public, I'm sure we'd start to see HALF-LIFE 2018, HALF-LIFE 2019, DOTA: STAR WARS, etc. and so on.

Uh, Valve arenít pumping out trash games but they are turning their popular stuff into microtransaction messes while not making new stuff at all.

Tricky Ed
Aug 18, 2010

It is important to avoid confusion. This is the one that's okay to lick.


College Slice

Bushmaori posted:

To Tricky Ed - I appreciate the great post, you obviously know more about the actual environment that I do, but it leaves me with another couple of questions. You frame this as if AAA game development has approached a sort of tipping point where traditional funding through sales alone can no longer keep up. Does this mean that the industry as a whole is approaching this problem? I know that there are still many AAA developers outside of the scumosphere who do not use these manipulative practices. Is the evolving nature of the industry meaning we are ripe for another crash or other such disaster among all AAA developers who strive to overpush the envelope?

In case I was unclear - the issue I take is not with the natural evolution and capitalist competition which will inherently drive us towards to more complicated games, that is always a given. The issue is that developers are seemingly increasingly eager to cross the threshold of sustainability. Many developers don't do this and see no need to do this, so I find the idea that the AAA developers who engage in this behavior shouldn't shoulder all of the blame genuinely confusing.

I think we are past the tipping point for big games, yes, in the same way that Hollywood hit the blockbuster wall in the early 2000s and would probably be facing the same issues right now if China hadn't saved them. They kept throwing more and more money into stars and explosions with the hopes that a single mega-hit could sustain the rest of their efforts all year, in the same way that studios are currently throwing in more and more features to drive engagement and thus create the next "it" game that dominates the landscape and monopolizes player attention for years.

The publishers are absolutely to blame for this cycle, as they're generally the ones who push developers to promise more than they're comfortable with. They're the ones who look at market research and say "games with roguelike elements/crafting/team PvP/survival elements are outselling other games right now, so we need you to put that in." They also say "Hey, your project was late and over budget. You need to find a way to increase your revenue stream so you can maybe see some profit on it." Sure, developers can push back on this, but when you don't have the money to fund yourself you don't get to argue all that much. So sometimes they overextend and it pays off in the form of a hit (Horizon Zero Dawn) or sometimes they overextend and it... doesn't (LawBreakers, Mass Effect: Andromeda).

I think there's definitely going to be another round of studio/publisher collapses and reorganization coming in the next few years. Visceral getting demolished is a sign. So is the reorganization that happened within Ubisoft. Both EA and Ubi are trying to scale globally, allowing their specialists to specialize further and hopefully gain efficiency by minimizing ramp-up and ramp-down cycles. Their hope is that their engine programmers will always be at work on their shared engine, their UI people will implement the same UI tech with different skins on every title, their environment artists can use a shared pool of assets to build for each title, etc. It might enable smaller teams to "punch above their weight" and make games that look like they cost more than they did, or it might make every game look and play the same since so much is being shared. Everyone's scrambling for something, though. Loot boxes are just today's fad.

Bushmaori
Mar 8, 2009



Awesome dude, thanks.

e: I think I mixed up the concept of developers and publishers in my head, I'm not clever

Bushmaori fucked around with this message at Nov 28, 2017 around 06:30

Whistling Asshole
Nov 18, 2005



TF2 HAT MINING RIG posted:

Uh, Valve arenít pumping out trash games but they are turning their popular stuff into microtransaction messes while not making new stuff at all.

That's a matter of opinion. As far as I can tell, you can still hop in and have fun matches in TF2 or Dota 2 without spending any money at all. CS:Go is a pay up front game and so are most of their other marquee games so I don't really understand that opinion personally.

Valve could probably spend the next 20 years doing nothing but publishing other people's games on their platform and facilitating in-game transactions and still be hugely profitable. They're in the enviable position (at least from a developer-as-artist standpoint) of not having to release a game unless they're 100% sure that it's a masterpiece and it seems like that's sort of their m.o. these days. If you have money in the bank to experiment, test, and refine a game until it's a diamond, we as gamers all benefit from that. If it takes them 10 years or 15 years or 20 years to do it right, so be it.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Since the topic of Valve came up, I'd just counter point that while it's undeniably the case that Valve could do nothing but play their own games all day and still make a profit, from conversations I've had with people who have left there, being independently wealthy with an officially "flat" structure doesn't really make them the best place for creation of the art. According to some, there's been a huge talent drain from Valve due to the fact that it's so difficult for any new project to gain traction and (again according to some) the unofficial structure makes it hard for new talent to integrate.

Valve basically does whatever they want to do day to day which is great for valve but not really for valve fans (like me). Publishers and shareholders do serve some good purposes, mainly driving projects through from start to ship. Valve is just kind of in the other extreme end of the spectrum: where some devs ship games and then get shut down, valve rarely ships anything and will never die.

mutata fucked around with this message at Nov 28, 2017 around 07:39

John Murdoch
May 19, 2009

I have special eyes.

Just think of all the cool stuff I can see.


Valve is depressing to watch because they come off as being terrified of turning into a hyper-capitalistic hell company, but they've long since become exactly that and just obfuscate it with bullshit.

DONT TOUCH THE PC
Jul 15, 2001

You should try it, it's a real buzz.


Tricky Ed posted:

I think there's definitely going to be another round of studio/publisher collapses and reorganization coming in the next few years. Visceral getting demolished is a sign. So is the reorganization that happened within Ubisoft. Both EA and Ubi are trying to scale globally, allowing their specialists to specialize further and hopefully gain efficiency by minimizing ramp-up and ramp-down cycles. Their hope is that their engine programmers will always be at work on their shared engine, their UI people will implement the same UI tech with different skins on every title, their environment artists can use a shared pool of assets to build for each title, etc. It might enable smaller teams to "punch above their weight" and make games that look like they cost more than they did, or it might make every game look and play the same since so much is being shared. Everyone's scrambling for something, though. Loot boxes are just today's fad.

There's also the tendency among some big publishers to give studios a designated game/genre to develop, which probably will create another set of closures when they try to pull a Guerrilla and switch genre/game only to fail spectacularly.

exquisite tea
Apr 21, 2007

Carly shook her glass, willing the ice to melt. "You still haven't told me what the mission is."

She leaned forward. "We are going to assassinate the bad men of Hollywood."

DONT TOUCH THE PC posted:

There's also the tendency among some big publishers to give studios a designated game/genre to develop, which probably will create another set of closures when they try to pull a Guerrilla and switch genre/game only to fail spectacularly.

Sony has at least one major incentive to finance single-player prestige projects that don't make a ton of money off of microtransactions, and it's that at the end of the day, they still need to sell Playstations. Horizon, TLOU, Uncharted, etc. aren't going to make FIFA levels of money but they're all must-have titles for the system that attract widespread critical and player acclaim. Big publishers by contrast aren't beholden to any one platform, only what makes the most return on investment to their shareholders, and corporations like EA have seen a homogenization in recent years where all their titles offer the same kind of lootbox-based progression, regardless of genre. EA would prefer it if none of their studios had any unique identity besides whatever could most effectively produce their graphical gambling delivery service, and personnel were able to be freely moved around from project to project.

DONT TOUCH THE PC
Jul 15, 2001

You should try it, it's a real buzz.


exquisite tea posted:

Sony has at least one major incentive to finance single-player prestige projects that don't make a ton of money off of microtransactions, and it's that at the end of the day, they still need to sell Playstations. Horizon, TLOU, Uncharted, etc. aren't going to make FIFA levels of money but they're all must-have titles for the system that attract widespread critical and player acclaim. Big publishers by contrast aren't beholden to any one platform, only what makes the most return on investment to their shareholders, and corporations like EA have seen a homogenization in recent years where all their titles offer the same kind of lootbox-based progression, regardless of genre. EA would prefer it if none of their studios had any unique identity besides whatever could most effectively produce their graphical gambling delivery service, and personnel were able to be freely moved around from project to project.

Whoops, I forgot to consider the console itself as a moneymaker, but I still expect some studios will try to make a pivot like Guerrilla.

BTW, Isn't what you describe pretty much how Ubisoft already operates?

DONT TOUCH THE PC fucked around with this message at Nov 28, 2017 around 14:59

leper khan
Dec 28, 2010
Honest to god thinks Half Life 2 is a bad game. But at least he likes Monster Hunter.

The big companies donít work on games that wonít give a large expected return because they donít move the needle and the admin costs around projects (legal review, executive management, etc) increase with company size.

If the mothership is blind to expenses less than six figures, theyíre not going to green light a project for seven. Theyíre going to ask why youíre wasting their time.

Source: I work in the games division of a large company.

Tei
Feb 19, 2011





http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/Z/Zawinskis-Law.html

"that all truly useful programs experience pressure to evolve into toolkits and application platforms"

The future of videogames is in videogames where you can fight, gain levels, craft, explore and collect stuff.

Tei fucked around with this message at Nov 28, 2017 around 17:47

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

SupSuper
Apr 8, 2009

At the Heart of the city is an Alien horror, so vile and so powerful that not even death can claim it.


Tricky Ed posted:

If you honestly believe that consumer desires aren't driving increases in graphical fidelity, game complexity, length, size, and story, just imagine if the new Mario game reused most of the models from Galaxy, and some of the maps. It might have been an okay game. Maybe even really good. Maybe even profitable. But it wouldn't have made the impact that Odyssey did.
Isn't Nintendo the counter-example though? Their technology is always generations behind everyone, their graphics are always more style than fidelity, and they're still behind the monetization schemes of everyone else. Oddysey came out two generations after Galaxy 2, and in-between it was purely 2D Mario games mostly consisting of the same gameplay and assets. The new Zelda still runs on WiiU. Maybe they are not AAA levels of profitable, but seems to work for them.

Of course if you ask a consumer they're gonna want "bigger, better, badder", but the gap between generations is still smaller and smaller. How much further can technology go? It looks like we've peaked in graphics so everyone's going more content (open world) instead? What happens when that peaks?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply
«24 »