Welcome to the Future of Gaming, where in-app purchases cost more than a game does today.

Blind_Evil wrote:

While GG's as charming as ever, I can't help but agree. I honestly don't hear much of that from core game journalists, but I probably follow fewer than yourself. What are some examples? They'd have to make some really solid arguments to shake my belief that we'll see just as much attention as we ever have, if not more, going forward.

What? Like these from an industry-focused site?

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/article...

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/article...

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/article...

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/article...

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/article...

I agree with you - I don't think a lot of these articles are right BUT these noises are being made by the CEOs and other high-ups in the major gaming companies...

Right, but look at some quotes from inside the articles:

Greg Canessa, Activision VP of Mobile Development wrote:

We have about 350 different brands and IPs to work with. That's legacy IP, that's triple-A IP and that's licences with other companies. We want to create mobile games from all of these aspects of the Activision portfolio, and build a variety of experiences.

Nothing in there about cutting 360/PS3/PC funding. That's the thrust of my entire argument in this thread - these two types of gaming are not mutually exclusive. There's room and audiences for both. Maybe I'm not so worried because I've had such good experiences with a few well-made free-to-play games.

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo President wrote:

"We have reached an era where even a single-player game experience [can] have a social component that is very important," Iwata told Kotaku. "And I think, again, that social component is mandatory."

"Early on, when I played a Mario game, it was really fun for me to sit and chat with my friends about, 'Hey I found coins over here, there's a hidden place.' That interaction was great," he said.

He's talking about social interaction revolving around games, not "social games" like Farmville. Misleading headlines, yay.

Daniel Kim, Nexon American CEO wrote:

"Console developers are starting to realise that as well, that unless they make accommodations or think about changing their own business model they're going to quickly go the way of the dinosaurs," Kim told GamesIndustry International.

Dude in charge of a branch of the big F2P company is bullish on F2P? Get outta here!

tl;dr: I don't think it's a case of the gaming industry dying. Overall, the industry must be expanding because people of all ages are now enjoying games. As far as I'm concerned, it's a case of the marginalised (and most vocal) parts of the gaming community complaining that developer dollars are not being allocated in the fields which they would prefer.

"If I spend $x then I expect Y level of satisfaction"

"I must create a new product that can achieve Y level of satisfaction in the market. I have done this before with Game A and Game B, therefore I need only replicate my previous work and I should expect similar demand for my new product"

Can you see the vicious cycle which emerges?

The fact that AAA titles are becoming increasingly homogenised products is no surprise. It's about commercialisation of the product. Financiers want to see proven IP and proven sales over any desire to invest in higher risk outlier genres. Developers can only attract financial backing with a proven record.

EA is interesting because the corporate leader has sworn that the F2P model is the future. He has embarked on making this vision come true in a series of steps (Origin, acquiring Playfish & Firemint, C&C Generals II going F2P). He knows what his investors are telling him - they want low capital expenditure (low cost) products that are quick to launch and appeal to fickle consumer trends, which bring in better dollar for dollar return on equity over time than the AAA titles.

In addition, the gaming community (if there is such a thing) has broadened to the point where it is impossible to give the community any sensible description other than to say it includes people of all ages and cultures who participate in interactive electronic entertainment. As busy people generally tend to share common traits (most valuable resource in life is either time or disposable income), this too has had an impact on consumer preferences.

Instantaneous gratification - the development of the "pay/press to win button" is a reflection of human society in the 21st century. In this sense, developers cannot be blamed for designing and building games which only cater to this psychology.

But there is still hope within the doom and gloom. We still see exciting lower budget titles getting much love (Minecraft, Endless Space, Warlock: Master of the Arcane). We see old hands going back to the drawing board (how many Kickstarters have floated on the back of nostalgia).

Blind_Evil wrote:

Dude in charge of a branch of the big F2P company is bullish on F2P? Get outta here!

That's a good point, and in fact the blog post that kicked all this off for me was written by a mobile game developer who makes F2P games. But the numbers don't lie. F2P games with in-app purchases are totally owning the iOS app profitability zone. I don't have an iOS device, so I don't really know how that impacts availability of different kinds of games. I do know that the options on Android are limited, but they're limited for other reasons, too (8 bazillion platforms, for one).

I'm not too worried that this will have a big impact in the PC or console realms. But then I see executives at Ubisoft blabbing about how F2P is going to take over the world and how it is their major focus now. On the flip side, EA had a huge push in their "Play4Free" games, and I don't think it turned out to be a silver bullet for them (yet?). Maybe because they are still designing games instead of in-app purchase operant conditioning chambers. I know BattleForge was actually fun without getting too spendy, and I hear that Battlefield Play4Free is pretty good, too.

I hope Certis is right and the Farmville style F2P industry dies out - Zynga are definitely struggling at the moment, so there is hope.

There's just something really disturbing about watching kids badger their parents for game point cards at supermarket checkouts.

In this sense, developers cannot be blamed for designing and building games which only cater to this psychology.

Im not saying it's the same thing, but gambling is pretty tightly regulated in many places because it appeals in a similar way to human psychology.

Concern is good and, as mentioned, is not coming from a vacuum. My philosophy is to support games I want and not to support games I don't want. These games may fall into certain business models or may not. W/o question the model has an impact on the design of the game, though that doesn't mean that their can't be innovation in establishing revenue streams. To be clearer, there can be creativity in how f2p is applied, it's just a way to take a $. Let's not assume that today's f2p has to look like tomorrow's. As such, the things you don't like about f2p (Skinner box design) are implicit in how the payment model currently sculpts game design- though this feels dynamic, in a creative medium there's always the chance for someone to come up with a unique design that doesn't (to your mind) negatively impact design.

I can't see being against a revenue stream, though I totally see your point on how this revenue has a disappointing impact on modern design that uses this stream.

We'll all have to learn to live with your disappointment in us.

I don't understand how you can take comments about a potential future for the games industry that concerns some people as "the sky is falling". This is being talked about everywhere. Look at what the gaming press and analysts are spouting now about how there's no real future in AAA, how consoles are obsolete, how nothing can succeed that isn't $0.99 or free to play and how mobile's going to take over the world. You don't have to look far to find these stories, I see at least 2 or 3 of the sort in my Twitter feed every day. These are people who are paid to write about this stuff (though admittedly, to also generate clicks) and it's what they're saying.

I don't fault anyone who plays and enjoys those kinds of games but those are not the kind of games I enjoy and as someone who likes the kinds of games many in the press and elsewhere say are dying off, that's what concerns me for the future. It's not a future that's happened yet, it's just one a not insignificant number are saying is inevitable and I personally wish that weren't the case.

If that point of view somehow offends you for reasons I can no better comprehend that you can apparently comprehend mine, due respect but I'm going to keep saying it as long as it's what I think. Disagree all you want but is dumping on the thread necessary?

Out of curiosity, I just looked it up, and the iPad 2 is about 1/8th as fast as the 360 in terms of polygons/second, and about half as fast in terms of pixels/second. And even though the custom PowerPC processors in the 360 are kind of butchered compared to an Intel chip at the same clockspeed, they run at 3Ghz, compared to the 1Ghz or so of an iPad2 ... and the ARM-style chips aren't noted for being speed demons, even per clock.

The iPad2 is probably better compared with an original XBox, not a 360. Having that much power in that small a form factor is pretty cool, but the current consoles are much, much faster.

Blind_Evil wrote:

Right, but look at some quotes from inside the articles:

Greg Canessa, Activision VP of Mobile Development wrote:

We have about 350 different brands and IPs to work with. That's legacy IP, that's triple-A IP and that's licences with other companies. We want to create mobile games from all of these aspects of the Activision portfolio, and build a variety of experiences.

Nothing in there about cutting 360/PS3/PC funding. That's the thrust of my entire argument in this thread - these two types of gaming are not mutually exclusive. There's room and audiences for both. Maybe I'm not so worried because I've had such good experiences with a few well-made free-to-play games.

Counter point: There's only a limited budget and if they're magicking up money from somewhere to spend on studios and refocused development it's got to come from somewhere else....

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo President wrote:

"We have reached an era where even a single-player game experience (can) have a social component that is very important," Iwata told Kotaku. "And I think, again, that social component is mandatory."

"Early on, when I played a Mario game, it was really fun for me to sit and chat with my friends about, 'Hey I found coins over here, there's a hidden place.' That interaction was great," he said.

He's talking about social interaction revolving around games, not "social games" like Farmville. Misleading headlines, yay.

Counter point: Not all games need "social" shoehorned into them or will benefit from it. I didn't read it as social like Farmville like you seemed to interpret it from the headline. Didn't get that at all. Focusing exclusively (mandatory?!) on any one thing across all your games and licenses is idiotic in my mind... just as is trying to force first person controls as mandatory would be.... let alone a nebulous and emergent quality like social interactions like he describes. Sounds like he's trying to attach a buzzword to development.

Daniel Kim, Nexon American CEO wrote:

"Console developers are starting to realise that as well, that unless they make accommodations or think about changing their own business model they're going to quickly go the way of the dinosaurs," Kim told GamesIndustry International.

Dude in charge of a branch of the big F2P company is bullish on F2P? Get outta here!

This one's fair enough but you see it bandied about a lot and not just from F2P companies. Bear in mind I was also specifically addressing your statement:

I honestly don't hear much of that from core game journalists, but I probably follow fewer than yourself. What are some examples?

They are out there, they are being said and discussed by core game journalists and those are some (only from the last week and a half or so) of the examples I could give by visiting just one front page of one website.

[edit]
I apologise for messing up the formatting but I really can't see where it's gone wrong!

[edit 2]
Fixed!

Malor wrote:

Out of curiosity, I just looked it up, and the iPad 2 is about 1/8th as fast as the 360 in terms of polygons/second, and about half as fast in terms of pixels/second. And even though the custom PowerPC processors in the 360 are kind of butchered compared to an Intel chip at the same clockspeed, they run at 3Ghz, compared to the 1Ghz or so of an iPad2 ... and the ARM-style chips aren't noted for being speed demons, even per clock.

The iPad2 is probably better compared with an original XBox, not a 360. Having that much power in that small a form factor is pretty cool, but the current consoles are much, much faster.

That's generally been my viewpoint too. People point to Infinity Blade as an example but while it does looks very nice for a tablet, it's a 15 minute game about one-on-one battles that take place in super restricted scripted levels with almost no AI. It's all parlour tricks.

I've no doubt that eventually, we will see tablets that can match the 360's power and probably even the next-gen consoles. I think that's a ways off yet though and for them to be able to replace console game experiences, they have a lot of issues to solve with storage first. It could happen one day though.

Duoae wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

I like how Skinner box is entering people's normal vocabulary lately. :)

I prefer "operant conditioning chamber". ;)

Ha! I also looked up Skinner Box on wikipedia.

ChipRMonk wrote:

Same here on the cable networks. I wouldn't even have cable if I was a bachelor. Shame, too. I used to love Science Fiction Channel, History Channel, Discovery....mostly garbage now. Still an occasional good series on the networks though. I'm paying a lot for what little I get that's worthwhile these days in television.

Too bad TV doesn't have Steam Sales. ;-)

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/3zLJa.jpg)

I do not think they have to. I think that mobile tech will gain in fidelity, to be sure. But the surge in mobile media consumption and mobile gaming relative to the at home experience is not about looks, it is price and convenience. Just about everyone is getting a smart phone device (I remaine on the fence for tablets) which means we have constant access to a web connection, and affordable games. Your store is in your pocket. This goes beyond mere digital convenience. I still need to play Portal at my desk or in my livingroom.

I am wondering if Angry Birds will be the first ever game to sell 1 billion copies because of this. As evidenced by the changing audiences it was a phone game to become the first mass cultural phenonema for many years from games. Angry Birds is everywhere.

Mobile allows that anyone, anywhere can hear about a fad game, and have it 2 minutes later. It is bringing back a bit of that arcade low barrier when you could play any game for 25 cents.

The History Channel might as well be the Alien Abduction, Conspiracy, and Revisionist History Channel now.

They used to show a lot of interesting things about wars, NASA, and actual history. Now it's just nonsense flash for ratings.

/tangent

Stele wrote:

The History Channel might as well be the Alien Abduction, Conspiracy, and Revisionist History Channel now.

They used to show a lot of interesting things about wars, NASA, and actual history. Now it's just nonsense flash for ratings.

/tangent

But great fodder for South Park.

Stele wrote:

The History Channel might as well be the Alien Abduction, Conspiracy, and Revisionist History Channel now.

They used to show a lot of interesting things about wars, NASA, and actual history. Now it's just nonsense flash for ratings.

/tangent

You mean the content that was flashier, less expensive to produce, and more popular with the masses drove out the more meticulously created programs that were generally of higher quality but appealed to a smaller audience? I dunno how that could be germane to the discussion at all.

Spoiler:

And actually, I more or less agree with blind_evil about this one.

nel e nel wrote:
Duoae wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

I like how Skinner box is entering people's normal vocabulary lately. :)

I prefer "operant conditioning chamber". ;)

Ha! I also looked up Skinner Box on wikipedia.

Actually, I have a story around the term so I didn't need to.

Duoae wrote:
nel e nel wrote:
Duoae wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

I like how Skinner box is entering people's normal vocabulary lately. :)

I prefer "operant conditioning chamber". ;)

Ha! I also looked up Skinner Box on wikipedia.

Actually, I have a story around the term so I didn't need to. :)

Wait, did I say I looked it up on wikipedia? I meant I looked it up in my brain

I just came across this and though it relevant to the thread--EA CEO John Riccitiello's musings on microtransactions from a shareholder meeting:

He spent $5000 on doing just that sort of thing in the calendar year to date?! (whenever that was)... no wonder EA is failing so badly!

Yeah, but it's not gouging. It's charging!