Great Games May Not Be Enough, but Maybe We Should Try Them Anyway

Great Games May Not Be Enough, but Maybe We Should Try Them Anyway

When Kaminsky says, "What we've realized over time is that making a great game is important, but not enough," one cannot help but wonder if Activision decided that, since great games aren't enough, maybe great games aren't necessary at all. Activision's mind-boggling bottom line ... indicates the company is certainly doing something right, but it's not necessarily indicative of a commitment to great videogames.

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Malygris:
one cannot help but wonder if Activision decided that, since great games aren't enough, maybe great games aren't necessary at all.

This is an unfortunate reality that the games industry is currently embracing and is likely to get worse as development costs are going ever further north at the moment. Certainly here in the UK, and I imagine its much the same in most if not all other places, the sales charts are usually dominated by movie tie-ins, sports franchises getting their yearly update, shiny but mediocre (at best) racing games that have had a marketing push to raise their profile and kiddies games that parents and children alike have been fooled into buying because of their popular characters. It just seems to be that if you have a big name or a serious marketing push then people can be convinced to buy anything.

There are good and innovative games out there but they tend not to get anywhere near the publicity that this dross gets. Okay I'm being a bit unfair there because not all of those games mentioned above are bad but the majority are poor-to-mediocre.

I do have a worry about this trend, because its similar to the way that the video game industry was going when it had the big crash (after the travesty that was E.T on the Atari) where quality just took a back seat to flogging the product to as many people as possible. I do think (or hope) its unlikely to ever get that bad this time but its a real turn off from gaming when there's so many bad games taking up so much shelf space in stores and ad space in magazines and on sites.

"At one time, Activision thought it was sufficient just to make great games," Kaminsky said. "But a great game doesn't guarantee sales success."

If that was true, what happened to Vampire Bloodlines? ~~

Darkong:

I do have a worry about this trend, because its similar to the way that the video game industry was going when it had the big crash (after the travesty that was E.T on the Atari) where quality just took a back seat to flogging the product to as many people as possible. I do think (or hope) its unlikely to ever get that bad this time but its a real turn off from gaming when there's so many bad games taking up so much shelf space in stores and ad space in magazines and on sites.

With the recent trend of *go for the casual gamer*, I don't know if the crash will happen again. Newcomers to playing video games don't have high standards, if any, of quality that many of us that have played games for years do. So, for all the gamers lost due to poor quality, newcomers fill their spots. Maybe this isn't entirely accurate, but it is one scenario.

Dectilon:
If that was true, what happened to Vampire Bloodlines? ~~

What do you mean?

I think a videogame crash with the scope of the one that occured in the 80's is a pretty far fetched scenario at this point. To be sure, there will be dips and valley's in the financial landscape, but I think today's videogame marketplace is fundamentally different from the one that caused the crash of '83. Here are a few reasons for this:

- The industry no longer consists of start ups, but rather major blue chip companies who buy up promising developers and technologies and have enough income from their other products to mitigate the risks associated with start ups. These companies think about videogames in a fundamentally different way than the companies of old, such that a company like Microsoft can effectively keep a failing console afloat in an effort to establish their foothold in the marketplace, all because they predict they can turn a profit ten years down the line.

- Videogames are now major pieces of the cross marketing endeavors that drive mainstream entertainment as a whole.

The real question is whether or not the mega budget "Blockbuster" game will continue to be considered a worthy investment in the face of the lower development costs and higher sales reaped by more casual games. Activision seems to be saying "No" given the proven viability of cheaper alternatives.

My prediction is that we'll see the game industry starting to look more like the book publishing industry, wherein a few "literary" books are published each year with the knowledge they won't sell well, but will garner prestige, and it is the trade paperbacks and celebrity memoirs that feed the bottom line. So instead of 1 Bioshock to every 2 Guitar Hero iterations, it will be more like a 1:5 ratio.

tendo82:
The real question is whether or not the mega budget "Blockbuster" game will continue to be considered a worthy investment in the face of the lower development costs and higher sales reaped by more casual games.

This could be said of movies too. The big multi-million dollar block-busters don't have the same potential for run-away profits (Blair Witch Project anyone...), but they remain reliable earners. I don't think we will ever see an end to games like Call of Duty, Half-Life, Halo, etc.

And while the big companies do buy up promising talent, it also provides the sort of opportunity that encourages game designers, programmers, artists and such to put the effort into their games. Then it comes down to the individual choice of do I stay in the environment I love, or do I leave for one that provides better for my family but has less love...

 

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