EA Aims to "Broaden" Dead Space Audience

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EA Aims to "Broaden" Dead Space Audience

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Electronic Arts says it needs to sell at least five million copies of Dead Space 3 to keep the franchise viable.

Dead Space 3 is coming, in early 2013 to be not-exactly-precise about it, and EA has some pretty high hopes for the game. While the original Dead Space was pretty much a straight-up survival horror experience, Dead Space 2 was a little more "shootery," as a well-armed Isaac Clarke, in spite of the occasional, brief psychotic episode, transitioned into a fairly conventional videogame tough guy. Dead Space 3 will continue to "open up the accessibility" of the game, according to EA Labels President Frank Gibeau, who told CVG that it will remain a horror game but attempt to broaden its audience through the addition of new elements like co-op gameplay.

"In general we're thinking about how we make this a more broadly appealing franchise, because ultimately you need to get to audience sizes of around five million to really continue to invest in an IP like Dead Space," he said. "Anything less than that and it becomes quite difficult financially given how expensive it is to make games and market them."

Now, take a moment to digest that. Dead Space 3 - and all EA franchises, apparently, but specifically Dead Space 3 - needs to sell at least five million copies, presumably at full retail and not out of the $10 bargain bin a year down the road, to remain viable. That's problematic for a couple of reasons: First, Dead Space 2 managed "only" about two million unit sales in its first three months of release, which is to say the span of time during which the vast majority of its sales would be made; and second, because needing to move five million units to keep a series worthwhile is nuts.

I could be wrong, I suppose, and I certainly don't mean to suggest that EA won't actually pull the plug on any franchise it views as under-performing regardless of what the numbers are. But five million units, particularly for a middle-tier property like Dead Space, as a bottom-line number for survival? Maybe Gibeau is just swinging for the fences, but that's crazy.

Am I wrong?

Source: CVG

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If I cared about Dead Space I'd be raging so hard at this.

Hey Pinkie Pie, How do we prove EA is a terrible publisher?

Five million? Why? Lower your freaking costs.

EA,

Do you want to know how to ruin the appeal of a horror game? There are many ways, but subtracting any sense of vulnerability from the protagonist is a pretty good one.

If you need to sell 5 million copies for it to be profitable, something is messed up with your business strategy and/or management.

Five million units?!

That's way too high of a number to hope for. Even in turning the series into uber-marketable "Gears of Lost Planet", 5 million is still too much.

Ugly business that might mean the end of a once promising survival horror series, but totally expected from EA.

Well, say goodbye to Dead Space after this, guys.

But the artistic integrity!

You cant change a friggin ending of a video game but you can turn a video game franchise upside down and turn it from something good into something mediocre?

What happened last time they tried to broaden a game's audience?

Oh, right.

I know I won't buy a Gears of Dead Space, so I think they will sell at most 1.999.999 units...

Andy Chalk:
"In general we're thinking about how we make this a more broadly appealing franchise..."

Oh god... here we go again.

So to make a game have a "broad appeal" is really just PR speak for: Just make it a shooter.

Ever heard of the word genre EA? Go look it up, I'll wait... Yes, that's right. You made a game in the survival horror genre, not that anyone would know it.

The same thing happened to FEAR by the third installment and arguably Mass Effect 3 as well.

The videogame industry should be thinking about ways to make these individual genres more popular instead of diluting them further with the carcinogenic tumor that is the chest high wall.

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Given EA's pattern, this is stating the obvious.

5 million copies to remain viable?! Well it was nice knowing you Dead Space. Its been a good run these last couple of years and its a shame to see you go. I'll remember you fondly.

Ugh. I wondered why I woke up this morning with a chill down my spine and my ass clenched.

Well, it's been fun while it lasted.

"Appeal to a A Broader audience"
Oh for christ's sake EA. Did you not learn what happened the last time you tried that? Did you not learn anything from MAss Effect and Dragon Age 2?

Seems from all the vids I've seen that they've just gone "Hmmmm whats popular with the kiddies? Oh, this Gears of War did quite well, lets just change the character skins and box art. Congrats everyone, time for another bonus".

I hope this shit tanks.

"broaden the audience" i.e. change core game dynamics in a vain attempt to market to people that didn't like the game previously

hazabaza1:
Well, say goodbye to Dead Space after this, guys.

This.

EA... just wow. You literally cannot make shit up that's more wrong headed and greedy than what these guys come out with on an almost daily basis.

If any of my favourite game series were under the sway of EA I'd be fearing for their survival right about now.

As much as I liked Dead Space 1 and 2, I'm not liking the sound of this. Nothing good ever comes out of "broadening the target audience", and this may devolve from survival horror to just straight out shooter with co-op. I still have hope for this, but I'm not liking this so far...

And frankly, 5 million units is just not going to happen. Period. It's said JUST ABOVE that Dead Space 2 only sold 2 million units in the first three months. How can they reasonably expect to sell another 3 million on top of that? It's better that they just end the "trilogy" now rather than putting in a cliffhanger for a 4th DS that will never get made.

One does not simply broaden a game's audience.

There are different game genres for a reason. What's happening now is publishers and developers are melting all the different genres into one stale and overused one. Have fun crashing the video game industry, have fun.

So your gonna broaden the audiance by doing the same thing that ruined fear 3? Brilliant!!

Just a little before my first post, they released a gameplay video of DS3 that can be seen.

It seems they're getting a bit more shooty than DS2. Isaac moves a lot faster than he did in the first two games, even in combat. And they added the ability to dodge in combat, too. It's not a radical departure from the original feel, but it's going to turn off a lot of the original people for sure. Otherwise, it still kind of plays like DS2. I dunno, I'm not giving up entirely yet, but it's going to be a lot more different...

Speaking as someone who liked Dead Space 1 and 2, I think that this doesn't have to be a bad thing. The horror was never brilliantly done, so I think focusing more on the action is a good idea. However, this needs to be handled very carfully. If by broaden, they mean add a bit more action stuff, like more of those jetpack sections from 2 or parts where you gun down Scientologists Untilologists, go ahead. But don't just make it flat and generic.

Irridium:
If you need to sell 5 million copies for it to be profitable, something is messed up with your business strategy and/or management.

You must remember that Dead Space and its sequel(sequels by the end of this year) had a lot of extraneous marketing expenditure to get us gamers worked up about it, wasn't there an ARG and Dead Space had that fancy browser based 3D walk around adventure thing that was pretty innovative... that must have cost a lot of scratch, not to mention the Video Comics they had leading up to the release of Dead Space 1

Dead Space has a lot of "Meta Gaming" stuff that runs parallel to the franchise which probably eats in their budget, so I'm not shocked at EA PR GuyMan throwing out massive figures like that.

Also it could be a hint that this game is the last in the series, basically, EA PR GuyMan is saying "yeah we need to sell 5 mil to make more... and we ain't gonna do that are we now?"

Well, we'd make a horror game- but those don't make millions upon millions of dollars.

These are the same pricks who like a week ago claimed to want to be indie.

Although this does serve to illustrate a point. Namely that it takes EA precisely 3 games to ruin a franchise completely with their "broadening".

The simple fact that they've turned to Michael Bay for ideas should be proof enough of that. I mean Christ, the man only knows how to do two things:

Pimp military hardware & blow shit up.

And games have entirely too much of both at present.

"Anything less than that and it becomes quite difficult financially given how expensive it is to make games and market them."

Or how about limiting the scope of the game or the graphics and delivering marketing in a more targeted approach instead of blanket buyouts to potentially unrelated demographics. Putting out more focused titles without all the same hoop jumping as an AAA can still give favorable returns on investment and with less risk.

How many copies did DS1 and 2 sell?

This is awful. I loved the first DS. The scariest game I had played since the original Resident Evil back when I was in high school. Then DS 2 came out, and I bought it, and returned it shortly afterwards. They had turned it from Suspense/Horror into "Here comes another space marine ready to kick ass on a whim". Then recently a bro let me borrow it, I played through it for the story, and I liked it. It wasn't scary and certainly wasn't all that suspenseful, but I liked the story and it laid more ground work for the inevitable continuation. Now after hearing they are adding Co-op to DS 3, and Isaccs "Partner" will pretty much be a military type guy, there goes what little the series had left that appealed to me. EA managed to take a great concept, a protagonist who wasn't a gun blazing character, he was an engineer with no battle prowess what so ever, and turn it into Gears of Uncharted Lost Planet. This is part of what is killing the game industry. Every game has to have Call of Duty sales or else it is a flop.

EA trying to make the last in a trilogy more appealing than the fanbase. Wait I've heard this before...

No not again. All joking aside, why does EA keep doing this? It pisses off the loyal fans and doesn't really bring anyone new in.

If EA ran every company in the industry I wouldn't play games anymore.

MortisLegio:
EA trying to make the last in a trilogy more appealing than the fanbase. Wait I've heard this before...

No not again. All joking aside, why does EA keep doing this? It pisses off the loyal fans and doesn't really bring anyone new in.

Really bad pattern recognition?

Huh. Do the math here: say EA makes half the box price on each unit sold (and that's being conservative)... 5 mill x $30... that's $150 million dollars... to keep a franchise viable?!?

You want to stay in business EA (much less keep Dead Space going), I suggest you summarily execute some of the folks making spending decisions...

Slycne:

"Anything less than that and it becomes quite difficult financially given how expensive it is to make games and market them."

Or how about limiting the scope of the game or the graphics and delivering marketing in a more targeted approach instead of blanket buyouts to potentially unrelated demographics. Putting out more focused titles without all the same hoop jumping as an AAA can still give favorable returns on investment and with less risk.

Qft. The problem is not the expected returns on a given IP. The problem is EA's approach to "investment" in an IP. Instead of treating Dead Space as a good, strong contender for a particular market, they threw enormous amounts of money at it to force it into the mold of a Next Big Thing. Trans-media: motion comics, comics, animated features; genre-blending, multi-player... what a huge waste of money.

This definitely makes me a bit freaked out about their plans for Mirror's Edge.

EA spends more money on marketing than on actual development. How the fuck are they still in business?

What this basically means is something along the lines of this:

"We're not happy with how limited Dead Space fanbase is. So we're gonna use the name Dead Space since it's a well known IP, and we're gonna make it into another mindless shooter. It will piss off a lot of existing fans, but it will hopefully get us a lot of dumb shooter fans. So it's all good. Hey, maybe some of original Dead Space fans will still want to buy the game."

I couldn't care less. I don't like Dead Space. Sucks to be a fan of certain game series these days.

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