CliffyB Thinks Used Games Are Bad, Sony is "Playing Us"

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I think CliffyB would fail at Game Dev Tycoon.

And most of these statements are counterable.
Use games and rentals eat up sales. Well if games came out priced vs 60 dollars every time then maybe people would be willing to buy the games new.
When pubs kick out unfinished games at 60 dollars to take advantage of the ignorant is THAT good business practice? Quick cash in games with no replay value, length and half assed effort 60 bucks.

Want your game to sell better? Offer nicer incentives instead of removing them, like online passes, eco-boxes that damage games, removing manuals.

Honestly, he should just go work for EA, I think he'd be a perfect fit.

Out of control budgets are never to blame for a game's shortcomings, perish the thought...

Online passes are online passes, but they are a damn sight better than a complete lockout of used games altogether.

$60 price points aren't viable anymore? Fine, make the games cheaper. Feel free to charge me for DLC, but I'll be damned if I let Capcom and EA charge me full price for a game and then charge another 10-20 bucks for held back content.

Just don't spend as much money on stupid Superbowl adds that aren't necessary to sell your game. Audience amounts aren't going to change noticeably anyway, not with such unfocused, bloated strategies.

Everytime this jackass opens his mouth, I wish Jim Sterling had never apologized. I'm willing to bet the apology was never even acknowledged by this bro-dude.

Hey man, remember a few years ago when you couldn't afford that Ferrari? What would that version of you say about you today?

Lunar Templar:

frizzlebyte:

Lunar Templar:
I know he's worked in the games industry a long time an all, but he's still managed to some how NOT know what the fuck he's talking about.

it's admirable in a way, and sad in another.

the only reason costs are so high is because of one thing they have control over, marketing, pretty much every one save a few devs have let it get so out of had we hear things like 'Dead Space needs to sell 5 million to stay viable' and this asshole is part of that problem.

If they didn't spends millions upon millions more then they needed to on marketing, for games most people have already made up there minds on no less, no one would even care about 'the evils of used games'

Actually, I don't find it admirable at all, just sad.

It's not just marketing that makes it overly expensive. Among other things, it's the idea that you need "top-tier" graphics in order to make a successful game. If a game were kick-ass in the first place, it wouldn't matter if each character had physics calculations determining where each bloody *strand* of hair should fall on their shoulders when they walk or fire a gun.

I knew I was forgetting something when I hammered that out, so thanks for the correction.

Not sure if sarcasm? Sorry if my post seemed hostile. I wasn't intending to be.

At any rate, I agree with your marketing argument as well. After all, if the overall budget were lower, it would be a lot easier to sustain the games industry. But we have so many publishers thinking that "more money spent = more profits gained, as long as every freaking game moves 5 million units," which is a completely broken idea, that we are seeing a painful learning period for the industry as a whole, I think. Ultimately, it may be the indies who benefit the most from it though, because they can tailor the requirements to a bunch of different PC systems, and nobody thinks indies have to go balls out on graphics to make a good game.

It's the same argument in a lot of ways to the one I hear that says we can't have truly meaningful, truly engrossing game narratives until we have something akin to the holodeck. What they don't get is that quality and immersion is not really dependent on superficial things. Sadly, those superficial things have been driving the games industry nigh-on forever, and we are hitting a point that it's going to kill the industry (or eat up consumer rights, a la Xbox One) if something isn't done.

The Rogue Wolf:

FizzyIzze:
snip

Unfortunately, Mr. Bleszinski seems to have bought into the mainstream gaming industry's primary equation: (budget x hype) = sales. There's no room in there for understanding how customers think, no comprehension of stories like yours; in their minds, even if gamers buy and hate GenMilShoEMU (Generic Military Shoot-Em-Up) 2, if GenMilShoEMU 3 comes in a slick-enough package with enough whiz-bang commercials and Mountain Dew / Doritos contests, those gamers will buy it anyway. And they believe that, without the ability to buy the game used or rent / borrow it, those same gamers will buy it on release day for full price.

These beliefs are wholly divorced from reality- sorry, Cliffy, but if I think your $60 is only worth $20, I'll either wait until it goes on sale or just not buy it at all- and another sign that the mainstream gaming industry is bound and determined to dig its own grave.

The thing that blows my mind is that, arguably, if all games cost the same price all the time (say $60), then people would buy less games, and nobody seems to understand that. Less games equals less variety, less involvement with a franchise, less investment of time and familiarity/trust of a developer.

Heh, I just remembered that I bought DiRT used, which led to me buying DiRT 2 & 3 new.
And F.E.A.R. used led me to buy F.E.A.R. files and F.E.A.R. 2 & 3, all new.

At the end of the day, it's just sad and pathetic how tech companies with the brightest, most talented minds JUST DON'T GET US.

Arawn:

Nintendo's stance on used games: make games that are so good that people will want to keep them forever.

It's just that simple. That or try not to spend so much money making a game where fishes move out of the way when you swing close to them, or dogs look so realistic you want to pet them. It's nice, but making something pretty isn't enough to keep people interested. A good story, multiple endings, various paths and choice, etc. Of course there's always making games cheaper so people don't sell them to buy a new one each time.

The problem is that making good games is HARD. There are no tricks when it comes to level design or game design unlike with presentation. There is no other way to do that other than sheer WORK. Furthermore, too many studios are obsessed with showing of their beloved tech porn projects and thus it bloats budgets. Take that away and you'll get a bunch of self-involved auteurs throwing tantrums because apparently they forget that limits are needed.

But here's the thing, Cliff.

Game production quality is plateauing. It's just what happens when things get more advanced.

It's not worth pushing forward into new graphic and presentation tech at this point. It would be better for everyone - customers AND developers - to start focusing on cost reduction. You know, getting things to work faster on current hardware.

You know full well, my dear Cliffy, that gaming is going in an unsustainable direction... you said so yourself.

Zachary Amaranth:

Honestly, this is the primary reason I buy used. And oddly enough, I don't buy used in competition with new titles. That is to say, if I'm buying a game used, it's probably not a new title to begin with (and might not even still be on shelves in the new section).

And further agreement: do you know what I don't buy? Gears of War games. Why don't I buy them? Used games? No. Rentals? No, though the fact that you can beat them in a rental period is probably why Cliff hates rentals. No, the reason I don't buy them is they're BORING, borderline unenjoyable experiences. I had fun with the first, but...Four games? No. Just...No.

Actually, he's probably lucky people remember him for Gears and UT, because when he steps off the tried and true....Yeah. Not pretty.

It's amazing just how little these companies understand the people they're selling their products to. Sometimes it seems that the business majors are calling the shots in terms of game play--and the game developers are pretending to be finance majors.

Meant no offense about Gears by the way. Six million customers for Gears 1 is pretty impressive.

Desert Punk:

Armistice:
I'm sorry, I just don't understand why the video game industry thinks it should have some special exemption from used sales. When I buy a used car does the original manufacturer get a cut? When I sell an old tv to a friend does samsung get a cut? Besides, I fail to see why we are responsible for the budgets and costs of any game.

Do yourself a favor, dont ever use that argument again, you will just end up looking foolish.

Your average modern TV has a lifespan measured in maybe single digit years, and your car requires gas, parts, ect and will eventually just fall apart on you, a game will work forever if you have even two braincells to rub together when it comes to handling the things.

As for the OT: Used games are the same as piracy. They are a big bad boogy man but in reality they effect very little.

You should lead with your reasoning rather than your obnoxiousness.

The average game also has a lifespan in the single digit years. When the next consoles come out and that game is long out of print, second hand is the ONLY means to obtain it. The hardware which plays it is defunct. whether a person plays that game every day or once a year is irrelevant. People drive cars daily, watch films over and over, listen to CDs again and again and read books multiple times. The number of times you use a product and for how long is irrelevant to the issue at hand. If games are to be a subscription service, then make them so, or make REASONABLE aspects of game use that model.

As for the car requiring gas and spare parts: gas sales are certainly not providing income to the car manufacturer. Neither are the spare parts half the time, especially as a significant number of people purchase used and reconditioned parts. Either way, a great many parts are universal across all makes of car and aren't necessarily manufactured by those companies.

And games are NOT the same as piracy. That is a poor equivalency for obvious reasons that at least one sale to the manufacturer was made. Subsequent reselling and trades are also generally via stores and shop fronts online. Thus legal income is being made by various parties involved, which is only made to appear criminal because of the industry's huge non sequitur.

UberNoodle:

And games are NOT the same as piracy. That is a poor equivalency for obvious reasons that at least one sale to the manufacturer was made. Subsequent reselling and trades are also generally via stores and shop fronts online.

Used games are EXACTLY the same as piracy. Atleast from the viewpoint of a publisher, one copy gets sold, and passed around X times in both cases.

"The visual fidelity and feature sets we expect from games now come with sky high costs,"

1- Don't care about visual fidelity
2- WHO'S FAULT IS THAT???

Who is this obviously insane person, and why should I care what he thinks?
Why is it that Nintendo never seems to be bothered by this stuff?

Desert Punk:

UberNoodle:

And games are NOT the same as piracy. That is a poor equivalency for obvious reasons that at least one sale to the manufacturer was made. Subsequent reselling and trades are also generally via stores and shop fronts online.

Used games are EXACTLY the same as piracy. Atleast from the viewpoint of a publisher, one copy gets sold, and passed around X times in both cases.

You've missed the point. It's only 'exactly like piracy' because of a fallacious equivalency between the two which serves to toe the current corporate line. Besides, you've failed to take into account that the second hand market relies on physical product which cannot multiply exponentially. Each product sold as second hand is also legit and eligible for official support from the manufacturer. A second hand sale is a transfer of license from one party to the next. Thus the number of users remains at a 1:1 ratio. So no, these two things are NOT 'exactly alike'. Even as the publishers recognise the similarities between the two, they know that they are both worlds apart. Unless you'd like to argue that second hand sales of other product is also 'exactly the same' as piracy and counterfeiting?

He is right...that the current "AAA" business model is not sustainable as it is. However that is their fault for spending more than they can realistically make back, charging more for less content, charging consumers for content they already paid for, and gating off content behind online passes. Make a game people will want to buy day one and keep forever...boom...problem solved.

Pardon me if I don't shed a tear for you Cliffy with all your money you've made "despite" a healthy used/rental market out there. Not all of us have millions of dollars to spend on every game out there like you do.

Minecraft
FTL
Orcs Must Die 1 and 2
Audiosurf
Bastion
Torchlight
Limbo
Super Meat Boy
Braid

I can keep going, Cliffy. You know, listing indie games that had maybe no more than 30 people tops working on them (if anywhere near that many) that sold hundreds of thousands if not MILLIONS of units. All due to strength of game play and word of mouth over how fantastic these games were.

Then tell me why we need the huge budgets and whatever. It will be an enlightening conversation.

Lovely Mixture:
Does this guy just like being contrary to what people are thinking?

I mean, he says SOME reasonable things at times. But the stupid shit he says just makes him look like an egotistical nutjob.

"Assassins Creed games are made by thousands of devs."

And they're still shit Cliff.

"The visual fidelity and feature sets we expect from games now come with sky high costs,"

Uhh. Cliff didn't you say that Microsoft and Sony should open up their consoles to users and independent game makers? The indie developers who DONT REQUIRE large costs? Oh you know what, nevermind, you said this also:

"It is up to Epic, and [Epic CEO] Tim Sweeney in particular, to motivate Sony and Microsoft not to phone in what these next consoles are going to be. It needs to be a quantum leap. They need to damn near render Avatar in real time, because I want it and gamers want it-even if they don't know they want it."

Because as we all know graphics are the most important thing above story and actual gameplay. No we need those brown and grey chest-high-walls to be photo realistic!

frizzlebyte:

Lunar Templar:

frizzlebyte:

Actually, I don't find it admirable at all, just sad.

It's not just marketing that makes it overly expensive. Among other things, it's the idea that you need "top-tier" graphics in order to make a successful game. If a game were kick-ass in the first place, it wouldn't matter if each character had physics calculations determining where each bloody *strand* of hair should fall on their shoulders when they walk or fire a gun.

I knew I was forgetting something when I hammered that out, so thanks for the correction.

Not sure if sarcasm? Sorry if my post seemed hostile. I wasn't intending to be.

At any rate, I agree with your marketing argument as well. After all, if the overall budget were lower, it would be a lot easier to sustain the games industry. But we have so many publishers thinking that "more money spent = more profits gained, as long as every freaking game moves 5 million units," which is a completely broken idea, that we are seeing a painful learning period for the industry as a whole, I think. Ultimately, it may be the indies who benefit the most from it though, because they can tailor the requirements to a bunch of different PC systems, and nobody thinks indies have to go balls out on graphics to make a good game.

It's the same argument in a lot of ways to the one I hear that says we can't have truly meaningful, truly engrossing game narratives until we have something akin to the holodeck. What they don't get is that quality and immersion is not really dependent on superficial things. Sadly, those superficial things have been driving the games industry nigh-on forever, and we are hitting a point that it's going to kill the industry (or eat up consumer rights, a la Xbox One) if something isn't done.

wasn't sarcasm, and i took as one would take a factual correction, I really did forget about the graphics thing (cause T tend to not play games with super high end stuff cause it waste money better spent on other things)

I love the 'we can't have meaning full experiences in games till we have X-level of graphics' it makes me giggle from just how totally wrong they are. Dust; An Elysian Tale, made me cry, twice, and it, well looks like this , not exactly 'cutting edge graphics is it? And yet I care enough about the characters and world to shed tears at a couple points.

they want games to be en grossing and meaningful? Learn2write, simple as that.

gamegod25:
He is right...that the current "AAA" business model is not sustainable as it is. However that is their fault for spending more than they can realistically make back, charging more for less content, charging consumers for content they already paid for, and gating off content behind online passes. Make a game people will want to buy day one and keep forever...boom...problem solved.

Pardon me if I don't shed a tear for you Cliffy with all your money you've made "despite" a healthy used/rental market out there. Not all of us have millions of dollars to spend on every game out there like you do.

Yes, the problem as Cliffy B and others describe it is entirely circular.

UberNoodle:

Desert Punk:

UberNoodle:

And games are NOT the same as piracy. That is a poor equivalency for obvious reasons that at least one sale to the manufacturer was made. Subsequent reselling and trades are also generally via stores and shop fronts online.

Used games are EXACTLY the same as piracy. Atleast from the viewpoint of a publisher, one copy gets sold, and passed around X times in both cases.

You've missed the point. It's only 'exactly like piracy' because of a fallacious equivalency between the two which serves to toe the current corporate line. Besides, you've failed to take into account that the second hand market relies on physical product which cannot multiply exponentially. Each product sold as second hand is also legit and eligible for official support from the manufacturer. A second hand sale is a transfer of license from one party to the next. If not, the number of users remains at a 1:1 ratio. So no, these two things are NOT 'exactly alike'. Even as the publishers recognise the similarities between the two, they know that they are both worlds apart. Unless you'd like to argue that second hand sales of other product is also 'exactly the same' as piracy and counterfeiting?

The corperate view is what I am pointing it out from, and I didnt fail to take that into account, the game doesnt magically self destruct after a certain number of people play it as much as the publishers wish it would. Both can be played by exactly the same number of people, one just has a slower rate of usage. In used games Game A buys, plays, gives to B, plays gives to C, plays gives to D, plays gives to E, ect, in piracy it goes A buys, uploads to B, C, D, E and all play then are done.

The product has a SHORTER life span being played by the pirates as they play it and are done with it in roughly the same time, where as in the used games case the game keeps dragging on, and on, and on lengthening the estimated lifetime of the product for services like online play, tech support and the like.

And a number of Authors have come out in favor of people downloading their books, as they see the same reaction used book consumers, which is to read the copy, and if they like it they start buying more of the authors work and they have a net gain over if someone hadnt downloaded it at all. So sure I will equate those as well.

tmande2nd:
Dude....

I see your lips moving but all I hear is:
"PONCEPONCEPONCEPONCEPONCE"

Ugh never liked this dude.

Yeah. When I saw the headline I thought, "And I should care about CliffyB's opinion...why?"

He was a part of some key things in this generation, but that doesn't mean he suddenly knows everything about how the industry does and should work.

Here's my thought, CliffyB: movies and books have had second-hand markets and rental markets for decades, not to mention that you can borrow loads of books and DVDs from the library for free. A second-hand market is an inevitable part of a capitalistic society, unless you start placing sever restrictions on consumer rights and freedoms, and those things are the greatest things about capitalism.

If the industry can't handle the existence of a second-hand market, then the industry needs to adapt around it, rather than trying to undermine it.

An easy solution to this would be for game publishers and developers to stop having such high budgets for games.

Can someone send Cliffy a link to about the half-dozen or so Jimquisition episodes Jim Sterling did on this very subject? Must be depressing for Jim to find out the type of people who need to hear his message the most clearly haven't.

I'm totally alright with calling Cliffy B "Dude Huge."

I only buy games I'm going to want to play more than once. If I knew I would buy a game and trade it in after only a single playthrough I just wouldn't bother with such a purchase. So you better make damn good games, that's all I'm sayin'

Oh, by the way? I never played any of the Gears games more than once. Go figure.

The word "big" isn't exactly the right word to use for AAA games. The word you're looking for, Cliffy: Bloated.

But don't think I haven't considered the possibility that a large corporation isn't being honest or doesn't have the consumer's best interest in mind. To the contrary, that's assumption number one, but at least Sony is putting on a show, being nice about things... Microsoft employees have been nothing but massive dicks about the whole thing.

Oh, and Cliffy B can go die in a fire. I've never liked the man personally and he just LOVES telling us to put up with bad business practices so corporate asshats can get the most profit out of bloated second-rate mediocre farces. Sure, he can develop a popular game, but that doesn't mean he knows everything about the business.

You know, I'm old enough to remember a time when a new release movie on home video was $79.95 (or more). In fact, a quick googling shows that the first movie to be deliberately priced for consumer purchase (rather than selling to, yes, rental stores) was $39.95 in 1983 (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). In inflation-adjusted dollars, that's $90.66 in 2012. And if you also adjust the price of the machine to play it on for inflation, it comes out comparable to the upcoming generation of consoles.

And then the prices started dropping, and profits kept going up, because more and more people would buy movies at $40, or $30, or $20, than ever did at $80. Note that they didn't even need to reduce the budgets of the films, or even their advertising budgets. All they did was drop the price.

Now, that's not really fair as a direct comparison, for any number of reasons: Movies do still have larger audiences, so perhaps volume pricing can be more effective. There's a theatrical release period (though at this point, home video is an increasingly large share of most films' profits). They make a lot of their money on overseas releases, and localizing a videogame is presumably more effort (i.e. more costly) than adding subtitles to a DVD.

Even so: Rentals, used DVDs, bloated blockbuster budgets, and even rampant piracy have all somehow failed to cause the utter collapse of the film industry. Perhaps there is *some* useful lesson that can be learned from them?

Awesome... Cliff B thinks the industry needs more Stupid PR campaings like sendig fake body parts around or forcing people to "commit sins" or simply making their PR campaing in a sleazy strip club... cause that model has success and sustainability written all over it!

Lets not forget that most of the more expensive games are being blasted by games with MUCH smaller budgets and sometimes only word-of-mouth as the main engine of their PR campaign...

Dude made 1 game whose prowess was "it looked really good for it's time" and then remade the exact same game 3 more times. What was his contribution to better gaming? Chest High Walls and cover based shooting? Fuck off!!

I'll trade the entire gaming legacy of Cliff b for Telltale's walking dead, Striker Suit Zero and Super House of Dead Ninja and i would still feel like i came out on top on that trade.

'cause I'm sure Cliffy B knows all about how the numbers work and in no way has a personal bias towards Microsoft.

Used games are the market's way of telling you that your prices are too high. If that means your business model is unsustainable, then perhaps you should address that instead of trying to shoot the messenger.

Cliffy B is the sort of person who would probably solve a fuse constantly blowing by swapping it out for a piece of fencing wire.

Cliffyb here sounds like a man trying to fix a leaky tap on a sinking ship, kind of missing the more obvious problem. It sounds like the budgets of AAA games are the problem to me.

Why is it that every time this guy opens his mouth he comes off as a complete moronic prick.

Most recently:

First there was that article he wrote on why people shouldn't hate EA, even though they con people

Then there were the, at best insensitive, comments he made about Roger Ebert's death.

Now there's this.

As for his argument, it's basically, 'the games industry spends so much money that it can't turn a profit and is likely going to crash, but instead of lowering the budgets and sales expectations, Game manufacturers should instead try to continually restrict the rights of the consumers in a desperate attempt to hold on to what little profit they make, so that the big executives can continue to swim in their Scrooge McDuck-esque money-pool.'

Indie developers make excellent games on far lower budgets. Screwing your consumer base is not the way to turn a profit. Also it's pretty self-evident that Bleszinski is nothing but a Microsoft toady who can't see the bigger picture/is an idiot.

So the message is, "We want more moneyz to make our bloated, linear rollercoaster rides. So you can all just suffer under our iron fist and like it."

Fuck you, Cliffy , and the horse you rode in on.

As has been said already, these multi-million dollar budgets can't be sustained NOT because of used games, but because of... THE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR BUDGETS AND MARKETING

Lets say he's right, and Sony are secretly going to screw us with DRM wise, consumers will cry out with rage that Sony where lying and switch over to Xbox one as they where a least honest about screwing us.
That being said I think that's unlikely and the guy who's game credits are for multi-platform/Xbox exclusive games is scared all his business is going onto the rival console. (barring fat princess which if not mistaken was next to unheard before PlayStation all-stars)

Proverbial Jon:
I'm totally alright with calling Cliffy B "Dude Huge."

I only buy games I'm going to want to play more than once. If I knew I would buy a game and trade it in after only a single playthrough I just wouldn't bother with such a purchase. So you better make damn good games, that's all I'm sayin'

Oh, by the way? I never played any of the Gears games more than once. Go figure.

Also this^^^
But you know what, I did play gears of war 1&2, multiple times, and I bought those games.

But then you get a game like remember me, with I completed on it's hardest difficulty 2 days after getting it, and you expect me to pay 42 for it at blockbusters.
Na-na-na-na never gonna happen.

I actually like my blockbusters attitude towards rentals though, if I like the game and can buy it full price minus the cost of the rental.
Did that with ratchet and clank: full frontal assault (Q-Force to us Brits) and I now own the game with paid dlc netting them even more cash.

I love it when dumb people try to explain business economics to us poor unwashed masses who just don't give fuck. Seriously, there was all this talking and all I heard was "BLAH BLAH BLAH WE WANT ALL YER MONEY, GUYS!". Hey genius, we don't care about your numbers. You want us to support your industry? Try selling something that ain't crap or do a little dance or SOMETHING! But don't just stand there, telling us we have to give more money to your organ grinder already. It's embarassing.

You cannot have game and marketing budgets this high while also having used and rental games existing

Well then make some better games cheaper like the indies do instead of spending all your budget and polygons on loving modeling the crotch on a space marine's power armor.

If it's a choice between cheaper games and your games, Cliffy, I'll take the cheaper games, because a Gears of War game has never been worth $60, and I've never paid that much for one.

WHile I don't fully agree with Mr. B here, I think some people are a bit ignorant when it comes to the whole budgets thing.

The budgets for games have not exploded just because dev studios want to do that or because they don't know different. There are a lot of factors, including, the people buying the games, who expect high end graphics. Yes, the Escapist may go ahead and tell me that no, graphics are not a seller, but anyone who says that is fooling themselves in regards to the mass market and the mass market is where the money is.

Fact is, to make a AAA Core Blockbuster game these days, you need a massive amount of people. With the industry being made a better place to work at, these massive people require a lot of money to be payed. That's not even going into middleware, which you need unless you want to stretch development time and thus costs again.

Cliffy B is, IMHO wrong, that used game sales don't have a place in the industry at all. But saying huge dev budgets are only the fault of developers/publishers is ridiculous. Do realize that the market expects standards and those standards have become increasingly expensive to meet.

If this is such a problem (Personally I think they're just being whiney bitches) then I'm happy to pay more at release for games so long as I can demo them first, have access to all future content (don't lazy out because I already paid) and actually produce good games with reasonable length single player content then sure.

Until that time, they neeed to stop being such pricks. If they can't make that kind of game for a 60 dollar price point then stop making them. They seem to assume people want 80 dollar games for 60 dollars. Well that's true of everything, everyone wants a 200k Ferrari for 10k. Doesn't mean it's happening because it's a market they have found they can opperate in. If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

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