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

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This is a different tune to the Cliffy B who let Jazz Jackrabbit go freeware in the mid-90's.

Guy who made microsoft's biggest (second biggest?) exclusive franchise spewing crap on Sony. I see no bias here!

S'far as used games go, I can't say much for it. Gamestop here abouts ends to give you basically a non-discount on them anyways (I had them massively confused why I wouldn't buy their used New Vegas for 5 bucks less then the full one once). We've already seen publishers doing their damndest to try and curb the used market, so the console maker jumping behind it is just a poor marketing move for them.

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

Because games devs and publishers are throwing WAY TOO MUCH MONEY AT NEW GAMES.

Fucking idiot.

"Dude Huge claims that it is impossible for used games and game rentals to co-exist in this world of massive marketing and production budgets."

all i got from this is "we dont know how to budget our games so everything else is the problem"

I mean the Witcher 2 isnt exactly a break away blockbuster selling game yet with so few sales (in comparison to AAA games) they managed to give away a FREE expansion and still call the whole thing profitable. Dark Souls only recently sold 2 million copies over the course of a couple of years and they got a profit long before that.

also

dragongit:
. If you're worried about the used game market, make a game that people won't want to sell back to the store so there won't be as many used copies to go around.

this, while this is obviously difficult to do its not impossible, in the area i live all shops that stock used games have so far never seen someone turn in a copy of Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword... ok thats an exaggeration according to a manager of one of the stores 2 have been traded in

Well, used games and rentals have worked so far... They haven't crashed gaming. Only thing that's changed now is there are huge budgets and overpaid CEO's.

Steven Bogos:
But then again, maybe he should just can it, and have a look at Nintendo's stance on used games: make games that are so good that people will want to keep them forever.

Ya know, there is a reason why Nintendo can say that while pretty much no other developer/publisher can say the same. Nintendo knows how to keep the game budget in normal numbers while their games keep selling 3+ millions even if they are considered as "bad" by Nintendo's standard. Well, there are also exceptions where Nintendo give an unlimited budged to a team (Retro and Miyamoto when they were making Metroid Prime).

I wrote this quite a few times and people ridiculed me for this, but I will repeat it.
Nintendo using current gen tech for their consoles is the healthiest business practice for gaming. I LOVE seeing a beautiful game. I LOVE hearing the huge numbers for the hardware power. However, making high end consoles and selling them at a loss is a cancerous business practice that is killing the console manufacturer and the industry.
Game budgets keep rising while you can't justify a game looking like a PS3 game on the PS4.

Investing in marketing huge amounts is bad because you need to sell more and earn it back, but you can't justify a small marketing campaign if you invested 5M in making the game.

Currently at work, will probably edit this post or write another one to clarify if anything isn't clear.

Wow, can we now called devs+publisher whining, entitled weiners? Your budgets are high coz you want them high so you can feel like big boys, but it's just so you can have lots of money to play with. You can't blame the customer for your egos. Assassin creed may have thousands working on it but that's their fault. Bigger is not better.

NKRevan:
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.

Publishers/Developers have dug their own hole here. It's like when Disney said that they won't be making any traditionally drawn 2D animation because there's no demand for it. Well studios like Disney set the demand and they flood the market with 3D CGI features, which means that's what people will go to watch. If Disney flooded the market with traditional 2D features that's what people would watch, and there would be no demand for 3D CGI films.

It's exactly the same thing here. Developers keep spending tons and tons of money on expensive graphics technology, so that's what people expect. There's also an added element, and that is the role of Video Game 'journalists' who emphasise elements like graphics and sound when they struggle to say anything good about the game. As a result, publishers/developers think that graphics and sound (and not good game design for instance) are something they can fall back on.

As for team sizes, they're part of the problem. Developers think they need absolutely massive development teams to make a good game, with the result being that there's a lot of pushing and pulling in different directions. When something goes wrong with a game, large teams mean the publisher either needs to fork out billions of dollars to fix said problem, which would take a lot of manpower as well, or else the problem goes unresolved and they release these problematic games as is. The irony is that some of the best games ever made were not particularly revolutionary in the graphics department, and had teams of about 20 people, all of which would do a little bit of everything. Treasure for example, small studio but they usually make great games and the big reason is because the team size is small and focused.

Spending in the games industry is out of control, the people here aren't wrong about that, the fact that independents can make great games with far lower budgets and far less man power is probably proof of that statement.

But he has a hot wife! How could he be wrong?!

V8 Ninja:
I have two words to for Mr. Bleszinski;

Dark Souls

This discussion is over, Cliffy.

Dosen't count, it's a game from Japan and those are bad according to Cliffy B. The guys an idiot.

Not every game has to be filled to the brim with graphic power. The gaming industry did well enough and survived before the ps3 and 360 came along. I would argue this past gen alone had many a bad title in spite of technological edges.

Maybe if he spent more time crafting a rich story and less time on Marcus's bandana I'd take him more seriously. That guy is a douche

Thereīs a very easy solution for the AAA industris problems... Donīt spend a billion creating small inconsequential details that no one ever notices. Smaller Dev teams and smaller budgets, thatīs the way to go. If they canīt afford to make insane stuff like Assassins Creed 4, then donīt, do something on a smaller scale or with lesser graphics... It really isnīt that important anyway.

My take on this (and it's incredibly easy to mock Cliffy, but I won't) is that he says "The visual fidelity and feature sets we expect from games now come with sky high costs," but WHY?

Games don't have to cost millions of dollars and take thousands of developers to make. That's one of the things people realized when SquareEnix said that "Tomb Raider" was a commercial failure. FAILURE?!? It got great reviews and sold 3.4 million copies in the first month. That's really, really good. But SquareEnix needed to sell 5 million to make its money back. Why? It could have saved a boat load of money by not putting in the crappy multiplayer that no one asked for.

Why do all these AAA titles need such huge budgets for "life-like" graphics? There is a saying that playing a game for the graphics is like watching porn for the story. It's stupid. Stop spending money uselessly on the latest engine and put some of it into the story and gameplay mechanics. Then you will have a game that most people will gladly pay for new just like Nintendo feels. Stop spending movie blockbuster budgets. If you want to do that, MAKE A MOVIE! Otherwise you sure aren't going to get your money back.

Also, why does it cost so much, Cliffy, for these big AAA titles when all they really are are cut-and-paste copies of the previous iteration? CoD, Battlefield, Gears of War....blah blah blah. They seem the same, year after year, so how can you say you are spending more money if you are being eco-friendly and recycling your games?

Anyway, if game developers would make great games with the gamers in mind and develop them with great story and cool gameplay, they can spend less, make more and stop bitching at the customers.

And Cliffy, to be clear, used games aren't going to cause the next generation to die.....it'll be all the fed up gamers leaving your systems in droves that will.

None of this makes sense...and the whole discussion is stupid.

Why?

Used games have been around forever...way back to the original nintendo days there was video stores that would buy and sell used games (this was before gamestop etc). I know, as a kid I worked for one briefly putting fliers up around town. It was the first such store that opened in my town...and it was awesome.

The point though is back then there were FAR less gamers.....a much smaller audience to sell games to, so used sales would obviously take a much larger percentage of possible sales away (especially since games often were much shorter, and didn't have as much replay value then etc).

Now the argument seems to be "We are spending way more money and time on creating these games, so used games are bad".

Well first of all, you are also CHARGING way more for the games then you used to. The price for a new game has gone up and up over the years. Meanwhile, the number of people buying games...that has also gone up and up over the years.

The real solution is to make buying used games obsolete!! How? By reducing the price of the new games constantly after release so that used games can not be purchased for less (or much less).

Also, release as many games as you can in digital format...for a reduced price. This both ensures the game won't be resold...and again ensures that the cost will be less then used games sold in stores. Still offer physical copies, but charge an extra $10 for them (so $60 for physical copies and only $50 for digital).

Then drop the price of new games by about $10 every 2 months until 6 months after release when the price hits $30 (half the original price....digital copies would hit that price in only 4 months).

This would basically mean that used copies of games would have to be sold for $20 to make sense for anyone to purchase them..which would mean places like gamestop wouldn't give you even $5 for them....so almost nobody would bother selling them.

Used game problem would be solved...and people would actually be HAPPY about it...because over all we would still be getting the games, but cheaper...and new!

Meanwhile the companies making the games would actually get all those profits instead of gamestop etc.

The system is broken right now, it's true, but the solution is NOT to remove all ways for gamers to get games at a reduced price.....the cost of games is insane at this point already...and since you can often get digital copies...there is no excuse for not offering digital copies at a reduced price (no cost of creating a disc, no shipping, no instruction booklets, no profit lost to distributers/stores etc).

Digital format should be the new norm, and prices should drop to help motivate people to use it.

Used games would naturally dry up over time if that happened, and nobody would really object if they could still get the games at the same price as before...only they didn't have to get used copies.

As far as actually getting money for trading in your games, well honestly the amount you usually get from gamestop/bestbuy is paltry..and usually not worth it. You could sell it through amazon etc....but I would personally rather save $10 initially, or eventually get new games at half price (only $30), instead of being able to sell my games back.

I have not bought a used game in awhile...mainly due to just having too many games already and only picking up new ones that I'm really waiting for etc (and way to many games on steam). If all the used game stores went poof, I wouldn't even notice. Even so, I don't think forcing people to now buy used games is a good solution at all. There are way better ways to handle the problem, that will make everyone happy.

We should flood cliffyBS Twitter calling him entitled. He actively does it himself.

Kamille Bidan:

NKRevan:
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.

Publishers/Developers have dug their own hole here. It's like when Disney said that they won't be making any traditionally drawn 2D animation because there's no demand for it. Well studios like Disney set the demand and they flood the market with 3D CGI features, which means that's what people will go to watch. If Disney flooded the market with traditional 2D features that's what people would watch, and there would be no demand for 3D CGI films.

It's exactly the same thing here. Developers keep spending tons and tons of money on expensive graphics technology, so that's what people expect. There's also an added element, and that is the role of Video Game 'journalists' who emphasise elements like graphics and sound when they struggle to say anything good about the game. As a result, publishers/developers think that graphics and sound (and not good game design for instance) are something they can fall back on.

As for team sizes, they're part of the problem. Developers think they need absolutely massive development teams to make a good game, with the result being that there's a lot of pushing and pulling in different directions. When something goes wrong with a game, large teams mean the publisher either needs to fork out billions of dollars to fix said problem, which would take a lot of manpower as well, or else the problem goes unresolved and they release these problematic games as is. The irony is that some of the best games ever made were not particularly revolutionary in the graphics department, and had teams of about 20 people, all of which would do a little bit of everything. Treasure for example, small studio but they usually make great games and the big reason is because the team size is small and focused.

Spending in the games industry is out of control, the people here aren't wrong about that, the fact that independents can make great games with far lower budgets and far less man power is probably proof of that statement.

Digging their own hole? I guess you can lay blame on both ends of the coin, but I really, really can't blame dev's alone for the expectancy of consumers. Consumers ALWAYS wanted more realistic graphics (not every one, but a lot of them). So dev's delivered.

I agree with Journalists. They are part of the "problem" as it were.

This is not how it works. The majority of team members go into the art department and programming. And that's not just because developers THINK they need that many people, it's just a matter of how much can one person realistically do. Some of the best games made in whose opinion? Critics? Public? Consumer?

How many games by small teams do you think pull down enough money to break even? How many hundreds of failures for every ONE Minecraft/Braid/Super Meat Boy? And not because the games are bad necessarily, but because they fail to capture the audience. It's just really not seeing the whole picture if you think that AAA Blockbuster titles are a problem that could just be done away with.

And again, I do not doubt independents can make great games with little budget. But they cannot make AAA Blockbuster games. Now you and other people can tell me that that doesn't matter, because all that matters is that the game is good, but that would be silly. If anyone here claims they would never enjoy a good AAA Blockbuster title (and they exist, please don't do that whole, all AAA games are bad anyway thing), they are just trying to simplify the problem.

If such big budgets can't be supported in the same industry as rentals and pre owned games maybe game budgets should be smaller.

Ok then CliffyB, show me the study where they concluded that the number of new purchases would be larger without the additional income from trading in used games. Show that fucking study and I will concede some ground. Until then, I plain don't believe you, and I can do that because you have no fucking evidence. What's more, used games have a right to exist, games are a product, and just like any product if you want one that someone else has used and they're happy to give it to you for a fee, there's nothing wrong with that, and putting systems in place to erase that practise devalues your product when purchased. Free to play and microtransactions are just shittier models for the consumer in most cases. The industry wants to go from single purchase (meaning you can get as much value as you want out of a game and do whatever you want with it) to as subtle subscriptions and microtransactions as possible, because frankly people are less price-sensitive to the latter. Which is why when the stance of making good games that people will want to buy, perhaps at reasonable prices at launch, and do whatever they want with them afterwards, is taken by a company, they should be fucking applauded for it.

And yes, Sony probably isn't morally for used games, and rumours of its own disc-locking system were circulating before it probably caught on to the smart course of action (directly opposing Microsoft). But the consumers have shown that supporting used games will be profitable, and that's what we have to do when we want something. Give money to the suppliers. If you want used games, don't buy an Xbone and grumble about it. Don't buy digital for the same price where there is no system for resale. Buy the things that do what you want, and the people who make them will be happy to keep them that way.

DVS BSTrD:
The thing that doesn't work in this case Cliffy is your brain.

thats why he is called cliffy b.

like his brain is on the cliff/verge/borderline of stupidity

I guess Cliffy B never learned some basic economics.

The firms with the highest costs are generally the first to leave when shit goes south.
You can only push costs onto demand so hard before demand rejects it outright. (that's what a demand curve describes, literally)

The loss of rentals and used games; that's a cost overall since it costs the consumer more overall.

It's up to those firms to get their costs under control.

Wasnt there a little zombie game with pretty bland graphics for this day and age that sold over 250000 copies in the first day? Just because they tapped into a concept that hadnt been realized like that yet?

Overwhelming success both financial and units sold and that on a comperativly small budged, without any "professional" marketing whatsoever.. just by using LPers and word of mouth? What does cliffy say to that?

"BAH HUMBUG!"

But seriously... Clyffy.. shut your mouth. Theres enough hot air around this time of year as is...

There's one thing I don't get: How do used games "take the cut"? That's just based on the false assumption that every used game sale would be a new game sale if it wasn't for used games. That's simply not true.
Also, when buying used, the developers/publishers DID ALREADY GET THEIR CUT! Somebody bought it full price for it to even appear on the used games shelf. Every used game out there is a former new sale.
Also, while I do buy most games new, the ones I bought used I bought because I wasn't that interested in them that they warranted full price. I bought Uncharted used because I thought the premise to be not that interesting, but I wanted to have a cheap shooter. But I fell in love with the series, which made me buy UC2 at full price and preorder part 3 and The Last Of Us. Not only did sony and naughty dogs NOT lose anything, as I wouldn't have bought it new, but the guy I bought it from did, they actually gained a new customer, resulting in a revenue of +300% with no investment needed from them whatsoever.

Also, I tend to sell games I played through that don't have any replay value, or that I haven't touched in a year, and use the little money I get to buy one or two new games I wouldn't have bought otherwise. Again, allowing for used games actually increased new sales in my case.

Thus, calling used sales a blight for devs/publishers, let alone outrightly preventing them, is IMHO stupid. There's nothing to gain by it, and a lot to lose, both paradoxically in sales and in image.

This guy's blog articles have more holes in it than a fishing net, and now you're taking him seriously enough to post an article on? What, are you going to post a PeterMolydeux article next?

Then spend less money on saturation advertising you moron

Waddles:
Then spend less money on saturation advertising you moron

They cant!

Without bribing the "game journalists" whos going to top rate their shitty shooters?

cliffy, i think your name is trying to tell you something.

Sure, instead of stop wasting money on inflated budgets and utterly retarded marketing mappings that market games to the wrong audience, lets kill something that keeps your game alive for more than the initial 3 months and actually wants people to be interested in sequel.

Sadly, he will still have money for his unreal engine, that isnt THAT great to begin with, and if developers were forced to build their own engines more maybe we wouldnt have ahalf the market look identical....

NKRevan:

Digging their own hole? I guess you can lay blame on both ends of the coin, but I really, really can't blame dev's alone for the expectancy of consumers. Consumers ALWAYS wanted more realistic graphics (not every one, but a lot of them). So dev's delivered.

I agree with Journalists. They are part of the "problem" as it were.

This is not how it works. The majority of team members go into the art department and programming. And that's not just because developers THINK they need that many people, it's just a matter of how much can one person realistically do. Some of the best games made in whose opinion? Critics? Public? Consumer?

How many games by small teams do you think pull down enough money to break even? How many hundreds of failures for every ONE Minecraft/Braid/Super Meat Boy? And not because the games are bad necessarily, but because they fail to capture the audience. It's just really not seeing the whole picture if you think that AAA Blockbuster titles are a problem that could just be done away with.

And again, I do not doubt independents can make great games with little budget. But they cannot make AAA Blockbuster games. Now you and other people can tell me that that doesn't matter, because all that matters is that the game is good, but that would be silly. If anyone here claims they would never enjoy a good AAA Blockbuster title (and they exist, please don't do that whole, all AAA games are bad anyway thing), they are just trying to simplify the problem.

Developers have dug their own hole. From the NES days they have ingrained in the consumers that they want continually better graphics and better looking games. Just look at Nintendo's 80s Zelda commercial or the infamous Atari Jaguar commercial, which stressed to consumers that a high bit number meant better looking games (it doesn't). Granted, it's easier to market good graphics over good game design or engaging and immersive gameplay but the side effect is that this has set consumer expectations to the point where Developers have either priced themselves out of the market or cannot attain their ridiculous standards. The kicker is the average gamer honestly doesn't care. If a game doesn't look like shit, they will probably buy it, there is no need to spend massive amounts of money on tiny, unperceivable, minute details.

As for small teams, the vast majority of Nintendo's pre-Wii output was made with teams of no bigger than 30 people (given how much of New Super Mario Bros is basically cut-and-paste, I'd say a fair amount of their Wii/Post-Wii output as well). Team Ico have never had any more than 30 people working for them at a time (The Last Guardian aside, that has worked pretty well for them.) Treasure always work in small teams. Rare, even in their Microsoft days, always managed to make a game with about twenty people. There are probably plenty of others. Team size has nothing to do with lack of success in the Independent sector. Independent games usually lack promotional budgets, due to being independent. The biggest obstacle with anything independent is ignorance, people either love your stuff or they don't know/care about it.

The problem with AAA titles is that they are vastly over-produced and the publishers vastly over-estimate the market. They're willing to throw money around on more man-power than they need, perhaps in the erroneous belief that more people means the game will get made faster (the new Metal Gear has been in production for about three years and has a large multinational team. Meanwhile games made with teams of twenty get made almost just as quickly) or the game will be better (in actuality having so many people pushing and pulling on a project means game quality tends to be lower). Frequently you hear about how games need to sell five million to turn a profit or else they're considered a failure and now we're hearing how companies like Microsoft are assaulting consumer rights because they aren't making enough money to line the money pool any more.

Ronack:
This guy's blog articles have more holes in it than a fishing net, and now you're taking him seriously enough to post an article on? What, are you going to post a PeterMolydeux article next?

Hehe. Have you seen the article above this one?

People have pretty much said everything there is to say on this matter, and I have to agree with the general consensus. Perhaps developers and publishers ought to start learning to use their budget more wisely rather than throwing money at everything. It's not our problem that they are making games so expensive to create, so we shouldn't be the ones having to take the hit.

When you get indie developers making more exciting games than huge developers who throw over one hundred million dollars at a game, claiming you have to keep spending money to make good ones becomes nonsensical. I had more fun playing Mark of the Ninja than I did Dead Space 3, and the difference in the cost to make them is insane.

Ronack:
This guy's blog articles have more holes in it than a fishing net, and now you're taking him seriously enough to post an article on? What, are you going to post a PeterMolydeux article next?

I see what you did there, and I like it.

Oh Cliffy, you couldn't be more of an obnoxious asshole even if you tried.

Well CliffyB can shut his big ugly face. HOW ABOUT THAT. HOW WAS THAT RETORT. HA.

Seriously though, the dude needs to run and fall with that lancer.

As for Sony playing us, we;ll see when TLOU comes out tomorrow.

CliffyB:
You cannot have game and marketing budgets this high while also having used and rental games existing. The numbers do NOT work people.

Wrong. It's exactly why game rentals and used games must exist. Without renting, borrowing and selling used games, gamers will be a lot more careful what games they buy. They will not want to risk buying something that they'll end up hating. If you're so worried about used games, maybe you should try to make them so good that people will not want to sell them. If used games disappear, I can see a lot less people buying CoD every year.

CliffyB:
You're all being played!

It's actually possible. But highly unlikely unless Xbone fails and Sony ends up with a monopoly.

CliffyB:
The visual fidelity and feature sets we expect from games now come with sky high costs. Assassins Creed games are made by thousands of devs.

That number is going to get lower. One of the things about the new architecture inside the new consoles is the fact that it allows developers to do a lot more with a lot less people. We can expect layoffs simply because it will be possible to make better games with less staff.

CliffyB:
Newsflash. This is why you're seeing free to play and microtransactions everywhere.

Sorry Cliffy but that's not true. Microtransactions and free-to-play games are a direct result of too much competition.

The guy is called "Cliffy B" and apparently has some sort of a tribal tattoo. Why are people listening to what he says?

Steven Bogos:

Bleszinkski went on to explain his stance, saying that games have gotten so big that there is just no way the next generation can survive if the used game and game rental markets keep taking a cut. "The visual fidelity and feature sets we expect from games now come with sky high costs," he says, "Assassins Creed games are made by thousands of devs."

Then maybe the big games should not survive.

Tomb Raider reboot sold 3.4 million copies at, let's say, $50 a pop. That's 190 MILLION DOLLARS in revenue. How does a generic, mostly average third person action adventure fail to generate profit from almost $200 million in sales?

There's just a huge disconnect between what game publishers are providing and what people actually want. COD is gangbusters? Good for it. Stop trying to replicate that success. The industry can only have one such franchise at any given time. If you can't topple it, you need to seek out niche markets. These can still be profitable, but you have to adjust your budgets and expectations accordingly. You can't just throw 1000 people at yearly asscreed releases and expect to surf a rising tide of infinite growth.

EA, Activision, Ubisoft, etc. - they're going through the motions, painting by numbers in what is a CREATIVE MEDIUM and expecting the same returns as non-creative industries. Those returns are obviously not meeting with their projections, so it's time to start reshaping the market to suit their strategies. Gaming is uniquely vulnerable to this tactic because of the closed garden control of consoles, but that doesn't mean people are going to necessarily take it lying down.

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