Apparently professional studios don't want to associate with the app store

Discussion in 'General Game Discussion and Questions' started by Stirolak26, Oct 24, 2010.

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  1. Stirolak26

    Stirolak26 Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2010
  2. dyscode

    dyscode Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    Writer/ Music Producer
    Germany & Tokyo

    First it´s a Levi Buchanan article, so it´s taken with a grain of Salt anyway.

    That said, this sound much like the Music industry whining about people who don´t buy their soulless shit anymore.
    ok n-Space has few titles which not necessarily means they understand what´s going on.

    "People that use to buy many games every year now buy a few AAA titles, supplementing their need with games that are free or cost less than a pack of gum."
    Maybe because usual $60 AAA title consists of 40% Quicktime Events 20% Cutscenes and max. 7 hours of playtime with very less replay value nowadays?

    And what about MineCraft? Maybe the Game industry might use some fresh concepts?
    The last $60 AAA title of value I saw was Fallout 3, and that is already some time ago. The world has changed since 2000 but some people / industries just don´t get it.

    And the best thing will be when n-space makes a half-assed iOS game and then blames the users they don´t fork over the $$$$$$$.

    And finally statements like that that effectivly decry the indie developers AND their customers just fear the fresh ideas that make you realize what snakeoil they sold you the whole years before.
    I see more fresh ideas on the AppStore in a month than in a 2years in PC/Console games.

    my HO.

    going over the top as usual ;)
  3. sticktron

    sticktron Well-Known Member

    Which professional studios... EA? RockStar? Konami? Sega? Harmonix? Namco? Square Enix? Capcom? id?
  4. ScottColbert

    ScottColbert Well-Known Member

    It's the same in any industry right now; music went through it, movies are going through it, books are going through it. To go digital or stay with physical copies. There's still far more money to be made with physical copies at this point; even taking into account rising shipping costs, the bad economy, the cost of making the copies etc.

    The biggest problem I see with iDevice apps is the app store itself. Aside from it being a mess to browse through, the length of time it takes to process, review and release apps-let alone updates-just won't cut it for much longer.

    And dyscode while I agree with you in principle, you're overlooking a couple of things.

    1. Virtually every app on the app store can be made to play on another handheld platform or computer. The biggest sellers (with only a few exceptions) are ports of games from other platforms. Sure Angry Birds is unique to an extent, but not a game that can only be played on an iDevice. The truly orginal games are few and far between, and those that seem unique are simply rehashes or reimplementations of other games. Even one of my favorite games on the app store, Karnival, is a sim type game. This idea that creativity is overflowing in the app store is grossly exaggerated.

    2. Console games are hindered in creativity to an extent by cost. Why pour money into a game that may flop when you can make a game that has a much greater chance of success? I'm not saying that's right, just saying that seems to be the pervasive idea. Also factor in that people "say" they want some different, but clamor loudest for more of the same old same old. There's no impetus to change.

    The fact people are buying fewer AAA titles and more 99 cent apps is a no brainer. I can't tell you how many apps I've bought based on word of mouth here. Sometimes I'm happy I made a purchase, other times not so much. If I son't like a 2-3 dollar app, oh well, no biggie. But to buy a 60 buck game and feel ripped off, or just not like it, is a bigger deal.

    Frankly I haven't seen a fresh from either in ages, nor do I expect to. Not when the tried and true still sells so well.
  5. dyscode

    dyscode Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    Writer/ Music Producer
    Germany & Tokyo
    #5 dyscode, Oct 24, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
    I agree with you.

    I never would claim to own the truth alone. And sometimes I am closer to ranting than to analyzing,
    I know :rolleyes:.
    And as sticktron stated a lot of companies do fine with the changes of internet and AppStore.

    But for the production costs, it was the AAA game industries decision to put visuals over gameplay and they are now at the breaking point of the equation. It does not reckon anymore, yet still some/most AAA companies hold tight to this no matter what the cost, literally. And then they com complaining. It´s not the consumers fault they fail.

    And console game are MOSTLY hindered by the costs off SDKs, per license fees and draconic ruling of Sony, Nintendo and microsoft (being the most moderate) of what is allowed to be published.

    Compared to this the Apple review Process is Anarchy and Free Love. THAT is what hinders consoles.
    PSN and Nintendo Store are just shadows compared to this.

    Plus the same "good games cost money" argument is going on since 2 decades now. It´s true but as you say the as the profits have risen the games visuals so the the production costs. And complaining AAA companies
    always put it like it´s the most recent discovery in rocket science. They better have to learn from the past.
  6. ScottColbert

    ScottColbert Well-Known Member

    Nor would I claim to own the truth, much as I would like to. :p Yes it was the AAA game industries who put graphics over gameplay and that has to do, in my mind anyway, with the advent of graphics cards for the PC's. When 3dfx released its first card in '97, it virtually drove the industry to increase its wow factor. Once gamers got a taste of something non pixelated, it was all over.

    HEck, you still see that now, with almost every thread in new game releases having at least one person ask if it supports retina display. The reviews section in the app store is full of 1 star reviews because of this. So we can pin blame on the AAA companies, but they're doing because of the demand.

    I would never go back to my 2G Touch after using my 4G. Mostly for the performance boost, but it does look a lot better. However, as I've said far too many times, what good is a game if it's fantastic looking but plays like crap?

    And rant away, it's good for the soul :p
  7. dyscode

    dyscode Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    Writer/ Music Producer
    Germany & Tokyo
    Yes, totally. There are some developments that change the whole game!
    And you cannot go back behind that or if, it feels like a real loss of living quality.

    2G/4G Mostly I cannot go back to my 2G because it now belongs to my wife now. :D
    Yes the 4G, just by making games look better with the better LCD, is
    amazing, even without Retina support.

    Visuals over Gameplay
    yeah Final Fantasy XIII as the latest evidence.

    There was a statement from a Japanese game developer also concerned about FF XIII gameplay, like: since when became games something you watch?
    (I cannot find the source right now, the article was on Escapists).
  8. Qordobo

    Qordobo Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2010
    I really discovered the depth, amount and creativity of PC indie gaming through my iPad, in term of game creation that means a lot through iphone games. That seems quite paradoxical and it seems make pointless playing on my iPad, better get back to my PC and start play (more) PC indie games... But not at all.

    There's two arguments making the device unbeatable to play indie games:
    • The first point is rather obvious for the curious gamer avid to try a bit many games and stick to few only, the prices are just unstoppable. I don't say it's a viable economy, just that for a gamer it can't be beat.
    • The second point is rather perverse and is linked to communication. From any point you look at it, reviews on main sites covering the igames, forums like TA forums, App Store selections, all the main sources of information about igames have an heavy coverage of indie games. You won't find anything comparable on PC, in quantity you'll find much more but it's spread and this spreading broke the dynamism.
    The reasons of this isn't that simple, I'd quote 3 possible causes:
    • A first point is certainly the physical weakness of the idevices. Most are handle devices involving many limits from game size to memory size and lower CPU and video card. Those multiple physical limits have multiple consequences, from embarrassing giants of the game industry used to make A to AAA games, to favorings indie games by making low budget games more on par with anything released on those devices.
    • The second point is the prices craziness there's around the app store. My point isn't to explain the reasons of this, but that it involves consequences building a favorable ground for indie gaming. The whole gaming industry don't know make low budget games. Only the indie approach seems roughly compatible to such low pricing if it is at all, and at least as soon as the dream is powerful enough or as soon as the lottery chance is appealing enough.
    • The third point is historical, the idevices are historically deeply linked to Mac. That means that sites are also deeply linked to Mac. And since many years, the Mac gaming isn't build by the gaming industry but a lot by indie. That means that there's an historical dynamic that build a web with strong links with Mac ie with many people quite aware of indie gaming values.
    This digital choice is mainly a problem of controlling the market. The digital doesn't suit the giant of the industries because they lost their relationship and influence on many people involved in physical copies, from stock, to exposure in shops.

    The chance of Video Game Industry is that it happened much later than for Music and they are much better prepared and are warned that they won't be able to stop the process.

    I see it the exact reverse, I won't be able to formulate a clear explanation, but it is a barrier against giants of the gaming industry, it tends generate an environment favoring indie games, Apple will hardly succeed learn how setup an impulse to change completely the direction to open this gaming Market to the standard Game industry. This means that Apple is bound to indies for some time because of this App Store.

    Well, "in ages" seems means decades or at least a decade, and really I don't share at all that point of view. Myself there's been plenty fresh things by playing on my iPad, even if many come from PC. Here some quotes and I wonder what other games made them non fresh:
    • Spirit
    • Knight Defense
    • Galcon Fusion
    • Knights of the Phantom Castle
    • Ynth (or Beyond Ynth)
    • Rimelands
    • Tilt to Live
    • Somersault
    • Trundle
    • Aerox
    • Monster Feed
    • Inkies HD
    • Osmos
    • Dark Nebula 2
    • Let's Create Pottery
    • Jet Car Stunts
    • Dungeon Solitaire
    • Soosiz
    • Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor
    • Topple 2
    • Modern Conflict
    • Chop Chop Soccer (HD)
    • Chop Chop Ninja
    • CocoNoid
    • Earth Defender
    • Shadow Runner
    • Ricochet Infinity
    • Master of Alchemy
    • Space Station: Frontier
    • Mirror's Edge
    • Doodle Sky (HD)
    • Circuloid
    • Breakspin
    • Reflexion
    • Meekoo
    • Bit.Trip Beat
    • Veggie Samurai (or Fruit Ninja)
    • MultiPong
    • Splash Duel
    • Chop Chop Tennis
    • Swipe Soccer
    • Fastar!
    • Everlands HD
    • Antistar: 3D Rising
    • Just 1 Level
    • Stick Golf (or Melon Golf)
    • Great Adventures
    • My Kingdom the the Princess
    • Juggle!

    So all of that is just old blood for you? Well I suppose you could quote some old games that influenced very strongly some of them, but for all of them or most of them, I doubt a lot. Ok I'm not a specialist so I'm doing a guess.

    But if we are looking from a larger point of view, ie multiple platforms and since many years then I'll have serious quotes to highlight that the 90's or the 80's could not have been more creative than have been the 00's.
  9. tblrsa

    tblrsa Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2009
    #9 tblrsa, Oct 24, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
    I don´t even know the developer "n-space", but they are obviously good in bawwing. Blaming pirates must have been gotten old, so now it´s the App Stores fault for a change? n-space, whoever you are, just go away. You´ll find an open door, i assure you.
  10. weehoo

    weehoo Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2010
    the stars
    All I know is that the app-store is taking my money faster than console-games. Last year (2009) I bought seven games for my PS3. I have only purchased two PS3 games this year, Red Dead Redemption and Battlefield BC2.

    However, on the iOS, i've purchased at least $200+ in apps. If the iphone games weren't cheap ($0.99 - $9.99), I probably wouldn't have purchased anything at all. The low price-point almost forces you to spend.

    I'm not really sure I understand your thread, because it seems as though the big gaming monopolies are taking the iOS very seriously. Although, some indie-developers have blown the socks off of big companies with games like, "Space Miner" and "Pocket God." I fear that the big guys - with their large budget and all - will half-ass most games. After Battlefield iphone and Left4dead iphone come out, we'll see how serious Professional studios are about the app-store.
  11. walsh06

    walsh06 Well-Known Member

  12. Andiron

    Andiron Well-Known Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    I'd add a fourth bullet point to the three theories you postulated - that the very nature of the App Store (digital and not physical) means that indies can compete at the same distribution level as the "AAA" console developers. Also, from what I've seen so far on the App store there does not seem to be any real difference between indie developers and the major game developers regarding advertising on the App Store, and Apple seems to push awareness of new apps based on their actual quality and not simply who developed them - for the most part anyway.

    This is really good thread. I myself have a long history with video and computer gaming, playing Atari 2600 and old arcade games back in the '70s and '80s, going to early 8 and 16 bit consoles, then to PCs. I even remember spending a crazy amount of money in '97 ($300) for the first 3dFX graphics card.

    I found myself getting into indie PC games before I even had an interest in iDevices, from a cost, quality, and originality perspective, and I think a lot of the success of indie games on the PC comes from being able to have small games distributed over the internet.

    In addition to cheaper price-points for their games, some indie developers have even started experimenting with a "pay what you want" model where - literally - you pay even as little as a penny for their games, the idea being that you are paying what you will for a game based on your perceived value, and that if enough other consumers value a game or developer as highly as you do then you will all donate more money to that developer to continue making highly quality games.

    I actually find it to be a good thing if the big game developers are scared. That is exactly what is needed in the entire computer/video games industry - a shakeup. I moved away from most PC games from major developers years ago due to the feeling that I was paying way too much money for overproduced crap with too many bugs, too much reliance on the "greatest and latest" hardware, and the icing on that cake was finding myself bored with the gameplay in just an hour or two (or less).
  13. Qordobo

    Qordobo Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2010
    @Andiron: I agree that the App Store system tend put indie games at same level for distribution. But it's relative, even if in each country the app store seems do a good job of selection (I often check their selection to quote some interesting pick I haven't yet noticed), there's still a slight favor for games coming from the gaming industry, except when they are direct port of very old games. They still provide a huge support to indie games but the point is most releases are indie games.

    I doubt anybody has an idea of where this is leading but the point is currently that it's less the App Store exposure, than systems like AppShoper and free game a day sites, plus sites like TA and many contributing, that certainly contribute to have this price drop down which is now a serious entrance penalty for standard game industries.

    Also they don't benefit the same exposure through web sites as they do on PC. That increase even more the ticket entrance by increasing the risks.

    If for any reason quite more games from the standard gaming industry get released I'm not sure that the picture will still be the same. As ScottColbert already quoted the point is that many gamers are attracted by non gameplay values that show for example the A to AAA PC games. The point is that those non gaming values sell much better games to much more people. But that doesn't mean those same gamers will appreciate the gameplay.

    In my country store the effect of big names is quite obvious, seems more than few month ago. Ie in profitable app list it's quite dominated by big names on iPad, not as obvious on iPhone and for now if a device is important it's probably only iphone/ipod and not iPad.
  14. Andiron

    Andiron Well-Known Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    You are making some good points again but this whole argument by the games industry (whoever *they* are exactly :) ) that the AppStore is somehow diminishing their profitability and is helping to encourage a loss of sales, seems itself to be out of touch with reality.

    Taking myself as an example (and it might not be a good one either) although I definitely have enough money to buy one or even two $50 or $60 games a month I don't because I don't feel that currently the value of the 99.9% of most games are anywhere worth that. Although I have no statistics to reference, I wouldn't be surprised that even in the absence of the AppStore or other similar alternative markets that the "games industry" may already be losing sales. But I could be completely mistaken.

    I guess I'm pushing forward the notion that perhaps this perceived loss of sales is similar to the loss in sales that the "games industry" attributes to supposed piracy which I think even most perceived loss of revenue by piracy makes way too many assumptions about how many games pirates would buy even if were had no other choices and could not pirate them.

    So, much like other issues in the past, and similar to what the music industry has gone through, I really believe that this is a sign that "things are changing" and rather than just change their ways and learn their lessons, the "games industry" would rather bitch and moan about how their suckers - sorry I mean customers - are being "stolen" from them by the cheap whore that the AppStore must be.

    I find the whole thing funny personally. The ones that will survive are the ones that learn from it and can see this as a new trend away from the monolithic game developers from the past. It feels a lot closer to the origins of video and computer gaming (good products coming from small companies - they weren't even called "indies" back then). Which is a good thing to me.
  15. Stirolak26

    Stirolak26 Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2010
  16. I would argue that larger studios actually can't compete on the App store. What I mean by that is, if you're selling a game for $0.99, for example, and are lucky enough to move one million+ copies, then to a small indie developer with a handful of staff, that's enough to keep going and keep doing your own thing. But put that in terms of a massive company with hundreds of staff to pay and suddenly selling on the App store doesn't seem so attractive anymore.
  17. Qordobo

    Qordobo Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2010
    The "real" price of a game means nothing, it's a subjective value. The real price of a AAA PC game is let say an average of 50 people working 2 years plus all the additional costs. Let say an average of $6000 per month and per people including all the charges, it's $7.2M and there's additional cost, let say just to round to $8M. Then let say a profit of $1M which seems not that high for a $8M cost. Then you add 42% to 9M, it's roughly the percentage to add to initial cost to have the Apple 30% margin on final price. So your total AAA game cost for sell price is about 13M with some rounding.

    So the game price is $13M if one player buy it... I'm sure all those numbers are totally wrong, but the real price of a game is a highly subjective value, it depends of the price the players are ready to pay for the game and how many players will. For example the $13M could be look at in very different ways like 1M players buying the game at $13 or 13.1M players buying the game at $.99. But also you could consider the cost not worth because it's just a wrong game, subjective. Or you could consider the game too cheap, like not enough voice acting or voice acting not good enough, the game not long enough or anything for the said price ie $13 or $.99.

    This is subjective. I'm taking no conclusion from that, just that a game price isn't a solid objective value.
  18. Well, taking price out of the equation, my opinion is that a major game studio simply isn't equipped to make a good iOS, or any other form of casual game, for that matter. Having worked in a studio that made AAA games I can say that they are staffed by hardcore gamers who want to make games because they live and breathe games.

    The problem is, for the most part, that major studio scene has become dominated by spectacle over gameplay. In my opinion (and possibly my opinion only) they are unable to make a game that would appeal as broadly as a casual game needs to so as to be profitable. It's a whole other world out there trying to sell games to the average person and major studios are amazingly divorced from it. I mean, just look at the dialogue in most major games, they still sound like b-movie scripts or worse. The average person actually demands more. It's bizarre to think that in some respects, the major game developers are actually the ones operating in and delivering to a niche audience.
  19. Qordobo

    Qordobo Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2010
    Interesting point of view and quite paradoxical from the usual whining that big teams target too much sell a lot at price of game quality.

    A first point is that the number of players that aren't the average person has rise phenomenally that last decades. So it's a market base quite solid anyway. Solid but very diversified and that's why despite games target non average persons and non casual players, they could target a more or less wide base of real gamers and then start lost focus on gameplay to prioritize the number of sells targeted.

    But yes this real gamers population is still a minority in comparison of more common people ready to play some more casual games.

    In fact not many games can match common people and a casual target. The main problem is the game sessions length. You can't play a, Wargame, RTS, turn based strategy game, RPG, a complex non linear adventure game, a complex sim, or even a long shooter with non linear levels, on a casual base.

    That's why the current big studios are out of the target of more common people. This has too few links with the gaming history, this doesn't make them dream, they can target a huge base of non common people that are real gamers.

    It's funny that the only element you quote is in fact related to the focus on spectacle much more than the pure gameplay. :)

    For me it shows how strong is this evolution you quote, from gameplay to spectacle. It's not only a global blindness of the gaming industries but of players, everybody is more or less catch in the dream, it's just that sometimes some players wake up and quote how the game is boring... to play.

    To come back to the script point, I think Japan side has included since many years the script and story quality as a part of the global equation of a game. But the point is the population they can target has never been so sensible to this aspect, but it is changing.

    I think this is evolving because of three reasons:
    • First there's a base of false casual players that is growing more and more. It's coming from people that have been gamers during a large part of their life and at some point they become a blasé player and don't play as much. Then they play sometimes real games with a casual focus and a blasé point of view making them focus more on such elements like story and script quality.
    • The second reason is the dream from game to spectacle is largely influenced by the movies industry and there the market of script talents is identified, developed and organized since a very long time. Nobody can ignore it and a focus on a much better script and story quality is growing and is a part of the game to spectacle dream.
    • The feminine population of real players that aren't casual players is constantly growing and it's a common value that this population is much more sensible to qualities like script and story quality.
  20. Qordobo

    Qordobo Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2010
    I don't see it the same but that highlight that the App Store is probably building a new gaming Market, low prices but for real gamers but nothing else exist, it's neither a pure casual game market nor the existing AAA games market.

    That doesn't mean this third market will destroy the two other. Possibly it will capture the pure casual game market too which is anyway the largest game base existing curently in App Store. But only pure casual games for pure casual gamers won't satisfy players like you and me, apart for few games.

    But it's less sure that the App Store market will perish and will end filled only of true casual games, or will destroy another market of AAA games sold at a much higher price. Sure that in some way there's a concurrence between the two, but it's still not a direct concurrence because it's not a same offering.

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