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The increasingly tricky business of video games

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The increasingly tricky business of video games

Old 02-27-24, 09:57 AM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

My oldest son graduates with a degree in computer science with an emphasis in game programming and game design this April. This is not a good situation for him to walk into post-graduation.

Luckily, he has some contacts in the indie gaming scene… and was offered a paid internship. Not quite sure how long that’s gonna last, but at least it’s some thing amidst all of this restructuring.

He was selected by the faculty and students as one of the game producers of the senior thesis game they are working on (and it was a paid position). So he has that experience on his resume.

It will be interesting to see where he ends up.
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Old 02-27-24, 05:19 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Old 02-27-24, 06:34 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

"Among other divisions, the layoffs will hit Insomniac (Spider-Man), Naughty Dog (The Last of Us), and Guerrilla (Horizon), three of PlayStation's most successful subsidiaries"

I believe no-one saw this coming especially from those three studios. I remember some saying after the M.S Layoffs this year alone was already close to all of last years and a prediction was made at the time; it could get worse.

Other day at work a friend and me were talking about games in general and Halo came up. He and a friend said they really didn't care for some of the newer games and decided to play Halo 1-3 co-op campaign again. We talked how fun games like that were...they were made to be fun by people who wanted Fun Games....but now the feeling is more like make a game but then make it a business via cosmetics, skins, seasons, DLC, etc...and games like Halo early on didn't have all this crap or at least behind paywalls.

And we then talked about how simple games 9eraly halo again) were and even Gears of War. I said I believe those were great because it took only a handful of people who were like family. Now instead of a few hundred it's couple of 1000 it seems with several studios involved. Hence where the business has now taken center stage. Games use to cost what, $20 to $50 Million...now it's $100 Million low end to $200 Million. After 2-3 yrs investors are getting real nervous and demanding a return. It wasn't that way 10-15yrs ago.....still sad to see so many talented people be out of a job...
Old 02-27-24, 07:24 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Chante Goodman has been the Community Manager at Guerilla for the past few years and she was caught in the layoffs. Her podcasts, playthroughs, videos, and tweets expanded my interest in the games (both Zero Dawn and Forbidden West). It’s gonna be sad that she’s not going to be there for the next installment.

Loved the GAIA Casts.

Also the department for the cross promotional items was trimmed too.

That’s rough.

I guess it’s all about the game and only the game. Damn the communities they build… or just let the fans pick up the slack.


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Old 02-28-24, 08:39 AM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Originally Posted by K&AJones
"Among other divisions, the layoffs will hit Insomniac (Spider-Man), Naughty Dog (The Last of Us), and Guerrilla (Horizon), three of PlayStation's most successful subsidiaries"

I believe no-one saw this coming especially from those three studios. I remember some saying after the M.S Layoffs this year alone was already close to all of last years and a prediction was made at the time; it could get worse.

Other day at work a friend and me were talking about games in general and Halo came up. He and a friend said they really didn't care for some of the newer games and decided to play Halo 1-3 co-op campaign again. We talked how fun games like that were...they were made to be fun by people who wanted Fun Games....but now the feeling is more like make a game but then make it a business via cosmetics, skins, seasons, DLC, etc...and games like Halo early on didn't have all this crap or at least behind paywalls.

And we then talked about how simple games 9eraly halo again) were and even Gears of War. I said I believe those were great because it took only a handful of people who were like family. Now instead of a few hundred it's couple of 1000 it seems with several studios involved. Hence where the business has now taken center stage. Games use to cost what, $20 to $50 Million...now it's $100 Million low end to $200 Million. After 2-3 yrs investors are getting real nervous and demanding a return. It wasn't that way 10-15yrs ago.....still sad to see so many talented people be out of a job...
There are still incredible gems of games made by smaller studios as indy titles, or even smaller releases from bigger companies, but I think part of the problem is that the consumer base largely gravitates towards the best graphics, game length/grinding and some kind of multiplayer component (single player experiences are easier to skip) and that all costs time and money. You could make a really killer, high end looking game that's, I dunno, 5 hours long and people will skip it or wait for a sale or whatever. But the game industry must be profitable, I mean I swear there are way more games coming out now than there ever were before.
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Old 02-28-24, 12:55 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Originally Posted by fujishig
But the game industry must be profitable, I mean I swear there are way more games coming out now than there ever were before.
A lot of it is habits changing. The audience for traditional video game consoles isn't growing and is aging; mobile and PC are where growth is. A handful of live-service games (Fortnite, GTA, Minecraft, Roblox, yadda yadda) are sucking out a huge amount of the air from the room, and it's an uphill battle trying to pry those players away. And generally, we're weirdos here; most people only buy a handful of games per generation. So it's a matter of a massive number of games competing for the same dollars from the same players. To attract those dollars/players, publishers are pushing graphics, accessibility, and scope/length, which in turn makes players expect graphics, accessibility, and scope/length on a certain level as standard, and that's has led to a vicious cycle where games are eye-wateringly expensive to produce and only getting more expensive. The barriers to entry have lowered so that basically anyone could get a game up on Steam if they wanted, but that's also making it nearly impossible for anyone to stand out among that daily deluge of new games, and someone making a puzzle game in their bedroom is still competing against games that cost $250 million to make.

Tekken director/producer Katsuhiro Harada says development costs now are around 10X what they were in the '90s and nearly triple what Tekken 7 cost to develop. Spider-Man 2 cost triple the amount of the first game, with a breakeven of 7.5 million copies. I see a bunch of people say that the problem is that games are too complex and too ornate, which, sure, but if they had smaller teams making games with a more manageable size/scope, you'd have even more games competing for time/attention, which puts the industry in a similarly awful boat.

It's brutal because if something hits, the returns can be surreally massive, but those are few and far between. And the investments that were flowing so freely have largely dried up.

I don't think there'll be a collapse on the order of what we saw ~40 years ago, but I do think there'll be a significant contraction at some point soon.
Old 02-28-24, 01:14 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

I see it kind of similar to superhero movies where the budgets ballooned and the return on investment got less and less to the point where you have to be a massive massive hit to be profitable. And certainly the expectations on a AAA game are ballooning, whereas a smaller indy game does not have that scope. But I look at something like Genshin Impact or Honkai Star Rail from Hoyo, which I'm sure have massive budgets but the mobile format and especially gacha mechanics make ongoing support feasible. I don't want that for console-focused games but they are definitely trying and I understand why. Like I'm a huge NBA fan, but didn't buy 2k this year because it's just too much... declining badges if you don't grind constantly, microtransactions and ads galore, and a deprecation window which makes your game almost unplayable after two years.

In the meantime as a kind of older gamer who has only one 4k tv in the house and not even HDR, I've fallen really behind on AAA PS5 and Series X games, and play mainly on the switch and am perfectly fine, so I hope there's always room for the cheaper, non bleeding edge games and that they can somehow still stand out in the sea of shovelware that is on every platform right now. In that way, portable systems are kind of a boon because the expectations are so much smaller. Like I think one of the drawbacks of something like the Vita was that it was too powerful... that first Uncharted game was amazing but who's going to put out that kind of budget consistently for a smaller market?
Old 02-28-24, 01:24 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

I'm glad I bailed from this industry, over 20 years ago.

My son is still in it, but was spared from the cuts at his company, a few months back. Hopefully that'll be the end of it.
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Old 02-28-24, 04:20 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Now it’s EA’s turn. 670 layoffs: 5% of their workforce. They’re moving away from licensed IP, so we might not see much more beyond the Star Wars and Marvel games they have in the works.
Old 02-29-24, 05:49 AM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

I know everyone from small to large business has Bills To Pay like everyone else along with costs for more of this and that. But when you have a industry like Gaming litterally racking in Billions and then see layoffs left & right...doesn't add up common sense wise but I think most know and understand the path of where the money goes....

Microsoft - 1900 Layoffs
Sony - 900 Layoffs
EA - 600 Layoffs
= 2400 Talented People

"In 2023, the total revenue of the U.S. video game industry amounted to 57.19 billion U.S. dollars, up from the 56.6 billion U.S. dollars a year earlier...." U.S. video game industry annual revenue by segment 2023 | Statista



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Old 03-02-24, 01:33 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Moved a more politically oriented post to the Religion, Politics, and World Events subforum.
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Old 03-02-24, 05:12 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

It's funny that my other reply got "moved" so in order for this one not to, I'll say this: It's doesn't help that the major AAA studios have hired outside sources who are not as qualified or talented as the games developers\creative departments to work on their titles.
Old 03-02-24, 05:38 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Originally Posted by Rival11
It's doesn't help that the major AAA studios have hired outside sources who are not as qualified or talented as the games developers\creative departments to work on their titles.
I can’t see any indication of merit to the argument you’re making. Is there any evidence that consumers are rejecting such games en masse, promoting massive layoffs?

If you do, please post so in the thread in Politics.
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Old 03-02-24, 05:46 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

The post made no sense to me whatsoever (in regards to what you were talking about- hadn't heard anything like that prior)... didn't even know it was political bs.

Last edited by Music; 03-02-24 at 06:07 PM.
Old 03-02-24, 06:42 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Yes, it relates as eventually reputation and word of mouth will lead to less sales and possibly even more layoffs (thats the quick summary of it).

Wasn't a political reply at all.
Old 03-02-24, 06:48 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Originally Posted by Music
The post made no sense to me whatsoever (in regards to what you were talking about- hadn't heard anything like that prior)... didn't even know it was political bs.
So you admit that you don't what is but if you took the time to read up on it even just a little, you would see it has nothing to do with politics.

Also, I'll stop talking about it in this thread as well.
Old 03-02-24, 07:02 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

It's not that the quality of games has gone down or that people aren't buying games anymore neither of these are true. The problem is the cost of making games has gone up astronomically and they have to sell unrealistic numbers to even break even.
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Old 03-03-24, 08:44 AM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Originally Posted by The Questyen
It's not that the quality of games has gone down or that people aren't buying games anymore...
Surely, since so many games require ongoing subscriptions and additional bonus purchases to unlock new content, basic economics would suggest that people are buying fewer games each, as the relative cost-per-game has risen..?
Old 03-03-24, 09:53 AM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Originally Posted by ntnon
Surely, since so many games require ongoing subscriptions and additional bonus purchases to unlock new content, basic economics would suggest that people are buying fewer games each, as the relative cost-per-game has risen..?
I wouldn't say "so many games require ongoing subscriptions" maybe like 2% of the games coming out do. If it was some sort of mass change where a ton of games are switching to that model I could see it but it's still very rare that it is the case. And then when they do the overwhelming majority of them fail. It's like when people say single player games are going away but I only play single player games and there are more single player games being released currently then anytime in the industry.
Old 03-03-24, 03:38 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

He may also mean Live Service Games. I'm only doing one so far (Disney Speedstorm) and I swore to never do one again because I prefer to be able to stop gaming for a month and not have missed anything, so I'm going to do that one to the end but no more. Dreamlight has stuff like that but like 4-5 times a year and they give you plenty of time.
Old 03-03-24, 05:14 PM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Originally Posted by GatorDeb
He may also mean Live Service Games.
Yeah. I've been following industry analyst Mat Piscatella for a while, and that's something he talks about quite a bit -- that "black hole games" like Fortnite, Roblox, GTA Online, Minecraft, etc. draw in so many people for so many hours for literally years that it's not just "choose my game over this other title that's coming out around the same time!" but prying players away from a longtime obsession (that's either free-to-play or a one-time purchase from probably years earlier).

A few recent discussions that might be of interest to you folks:









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Old 03-04-24, 08:35 AM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

But sales/revenue are up, so people are still buying games, or does that include all the $$$ from live service games and it skews it a lot?
Old 03-04-24, 08:56 AM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

I feel like the type of people who are playing one game only (Fortnite, Minecraft, etc) were not the type who were buying lots of different games in the first place. They are either kids or the type of person that just buys the newest COD or Madden each year and just plays that.
Old 03-04-24, 09:14 AM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Devs have been offering battle passes in most redundant games -- it keeps things fresh and generates tons of revenue. The time sink is real.
Old 03-04-24, 09:58 AM
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Re: The increasingly tricky business of video games

Originally Posted by The Questyen
I feel like the type of people who are playing one game only (Fortnite, Minecraft, etc) were not the type who were buying lots of different games in the first place. They are either kids or the type of person that just buys the newest COD or Madden each year and just plays that.
I mean that's part of the problem though, if the next generation of console buyers isn't growing and you get even a few old timers hit by the mobile or fortnite bug...

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