If AAA can't grow its audience, it will become irrelevant - and trying to wring more money from players is part of the problem.
The problem is so many games are essentially the same experience wrapped in a different skin. The funny things is games that are different sell well. Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid, Bioshock, LBP or even The Last Of Us are good examples off the top of my head. Publishers need to understand that you can still make a profit w/o being just another Call Of Duty.
There's more to it than that. The cost of creating and distributing games is now matched (or in some cases dwarfed) by advertising budgets. Sure games cost a lot to make but when you have to sell twice as many (or more) due to other factors it really does beggar belief. Part of it stems from the fact that failing to meet X sales on release day, week, etc generates negative press. Another part is that sequels have become far more likely than new IPs as the risk is perceived to be lower (though sequels also generate less creative growth usually). They're (sequels) then pumped out ad nauseum until there's an extreme adverse reaction by consumers. I could go on but I'll cut it short there. Needless to say that there are many factors that impact profitability.
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