Submitted by HanCilliers 236d ago | opinion piece

Are games costing consumers less but developers more?

MWEB GameZone writes: "According to XSOLLA, the rise of mobile gaming, the free-to-play (F2P) market, Steam sales and ease of game development have all impacted the video game industry in a negative way. AAA developers seem to bear the brunt of the changes in the industry and this could lead to more studios closing down." (Industry)

Sillicur  +   236d ago
I always just see "steam sale" and buy, but never thought about how it all affects the developers.

Great for us consumers but i would hate to see some of my favorite studios close.
liquidhalos  +   235d ago
I dunno but mweb is charging customers more while giving them the slowest speeds in Africa. Nice one mweb. Disgusting site.
3-4-5  +   235d ago
It's not just cost. Games are of less quality than 10-15 years ago and that is fact.

Not all games, but the overall majority....collectively.
Scatpants  +   235d ago
Not fact. Rose colored glasses maybe.
lord zaid  +   236d ago
If budgets are increasing, then devs need to think about why that is the case. This is not an issue for consumers to worry about.
HanCilliers  +   236d ago
I think it's way more complicated than just budgets. Those points raised are all very valid concerns. The industry has changed and devs need new strategies
castillo  +   236d ago
Could it be that they try to hard to satisfy the entitled gamer or fickle gamer who makes outrageous demands of developer & their game all for a $ 60.00 price. who also complains about DLC and thinks eveything should be in game even if content was created after release. M2C
Menkyo  +   236d ago
Content recreated after release isn't the issue, its DLC that is blatantly ripped out of the game then offered as dlc on say DAY ONE that most gamers have a problem with. Examples from ashes in ME3 blatantly ripped from the game and offered as DLC, some games have even had the "real" ending held back and offered as DLC, capcom anyone?
HanCilliers  +   236d ago
Now that is very well said.
Scatpants  +   235d ago
DLC isn't "ripped out of the game" it is decided from day one of game developement that there will be some content that is sold as DLC. It sucks, but that's how it works now.
Darkstares  +   235d ago
Most things inflate over time. Didn't games cost around $50 30 years ago? They have only gone up 20% since then. The main issue are the AAA games, they used to be made by few people but now have upwards of 100's and costs are well above the 10's of millions of dollars.

This is why we will see fewer and fewer AAA new ip's. Too much risk at stake and if they are made they are made to be big hits like Destiny. That means the rise in indie games will keep gaining ground with various price points.
WingWalker   235d ago | Spam
Jdoki  +   236d ago
The cost of games is an interesting debate...

Here's the thing I have never been able to fully get my head around...

To produce a PC game costs X

To produce a console game costs X plus License fee to manufacturer

For YEARS PC games have had higher resolution, higher quality textures, and generally require at least as much effort, if not more effort, to produce than a console game (as PC devs need to account for differing hardware set ups - such as AMD vs Nvidia).

Yet, PC games have always been cheaper than console games. If the price difference was simply the licensing fee being passed on to the consumer that's OK. But the leap from PS3/360 to PS4/XB1 has seen a significant increase in prices.

What is the real justification for the increase? Most devs are now using multi-purpose game engines that scale between platforms (some even scale from high end PC down to mobile); and in general the PS4 and XB1 are much more 'PC like' in architecture compared to the PS3 and a PC for example - so cross platform releases / ports should be quicker (and time = money).

So a dev may need more texture artists, modellers and some types of roles - but in other areas they may need less people.

The other part of the debate is how people's expectations are changing. We are going through a period of change with F2P and low entry price for mobile games - some of which are pretty high quality. But what i think is that the pricing model will start to converge between platforms.

We are already seeing more games on mobile costing upwards of £10 - £20, and I think this trend will continue. There will come a point where the F2P market will be saturated and the business model will shift again.

Also, you could also view mobile gaming as a good gateway to console / PC gaming. Just look at the sales of PS4, and even XB1 - they are higher than last gen - with a limited library of games, the hardware is still flying off the shelves.

Those people are going to want to buy games for their new consoles.

Finally - there's the risk versus reward aspect. Publishers are not stupid - Ubi, EA, and Activision do massive amounts of market research. they have a good idea of what will sell, and in what volume, and what the market currently wants. If a Publisher is green-lighting games with budgets that are not going to return on investment. And spending millions marketing bad games. That is their problem / fault.
HanCilliers  +   236d ago
I agree with you that expectations keep on shifting, as you've pointed out re F2P and mobile. I do also think that gamers are demanding more for less on the one hand and devs are pumping out DLC's to counter that. It's an unhealthy cycle.
mechlord  +   235d ago
I think part of the solution for your main question is licencing and royalties. On PC you don't have to pay anyone for the privilege of developing on a particular console (i say privilege because otherwise i don't see why people would need to pay fees)

But i think this question touches ALOT os aspects, i would like to focus on 2, which i think are mostly seen by us gamers:

1. Exorbitant advertising:
You see, all i do is to look online for release dates, gaming conferences and word of mouth to put games under my radar. If there is a game i like from a dev i tend to look for more of the same, like Transistor and Bastion). The so called AAA games spend an immense fortune doing all sorts of advertising and that in my view is money ill-spent.

2. Perception of quality:

The second best game i played last gen was Demon's Souls and that game had its graphical glitches. BUT, the game was so awesome that no one ever complained about those. We somehow came to believe that unless your game is a graphical powerhouse its not really worth our attention and label it immediately niche.

Devs have to spend an enormous amount of resources to achieve that status that we gamers demand from our AAA studios, fueling the problem.

Not that i don't like these games, but what happens is that graphical prowess is used as a marketing tool while what really makes or breaks a game is gameplay.
(*kof *kof *kof Ryse *kof *kof)
HanCilliers  +   235d ago
Couldn't have said it better! Gameplay>all else IMHO. If AAA devs perhaps spend less on hype then it wouldn't cost them so much in overall budget.
Jdoki  +   235d ago

I agree with your post.

I wonder how much the royalties / licensing costs. And why would it increase from one gen to the next (assuming that the increase of RRP is a significant result of those factors).

I recall way back when Nintendo had the 'Seal of Quality' and actually applied it to all games released. Their rules were pretty hardcore, but when you have a 90+% market share with the NES you can throw your weight around :). I know the Seal meant nothing by the time the N64 came out, and was just a gimmick... And of course Ninty got done for price fixing, which may or may not be slightly off topic.

Your second point is particularly valid. You only have to look at the number of troll articles that discuss resolution and frame rate above game play and innovation. And when devs have to come out and defend / justify their resolution / fps design decisions... Something has gone wrong.
uth11  +   235d ago
Even reusing the game engines, creating these huge open worlds demands creating tons and tons of content. Plus you need testers to test all that. It is a huge, huge effort. I believe that's what causes the AAA budgets to explode
Menkyo  +   236d ago
There have been numerous reports for the last 6 years about how developing games or making games is the cheapest its ever been. So I don't believe for one minute the current pricing model is hurting devs or publishers in anyway. I agree with what someone else said whether the games are costing more to produce isn't a consumer problem or one we should worry about all we need to worry about is the quality of the game and keeping the cost to us down.
Gh05t  +   235d ago
"Even if you release an amazing game with dozens of hours of content and think that it's worth a $50 price tag, the market may not agree with you. Many developers don't have the savings to wait for profit over a course of years due to sales."

So lets go back to business and marketing 101...

If there is no market for a $50 game...

Maybe STOP making huge development costing games that you have to charge $50 for. Maybe you cut your team down, take longer than a year to develop and release at what the MARKET can sustain. If you cant then why are you in business anymore?

I mean really all this article is saying is that large studios aren't adapting to the market and want to do things like they have always done regardless of supply and demand, new technology, easier development. You cant say with products like Unity its easier to develop and also say people are spending more to develop.

Another glazed over fact is the video game industry is a multibillion dollar industry and they make it sound like it was anywhere near that back in the early 90's. The model they are using is wrong and they are suffering from being too big to control in a volatile market.

I believe in a free market system if you cant compete you change or close down. That is what businesses do. People make it sound like people have a "Right" to have overgrown bad business models, and its the markets fault.

Businesses cater to the market, the market doesn't cater to business.

Last point if an industry has more money being spent on games but somehow its again costing developers more to develop with a larger industry and easier tools, then again your business model is wrong. Never blame the market for shifting, that happens with EVERYTHING.

Adapt and overcome.
Roccetarius  +   235d ago
Economy may differ in countries, but from what CDPR said earlier, their budget for a massive open world RPG with their touch is quite low.

That's compared to the bloated companies, such as Ubisoft using a insane amount of people to create a game. Something's gotta happen eventually, but it'll be their own fault for ill spent money.
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