Hennig: People Ask for Story Based Games But Aren't Necessarily Buying Them, They Just Watch Them

Amy Hennig talked about the rising costs of game development as a real problem. She said that loot boxes and the focus on games as a service are the publisher's answers to this issue and matters are made worse when people ask for single player games but don't actually buy them, preferring to watch online.

Read Full Story >>
AspiringProGenji2368d ago

I’d argue that people watch more MP games being played than SP as seen in Twitch. That doesn’t mean they don’t play the games. They just watch their fav personality playing games. Honestly I don’t have the time and patience to watch playthrougts. I just play the game myself

uptownsoul2368d ago (Edited 2368d ago )

If true (which I tend to disagree)...that just makes what Sony & Bethesda, as well as other developers, so IMPRESSIVE!!!

Bringing Single-Player only/Single-Player focused games even when other developers/publishers shy away.


GaboonViper2368d ago

The day SP games die i'll quit gaming.

Zabatsu2368d ago

I can only agree GaboonViper.

Highlife2368d ago

Agree single player games are great. While not the best game this gen i had the most fun playing dying light with my wife. It felt like i was playing a single player game but with someone. We need more games like that. Want the single player experience or if i want play with someone.

Mr Marvel2367d ago

You and I both GaboonViper.

Now if you'll excuse me... I'm off to start playing Nier: Automata (after just platinuming AC Origins).

nix2367d ago

I'm a SP gamer through and through. The only time I watch others playing SP games is when I'm done with my game and I just want to see how others play and if they had the same reaction as I did. Also I would stop gaming if they stop making SP games. I'll probably buy old games or catch up on the backlog which is huge.

nveenio2367d ago

Hennig says this but helped create a series that has sold 42 million copies. :/ If anything, SHE'S part of the problem, because people expect the games to be as good as Uncharted 2.

KickSpinFilter2367d ago

I love MP but if SP died off F-this.

Rangerman12082363d ago

Don't forget about Nintendo with games like Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda Breath of the Wild.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 2363d ago
ShottyatLaw2368d ago

Agree. With that said, I don't think that the let's play comment was her biggest point, though. It's maybe a part of the issue, but I would say competition is the bigger factor. There are so many games competing for our time and money now, it's hard to bank on a AAA game succeeding in either the SP or MP space. Her point about costs and consumer expectations is well-taken:

"A lot of too-dramatic articles were written about it — the death of linear story games and all that kind of stuff — but look, there is a real problem: this line we’ve been running up to for a lot of years, which is the rising cost of development, and the desires, or the demands even, of players in terms of hours of gameplay, fidelity, production values, additional modes, all these things. Those pressures end up very real internally. If it costs you, say, $100 million or more to make a game, how are you making that money back, and making a profit?"

I don't know the solution to the problem, but the shortsighted "just make a great game" rationale of some of us isn't it. Plenty of great games fail to sell well, and few devs set out to make a poor game. There is a lot of risk involved, and when risk starts to be too high, for-profit companies will shift course.

Doing away with let's plays won't help that, and her mention of them seems misinformed.

TFJWM2368d ago

I agree with almost all of that. What great games haven't sold well thou?

cyguration2367d ago

Smaller budgets? Smaller scopes?

Why do people keep saying "player expectations" as if it's some all encompassing zeitgeist that must be sated?

Cuphead moved 2 million units in a fairly short amount of time and was made on a pretty small budget. Life Is Strange is another game that seems to sell well on a smaller budget and is a narrative-heavy game and the graphics aren't that great at all.

I think expectations are tempered if the sacrifices are made in the right ways. If you don't have the best graphics you should have great gameplay. If the gameplay is thin, put the time into graphics or voice acting. We see games that sell well with these tradeoffs all the time, from the Vanishing of Ethan Carter to A Hat In Time. Layers of Fear didn't have a lot of gameplay but the narrative and visuals are quite engrossing, allowing it to sell quite well.

Limbo and Inside weren't visually demanding games but the gameplay was intriguing and the stories were unique, so they, too, sold well.

Games don't have to be $100 million blockbusters to find an audience. Instead of forcing consumers to pay for bloated projects on games that a lot of people don't find very interesting (like Agents of Mayhem), how about instead publishers shrink budgets and focus more on a solid direction that appeals to a specific market demographic?

DaReapa2367d ago

Well said, cyguration. Shadow Tactics is another great game that comes to mind.

ShottyatLaw2367d ago

My digital libraries on pc and console are full of great indies made on the cheap. I would be lying if I said I didn't wish it was also full of AAA blockbusters with high production values and all the bells and whistles, though. I want dozens of games like UC4 to be releasing every year, not one or two a year.

These forums show us the same issues Henning talks about, though. "Indiestation" and "indiebox" are thrown out like insults. We see games like State of Decay 2 and other mid-tier games prematurely crapped on for looking like a "budget" game.

Even when we see great AAA games like Titanfall 2 or Dishonored 2 come to market, their sales are much lower than they should be (for multiple reasons).

In my mind, if you want proof that the SP AAA market is tough, look at the lack of product being released. Don't look at the few highlights, go back a generation or two and compare the output. If things were better, companies would be cashing in by releasing more of those titles. What company wouldn't tap into a successful proposition like that?

Indies help fill the gap, but Henning's right, many of our expectations are for bigger, greater, prettier games and experiences. Otherwise Ouya would have succeeded.

I have faith it'll work itself out, but it's definitely a problem.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 2367d ago
rainslacker2368d ago (Edited 2368d ago )

I don't think the industry needs to worry about how many people are watching the games on YT(or whatever). What they need to focus on is making their games more attractive to more people who actually spend money on buying the game.

It's easy to say it's not worth it because there can be hundreds of thousands of people watching the game, but it discredits the millions of people who are actually buying the game.

I think the expectations of what a game will sell, or will have to sell based on budget, needs to be reigned in and brought back to reality. When Square Enix says that selling 5 million copies of Tomb Raider was not up to their expectations, you know something is wrong at the executive level, as very few games, even MP, sell over 5 million copies.

Publishers can keep chasing after the MP dollars all they want. But if they go around over-saturating the market, then we're going to start seeing publishers complain about how the consumer doesn't want to pay for those games anymore either.

Basically, publishers need to stop trying to capture the market based on market trends and focus groups. They just need to make good games, market them properly, and try not to piss off potential customers by acting like idiots.

I think the next article that wants to parrot the "games are getting too expensive to make" needs to be required to ask the question of someone, "exactly how much is the average now, compared to last generation", and if they're savvy journalist, maybe they can ask how the increase in software sales actually affects returns, because it's already very public knowledge that software sales overall are at an all time high.

It's fine for publishers or developers to parrot that costs are increasing, but it doesn't mean jack squat if we don't have a frame of reference on how much, and from where. You want gamers to get behind you, then give them facts, not hyperbole.

Obscure_Observer2367d ago (Edited 2367d ago )


"I think the next article that wants to parrot the "games are getting too expensive to make" needs to be required to ask the question of someone, "exactly how much is the average now, compared to last generation"

No offence, but as someone who claims to work in this industry (which i do belive) you ask some pretty silly questions which you should know that you´ll never have a direct answer for. Do you think that she would really answer to that question? Putting her future projects at risk? Like: "Boy, if we want a game developed by this Henning woman we gonna have to dish out some 100 milion dolars for an average AAA game!" I know that´s is a pretty simplistic example but it´s also a pretty logical one.

"and if they're savvy journalist, maybe they can ask how the increase in software sales actually affects returns, because it's already very public knowledge that software sales overall are at an all time high."

All time high? Is that so? Though it´s is an assumption on my part, i´m positive that Gran Turismo Sport is the more expensive Gran Turismo ever created and the worst selling one and i honestly think that the same aplies to Forza 7 as well. And if that´s the case, this phenomenon is pretty much in line with what Henning is saying here.

"It's fine for publishers or developers to parrot that costs are increasing, but it doesn't mean jack squat if we don't have a frame of reference on how much, and from where. You want gamers to get behind you, then give them facts, not hyperbole."

And exacly how providing gamers these info/sfacts is gonna help them?

rainslacker2367d ago (Edited 2367d ago )

I know what the averages are. But how many people are being skeptical of me when I say that costs haven't risen substantially?

If publishers want to talk like this, then provide meaningful facts, not hyperbole.

I've been offering up numbers in a regular basis, but I don't have the advantage of having a public name to give any weight to what I say.

But I st way too many people saying nothing but hyperbole and expecting people to have faith they're telling the truth, when there is empirical evidence available to all to day that it may not be as black and white as they imply.

I don't expect direct answers, but I'd rather people start demanding that we stop being talked to like idiotic sheep, and expect more from those that report these pubs and devs because they just want to be parrots for the game industry instead of actual journalist.

Providing these numbers wont help them, but I don't care about helping them. I care about treated like I'm a valued consumer. It may help them If they are actuall telling the truth, because while people can be cheap, most do understand that they can't get things for free or at/below cost

2368d ago Replies(4)
n1kki62367d ago

In fairness not as many single player games are in the top streaming because people stream 1 playthough and then shelf it.

IGiveHugs2NakedWomen2367d ago

Amy Hennig is joining the corporate chorus and repeating the excuses companies like EA and Activision use to create ponzi schemes in video games. The good single player games are selling, the rest aren't.

mechlord2367d ago

im not sure i fully agree with this. i tend to watch the first 2-3 episodes of SP games i'm on the fence about. If i like them i buy them and if i dont...well. i dont think people generally make a habit of watching full playthrus...that would be incredibly boring

Zeref2367d ago

I love how every dev in the world are saying that Single Player games are risky even someone as talented as Amy Hennig(who basically specializes in SP story driven games). Yet there are always the arm chair devs that somehow know more than the people actually making them.

agent132367d ago

Exactly! watching a sp game play through is extremely boring we want to play sp games and search and experience their world by our self we want to enjoy all the challenges in the game we want to really feel the story and it's not possible by watching the game in youtube or twitch.
When sp games need support, amy henning and other failed developers talk against sp/story driven games

+ Show (6) more repliesLast reply 2363d ago
PhoenixUp2368d ago

Did she ignore all the successful narrative based games in recent times