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Video Game Sales Down for the Year


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The reason why big developers are less likely to take risks is because production budgets are absolutely enormous now. Do you guys have any idea how hard it is to even create a model, texture, rig and set of animations that most people here would dump on for looking unreleastic? It's really, REALLY hard. Even for an independent studio. I'm actually starting one myself (more on that in a few months) and it just reinforces the notion that it's really very difficult to make games.

All you have to do is say "You know, I think we should stop with the big budget nonsense."

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The reason why big developers are less likely to take risks is because production budgets are absolutely enormous now. Do you guys have any idea how hard it is to even create a model, texture, rig and set of animations that most people here would dump on for looking unreleastic? It's really, REALLY hard. Even for an independent studio. I'm actually starting one myself (more on that in a few months) and it just reinforces the notion that it's really very difficult to make games.

Understandable. I don't pretend to understand all the details and expenses as well as you do. The thing is though is it doesn't necessarily have to be realistic. It just needs to be fun...

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All you have to do is say "You know, I think we should stop with the big budget nonsense."

But the majority of game buyers WANT big budget games. No one wants to play games that look like they're from the PS1 era. Reviewers tear into them. They sell poorly. It takes money to license something like Havok so you have the type of physics in Team Fortress 2. Why would we revert back to, say, the Unreal 1 engine? It doesn't make any sense. You want more game content? Bigger environments? You need an assload of environmental artists for that. Even doing one skyscraper in a sandbox game takes a lot of work.

You can't just say "we're going to stop having budgets." The games would get worse, generally speaking, across the board. First-person shooters, for example, would suffer immensely, as would sports games and RPGs (no more flashy graphics, crappier voice acting, less music, less quality assurance) etc.

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But the majority of game buyers WANT big budget games. No one wants to play games that look like they're from the PS1 era. Reviewers tear into them. They sell poorly. It takes money to license something like Havok so you have the type of physics in Team Fortress 2. Why would we revert back to, say, the Unreal 1 engine? It doesn't make any sense. You want more game content? Bigger environments? You need an assload of environmental artists for that. Even doing one skyscraper in a sandbox game takes a lot of work.

You can't just say "we're going to stop having budgets." The games would get worse, generally speaking, across the board. First-person shooters, for example, would suffer immensely, as would sports games and RPGs (no more flashy graphics, crappier voice acting, less music, less quality assurance) etc.

Right. Now don't get me wrong, I love a big budget title. There's a good lot of those I love, but it's becoming more and more of a problem (so it seems to at least me), when you're budget is pouring more and more out, and the results aren't going anywhere.

I appreciate the work that goes into any game, because I'm too lazy, and not smart enough to make a video game. I'd be lucky to even make a simple game as Super Mario on the NES, if that shows the lack of capability in my part. But it's like the industry is plowing into a potential crash, AGAIN (I'm not saying that it's going to happen anytime soon, if ever). This past year, we've had like, what? Almost 300 games coming out. That's a lot of games, and not enough time, nor the want to play that many of games.

And that brings me to game reviewers. I've consistently been trying to tell myself to quit listening to them. Too many critics have double standards in games. One game is built and intended to for you to go areas a few times again, and when another does that, it's ridiculed. But that argument is for another time and place, not here.

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I agree with you that the industry may be in trouble. I'm not sure what the solution is, aside from a larger focus on smaller, casual titles to keep the income stream up (XBLA titles sell quite well.) But still, these are just market forces are work. More demand for games = more companies releasing games.

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There is one thing I would like to say to a lot of game designers in the industry, "Please...please.. pleaseeee try your damn games before you publish them." :P Some times I boot games up and go to play them and the problems are so obvious and so frustrating I wonder if the game had ever been tested. I do feel like I may have become overly picky about the games I can stand, but at $60 a title I think it's not unreasonable that I be rediculous about what I like.

What exactly are you designing zircon? I find myself with much more respect for small time game designers, they are usualy the ones that produce games that are actually fun.

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Why hasn't some one jacked the Smash Bros fighting style and applied it somwhere else? Yet you see hundreds of 2D Fighting games being produced(Street Fighter, Doa, Blazblue, Mortal Combat, Soul Calibur, tekken, Virtua Fighter, ). Not that I am saying 2D doesn't have a place I think the gaming industry is too hung up on 3D playing fields.

THAT IS BECAUSEEEEEE Smash Brothers is more of a party game than a fighting game. It's got unbalances, uneven match-ups, all kinds of bananas. It's still played competitively, but it's a very different game when done so, and it wasn't nessacarily made with that being it's key focus. People are going to buy Smash Bros because it's Smash Bros and not because it's totally fair and balanced.

The reason people play stuff like Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, Soul Calibur, Tekkn, Virtua Fighter...IS a little because they are what they are, but those games are also made to sell to a crowd that WILL seriously compete. The longer the life of the competitive play, the longer they can extend the life of the game all together (look at stuff like StarCraft and Diablo). A lot of time goes into balancing those games so that people will KEEP playing them. And if you have a cast of 40 people, all with unique moves and combos and speeds and defenses....stuff takes forever to balance. All those games have (or started out with) relatively rosters and added on a few people with every new incarnation.

THAT SAID if they were to take a BUNCH of people from a bunch of DIFFERENT fighting games...it'd be hell to balance. And it would HAVE to be balanced because the people who would be BUYING that game would be people familiar with their individual franchises...ie people expecting balance.

Other than that I don't think any other company REALLY has the roster to do it and make money with the exceptions being maybe Capcom and SNK which is why you see stuff like Marvel vs. Capcom, King of Fighters, Capcom vs. SNK...all those games include characters from ALL KINDS of games by the company, no just fighting games (see MegaMan and Jill Valentine).

Konami and SEGA try all kinds of kart and party and tennis stuff like Nintendo does...it just doesn't work because frankly people don't care about anything like they do Nintendo.

.,...oh and because they do it half-heartedly too...but...Smash Bros is kinda half hearted too imho so....who knows.

EDIT:

Also these games are more fun than a lot of stuff being sold now a days:

http://armorgames.com/play/2893/achievement-unlocked

http://www.kongregate.com/games/Rete/dont-shit-your-pants

FUN times.

The reason why big developers are less likely to take risks is because production budgets are absolutely enormous now. Do you guys have any idea how hard it is to even create a model, texture, rig and set of animations that most people here would dump on for looking unreleastic? It's really, REALLY hard.

Yes. Yes I do.

This is my final project for visual effects. We had guidelines. "Must have fur. Must be this length. Must blah blah blah." STUDENT work, mind you. All you get for comments is "Sonic looks ugly. He shouldn't have fur. Why is he so stiff?" FORGET that Sonic doesn't move very much as Super Sonic in the games ever, or that this isn't even professional stuff that had to be completed in less than a week.

People will tear something apart unless it's absolutely PERFECT or CLEARLY no where near perfect on purpose. And neither is easy :|

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After 3 years of game college... Yeah, making games is a crazy endeavour and it's a miracle anyone gets anything done. After I graduated, I still felt like I knew nothing, despite all the modeling techniques, animation experience, rigging, texturing, lighting, level design, concept drawing, sound effect implementation, etc etc etc... It's heady stuff.

Another reason games need big budgets is because it's more manageable to have everyone do what they do best, rather than have a small group of people who, while they may have all the skills involved for four tasks, are also worked 4 times as hard to produce stuff.

World of Goo, as an example, has ALL aspects of the art (graphics, animations, etc) done by ONE guy. That's absolutely incredible, really. In fact, from the credits, 4 people made the entire game. But even then, they had a large "Special Thanks" section for stuff like the comapny who playtested it, and so on.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Check my blog. It's dedicated to my personal projects dealing in game design and the like: http://coreyhallberg.blogspot.com/

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This is my final project for visual effects. We had guidelines. "Must have fur. Must be this length. Must blah blah blah." STUDENT work, mind you. All you get for comments is "Sonic looks ugly. He shouldn't have fur. Why is he so stiff?" FORGET that Sonic doesn't move very much as Super Sonic in the games ever, or that this isn't even professional stuff that had to be completed in less than a week.

Exactly. Everyone here that complains about how budgets are too big don't understand how hard it is to make something that even most people here would scoff at.

Also, want a Smash Brothers ripoff? Play Small Arms for XBLA.

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I do have that game it does feel some what similar to smash bros but it only has like 2 attacks. I do give them credit for at least trying.

To Ramaniscence

I guess I wasn't completely clear on what smash brothers I was talking about so I can see why you would make comments on unbalance, although I don't understand what it is you are complaining about every game has to work on balance and there is never really any way to make it perfectly balanced unless you are all using the same character.

Smash brothers melee in my mind is the greatest 'Fighting'(not party) game that has ever been built. Granted you have to do a few things to take the competition to a new level. I played no Items 3 live stock and got rid of levels where characters had a super amount of advantage over all the other characters.

There was obviously some characters that were just better but I mean what game doesn't have this problem? Look at street Fighter 4 Sagat isn't even allowed to be used in alot of competitions.

Square enix easily has a roster big enough for this type of game, capcom, marvel...I could probably think of more. It's not like you need 40 characters, 15 would be pleanty and probably easier to balance.

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THAT IS BECAUSEEEEEE Smash Brothers is more of a party game than a fighting game. It's got unbalances, uneven match-ups, all kinds of bananas.

What does this even mean? It has unbalances if you want them. (i.e. levels that have random occurrences, turn on items, etc.) And why are you saying it isn't a fighting game? Couldn't agree less with you on that.

Melee was no less of a fighting game than strike III or SFIV. I'll lean slightly to your point if you're talking about Brawl and only because the designers put tripping in it. (Which is completely retarded) It's still a fighting game though.

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This. Basically this.

The people creating games need to get creative about player feed back. They just aren't asking us what we want most of the time. They're just spamming games trying to make a profit. I especially agree with the notion that no one has attempted a Smash Bros. picturesque multiplayer style fighting game. (In my opinion Square Enix could easily pull it off)

Games similar to smash bros:

Digimon: Rumble Arena

Digimon: Rumble Arena 2

Small Arms

Iron Phoenix

...

All of which (to my knowledge) have done horribly. Smash Bros isn't fun because it's a good or balanced game, it's good because people like the characters attached to it. I realize some people will flame me for that, but honestly sit and think about whether you would play smash bros if it had a generic cast.

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Games similar to smash bros:

Digimon: Rumble Arena

Digimon: Rumble Arena 2

Small Arms

Iron Phoenix

...

All of which (to my knowledge) have done horribly. Smash Bros isn't fun because it's a good or balanced game, it's good because people like the characters attached to it. I realize some people will flame me for that, but honestly sit and think about whether you would play smash bros if it had a generic cast.

I'm thinking...I'm thinking.. yeah

Full control of your character with lightning fast reflexes, I admit that Nintendo's characters help but if some one made a game with completely new completely boring characters with no storyline and the same multilayer action and control. I would play it.

The point is some one could make a game with style grace and appealing characters if they would just put some effort into it. Capcom, Marvel, and Square Enix don't lack the funds or characters to make a bad ass game like smash brothers melee

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Games similar to smash bros:

Digimon: Rumble Arena

Digimon: Rumble Arena 2

Small Arms

Iron Phoenix

...

All of which (to my knowledge) have done horribly. Smash Bros isn't fun because it's a good or balanced game, it's good because people like the characters attached to it. I realize some people will flame me for that, but honestly sit and think about whether you would play smash bros if it had a generic cast.

You're so full of it. As reign already pointed out: Impeccable character control.

To be even more honest with you; I don't really give a fuck about the Nintendo characters. Honestly I think I would enjoy the game more if it was exactly the same controls and gameplay but a more mature setting and character cast. In other words if I could play as Street Fighter characters under the same play system I would like it more. More than both SSB and the current Street Fighters.

The most competitive gameplay I've ever engaged in was Super Smash Bros. Melee. The thing that is so awesome about that game is that you can't button mash and win against someone even moderately practiced. You get rewarded for blocking attacks if your opponent is close, not punished. (see street fighter for the opposite) Finally, the combo system is very very simple and yet at the same time as complex as you are able to reflex.

Basically, bite me. You're totally wrong.

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The most competitive gameplay I've ever engaged in was Super Smash Bros. Melee. The thing that is so awesome about that game is that you can't button mash and win against someone even moderately practiced. You get rewarded for blocking attacks if your opponent is close, not punished. (see street fighter for the opposite) Finally, the combo system is very very simple and yet at the same time as complex as you are able to reflex.

Basically, bite me. You're totally wrong.

The thing that bugs me about Smash Brothers is that it has all this random shit that can happen in the game that alters the match (items, crazy arenas) yet I am told the tourney level players just cut all that off and play the most boring levels (Final Destination). It seems to me that they are basically stripping out the feature that makes the game unique compared to other fighting games.

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The thing that bugs me about Smash Brothers is that it has all this random shit that can happen in the game that alters the match (items, crazy arenas) yet I am told the tourney level players just cut all that off and play the most boring levels (Final Destination).

Bug you as it may, they do so because it makes the game balanced. It's another element of SSB that makes it awesome. If you want to get serious and compete you can. If you want to fool around; that's also an option.

It seems to me that they are basically stripping out the feature that makes the game unique compared to other fighting games.

But the catch is they get to decide to do that. It's entirely optional. If you don't like that approach to the game you don't have to play that approach to the game. Personally, I do like it.

Basically it's genius.

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But the majority of game buyers WANT big budget games. No one wants to play games that look like they're from the PS1 era. Reviewers tear into them. They sell poorly. It takes money to license something like Havok so you have the type of physics in Team Fortress 2. Why would we revert back to, say, the Unreal 1 engine? It doesn't make any sense. You want more game content? Bigger environments? You need an assload of environmental artists for that. Even doing one skyscraper in a sandbox game takes a lot of work.

You can't just say "we're going to stop having budgets." The games would get worse, generally speaking, across the board. First-person shooters, for example, would suffer immensely, as would sports games and RPGs (no more flashy graphics, crappier voice acting, less music, less quality assurance) etc.

It's funny, I realize that there is a problem, yet I still like my high budget games. One of the reasons I love Final Fantasy is the full experience of it. The production values are ridiculously high and the games are so long, you feel like you get your money's worth. I mean, I paid $70 for the limited edition of FF12 and I felt like I got a bargain for a game that gave me over 125 hours of gameplay. The games always feel incredibly polished.

I guess my biggest fear is that the current generation of consoles requires game budgets to be so large that niche games are being driven off the home market onto portables (look at Valkyria Chronicles which had its sequel announced for the PSP). The downside to this is that developers (Japanese ones in particular) gear many portable games to a younger audience, leaving those of who like niche games that appeal to adults without a "home." This is why I think a niche RPG franchise like Suikoden saw a DS release, but Suikoden fans have yet to see a full budget Suikoden VI home release. Another problem is that 2-D HD games look beautiful, but the cost of making HD sprites is prohibitively expensive, making 2-D HD games hard to find.

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It's funny, I realize that there is a problem, yet I still like my high budget games. One of the reasons I love Final Fantasy is the full experience of it. The production values are ridiculously high and the games are so long, you feel like you get your money's worth. I mean, I paid $70 for the limited edition of FF12 and I felt like I got a bargain for a game that gave me over 125 hours of gameplay. The games always feel incredibly polished.

That's always been why I enjoy RPG games the most (and Final Fantasy in particular) - you really get your money's worth. Of course, then again, as a writer and a big fan of books/good stories, I've always felt the best RPGs to be the best possible cross between a book and a movie.

As to the subject topic at hand, I'm personally surprised that video games are doing as badly. To me, they're a (relatively) cheap source of lasting, interactive source of entertainment that can give you weeks' worth of pleasure. Then again... I am a bit strange. :oops:

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Your gradient may be true to the general public, i don't know; but I can tell you that concerning myself and my brothers and immediate friends, it's not. We thoroughly examine a game before we make a purchase.

The only way we don't is if the purchase is cheaper than a rental. As far as buying games new, doesn't happen. And I think I'm speaking for a lot of people on this. New games are a risky buy unless you've played it at a friend house or etc. and you know that you want it. The industry is more like that now than ever before.

Basically I don't agree. I think people are realizing that many of the titles are just spam. Which makes sense because many of them are.

Combined with the economy, sure, a lot of people will recognize a lot of it isn't good. But...a lot of the major titles cater to such general audiences that hardcore gamers may see flaws with them, but most of the general public won't care. Also, the cost of developing games have risen quite a bit. Because of the amounts of money being dealt with, investors want to be assured they have a quality game so the risks taken have to be minimized to some degree. In addition, that means they need to hire quality programmers & artists, and in order to minimize risk, they need to hire experienced people for the most part. The big corporations have found having many companies do this to be a sweet spot for game development. There's still some innovation & experimenting being done to accommodate the quality game devs but in general these companies are forced to minimize risks due to the nature of the industry in its current incarnation.

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