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Making money on games?


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#1 Idono87   Members   -  Reputation: 101

Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:34 PM

I've dont really know how to start this post i'm about to write but here it goes.
The past couple of years (3 years) i've been studying to become a computer engineer where i'm going to continue into game development after i'm finished. During these 3 years i've also been an avid gamer when i don't study school material and programming during free time. For these 3 years i've also had time to compare while also analyse games more closely for the sake of finding what's good in games and what's bad, both in my own preference of game types/styles and friends types/styles. I've been playing games for well over 18 years and have enjoyed moste of the games i've bought.

Lately i've found i've been regreting alot of my AAA games purchase with verry strong feelings. I'm not really qualified to pinpoint the exact reason for why, but if i've had to pick something i would say that moste AAA games from a specific set of companys are more interested in the overall shorte term profits instead of the game it self. I'm fully aware that gamedevelopers need funding for their game but is there a limit to how far a company can compromise for the sake of making a overwhelming profit? I've noticed a steady decrease of gamequality, both in stability/bugfree gameplay and content, for 2 major players in the game industri the last 5 years. (I'm not going to mention them) This has started to lead me to a verry pesimistic view of some of the more known developers. It's basicly made me rethink if i want to work for a gamestudio that has no integrity and just spits out sequel after sequel with the sole intention of making more money for lesser quality game.

Where should the line actually be drawn?
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#2 Markus Hanka   Members   -  Reputation: 104

Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:42 PM

Developing games might be considered by a lot of people as a dream job but it is none the less a job. Everyone wants to have a secure income. It is a big risk to do something completly new and innovative. A risk most people don't wan't to take when having to provide for a family. As long as there are enough people buying sequels, these games will be made. Don't blame the publishers and even less the game studios. This has nothing to do with a lack of integrity. You are still going to college living a relativly carefree live (though you might not know it). Easy to occupy the moral high ground. If you have a lot of money you can try do go indie right from the start. Though I don't recommend it because there is a lot to learn at those "profit oriented" gamestudios.
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#3 Idono87   Members   -  Reputation: 101

Posted 19 February 2012 - 11:36 AM

I understand that people dont like to take risks to make games and therefor make sequels, i dont really mind sequels.

I should have emphasized more on the quality of those sequels. The last couple of years there's been decreas in developing times with a substantial decrease in game quality and content. That concerns me alot. There's been several games that are beyond having an acceptable ammount of bugs and should in reality still be in development. Just for the sake of an example i will mention Call of Duty BlackOps. That game had some really intense performance issues on the PC that made the game unplayable for several months. These issues ranged from lowend to highend computers. As well as having network problems on the PS3.

My point was actually to debate on how much quality and content a gamestudio can sacrefice to make the moste money? And is it really ok to do that?
Idono! That's me!

#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9864

Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:33 PM

That's a debate all of us have to come to grips with inside ourselves often, as long as we work in this industry. We all (once having worked in it long enough) have both products to be proud of, and products to regret.
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#5 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6108

Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:36 PM

I understand that people dont like to take risks to make games and therefor make sequels, i dont really mind sequels.

I should have emphasized more on the quality of those sequels. The last couple of years there's been decreas in developing times with a substantial decrease in game quality and content. That concerns me alot. There's been several games that are beyond having an acceptable ammount of bugs and should in reality still be in development. Just for the sake of an example i will mention Call of Duty BlackOps. That game had some really intense performance issues on the PC that made the game unplayable for several months. These issues ranged from lowend to highend computers. As well as having network problems on the PS3.

My point was actually to debate on how much quality and content a gamestudio can sacrefice to make the moste money? And is it really ok to do that?


Given the increase in architectural complexity we've seen in the last few years combined with an overall increase in AAA development costs it is understandable, AAA games have gotten significantly more expensive to make and the expected revenue per game hasn't kept up, Sequels are a great way to cut costs as they allow for extensive reuse of existing code and other assets and also tend to be reasonably easy to sell if the previous games in the series were good enough.

One also has to consider that multiplatform games often aim for a single releasedate for all platforms, bugs that only affect secondary platforms (For CoD the PC is a secondary platform) won't make a publisher push the releasedate back, especially not if a competing game is due for release around the same time. (In the case of CoD you had BF3 being released just a few weeks before it, pushing back the release date at that time could have had a negative impact on sales (If you are releasing a similar game as your competitors you want to be first if possible or at the very least get your release close enough to theirs for your less wealthy customers to wait for your game before picking one to spend their money on)
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#6 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:52 PM

That's a debate all of us have to come to grips with inside ourselves often, as long as we work in this industry. We all (once having worked in it long enough) have both products to be proud of, and products to regret.

Though games I've worked on might not be games I'd play myself, if I view them through the lens of personal development I find it's much easier not to regret them. I think that's an important mindset to stay in; it makes it much easier to keep moving forward.

#7 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7265

Posted 19 February 2012 - 01:40 PM

i will mention Call of Duty BlackOps. That game had some really intense performance issues on the PC that made the game unplayable for several months. These issues ranged from lowend to highend computers. As well as having network problems on the PS3.


The problem is for all the QA in the world you don't always see the problems people get out in the wild.

In the case of the PC the best you can do is test the game works on what you've got and hope your QA team do a wide sweep. With the number of hardware + driver combinations out in the wild you can't catch everything. In fact the last game I worked on was released on the PC with a known issue that NV SLI performance was no better/slightly worse than single card performance in the mode the driver selected to run the game in. (Rage was a recent game to apprently suffer the same problem where internal development machines/drivers were fine but upon hitting the real world... well, 'PC user shitstorm' springs to mind.)

I believe we might have had PS3 network issues on release as well for a game which had been working flawlessly during our tests.

One of the more intresting bugs to surface was an animation bug which was never seen once during development. Apprently it was the same bug seen in a previous version of the game which caused people to complain about the animation system having not been fixed despite the fact it had been rewritten from the ground up for the new game :o

#8 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2097

Posted 19 February 2012 - 02:02 PM

I've dont really know how to start this post i'm about to write but here it goes.
The past couple of years (3 years) i've been studying to become a computer engineer where i'm going to continue into game development after i'm finished. During these 3 years i've also been an avid gamer when i don't study school material and programming during free time. For these 3 years i've also had time to compare while also analyse games more closely for the sake of finding what's good in games and what's bad, both in my own preference of game types/styles and friends types/styles. I've been playing games for well over 18 years and have enjoyed moste of the games i've bought.

Lately i've found i've been regreting alot of my AAA games purchase with verry strong feelings. I'm not really qualified to pinpoint the exact reason for why, but if i've had to pick something i would say that moste AAA games from a specific set of companys are more interested in the overall shorte term profits instead of the game it self. I'm fully aware that gamedevelopers need funding for their game but is there a limit to how far a company can compromise for the sake of making a overwhelming profit? I've noticed a steady decrease of gamequality, both in stability/bugfree gameplay and content, for 2 major players in the game industri the last 5 years. (I'm not going to mention them) This has started to lead me to a verry pesimistic view of some of the more known developers. It's basicly made me rethink if i want to work for a gamestudio that has no integrity and just spits out sequel after sequel with the sole intention of making more money for lesser quality game.

Where should the line actually be drawn?


There are always the lemon-squeezed products in most industries. Take a look at the movie industry, I'm sure you can find a couple of them. As long as corporations can squeeze in a few more million bucks using an existing franchise, they'll do so. It pleases the shareholders, it pleases the ELT, and everybody got to rave and complain about it for a few months.

Rarely people care about making quality products, because it's tough, time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. We don't have to go far up to the executives. If you ever work in a game company (an indie studio or a big co), you can start noticing this among your coworkers, and even yourself. Some of you won't give a shit that a bug happens here and there. Is there a workaround? Yes, then ship the product anyway. Because you know why, fixing it means delaying the product launch for another week, and there will be possible regression (new bugs introduced). Everybody got to be stressful for another week or so, and it costs the company more money. This cycle then repeats itself until all bugs are fixed, and by that time the time and cost has probably doubled.

Good idea? Probably not.

#9 stupid_programmer   Members   -  Reputation: 1115

Posted 19 February 2012 - 03:28 PM

The problem is for all the QA in the world you don't always see the problems people get out in the wild.


I can certainly confirm this. We've had features that seem to work perfectly in development and testing only to break when going out in the wild. There is no way to account for every configuration out there.

Professional game development is about money pure and simple. Spending 10 million dollars on an original idea that ends up flopping would shut a studio down. It makes sense to rehash sellable game ideas that worked in the past if you want to continue to have a job. Not saying that I agree with this but I'd rather have money for my toys working on the super duper deluxe version then not have a job at all. Sadly, if you want innovation then you need to stick with the indies. Unfortunately for the most part with that route unless you have an existing job or pull a Minecraft you won't be able to making a living doing that.

#10 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6108

Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:44 PM

Sadly, if you want innovation then you need to stick with the indies. Unfortunately for the most part with that route unless you have an existing job or pull a Minecraft you won't be able to making a living doing that.


You don't exactly have to pull a minecraft to make a living as an indie though, (If you make something as successful as minecraft you can retire if you want), But it is true that if you want to innovate then you will most likely struggle, most innovative games fail and making something new each time will be hard on an indie budget, the safest bet as an indie is to push out casual or niche games at a high pace reusing as much work as possible between releases and take advantage of things like holidays to push reskinned christmas/easter/halloween/valentine/whatever versions of any game that is even moderatly successful, Which basically is the same strategy as AAA studios are using only on a smaller scale and with more obvious milking.
I don't suffer from insanity, I'm enjoying every minute of it.
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

#11 Idono87   Members   -  Reputation: 101

Posted 19 February 2012 - 06:31 PM

These were alot better answers than i hoped for.

I get that there's allways going to be bugs in games no matter what. But there are gamestudios that are aware of nasty crashbugs and performance bugs but decide not to do anything about them except with a patch further up the road. I read an article from a former QA tester that explained in detail how several large gamecompanys are aware of hundreds even thousands of bugs in games but ignore them because they want to get the game out the door as fast as possible. This is as i said apparent in many of todays games where some developers patch up those bugs fairly quickly and while others just dont seem to care once they've pocketed.

Over the course of 10 years i've noticed that there's been a huge change in how people perceive games. I almost always see older generation gamers expecting some gamestudios to release a buggy and close to unplayable game for the PC. Usually they decide to wait up to 6 months beefor buying the game since it gets semi stable by that time. The opposit happens with the young generation. They rush into buying the game and we get the shit storms on forums complaining about the game because it keeps crashing, being unstable etc. and they stop playing the game and possibly not even going to buy a game from the specific gamestudio for some time.
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