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Why do game companies make quick cash-in games?


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#1 ISDCaptain01   Members   -  Reputation: 1434

Posted 23 March 2013 - 05:10 PM

The recent release of The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts got me thinking on why companies do this. First of all its a miss-use a major IP. Second, quick cash ins like this just result in poor sales and giant reputation sink for the developer who made them. Why do publishers keep on insisting on this practice? Would it kill them to take more time and thought to make a better game which will result in more sales and a better reputation for the said developer? I ask those who work in the game industry: Why? Why does this occur all the time?



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#2 GeneralQuery   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1263

Posted 23 March 2013 - 05:33 PM

You kind of answered your own question with your title.



#3 ISDCaptain01   Members   -  Reputation: 1434

Posted 23 March 2013 - 05:36 PM

Im asking why do they do this? They ruin the image of the major IP and their own rep. Is it a bad thing to make a great game that is actually worth buying? This isn't the 1980s and 1990s anymore. Word of mouth goes fast on the internet and people know what is crap and what is good



#4 Nypyren   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4499

Posted 23 March 2013 - 05:46 PM

Disclaimer: I don't know a thing about the game you're talking about.

Different people have different tastes. Perhaps the company is probing the market? For example, I would never play FarmVille clones, yet the companies who make those kinds of games are somehow extremely successful. They've found some demographic that I never knew existed.

#5 BladeOfWraith   Members   -  Reputation: 245

Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:36 PM

They ruin the image of the major IP and their own rep.

EA and Nintendo kind of disprove your premise.

 

I'd really say this applies to quite a lot of games. Metroid, Resident Evil, Sonic. How long have these games mostly sucked and still they keep coming. Honestly, making bad games has zero consequences. And making great games doesn't mean anything. Ask Looking Glass and Cavedog.


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#6 Toothpix   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 810

Posted 23 March 2013 - 07:35 PM

Because it is a business. That's what businesses do. That's also the difference between those companies and a group of people sitting down during their free time and making a game.


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#7 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31056

Posted 23 March 2013 - 08:37 PM

For those wanting to know what the OP is talking about - http://m.au.ign.com/articles/2013/03/22/the-walking-dead-survival-instinct-review

I don't know how this game was made specifically, but as a guess --

This is a work-for-hire game. The developer hasn't sat around dreaming about making the best TWD game and then gone out and done it (and messed it up)... They're just doing a job like the rest of us, and in the real world there's a lot of constraints that stop us from always doing the best work we can do.
Activision has been given the license to make a TWD FPS game, they would've had to outbid other publishers to get this contract. In turn, they then approach developers asking them to put forth a pitch at their own expense (which may include concept art, a 3d art prove, details of engine tech, gameplay overviews (not a detailed design), but most importantly a time/money budget). Activision will then consider all the pitches, looking to get the best value for money, within their own time/money budget.
They can't spend $100,000,000 on every game like they (literally) do with COD. Their other games probably have to make do with between 1% and 10% of that figure. Also, their contract with AMC may have time constraints on it, which forces them to publish their game within 'x' years, etc...
They won't choose a developer who's obviously not capable of delivering a shippable product, and the developer themselves obviously doesn't want to ship a half arsed attempt at a game. Activision would've picked a pitch that seemed of decent quality and achievable budget, and terminal would've genuinely tried to make a good game.
When you're working on a contract though, you don't have the option of simply saying it's not ready yet, and developing the game for another year to really flesh it out. You stop making the agreed upon progress, and your milestone cheques stop coming, and you go bankrupt. So if you get to the end of the project and it's rough around the edges, then too bad, to get paid you gotta start selling boxes. Activision also may also want to extend the project to make it really special, but they've internally got to budget their own money, and can't just pull another $10Mil out of their arse to keep it going another year. The best business decision may end up being to just ship a mediocre product.

#8 BGB   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1554

Posted 23 March 2013 - 11:17 PM

yep.

 

game being sold = getting money;

game being made = costing money.

 

so, it is more about finding the 'sweet spot' where they get a reasonable number of sales while keeping costs under control.

even if the game isn't very good, it will still usually sell;

and, even if a game is better polished, it may not necessarily sell all that many more copies.

 

there are potentially a lot of factors here...

 

more so with the name of a relatively popular show behind it, they are likely selling more on the name of the show, rather than on the quality of the game.

the quality of the game may not necessarily help the show much, but the popularity of the show will potentially help the game sell more copies, so a lackluster game which is cheap to make may well earn a higher profits.


Edited by cr88192, 23 March 2013 - 11:17 PM.


#9 Khatharr   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3031

Posted 24 March 2013 - 01:49 AM

Products driven by marketing are usually pretty bad.

 

It's really rare to see a good game that's tied to some external IP because if you have a good game there's no reason to strap some other IP onto it in order to make sales.

 

The only exception I can think of right now is 'Magical Quest: Starring Mickey Mouse' for the SNES. That game was awesome, probably because it was made by Capcom during the MegaMan X era.


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#10 Koobazaur   Members   -  Reputation: 691

Posted 24 March 2013 - 05:51 PM

Money

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#11 cardinal   Members   -  Reputation: 898

Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:21 PM

Bad games aren't generally released in order to make money, but rather they are released in order to not lose more money.

Generally if a game is no fun, publishers are smart enough to realize that a few more months generally won't make the game any better. They need to evaluate what they have and weigh their options (of which they have 3):

1) Release the game as is. They may not hit their revenue projections due to the game not being as good as planned, but they won't be spending any more money. This options is more often than not what a publisher would go for as it is a more known quantity in that they've already spent the money they planned, but they might need to adjust their forcast on revenue. If the game is shippable this is likely the choice that will be taken. Some recent examples of this are likely Aliens: Colonial Marines and The Walking Dead.

2) Give the developer more time. This causes the company to change all their marketing plans, so not only are you spending more money to develop the game, but you need to come up with a new marketing plan, which means spending even more money. This option is generally only taken if an already high quality game has potential to greatly improve revenue given a bit more time to balance the game. Very few studios would get this option (and generally only studios that are proven winners).

3) Cancel the game. If the game is so bad the projected revenue is not worth the amount of money planned to spend on marketing, it's cheaper to put off manufacturing the discs and redirect the marketing spend to a project that is profitable than it is to release the game. In the case of licensed IPs, this option might not be legally available depending on the terms of the licensing agreement.


Publishers often get a bad rap for "forcing" developers to rush out a game, but in reality, no one is forcing the developer to sign the contract. It is their responsibility to deliver what they sign up for, and if they can't do it, then they probably shouldn't have taken the contract.

At the end of the day, the customers themselves need to be informed consumers and vote with their wallets. Publishers are just trying to maximize profit, which is what any corporation is trying to do.

#12 blueshogun96   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1050

Posted 25 March 2013 - 03:18 AM

My view (likely a worthless opinion)...

 

For every smash hit game (regardless of whether that game is good or not), there's going to be someone trying to imitate it, especially those from popular genres.  If a game about zombies sell, someone is going to try to capitalize off of people's [superficial] obsession with zombies in hope to make a few dollars.  Same goes with various other genres, but IMO, FPS game are just... argh.  Rather than creating a trend, too many devs would rather follow one that seems to work.  Now that this happens all to often, it makes games of the genre look like the same old thing over and over again.

 

I eventually gave up hope on most big professional companies and their titles, and this is just one reason why.

 

Shogun.


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#13 BladeOfWraith   Members   -  Reputation: 245

Posted 25 March 2013 - 01:54 PM

My view (likely a worthless opinion)...

Yeah, you're definitely a Space Case :/

 

How do you even know about that show, being ten years younger than me? I think I watched it when I was like ten... in the mid 90s. I haven't seen or thought about it in... probably almost as long as you've been alive(assuming that 96 is your birth year).


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#14 blueshogun96   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1050

Posted 27 March 2013 - 11:28 PM

My view (likely a worthless opinion)...

Yeah, you're definitely a Space Case :/

 

How do you even know about that show, being ten years younger than me? I think I watched it when I was like ten... in the mid 90s. I haven't seen or thought about it in... probably almost as long as you've been alive(assuming that 96 is your birth year).

 

Nope, I was born well before '96.  The number at the end of my nick has no meaning whatsoever.  I simply added it when I found out my nick was taken in some other forum 10+ years ago, so I added the 96 for distinction and have used it ever since.  And if you were born in '86, then you're not older than me. wink.png

 

Anyway, yes, I am most definitely a Space Case.  I recently rediscovered the series a few months ago and watched the entire series on Youtube except for the last episode.  But yeah, it's been exactly 15 years since it went off the air without getting a proper ending.  Oh well.  I enjoyed experiencing the cheesy story/scenes and the old fashioned but very nostalgic CGI which I am still a fan of.

 

Ah, the mid-90s.  Back when majority of TV, even the Sci-Fi channel, didn't suck... so bad.

 

Shogun.


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#15 BladeOfWraith   Members   -  Reputation: 245

Posted 28 March 2013 - 04:47 PM

I actually just watched an episode on Youtube because your avatar reminded me of it. 20 seconds in I was like "Holy crap, rainbow haired girl is Kaylee Frye from Firefly o_o". Totally did not recognize her when I watched Firefly. And then I decided to watch Firefly :)


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#16 BGB   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1554

Posted 28 March 2013 - 09:44 PM

I actually just watched an episode on Youtube because your avatar reminded me of it. 20 seconds in I was like "Holy crap, rainbow haired girl is Kaylee Frye from Firefly o_o". Totally did not recognize her when I watched Firefly. And then I decided to watch Firefly smile.png

 

and all this prompted me to look it up and note that (surprisingly) she isn't all that much older than I am.

 

don't think I have ever seen "Space Cases" though...

(did see Firefly though).

 

main show I remember from Nickelodeon was "Invader Zim"... kind of sometimes wish there was more of that show...

 

also have vague memories of lame gameshows... don't really miss those...

(then again, at this point, the Hub also plays lame gameshows, for who knows what reason...).



#17 blueshogun96   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1050

Posted 28 March 2013 - 11:21 PM

I actually just watched an episode on Youtube because your avatar reminded me of it. 20 seconds in I was like "Holy crap, rainbow haired girl is Kaylee Frye from Firefly o_o". Totally did not recognize her when I watched Firefly. And then I decided to watch Firefly smile.png

Haha, yeah!  I remember when I found this out about Jewel Staite being on Firefly and Stargate Atlantis.  I never watched Firefly, and I didn't like Stargate Atlantis either (IMO, SG1 was the only decent one since it was based off of the movie with the original cast).  When I found this out, it blew my mind.

 

oh-crap-meme-face.jpg

 

What made me think of Space Cases at the time was one of the recent moments I was playing Lugaru.  Somehow, the game successfully reminded me of the mid 90s, with it's combination of visuals and the OST, particularly the desert stage (the one where the sun is setting and the enemy rabbits weren't aware).  The lighting was just right, and it reminded me of the days where we'd have festives at the beach, firework shows, etc. and things usually got most interesting when the sun began to set or at night time where the artificial and torch lighting created an interesting ambient effect that Lugaru coincidentally recreated along with the background music which reminded me of the Sci-Fi (Not SyFy) channel with the little icon of Saturn in the corner of the screen and some old fashioned CGI promos/bumpers.  Back then, Catalina was the first person that would come to mind when I'd see that icon, so that's what triggered my sudden desire to rediscover Space Cases.  Hence, when choosing a new avatar for this forum, I of course out of extreme nostalgia, picked Catalina. wub.png

 

I actually just watched an episode on Youtube because your avatar reminded me of it. 20 seconds in I was like "Holy crap, rainbow haired girl is Kaylee Frye from Firefly o_o". Totally did not recognize her when I watched Firefly. And then I decided to watch Firefly smile.png

 

and all this prompted me to look it up and note that (surprisingly) she isn't all that much older than I am.

 

don't think I have ever seen "Space Cases" though...

(did see Firefly though).

 

main show I remember from Nickelodeon was "Invader Zim"... kind of sometimes wish there was more of that show...

 

also have vague memories of lame gameshows... don't really miss those...

(then again, at this point, the Hub also plays lame gameshows, for who knows what reason...).

 

Hey!  I miss those old game shows.  Fun House, Guts, Legend of the Hidden Temple, Finders Keepers, Figure it Out, Double Dare, Nick Arcade, are you kidding me?  Back when gameshows used to be fun! smile.png

 

Shogun.


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#18 BGB   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1554

Posted 29 March 2013 - 12:58 AM

I actually just watched an episode on Youtube because your avatar reminded me of it. 20 seconds in I was like "Holy crap, rainbow haired girl is Kaylee Frye from Firefly o_o". Totally did not recognize her when I watched Firefly. And then I decided to watch Firefly smile.png

Haha, yeah!  I remember when I found this out about Jewel Staite being on Firefly and Stargate Atlantis.  I never watched Firefly, and I didn't like Stargate Atlantis either (IMO, SG1 was the only decent one since it was based off of the movie with the original cast).  When I found this out, it blew my mind.

 

oh-crap-meme-face.jpg

 

What made me think of Space Cases at the time was one of the recent moments I was playing Lugaru.  Somehow, the game successfully reminded me of the mid 90s, with it's combination of visuals and the OST, particularly the desert stage (the one where the sun is setting and the enemy rabbits weren't aware).  The lighting was just right, and it reminded me of the days where we'd have festives at the beach, firework shows, etc. and things usually got most interesting when the sun began to set or at night time where the artificial and torch lighting created an interesting ambient effect that Lugaru coincidentally recreated along with the background music which reminded me of the Sci-Fi (Not SyFy) channel with the little icon of Saturn in the corner of the screen and some old fashioned CGI promos/bumpers.  Back then, Catalina was the first person that would come to mind when I'd see that icon, so that's what triggered my sudden desire to rediscover Space Cases.  Hence, when choosing a new avatar for this forum, I of course out of extreme nostalgia, picked Catalina. wub.png

 

 

I felt curious, so went and watched a few episodes of Space Cases...

 

interesting at least...

 

 

granted, when I remembered it many years later, nostalgia prompted me to go and watch all of ReBoot.

 

yeah... that show was cool...

(and much better than some of the "other" shows I went and tried to rewatch out of nostalgia...).

 

 

actually, I had written some sci-fi before that partly used ReBoot as part of its thematic influence, but I later glued it along with several other short stories into a longer mass, along with other ideas borrowed from shows like Beast Wars / Beast Machines, ...

 

the setting for my game is derived from part of one of these stories.

(but, the game project doesn't recapture it, and is actually pretty lame/sad in some ways... hardly what could exactly be hoped for in a game...).

 

 

rewatching old shows in modern times does almost make me wonder if there is some way to "regenerate" some of the lost video quality, like a kind of video enhancer partly able to compensate for some of the quality loss introduced into poorly compressed low-resolution video of things people have captured off old VHS tapes. like a filter to try to make a good guess what the video "should" look like (and smart enough to be able to figure out the differences between static and actual detail, ...).

 

 

 

I actually just watched an episode on Youtube because your avatar reminded me of it. 20 seconds in I was like "Holy crap, rainbow haired girl is Kaylee Frye from Firefly o_o". Totally did not recognize her when I watched Firefly. And then I decided to watch Firefly smile.png

 

and all this prompted me to look it up and note that (surprisingly) she isn't all that much older than I am.

 

don't think I have ever seen "Space Cases" though...

(did see Firefly though).

 

main show I remember from Nickelodeon was "Invader Zim"... kind of sometimes wish there was more of that show...

 

also have vague memories of lame gameshows... don't really miss those...

(then again, at this point, the Hub also plays lame gameshows, for who knows what reason...).

 

Hey!  I miss those old game shows.  Fun House, Guts, Legend of the Hidden Temple, Finders Keepers, Figure it Out, Double Dare, Nick Arcade, are you kidding me?  Back when gameshows used to be fun! smile.png

 

Shogun.

 

fair enough...

 

I mostly just vaguely remembered quiz shows with everyone getting covered in green slime all the time.

 

and memories popping up of something involving... puppets... (or something about shrinking people into puppets...). not even really sure what exactly I am remembering in this case...



#19 blueshogun96   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1050

Posted 29 March 2013 - 02:13 AM

I remember Reboot.  That was one I really enjoyed watching!  I should watch that again sometime.  

 

Another one I recently rediscovered, because I couldn't find it on Youtube or anywhere else on the net, was Doom Runners (1997).  It was the first full length film on Nickelodeon.  I never got to see the whole thing because my mom kept interrupting and making me do house/yard work while it was on.  After that, I never saw it on TV again.

 

doomrunners.jpg

 

Oh, and that show involving puppets, that was Weinerville.  It was okay.

 

 

Shogun.


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#20 BladeOfWraith   Members   -  Reputation: 245

Posted 29 March 2013 - 10:27 AM

My favorite old Nick shows were probably Rocko's Modern Life, Alex Mack, The Adventure of Pete and Pete and All That. I can still enjoy Rocko, Alex Mack is okay, Adventures of Pete and Pete is a seriously mixed bag. Some of the episodes are clever and goofy, yet fun. Some of them are nightmarish to sit through. I honestly don't know how I ever enjoyed All That. It's terrible.

 

I was really impressed when I saw an episode of Victorious. I had heard Nick was bad now, but that's better quality than anything I ever watched back in the day. It's better than the vast majority of what I've tried watching on prime time network tv.


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