Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thoughts on Free-To-Play, AAA Titles and Vacation

Hey all, I was on vacation for most of August. Spent some time with family in Moscow and New York. I apologize for not getting on but I just needed to take a break. I'm back now, though, so let's get started.

The news has been buzzing with talk about EA's future goals (of which I've detailed on my blog months ago) finally being made public and the Assassin's Creed 3 director saying he thinks AAA games are dying out. Let's start with EA.

Electronic Arts

I've outlined in many previous posts about EA and what their future goals for gaming were long before the public was aware, and I'm hoping now that the news is out that people will start listening and realize the truth.

EA is banking on 100% Digital, that we all know already, as well as the Micro-transactions, aka Free-To-Play. Sadly, I think the Micro-Transaction/F2P model IS going to take off, mainly for Two (2) reasons:

1) While a lot of Hardcore Gamers won't buy into this, the vast majority are likely to give in if the base price is cheap and it becomes streamlined to purchase the extras on top.

2) Casual Gamers, or more specifically people who play games to kill some time, are definitely going to embrace this idea because they already have on the mobile devices.

I honestly don't think there is much that can be done to curtail this trend. The one and only thing that will completely fuck over Publishers like EA and Activision is if something happens that screws up the game or if the games they release are drastically stripped down to the point where the game becomes simply boring and, to be frank, sucks.

If EA/Activision don't shoot themselves in the foot over some mess up, I think people will embrace this idea, and that is extremely grim for the future of gaming.

So the moral of the story is DO NOT SUPPORT EA/ACTIVISION or any other Publisher that wants to infringe on the rights of Gamers.

AAA Titles

You've probably also read about the AC3 Director speaking about the future of AAA titles and how he thinks they're a dying breed. I couldn't possibly agree any more with him, he is completely right. There are Two (2) reasons that will help propel the industry into decline in the coming years.

1) The big publishers are pushing for F2P, as talked about above, so they can release content on Day 1 and over time to capitalize on increased profits.

2) The cost of Current-Gen and Next-Gen games is skyrocketing.

With respect to the cost of game projects, the Next-Gen systems are not going to help in reducing the overhead costs of producing games for said systems. Even if there are already set engines in place and certain criteria met beforehand, it's going to cost much much more to develop because people are going to be expecting outlandish visuals and High-Definition content.

When I say "High Definition" I don't just mean graphically, I mean HD in the sense of immersive sound, increased feature-sets, gameplay, content and more all wrapped in a big package with a pretty bow on top. As the levels of expectations increase, the price will follow suit. As stated above, I can see Publishers pushing Devs to be more adaptable (read: forced) to their thoughts and expectations of Next-Gen content, i.e. F2P.

This all spells the demise of AAA games as the mainstream. To be honest, though, I don't see this happening in the near future. AAA games will continue to be made for at least the next few years, if not 4-5 years, because they know there is money to be made in doing them. But, what I am trying to say is that as time goes on and budgets shrink and costs go up, games will start to lack even more content than they do now as Publishers try and push towards F2P to maximize profits.

5 comments:

  1. I haven't read your article on DLC yet but I've read a few of your comments on other gaming sites and I respect your viewpoint. While we don't seem to agree on everything, and who does (except for your Rainbow Moon review!), out of curiosity do you see day 1 and on-disc DLC as a testing ground for F2P (or Free to Prey) games? I feel as if devs and pubs have seen this coming for a while and are deliberately leaving out significant chunks of console games just to see if we'll pay for them so that we can get hammered with $100-$200 worth of fees to play a full game when the industry makes this a standard in the future.

    Gamespot and IGN ID - TheAmazingYeah

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    1. First of all I'm glad that even though we don't agree of everything that you're still able and willing to have a discussion about important issues in the Gaming World; for that I applaud you.

      With regard to your question, I do believe the DLC from Day 1 & On-Disc are testing grounds. You should check out that DLC post because it has a lot of good information in it about the nature of DLC.

      Publishers/Devs are pushing for business models that involve releasing parts of a game and charging additionally for those pieces that you need just to complete the game.

      It's getting disgusting and I hope the Gaming Community can step up now that these issues are being brought to light.

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  2. Hi and Welcome Back MadModMike,

    I am glad to see you are still posting on your blog and you were only on vacation.

    Do you think that with the predicted demise of AAA gaming and the unfortunate rise of F2P gaming, there will be room for indie developers? I personally love how indie development has risen recently and find their games very imaginative and enjoyable despite their limited budgets.

    Cheers.

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    1. Thank you it's good to be back home :)

      I absolutely think that Indie Gaming is here to stay and will only improve as time goes on. I think it's a given that the Next-Gen Xbox will have a dedicated section for Indie Games and I think the PS4 and Wii U will probably join in and have expanded sections for Indie Games.

      I really feel that the Indie Game Market is still in its infancy and that it will continue to improve vastly over what it is now and I would love to see it start incorporating larger games and have a bigger footprint in the industry.

      Thank you again for the welcome back and hope you continue reading the blog so we can have more topics of discussion.

      Take care.

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  3. Are you going to touch on EULAs and privacy policies?

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