The business of gaming: nickels, dimes, and quarters

By Julio Franco
Mar 6, 2013
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  1. cmbjive

    cmbjive TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 456   +78

    I was expecting to read a rant by CliffyB on the evils of making money. Turns out instead he gave a full-throated defense of capitalism, free markets and EA. CliffyB is officially my friend.

    We need more of him and less of David Jaffe.
  2. cmbjive

    cmbjive TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 456   +78

    Tomato, tomahto. I remember spending $15 on Strider and well over $100 on PvP in Street Fighter II. I believe Capcom was the master of arcade and money parting of teenage boys.
  3. wcbert

    wcbert Newcomer, in training Posts: 71

    When I go to a movie I expect there is a ending and not have to pay extra to see it.

    If I read a book, I not expecting to paid extra to read all the chapters.

    If I am listening to a song, I not expecting to pay extra to listen to the entire song.

    If the movies, books, songs did, make you pay extra then I would expect to be told that before I spend any money. I want to be informed they are 'limiting'!

    When you buy a game, I should be told upfront some of the content is not in the price and I will be paying extra.

    "And that brings me full circle to my main point. If you don?t like the games, or the sales techniques, don?t spend your money on them."

    Agreed!
    avoidz likes this.
  4. ghasmanjr

    ghasmanjr TechSpot Booster Posts: 363   +86

    That's why it's an analogy. It's not perfect, but it gives an association for people to reference. Just because the results aren't immediate doesn't mean that it's not counted in the end. When the next Call of Duty comes out (which it inevitably will.....), Activision may begin to rethink things if the sales for it are half of what Black Ops 2 was. The initial sales are actually immediate because you always read about the opening week/weekend for games and movies. The sales figures are usually referenced for the first week of availability as well as how the game did over its lifetime. I hope to God that the next CoD flops the first week.
  5. schinbone

    schinbone Newcomer, in training

    I think the perception that EA is evil comes from a decade and a half of putting out middling or down right unfinished/crappy games. At a premium. I purchased Nascar Sim racing from them when they bought the Nascar rights. Problem was the game was buggy beyond belief. Playable in single player if you had the patients to put up with the problems. I tried, hell alot of people tried. They set up leagues, paid for the servers ect. Only to find out the online was broken beyond repair. One patch and no fixes later everyone gave up. They put out a game, didnt like the sales figures and cut bait. Personally I only have one EA game on my system BF3. It is better than it was but it is still a glitchy, buggy, hack-a-thon that I rarely play.

    Conversely, I have almost every game Valve has made. While some bugs, glitches, hacking exist, Valve at least makes them near perfect in short order. They try, they care, they listen, they encourage modding. This is why people support/defend Valve. EA in my experience has none of these qualities.
    This sounds like a Valve love song but you know what, not once have I had a bad experience with Valve or Steam.

    I would love to see EA get their act together, because Im sure EA has plenty of great people that care. The folks running EA just dont listen to them.
    ,
  6. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +607

    I'm not going to bother joining in the discussion, but I'd like to say... Cliff's been at the company 20 years? He looks pretty good for a 35-40+ year old haha.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,769   +1,428

    St1ckM4n, congrats on 1000 posts

    This thread has been slightly confusing to me as I'm not used to anyone else being named Cliff.
  8. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +607

    Ha, thanks! :D I didn't even notice I was getting close!
  9. treetops

    treetops TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 1,652   +51

    The arcades were pretty hard or I was pretty broke I don't think I have ever beat a arcade game, however the topic is on console\pc games idk why the article even brought up arcades. Arcade games still exist and eat up your quarters. The first SNES game I had was Street Fighter 2. It came along with super mario. If I remember right it was around 50$. If you think about inflation games should be much more or we were being charged way to much even back then.

    I haven't been to a newer arcade in over ten years. You would think they would rock socks given consoles 1080p limitations.

    So many comments maybe ill read the rest later :)
  10. I never buy any DLC for any game whatsoever (except full blown expansion packs but 1 dollar for a skin? 10 dollars for a wow pet? never )

    You yourself got me used to expect extra content for my games for free Cliff, I was an avid Unreal Tournament player in the early 2000, and one of the best things about it was how you kept releasing map packs for free, inoxx map pack, bonus map pack 1,2,3
    they were awesome, everyone had them, they were integrated into tournaments and as a result UT grew into a E-sport

    Now they release one call of duty a year, with DLC map packs, the community is splitted, some people have the maps, some not, and who cares about taking years to become a pro if the whole game gets scrapped soon cause Call of Duty whatever crap is coming

    Same thing happened with Warcraft III, Blizz used to release new maps frequently and add them to the rotation, I ve been used to get extra free content for my pc games ALL THE TIME, now everything seem to be about delivering as little as possible to be called a full-game, then release everythingi remember a controversy when epic wanted to make a map pack for gears of war in X360 for free and microsoft stopped them, telling them they had to charge money for it

    nowadays all I play is starcraft 2, if blizzard starts charging me 2 dollars for extra maps every month and then I cant play because I dont have the maps that the rest of the community does, and because of that the community gets spplitted, diminishes and then dies, then I will lose interest and abandon the game

    If developers want to release games with the minimum of stuff in order to make me buy the rest with DLC so I spend $80-100 per game ....then I say.... BRING FORTH THE SECOND GREAT VIDEOGAME CRASH....
    avoidz likes this.
  11. ddg4005

    ddg4005 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 219   +22

    I think a major publisher will have to go bankrupt or get purchased by a rival before any them understand this simple rule: when the customer buys something it's theirs. Microtransactions and "software as service" is greed disguised as good business. I typically buy games new if these models failed and we all went back to the way it was these companies would still make money.

    The problem isn't making money it's that industry wants to make its nut coming and going. I don't hate EA's Origin or Valve's Steam services, I just dislike not being able install and run a game without these damn clients. I don't see either of these services as a step forward and I think there are many who share my feelings on this. And truth be told, many of these games are total @&* which is why sales have slumped. As someone else has said let the second video game crash happen; it sounds like it's needed to restore order.
    avoidz and cliffordcooley like this.
     
  12. Bannhammer

    Bannhammer Newcomer, in training

    You've got to look at the quality of games and really compare the two, valve to ea. I bought BF:Bad Company 2 and remember playing the beta thinking wow, this sure is glitchy. There was a glitch where if you scoped in with a sniper it would zoom out and give you the normal view non magnified. I complained on the forums and I sent emails and did plenty of searching (many MANY people had this issue) and despite all this that glitch is STILL in the game. Now if you think they just moved on to other projects and decided not to focus any attention on the game YOU WOULD BE WRONG. Months after reviving thousands of complaints about this bug (and many others) BF:BC2 got a nice little uniform/re-colored gun DLC and a vietnam patch. If that doesn't demonstrate where ea/dice's head is and a clear understanding of how the quality of their games is suffering and they're just in it for the money I don't know what is.

    That sniper glitch is STILL in game by the way.
  13. /facepalm @ author

    Not only do you miss WHY ppl are po'd.. but you also consistently miss the fubar disaster of games EA continues to push.. that are no better than typical M$'s "betas"

    The old EA that was good yrs ago is dead and gone... let it DIE same as disco.
    avoidz likes this.
  14. davislane1

    davislane1 TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,191   +445

    What I'm referencing is the proclivity of vocal gamers to fail to see the forest for the trees; the egocentrism of the current generation. If you read over any web forum or comment section dealing with devs, publishers, DLC, etc., you'll find no shortage of users who jump on the anti-corporate bandwagon and cry rivers of hate towards EA et al. for being "greedy" and "trying to line their pockets" with paid DLC, exclusive content, and other paid content/services.

    They're upset because they have to pay for things that, in any other software industry, you'd have to pay a huge premium for (Photoshop, anyone? How about 3D Studio Max or Pro Tools?). However, instead of being critical of the situation, they rant on about corporate greed and how they're getting the shaft while the big firms are raking in money. All the while alluding to two important points: (1) games are luxury goods and (2) demands for more complexity in games exacerbates Murphy's law.

    Point (1) should be self-evident, so I won't go into detail. (2), however, seems to be somewhat of a conundrum for a lot of the outspoken. They want more content, better looking content, and they want more complexity in the way the game interacts with them. This drives up costs AND it opens the door for more bugs in the final product. Yet, they want low price points, near-perfect performance on day 1, and they want "day 1" to be exact and absolute. When they don't get it, when a dev pushes a release date back 6 months, or they stick a price tag on it, there is massive flood of noise about how X company is ripping everyone off for the sake of greed. Instead of considering the business reasons that might be behind this, they just toss it up to an evil corporate culture out to raid their bank accounts. It's unproductive and, in a lot of cases, ignorant (a favorite number to reference in related writing & comments is sales revenue, absent important figures such as net income after tax and cash flows).

    Now, does this mean the devs and big corps aren't at fault for their poor performance? No. In recent years most big names have been putting out junk, as far as I'm concerned. Having purchased Diablo III on launch, I can tell you that some of the decisions corporate makes with regard to their products are absolutely insane from a consumer perspective. Online MP in Spec Ops: The Line is also a good example of half-baked ideas from corporate. But most of these things are a response to the broad market, something that completely escapes most related discussion. Paid DLC, micro-transactions and other sales mechanisms are there because they work and standard unit sales alone don't cut it anymore. If you don't agree with the practice, you don't spend your money. Companies that get the formula right (Activision/Blizzard) will do well, companies that get the formula wrong won't (Electronic Arts).

    Recognizing this requires a big picture (macro) view of the situation. The most vocal gamers tend to be more "micro," considering only themselves in the equation, ignoring other important factors in the process. Hence, they're too daft to understand Cliff's point. To them, his entire article will be viewed as an exercise in corporate apologetics.
    erickmendes likes this.
  15. avoidz

    avoidz TechSpot Maniac Posts: 454   +54

    Screw that guy. So essentially gamers should just grab their ankles and accept there being no used game market (you can't give away or re-sell old games you no longer play), and also allow game companies to continue to fleece players with DLC (if you can afford it; they don't care if you can't) pay-to-play. The old Nintendo days were nothing like that.
  16. treetops

    treetops TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 1,652   +51

    They exist so you cannot resell your game on Ebay. Your cd keys are tied to one account. That is why I hate them.

    The best gaming companies like blizzard release map editors, so users can make their own content and what do you know they are the best pc corp out there. Sure they have extra stuff you can buy but NONE of it helps you win. They come out with expansions they have NEVER charged for a few maps. Hell they even had a few community map making contests adding the best ones to their official maps.

    The old beloved duke nukem 3d had a map editor, it gave the game ultimate replay value. Yes they are greedy for not making map editors. Map editors would not let them release a new cod every 6 months. User generated content makes great games amazing. They did the math and must have found out they would make more money releasing a average to great game every 6 months to a year rather then making a truly epic game with user generated content that would set record sales like blizzard did and does. However blizzard takes years to release their games.
  17. Bannhammer

    Bannhammer Newcomer, in training

    Oh man, as soon as this is written we get the simcity disaster. please recant and apologize for writing this article, day 1 dlc, day ??? playability.
  18. avoidz

    avoidz TechSpot Maniac Posts: 454   +54

    What say you now, Cliff Bleszinski?
  19. i3rucei3ruce

    i3rucei3ruce Newcomer, in training

    I can go to my local theater and see a movie for $4.25 the week it comes out. A new game is $60.00 PLUS tax.

    What's this about games being more worth it? Consider single player games are often finished in under 8 hours. Consider multiplayer services often cost extra money to utilize. Consider that multiplayer games are almost rendered obsolete within a few months as you only own half the game after a dozen DLC releases have passed you by.

    All this being said, I certainly agree that we vote with our dollars. Though I love Blizzard and have played every single game they've ever released within the Diablo, SC and WC franchises besides WC1, I decided against purchasing D3 and it was a great decision.

    And the good old days were pre-Halo 2. Not 30 years ago. The late 90s to mid 00's were the good old days. Before DLC caught on. Before games were $60 plus tax, before collector's editions were $70 to $170+.

    What changed? I never see any acknowledgement of that time frame. PC games were releasing expansion packs at a largely reduced price, often right between sequel releases. Why is that impossible these days? I guess it's just too difficult or something.

    If the answer is simply that nobody has the skill to do it as they used to, that modern technology is too complicated for that type of release schedule, HOW COME no one ever comes out and says that?

    What is the REAL REASON?
    St1ckM4n likes this.


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