The business of gaming: nickels, dimes, and quarters

By Cliff Bleszinski on March 6, 2013, 1:34 AM

Editor’s Note:
This is a guest post by Cliff Bleszinski, former game designer at Epic Games. During his 20-year tenure at Epic he was deeply involved in the development of Unreal and Gears of War game franchises.

The video game industry is just that. An industry.

Which means that it exists in a capitalistic world. You know, a free market. A place where you’re welcome to spend your money on whatever you please… or to refrain from spending that money.

Those companies that put these products out? They’re for profit businesses. They exist to produce, market, and ship great games ultimately for one purpose. First, for money, then, for acclaim.

And when those companies are publicly traded on the stock market they’re forced to answer to their shareholders. This means that they need to make a lot of money in order to increase the value of the shareholder’s stock. Every quarter.

Adjusted for inflation, your average video game is actually cheaper than it ever has been. Never mind the ratio of the hours of joy you get from a game per dollar compared to film.

To produce a high quality game it takes tens of millions of dollars, and when you add in marketing that can get up to 100+ million. In the AAA console market you need to spend a ton of cash on television ads alone, never mind other marketing stunts, launch events, swag, and the hip marketing agency that costs a boatload in your attempts to “go viral” with something. Not only is the market more crowded than ever but your average consumer has many more entertainment options than ever before in the history of humanity. (Hell, when levels are loading in our games my wife and I read Twitter and Reddit.)

Another factor to consider is the fact that many game development studios are in places like the San Francisco bay area, where the cost of living is extraordinarily high. (Even Seattle is pretty pricey these days.) Those talented artists, programmers, designers, and producers that spent their time building the game you love? They need to eat and feed their families. (Something that the hipster/boomerang kid generation seems to forget all too often.)

I’ve seen a lot of comments online about microtransactions. They’re a dirty word lately, it seems. Gamers are upset that publishers/developers are “nickel and diming them.” They’re raging at “big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal their money.”

I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m tired of EA being seen as “the bad guy.” I think it’s bullshit that EA has the “scumbag EA” memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can Do No Wrong.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of Gabe and co. and most everything they do. (Remember, I bought that custom portal turret that took over the internet a while back and I have friends over there.) However, it blows my mind that somehow gamers don’t seem to get that Valve is a business, just like any other, and when Valve charges $100 for an engagement ring in Team Fortress 2 it’s somehow “cool” yet when EA wants to sell something similar it’s seen as “evil.” Yes, guys, I hate to break it to you, as awesome as Valve is they’re also a company that seeks to make as much money as possible.

They’re just way better at their image control.

Making money and running a business is not inherently evil. It creates jobs and growth and puts food on the table. This country was built on entrepreneurship. Yes, there are obvious issues around basic business ethics (Google “Pinto Fires”) and the need for a company to give back to its community, but that’s not what this blog is about right now.

People love to beat up on Origin, but they forget that, for a good amount of time, Steam sucked. No one took it seriously for the first while. When Gabe pitched it at GDC to my former co-workers years ago they came back with eye rolls. (Who’s laughing now? All of Valve.)  It took Valve years to bang their service into the stellar shape that it is in these days. Yet somehow everyone online forgets this, and they give EA crap about trying to create their own online services. Heaven forbid they see our digital roadmap for the future and try to get on board the “games as services” movement.

I remember when the rage was pointed at Epic when we allowed users to purchase weapon skins in Gears 3. I replied to an enraged fan on Twitter that “You’re more than welcome to not buy the optional cosmetic weapon skins that will make you more visible to the enemy.” And you know what? In spite of the uproar, people still bought plenty of them. (I’ve seen the numbers.)

If you don’t like EA, don’t buy their games. If you don’t like their micro-transactions, don’t spend money on them. It’s that simple. EA has many smart people working for them (Hi, Frank, JR, and Patrick!) and they wouldn’t attempt these things if they didn’t work. Turns out, they do. I assure you there are teams of analysts studying the numbers behind consumer behavior over there that are studying how you, the gamer, spends his hard earned cash.

If you’re currently raging about this on GAF, or on the IGN forums, or on Gamespot, guess what? You’re the vocal minority. Your average guy that buys just Madden and GTA every year doesn’t know, nor does he care. He has no problem throwing a few bucks more at a game because, hey, why not?

The market as I have previously stated is in such a sense of turmoil that the old business model is either evolving, growing, or dying. No one really knows. “Free to play” aka “Free to spend 4 grand on it” is here to stay, like it or not. Everyone gets a Smurfberry! Every single developer out there is trying to solve the mystery of this new model. Every console game MUST have a steady stream of DLC because, otherwise, guess what? It becomes traded in, or it’s just rented. In the console space you need to do anything to make sure that that disc stays in the tray. I used to be offended by Gamestop’s business practices but let’s be honest… they’re the next Tower Records or Sam Goody. It’s only a matter of time.

Remember, if everyone bought their games used there would be no more games. I don’t mean to knock you if you’re cash strapped – hell, when I was a kid and I had my paper route I would have bought the hell out of used games. But understand that when faced with this issue those that fund and produce those games you love have to come up with all sorts of creative ways for the business to remain viable and yes, profitable.

Saying a game has micro-transactions is a giant generalization, really, it is an open ended comment. What can you buy? Can you buy a cosmetic hat? Or can I spend a buck to go to the top of the leaderboard? Can I buy a bigger gun? What about gambling? (It’s like saying a game is open world; that could mean GTA, Assassin’s Creed, or heck, even Borderlands.) Which one do you actually mean? Do Zynga’s practices often feel sleazy? Sure. Don’t like it? Don’t play it. Don’t like pay to win? You have the freedom to opt out and not even touch the product.

If you truly love a product, you’ll throw money at it.

No one seemed too upset at Blizzard when you could buy a pet in World of Warcraft – a game that you had to buy that was charging a monthly fee. (How dare console games have steady cycles of buyable DLC!) When I was a child and the Ultimate Nintendo Fanboy I spent every time I earned from my paper route on anything Nintendo. Nintendo Cereal. Action figures. Posters. Nintendo Power. Why? Because I loved what Nintendo meant to me and I wanted them to keep bringing me more of this magic.

People like to act like we should go back to “the good ol’ days” before micro-transactions but they forget that arcades were the original change munchers. Those games were designed to make you lose so that you had to keep spending money on them. Ask any of the old Midway vets about their design techniques. The second to last boss in Mortal Kombat 2 was harder than the last boss, because when you see the last boss that’s sometimes enough for a gamer. The Pleasure Dome didn’t really exist in the original Total Carnage. Donkey Kong was hard as hell on purpose. (“Kill screen coming up!”)

I’ve been transparent with most folks I’ve worked with in my career as to why I got into this business. First, to make amazing products – because I love the medium more than any. Second, to be visible. I enjoy the notoriety that I’ve managed to stir up. And finally, yes, to make money. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure is a nice lubricant when you can take that trip you’ve always wanted or feed your family or pay your bills on time.

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.

You vote with your dollars.

Republished with permission.




User Comments: 43

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5 people like this | misor misor said:

(There is something wrong with the picture of Cliff holding a (replica of a) gun. his trigger finger is "on"

On topic, what if I like the game but I don't like the sales technique? Shall I take my case to brother torrent?

What if the gaming companies insist on an always online method even if the mode I am in is solo/campaign? Would they refund my money even if the online play is always interrupted by "maintenance modes"?

Would I just continue my rant against deaf entities, or be a sheep and be done with my complaints?

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Great article. Unfortunately, the vocal minority is too daft to comprehend anything from such a macro perspective.

1 person liked this | Littleczr Littleczr said:

Its understood that its is a business. But there are ways to do business with out being greedy. Greed is ugly and once it becomes evident it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who is being greedy.

The truth is that companies like EA want to squeeze the last penny out of your pocket. Which is what irritates most people.

On the other hand when you have companies that are really passionate about what they do then the end result is self evident. When this happens they do not have to worry about money because people will see the value and just toss wads of cash on their face. It is a beautiful way to do business that only a few companies grasp this model. Maybe VALVE And BLIZZARD only work this way.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You vote with your dollars.
I do vote with my dollars and keep them in my pocket. You know as well as I do, that doesn't change a thing. My vote is too small to count, when there are millions of others willing to spend a small fortune. And thats not even mentioning the few that are spending huge fortunes.

1 person liked this | wastedkill said:

This article is soo bought by EA I mean who would say companies like EA and Activision aren't greedy? these 2 companies are the ONLY companies I can see on the market milking everyone for there hard earned cash.

They bring out games that look good but in reality are terrible like the CoD franchise it was good up till CoD 5 I would say now look black ops 2... worst game I have seen and it keeps getting worse yet its got a big price tag for copy&paste textures that look like they are from a PS2.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

Yeah, but that doesn't mean it can't be abused. I'm just saying that if I were a business trying to make money, I'd force everyone to buy more DLC by giving the people who download it an advantage. The other players will get frustrated with how much easier it is with the DLC and buy it. That doesn't mean the player likes that they have to buy it, it just means that they are addicted to the game (so they obviously won't just put it down) and have to buy it for the game to be any fun.

If they kept the games balanced and offered some free, new stuff occasionally for the people who aren't (or can't) buy DLC, then everything would be cool. (Btw, this is exactly why Valve is so highly regarded, because they still take care of the budget gamer)

3 people like this | treetops treetops said:

Lol old games weren't designed to make you lose, they were challenging, most new games are designed so anyone can win. buying a pet which does not effect your gameplay compared to buying say body armor on wolf team is a huge difference. I hate add on extras, I have very seldom bought them and very often skimmed over a potential game as soon as I heard of its pay to win.

2 people like this | psycros psycros said:

So how is it that game companies were just as profitable in the late 90's and early 00's without always-on DRM, micro-transactions and all the other bull$#1t? HMMM, Cliffy? And I'm supposed to be sympathetic about the fact that every studio locates itself in the most expensive cities to live in? LOL!! Games have become nothing but vending machines, and this guy thinks he's gonna get sympathy from us because he needs a third Mercedes? Oh, and nice attempted retconning of history, CB - not that anyone was fooled. Man, and to think I actually respected this guy at one time.

1 person liked this | alexandrionel said:

A lot of what the article is saying is crap and it is avoiding exactly what it is necessary.

A 60$ game I don't consider it to be "cheaper than ever has been".

It is also saying that transactions within the game are ok and they work. Well, it seems that Dead Space 4 was canceled due to poor sales of Dead Space 3.

You might say that the "vote with your wallet" strategy is working, but perhaps the game would have sold better if they would have focused more on making quality games rather than finding new methods to milk cows for cash.

And the last, thing is, like I said in the beginning, that the article doesn't mention about it is about the quality of the games.

I think it is just possible that if they would make better games with better stories and better gameplay (perhaps the console is to blame mostly) the games would sell better.

But this is just my 2cents.

@treetops and @psycros

You make good points.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I actually agree with quite a bit of this article, EA (and Origin) gets bashed more than they deserve however.

It doesn't take into account genuinely bad practices which, voting with your money, cannot solve, such as always online DRM (Ubisoft) or Day 1 DLC (EA).

As the article states, it's their Job to keep that Disk in the tray for as long as possible yet, if my internet drops I cannot play and DLC on Day one is disgraceful, I agree with DLC, in fact I really like DLC to extend a game so it stays fresh (Battlefield 3 is good evidence to this and is how DLC should be done) but not buying a game or the DLC on day one doesn't seem to make a blind bit of difference and they continue doing it anyway.

Free-to-Play doesn't bother me at all that you have to buy stuff in-game, I enjoy TF2 without buying in-game stuff and I enjoy PlanetSide 2 without buying stuff.

I'd also like to mention the quality of games coming out has also dropped slightly, games like TimeSplitters on PS2 was absolutely outstanding, in fact this kind of game is probably worth mentioning in an entire different article since it seems, games today are starting to forget we like fun, funny, quirky (and addictive), games (and gameplay) but instead, realistic, over the top graphics but missing the point we like monkey's and random plots and local multiplayer.

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

In Russia, videogame micro-transact you.

Ok bad joke aside.

He has some good points but doesn't realize that those so called "business practice" is ruining the sole purpose of what the product was intended for.

For example, there are people who aren't going to buy Dead Space 3 because of the microtransaction model. So they lose a $60 sale so they can make $2 off another guy and lost not only that potential $58, but lost the guy's interest in the series. Okay so my Fanboy math doesn't exactly work how I used in the example, but the concept of it is, if it's good, then people will buy it. But when you take something good, plaster it with something people hate, then people aren't going to buy it. People hate EA/Activision because they are more notorious for it.

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

So how is it that game companies were just as profitable in the late 90's and early 00's without always-on DRM, micro-transactions and all the other bull$#1t? HMMM, Cliffy? And I'm supposed to be sympathetic about the fact that every studio locates itself in the most expensive cities to live in? LOL!! Games have become nothing but vending machines, and this guy thinks he's gonna get sympathy from us because he needs a third Mercedes? Oh, and nice attempted retconning of history, CB - not that anyone was fooled. Man, and to think I actually respected this guy at one time.

Actually a lot of the people who make the games really don't make that much money. I have a couple friends that are in the industry and one only makes like $65k a year. Barely enough to support his family. The other one makes about $90k a year, but even then that's not "rich." They all don't have 3 Mercedes like you are implying. They work some serious hours under lots of pressure. People don't actually realize how hard it is to make video games. It's scientific, engineering, creative, business, and personality all wrapped up in one.

satyanjoy satyanjoy said:

@Cliff : This article seems to be straight from the heart - good one. Gamers tend to make a lot of noise and with current trend of Information technology its very easier to do that. So game publisher, developer need to maintain the friendly image or to be in good books with fans/gamers/customers(if that matters to them anyway).

Why EA is evil and Valve is good, if Half-Life is an EA franchise, till now we will see Half-Life 10 or 12, I hope you got the answer.

I know EA is publicly listed company but Valve is not which is how each company had decided to go about so far and that's how the result is coming or will be coming in near future.

Every industry is different and mostly differentiated by the consumer and the product. In gaming industry that's how we gamer react, purchase and enjoy. EA become to much big, corporate centric ,chaotic, they are sitting on so much of IPs, I am not sure they have enough exactly how to go about with each of them.

I buy lots of game from steam or gog.com or humblebundle not because I am going to play all of them immediately, but it was cheap or to show support for the developers or simply to collect.

Developers/publisher are for gamer not the other way, the sooner EA or other such companies understand and realize this fact the better it is for them. We gamer will be here forever while you guys may not be ( RIP THQ)

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

There are a lot of factors that have led to EA's image problems and Valve's acclaim. It's not just the issues surrounding Origin and Steam. Even up to today, you can't argue that Valve offers employees a superior quality of life to what EA can give their employees, even though they have made improvements following the efforts of the "EA widows." But that's not something I'd expect Cliffy B to value, coming from a place like Epic where crunch is considered desirable. The bottom line is that Valve can be profitable while still being respectful to employees and their fans, and EA has struggled with this issue of respect in their quest for profits.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Surprised no one brought up the fact that game are being developed for a larger than ever audience. Combined the 360, PS3 and Wii have nearly 250 million units, and for a game to be deemed successful it needs what, a couple million sales? A spit in the bucket so to speak, now take in to account that the vast majority of console owners are simpletons who will buy the same football game year over year or fps for example. Doesn't seem all that hard to make a game profitable, even without micro-transactions. But it seems people are insane enough to believe this is the future. Also worth pointing out on the Orgin front, maybe people wouldn't be so upset if maybe, just maybe, EA left their games on multiple platforms, IE let Steam users downloaded it OR use Origins. Not force people to use their service, THAT's the problem, not having a choice. As long as I can choose to not pay for DLC I'll be happy, but it's only a matter of time before that DLC starts to have mandatory updates included that without purchase limits your experience. Perhaps the problem is the profit, as soon as profit is put before customer satisfaction the end user will lose. It just seems this is the approach being used, don't believe me? Some of the best games I've played these last few years have been indie games. Why? Because they're games being made by someone who has passion in their hart, not greed.

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

You vote with your dollars.
I do vote with my dollars and keep them in my pocket. You know as well as I do, that doesn't change a thing. My vote is too small to count, when there are millions of others willing to spend a small fortune. And thats not even mentioning the few that are spending huge fortunes.

This is exactly like the presidential elections. People always say "My vote is so insignificant that it will never mean anything". Well, if I convince someone to vote and they convince someone to vote and they convince someone to vote then my vote becomes 4. Power in numbers my friend.

I don't like EA's tactics with the minitransactions, but I deal with them. In NHL 2013, I paid about $10 to get more trading cards to add decent players to my team. I work almost 80 hours per week. When I finally have time to play video games, I don't want to trudge through hours upon hours of team development before my team gets decent. I paid for Battlefield 3 premium because I enjoy the game and I think that games like this need to get the "votes" because they are so so so so so so much better than the Call of Duty yearly rehashes.

1 person liked this | ikesmasher said:

I dont think the author is able to discern the difference between a hat in TF2 and an automatic grenade launcher in some FPS.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is exactly like the presidential elections.
You are absolutely correct. There will be something worth voting for (president or game), before I will waste my time casting a vote.

PC EliTiST PC EliTiST said:

Dude, you want to make a point, and as an example, you have a truly bad one or even irrelevant... Where to start and where to end on this article. Better ignore it altogether. It's not that the majority is happy, it's the minority like you who support and spend a lot that ruin the fun for all others. Are you trying to attract RP guys from those corps?

There was a nice discussion whether corps like EA are needed in gaming industry, but simply it's already too late for that. Though, this kind of a serious discussion would way out of your league. This article is exactly like those "vocal kids" you mention about... I'd be wondering why the admins gave their permission for such a complicated nonsense to be released, but... an other time.

Guest said:

Perhaps this is going beyond the focus of this topic blog, but why is it becoming increasingly acceptable for developers to sell games "open beta" style and then jump to the next incarnation, without fixing significant bugs (as opposed to adding new features that forum members beg for)?

Why are "free to play" microtransactions games using ficticious currency units to sell add-on products?

Don't you also love how you also get more of these fictious currency units per real currency unit by spending more cash on your credit card or Paypal, encouraging users to spend more?

And who is to say how the ficticious currency unit price for an add-on product will not bounce up and down, like you will see for instance with the price of bicycles at Halfords? So you perhaps buy lots of "supersmashinggreat" units on bulk thinking you get more value for money, but then your "kill everything on the screen gun" suddenly costs more "supersmashinggreat" units!

1 person liked this | Renrew Renrew said:

The voting analogy is faulty.

If you choose not to spend your dollars, it will hardly be noticed unless there are many like you, but even then, a Corporation will take a long time to realize this and react. EA, Ubisoft, Sony, HP et al are only now feeling the effects of their customer be damned policies.

OTH--voting gives immediate results, feedback and pinpoints your location.

I. e. I voted for third party candidates in the last three elections because there was not even one qualified candidate, nominated by a major party, running for office. Quite a few people I know did not vote because they believed their candidate would not win and became part of the silent voter pool that will never be noticed. If they would have voted, who knows what would have happened, but certainly the message to our ruling elite would have been much clearer.

Tygerstrike said:

@ The author of this article.

Where in general I agree with the body of your article, I must point out to you that EA earned its bad guy rep not because of micro transactions, but for the purchasing and gutting of some of the top named dev studios at that time. EA has used every tactic in the book to make itself successful. That includes the rape and pillage of the video game world.

Ravik Ravik said:

R U a gamer, but hate choosing a digital platform? THEN GO OLD SCHOOL! Nothing beats a good bout of Punch-Out!! on an original NES...

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Well it true EA gets a lot of bad rep but for me the worst is activision with what they did to the COD team after they bouth them out.

Another thin I bash about these online games client (origin/steam) is that I find they think ppl are fools. Example BF3 in store cost 60$ in origin Strore 60$

Please explain to me how a virtual copy cost as much has a hard copy ?! you have no printing,writing,translating(the cover for french or other lang),no distribution,no sharing profit with reseller ect.... PLUS I have to use MY bandwith(witch is capped at x gb per month) to get it (and im not counting that you have to do this again if you format your pc) .... no im not a ***** please dont make me feel like one. Digital copy have some advantages but the #1 should be price. Steam does the price thing better offering lots of deals BUT on a new game release your gona pay full retail even if your only getting virtual copies.

Just my 2cent

Cheers

cmbjive said:

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.

cmbjive said:

Lol old games weren't designed to make you lose, they were challenging,

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.

1 person liked this | wcbert said:

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!

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

The voting analogy is faulty.

If you choose not to spend your dollars, it will hardly be noticed unless there are many like you, but even then, a Corporation will take a long time to realize this and react. EA, Ubisoft, Sony, HP et al are only now feeling the effects of their customer be damned policies.

OTH--voting gives immediate results, feedback and pinpoints your location.

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.

schinbone said:

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.

,

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

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.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@St1ckM4n, congrats on 1000 posts

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

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

@St1ckM4n, congrats on 1000 posts

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

Ha, thanks! I didn't even notice I was getting close!

treetops treetops said:

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.

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

1 person liked this | Guest said:

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....

2 people like this | ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

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.

Bannhammer said:

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.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

/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.

1 person liked this | davislane1 davislane1 said:

WHAT?

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.

avoidz avoidz said:

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.

treetops treetops said:

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.

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.

Bannhammer said:

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.

avoidz avoidz said:

What say you now, Cliff Bleszinski?

1 person liked this | i3rucei3ruce said:

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?

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