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April 8, 2003 at 12:37 pm #2770
April 10, 2003 at 10:38 am #9155
Those are some interesting facts. Working in games retail illustrates daily that people know (or think they know) what they like. Consoles, yes consoles, leave the shelves thanks to titles like Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario Sunshine, Halo, Zelda, Medal of Honour etc. Most users don’t buy games on impulse – they hear how “great” they are from freinds or from mass media and buy them then.
The root cause of this probably lies somewhat in the price of a game. People don’t want to spend 60 quid unless they know they’re going to like it – therefore they stick to safe bets.
It would be interesting to find out a few other facts:
Firstly, how many games does the average console owner buy per year? This, I think, would indicate that despite growth, the market is still not big enough to support the abundance of titles.
Also, in the movie industry (some would say the closest relation to the games industry), what kind of percentage sales to the top 99 films command – thousands of films get released every year without big sales, many go straight to video.
April 10, 2003 at 2:57 pm #9157
I’ve asked Roddy, our resident film expert here in DCU, to see about comparisons with the film industry!
April 10, 2003 at 7:04 pm #9163
Its very hard to answer the question how many games do people buy. The reason for this is that there are different types
There are hard-core gamers, occasional gamers and those in-between. Depending on how much you play games, you would grade people. however someone who plays different amounts might think of themselves in a different way and those grade people in a different way. There is no definition of what a hard-core gamer and a occasional gamer is.
The main difference between the game and film industry is that 3 months after release, a film can still make profits from DVD, video, soundtracks, etc.
This is not possible with games. You’ve got to be able to hit hard and sell fast because after 3 months your game may start to feel dated.
April 11, 2003 at 6:31 pm #9168
Its also important to take into account the cost of marketing and distribution.
I worked at Atari for four years back in the early 90’s. When an arcade game had passed beta, it went through a period of field testing where we’d place a prototype (looking just as it would in production) in an arcade and the software would record statistics on game play; in addition to the amount of money it made, we could tell how long people played, how they played, how they scored, whether they continued to feed the machine etc. If a game didnt score in the top three (of the currently released games) then it was cancelled because the additional cost of production and marketing just wouldnt make it worthwhile.
Of course bear in mind this was Atari, an arcade game company in a contracting market, that was hemorraging money and about to spiral into bankrupcy, so i dont think their business plan was perfect! but it was assumed in our sector that if you didnt have a Hit then it wasnt worth releasing, and three out of four games we finished were canned.
So i’m not suprised by the numbers in the report, as the cost of development increases it’ll become harder and harder for smaller publishers to compete and we’re already seeing the major players starting to tighten their grip, they’re the only ones with enough cash to weather a few low sellers.
I’m rambling. (i’m at work right now and i should get back to it!)
April 16, 2003 at 3:09 pm #9178
Well I can help with a little bit of this:
I am a ‘hard-core’ gamer, but…
I would buy maybe 2 or 3 games a year – all of these would be impulse buys…
The reason why this is, is because of counter-strike [half-life MOD]. For me this is the best game on PC (and has been for quite a while). This is due to the fact that it is entirly multiplayer and every game is completely different. Although you can get bot programs and things like that that allow you to play it single player.
I know quite a few people who are similar and others who think the same about Quake 3:arena.
-hope that helped
April 16, 2003 at 3:49 pm #9179
You’ve made my entire point.
Buying 2 or 3 games to me is not hard-core!
I got and completed at least 7 games since October. I know there are people who would get more games than this. I wouldn’t consider myself to be hard-core. Sometimes, yes, but on the whole, seeing what other people do, I’d be about medium.
April 16, 2003 at 11:06 pm #9180
Maybe “hard-core” is the problem. The industry shouldn’t have to depend upon a small fraction of its customer numbers to absorb a large percentge of its output.
The big boys want games to become as acceptable as any other form of entertainment, with the same (or better) saturation of the public’s way of life. Unfortunately, social factors (like how long it takes to play a game) get in the way of this idea. Cost is also a factor.
The difference between “hard-core” and passive gamers is a willingness to spend huge amount of time and money on games.
Perhaps we should accept gaming for what it is – by it’s nature more absorbing and less passive than other media – and by that same nature deserving of a different place in the economy of entertainment – somewhere between Lego and Yu-Gi-Oh, but certainly not film (despite aesthetic similarities), football or chart cd’s. This would suggest that perhaps 3 in 4 games (to refer to the earlier post) just shouldn’t be started in the first place. Sobering facts indeed!
Although there are several areas within the industry which might follow different rules, like mobile games and online gaming. These are sold and used differently and that might work to their advantage.
April 19, 2003 at 3:37 pm #9183
One of the problems is that computer games are thought of as “toys” by a lot of people.
For instance, in Germany, they are sold as toys. They go in the toy section of a shop and therefore, as toys be put there if there is a censorship rating unsuitable for children on it. You have to buy on-line if you want GTA3 or something if its ilk.
May 4, 2003 at 1:06 pm #9198
ok just to post a quick reply about “hard-core” gamers….
IMO being ‘hardcore’ has nothing to do with the number of games people buy…but it is to do with the ammount of time spent playing them…
You can name, pretty much, any type of games genre and I’ll have prolly played, finished, and enjoyed at least 1 title from that genre:
RPG: Baulders Gate,Monkey Island
Strategy: AOE, CC:RA2
ASCII Graphics: NetHack
MUD: Dw MUD [and I still play this lots]
Umm I can’t think of anymore atm, but if you post em I’ll be able to name a game I liked and finished in that genre…
May 4, 2003 at 2:13 pm #9199
The classification DOES have to do with the number of games you play. If you just played games constantly and didn’t buy any, why would game developers care about you in their market research because if you don’t normally buy games, why would you buy one now??
May 5, 2003 at 2:15 pm #9202
Just to clear things up, the tittle hardcore gamer has NOTING to do with money spent on games or even how many games someone buys, it goes by how much time the person uses to play games as well as hinting at some type of experience.
Having said that I would think that most hardcore gamers buy a lot more then three games per year.
May 6, 2003 at 4:06 pm #9206
Well yeah number of games would normally be more then 3 per year but……
concidering I’m a student I can’t really afford more then that with games costing upwards of 50 euro…..
May 7, 2003 at 9:26 am #9207
But there are some people who have more money than sense, and buy a game a week, and not even care about how the game plays. Does this make them ‘hardcore’?
The only good that these sort of people do is foolishly buy these games, so that the industry keeps alive for real game fans to buy decent games,.
Surely being ‘hardcore’ means following a game from the early screenshots, getting excited by impending releases etc. as well as taking time to spend money on games.
May 7, 2003 at 8:50 pm #9208
Well I was a games journalist for over three years, and I still do not classify myself as a hardcore gamer. I used to though, before all that.
I think the difference is knowledge of games. Hardcore gamers will know every inch of a game genre, such as hardcore FPS players. These hardcore gamers per genre are the people who keep the games going, as they’ll generally support a particular genre even if quite a lot of shite titles come out, as have done recently.
There isn’t really any reason to mull about it though. Think of The Sims, it wasn’t really the hardcore gamers that got this game to ship over six million units, it was the casual gamers who liked the idea, and it makes more sense during development to try to make a game that will appeal to the casual gamer, as the hardcore gaming group really is small, and mainly focused on PC titles as opposed to console titles.
Just my thoughts anyway.
May 16, 2003 at 9:05 am #9244
now I think that both of you are right in centain aspects….
Jamie, you’re right about hardcore gamers following one genre and then knowing one game (with many maps) like the back of their hands…
Krozenn you’re right about hardcore gamers, IMO building the hype for the games – this is because the hardcore gamers are able to describe a game in their genre of choice (usually fps or strategy) in great detail with great enthusiasm….
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