In the current generation of video gaming, it’s very easy to see parallels between the film industry and the game industry. The big hits continue to sell and garner the highest attention, but the smaller titles, while still can be great and wonderful, don’t get enough attention. Creative director at id Software, Tim Willits, is tired of seeing the gaming industry be driven by the AAA hits and wants to see the industry move away from that.
Willits spoke to MCV and addressed his issue with how the popular and highly rated hits of the gaming industry are creating an unsustainable market. If nothing but highly popular games like Call of Duty or Final Fantasy dominate the market, there will be no room for growth. Willits’ own studio is putting out their own entry into the gaming market with RAGE, but it’s still a brand new IP.
Part of what is helping id release RAGE under confidence is the legacy they have created for themselves with pivotal first person shooter titles like Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein. While it’s still the same kind of genre, id’s trying out something new and taking a calculated risk. Whether or not it will pay off for them will remain to be seen, but see what Willits has to say on the matter of a hit-driven gaming market.
“The big titles will only get bigger, but it’s not sustainable. I think it’s getting worse. The big titles, they’re hits – make no mistake. There are a few titles that do really well and all the other ones struggle. Look at what Call of Duty sells versus what Crysis sells, and Crysis is a good game. There’s millions and millions of copies in difference, and there’s very little between them in the fun value.
“It is becoming tougher and tougher, it really is. The games industry is so much more expensive, key talent is much more expensive, it’s risky to develop a new IP and take a gamble. If you take a gamble, you’d better make sure you’re going to hit that home run.”
Willits also talked about the lack of new IP at Gamescom 2011, where he saw nothing but sequels garner the most attention, outside of RAGE. While it’s no surprise sequels get a lot of attention, especially sequels to games that were highly anticipated, it takes a lot of attention away from smaller titles.
Our own review of Crysis 2 did confirm the game as excellent, but the sales return for Crytek wasn’t as high as it could have been. In an age of a lot of indepedently created games that are actually really good, Minecraft for example which has close to 2 million players, so Notch is doing something right to get so many players to play his game and that’s an indie title that spread through word of mouth.
The issue that Willits is talking about has been a problem in the gaming industry for quite some time, but has been more of an issue currently. Perhaps there are simply too many titles – look at what has come out this year, even after Mass Effect 3, Diablo III and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier were pushed to 2012. Do you think the big hit titles should continue to flourish or would you want to see more attention given to new IPs?
RAGE releases October 4, 2011 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
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