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[Polygon] You can’t make AAA games for just one platform anymore

THE DUCK

Banned
Meanwhile proper exclusivity is why Nintendo is selling so many consoles and their games are selling so well even with no price drops.

And among the other two…
I don’t use my Series X, I use my PC.
I don’t use my PS5, I use my PC.
Maybe games are selling more but these platforms are getting irrelevant and I’ll likely think twice before I invest in a new one as long as I have a PC.

Meanwhile I’ll be there day 1 on a new Nintendo console.

This continues to propagate the myth that it's Nintendo's first party exclusive games that 95% drive the great success of the switch.
But that wasn't it. It was a combination of those games, portability, hybrid useability/value, and price of hardware that allowed the switch to be so successful.

Almost all of us here buy Nintendo consoles because we love games, the average buyer however, buys them for the reasons I stated above.

The next console company to offer the same combo will enjoy some of that same benefit/success in that market.
 

AmuroChan

Gold Member
mmmm no. most of the talent and production is in cali. just need more smedium sized games. Cali is big state and is not just LA and San Fransisco.

consultants are important and are not just for ‘woke agenda’. offend the wrong group it could tank sales of your game. consultants can help you reach a wider audience. just remember your are trying to sell a product.

graphics sell games. it’s the first thing you see

the goal is to keep you in the game as long as possible and off the used game sale rack. not to justify a $70 price tag.

1. In the era of remote work, you can hire California talent without building a physical studio space in CA. My company moved its HQ out of CA three years ago for that very reason. It saved our company tens of millions of dollars in just commercial rental and taxes. Many of my colleagues also moved out of CA since they could work remotely. They didn't get any less competent just because they no longer live in CA.

2. I didn't say you don't need ANY consultants, but in the tech industry that I work in, the amount of consultants being brought in on every project is getting out of hand. In my experience, many of them just get in my way and slow down the projects I'm working on. They're also incentivized to work slow because they charge by the hour. I've given tasks to consultants to work on that a normal FTE could complete in two days, but it takes the consultant 3 weeks to complete. Yes, I'm biased, but in my 20 years working in the tech industry, my experience with consultants have mostly been negative.

3. Again, didn't say graphics didn't matter. Most AAA games today already look awesome. When it comes to the things that gamers complain most about the AAA space today, graphics is not top of mind for most people. I think people are generally satisfied with the graphical fidelity of most AAA games.

4. Most games are being sold digitally these days. The used game sale fear is becoming less and less relevant. Also, the bloat doesn't keep me engaged. I will simply skip those boring side content and mainline the game.
 

coffinbirth

Member
Which needed 7.2 million copies sold just to break even, and had a budget 3x that of the first game and has sold 1/2 the amount of copies. Some pretty simple math here suggests this isn't a very sustainable trajectory. Also probably why both will be on PC as well, haha.
 

Fbh

Member
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I think a lot of AAA devs/publishers are afraid for this because they've spent the last 10+ years building their audience and reputation mostly based on graphics and size.
When the only thing people have come to expect from you is increasingly better graphics and bigger/longer games, the idea of scaling back must be scary.

A lof of the companies that haven't focused on these aspects (at least not to the same extent) seem to be doing fine: Like Nintendo, FROM, Atlus, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios, Capcom.

When the next Yakuza game has basically the same graphics as Infinite Wealth and recycles a ton of assets, fans won't riot and have mental breakdowns because that's not why we are into the franchise. The game will be a ton of fun, will probably be out in the next 2 years, will be full of wacky ideas and sell a couple of million units.... all while being profitable
 

SenkiDala

Member
noshit.gif

That's what people following, and knowing a minimum, about gaming is saying since like 5 years, at least, but thank you polygon.

And for Nintendo being the "exception" well it is because their AAA being Pikmin 4 or Animal Crossing, their production costs are like 10% of any PS/XB AAA game, that's the same since the Wii era...

Anyway we're seeing this starting, when we see for exemple the next Indy game, it looks pretty great but you can see that technically this isn't revolutionary at all. And this is ok. As long as the game is clean, no stuttering or shit like this, this is perfectly cool.

Sony is seeing that outside of Spider-Man (one of the biggest franchise in the world, number 1 for little boys all around the world) the sales doesn't satisfy... Look at Horizon FW... It sold like 9M and it is considered as a "failure".

Personally I'm aware of this trend since Tomb Raider 2013. When I heard Square saying that 8 millions of sales was a failure, I thought like "ok wtf", like 2 years before selling a game 2M was an immense success, 5M being an historic success. Then I felt "ok if 8M is a failure, that says a lot about the GaaS games or MTX that we will have in the next years", and here we are.

I'm all in for "cheaper production" games. Anyway we won't have our jaw dropped by any games like we did when we went from 2D to 3D or when we saw Soulcalibur, or Shenmue, or Mario 64, all of this is over.
 
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MacReady13

Member
And when that bubble bursts, things will get messy.
Let it get messy. This industry needs a MASSIVE shake up. It seems that on the console side Nintendo are the only ones doing it right, and on the PC people seem to have their heads screwed on correctly. Games budgets have ballooned so much it's insane. You just cannot hope to make every game a home run! Spending upwards and over $300 million is madness! Graphics are not the be all and end all of gaming. It's called GAMING for a reason...
 

ProtoByte

Gold Member
Yeah like cult classic returnal whose sequel will break into the mainstream. People like you can't seem to comprehend that the more you foster a niche IP, the more you will eventually get it to mainstream status. Look at Pikmin, metroid and Animal Crossing
Lol, what? Pikmin and Metroid top out at 3-4 million each. The only actually mainstream one of those is Animal Crossing, and it has always been a comparative smash hit amongst Nintendo IP. Like, even more than Zelda.

Guess what, there's some IP and even some genres that just can't break past a certain barrier. Returnal is one of them, roguelites (in the standard sense) are definitely not a genre that will ever go mass appeal.
 

Fredrik

Member
This continues to propagate the myth that it's Nintendo's first party exclusive games that 95% drive the great success of the switch.
But that wasn't it. It was a combination of those games, portability, hybrid useability/value, and price of hardware that allowed the switch to be so successful.

Almost all of us here buy Nintendo consoles because we love games, the average buyer however, buys them for the reasons I stated above.

The next console company to offer the same combo will enjoy some of that same benefit/success in that market.
Steam Deck is essentially a PC Switch. It’s not doing Switch numbers.
I fully believe that exclusivity is the reason why few here think twice about a Nintendo console purchase. If we could’ve played Zelda, Mario, Metroid on our PC, Xbox, PS, legally with no emulation, I think the console would’ve bombed.

I also think Sony is stepping into the same trap as Microsoft did last gen, with the PC ports. As a PC owner I obviously love it, it’s the best that could happen. But remember what PS fans said last gen when the MS 1st party ports were coming? ”- Oh cool, then I don’t need a Xbox, I can just play on my PC.” And this was before day 1 ports and before everything was there. Still, PC+Playstation+Nintendo was the optimal hardware combo. Well, that’s where we are now with PS ports. So now the optimal hardware combo should be PC+Nintendo, right?
How is this not dangerous? From a platform holder perspective I mean.

Microsoft has moved to day 1 on PC and late ports on PS. They’ll go to day 1 on PS next. At that point there is no reason for the platform to exist, unless they do everything better than everyone else so it becomes the optimal multiplat box, which will be difficult even with Steam access.
 

THE DUCK

Banned
Steam Deck is essentially a PC Switch. It’s not doing Switch numbers.
I fully believe that exclusivity is the reason why few here think twice about a Nintendo console purchase. If we could’ve played Zelda, Mario, Metroid on our PC, Xbox, PS, legally with no emulation, I think the console would’ve bombed.

I can't agree with that on the Steam Deck, it has no exclusive titles at all, is generally a lot more expensive, and has zero retail or advertising presence and it's from a company the general casual gaming public is largely not familiar with.
I do agree that exclusives do matter, in addition to pricing, form factor, value, verstatility, etc.

I also think Sony is stepping into the same trap as Microsoft did last gen, with the PC ports. As a PC owner I obviously love it, it’s the best that could happen. But remember what PS fans said last gen when the MS 1st party ports were coming? ”- Oh cool, then I don’t need a Xbox, I can just play on my PC.” And this was before day 1 ports and before everything was there. Still, PC+Playstation+Nintendo was the optimal hardware combo. Well, that’s where we are now with PS ports. So now the optimal hardware combo should be PC+Nintendo, right?
How is this not dangerous? From a platform holder perspective I mean.

I agree with this, Sony is taking a big risk in using it's exclusives. But they see $$$ and bonuses in thier future, the execs will chase it despite thier noses.
How much of risk, maybe we are overstating it, surely Sony has done some studdies in terms of the PC market and how it affects thier console base. Maybe they are also willing to lose 20 million units sold next gen for pure software profit, since the hardware does cost them a lot.
The end result may be more profit even with less consoles sold, it's really hard to know without the internal data.

Microsoft has moved to day 1 on PC and late ports on PS. They’ll go to day 1 on PS next. At that point there is no reason for the platform to exist, unless they do everything better than everyone else so it becomes the optimal multiplat box, which will be difficult even with Steam access.

Yes it will be interesting if they do broaden the lineup to day and date on PS. If they do, you are bang on in terms of having hardware, it must be an amazing value to turn your back on a box that has more exclusives......
Then again, you never know with MS. They could play dead for 10 years, multiplatform, bla bla bla, continue to grow, then bam in 2035 they declare new hardware and ALL games exclusive, an abosolute monster at $299.
And at that point they will have more software fans than evern if they are succesfull in actually producing AAA games. It seems less likely but yet they love to burn through cash......and I wouldn't put past them to just say that it evolved vs it was the plan.......
(our amazing new hardware with AI +++++ real world render is the only way we can deliver the games in thier intended form, therefore we have no choice but to leave other platforms......)
 

NahaNago

Member
You definitely can if you watch your budget. Sony shouldn't be giving their first party studios blank checks to make a game. No first party studio aaa game should ever cost as much as a third party aaa does.
 

Fatmanp

Member
The problem is that games have become to homogenised. Not every game needs a levelling/unlock system. Not every game needs to be open world. When games are scoped there needs to be a less is more approach with some of these things.
 

DavidGzz

Member
Ninty making games with graphics from original Xbox, so this thread isn't about them. AAA quality gameplay C quality graphics.
 

Fredrik

Member
Then again, you never know with MS. They could play dead for 10 years, multiplatform, bla bla bla, continue to grow, then bam in 2035 they declare new hardware and ALL games exclusive, an abosolute monster at $299.
And at that point they will have more software fans than evern if they are succesfull in actually producing AAA games. It seems less likely but yet they love to burn through cash......and I wouldn't put past them to just say that it evolved vs it was the plan.......
(our amazing new hardware with AI +++++ real world render is the only way we can deliver the games in thier intended form, therefore we have no choice but to leave other platforms......)
Yeah I have no idea what their longterm plan is. I used to think they want everybody to have a MS streaming launcher app on a TV and a Gamepass subscription to play their exclusives. But without exclusives it’ll just be yet another 3rd party launcher with no real pull and a streaming service with bad quality compared to the competition. I think Valve and Nvidia will take over the living room before Microsoft, through Steam and Geforce Now. MS is behind everywhere.
 
You definitely can if you watch your budget. Sony shouldn't be giving their first party studios blank checks to make a game. No first party studio aaa game should ever cost as much as a third party aaa does.
If big blockbuster games drive people to buying a PS5 then they absolutely should give studios massive budgets. Playstation makes 30% for every 3rd party sale and MTX. Not to mention, all the money they make through online and their subscription service. It's nice if Playstation's games profit, but unlike pretty much every other publisher, they don't need to to still make a lot of money
 
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RoboFu

One of the green rats
The problem is the concept of AAA games today. Games do not need to be big budget cutscene fest with real actors.
 

channie

Member
2. Stop wasting money on consultants to come in and tell you if your game is appropriate for "modern" audiences. Games didn't need that 20 years ago. They don't need them now. It's ok if your game offends some people.
You mean it's ok when they offend people other than you? Because you seem pretty offended with this :)
 

Astray

Member
There's also risk in staying complacent. Just look at Disney.

Risk everywhere.
Disney didn't get to where they are because of complacency. If anything they got there because they tried too hard to get "ahead of the curve" and win the subscription wars.

They got there because they gave away a lot of value and heavily diluted their big money makers (Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel) to prop up Disney+. Now the brand value is diminishing and the subscription revenue isn't enough to cover the value Disney is giving away on D+.
 

SmokedMeat

Gamer™
That is not possible. The only reason nintendo is getting away with it is that their prices never drops. So 10m is 600m-700m revenue. While Sony 10m isnt close to 700m Its more like 500+m revenue due to price drop.

Nintendo 20m can bring 1.4b, while Sony only gets close to a billion.

Nintendo’s game budgets are also a small fraction of Sony’s.
 

AmuroChan

Gold Member
You mean it's ok when they offend people other than you? Because you seem pretty offended with this :)

Huh? If they want to hire consultants, that's their decision. Why would I be offended? If they want to spend that money, by all means. If I say something is a bad decision, that's not called being offended. Drinking and driving is a stupid decision. I'm not offended by it if you do. It's you who has to pay the consequences ultimately.
 

PaintTinJr

Member
IMO the article fails to correctly identify the source cause of the problem of growing budgets - which I would say is more a problem of increasing staff numbers to offset far less talented staff in the last 15years that have been replacing veterans that previously wrote their own engines and tools, knew everything 2D through to 3D and relied far less on middleware.

Re-watching the Uncharted Making diary the other week reveals that UC1 was made by just 90 staff at Naughty dog, and to be fair it still represents a great baseline of a modern day AAA game. So modern games needing more staff, and greater budgets in general while mostly delivering far less impressive results than UC1 just looks like a lack of top tier talent working in the industry, now and tasks needing 3x or 4x times more staff that can only do their little bit of the process.
 

NahaNago

Member
If big blockbuster games drive people to buying a PS5 then they absolutely should give studios massive budgets. Playstation makes 30% for every 3rd party sale and MTX. Not to mention, all the money they make through online and their subscription service. It's nice if Playstation's games profit, but unlike pretty much every other publisher, they don't need to to still make a lot of money
The problem though is does it need the massive budget to drive folks to buy the console. Would folks have cared if the budget for spiderman 2 was only 160 million versus the 330 million it supposedly had. It's also not a matter of do they need the playstation games profits but do they want to take that loss. Considering how they charged head first into gaas and are now throwing games on pc I'm thinking that they still want their first party games to make a profit.
 
These folks are devoid of brain cells.

Look at the median-selling AAA games. Look at how much they sell. Now go look at how many Sony and Nintendo games sell on their own single platforms alone... I think you'll find that those median-selling AAA third-party games routinely sell less than Sony and Ninty's biggest FP games.

Even up front sales aside, MTX give the opportunity to recoup initial dev costs multiple times over. Just build a good game with fairly-priced, mostly cosmetic MTXs and you make fucking bank. Look at Assassin's Creed games for inspiration.
 

angelgs90

Member
Stop the photorealistic graphics race.

Target 15-20h playing hours (remove all the shitty just-to-fill-hours-content).

There you go.
 

MrRenegade

Banned
This is akin to cold war, but people still don't think. If there is a party on the market who copies anything that they don't have, well, then what do you do to kill that entity? Home work for you lads, now get back to bed.
 
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