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Second Take: Good Games, Bad Sales

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September 14, 2007 4:50:58 PM

Ben and Rob discuss why certain games, despite good reviews and buzz, don't sell as many copies as they should.

Watch Video: http://www.twitchguru.com/site/flash_videos/second_take_good_games_bad_sales.html

It it surprising to YOU that these games didn't sell well? What are some titles you would have expected to sell better then they have?

As always, general feedback is also appreciated. This week's theme: length of episode. Is Second Take too long, too short, just right or just depend on the topic?

-Ben

More about : good games bad sales

Anonymous
September 14, 2007 8:34:33 PM

No, its not surprising to me at all. Just recently I listened to Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451", which I had never before read, or listened to, and it is a scary bit of insight into society. To boil the plot down society has so lost its interest in thinking that the government sees its opportunity to outlaw books. Without books and the stirring of imagination they then have greater control of the population who simply wants to be entertained...without the commitment of thought. Really it's the same reason these games didn't sell. They require too much thinking for the general gaming populace. Obviously some publishers have given it a go, but they are fighting an uphill battle. People want to entertained. Don't ask them to think. Not to say an FPS is a terrible waste of time, but it does fit the trend. Run and gun. However, I can say that I've been gunned down in some pretty creative ways. Anyway... I could go on.
September 14, 2007 9:40:21 PM

One of the games I adore to bits is Arcanum: Of Magick And Steamworks Obscura. An excellent RPG in terms of storyline, depth, and gameplay, though it was pretty buggy and not exactly a great looking game, even for when it was released. But it was such an amazing game, and still is, because the world that is created is so deep and wonderful, that there is hardly any game out at the moment that can match it. However, it wasn't a mainstream game, in fact, it was a pretty hard game. It took me months to complete it the first time around, and I hadn't even gone through the majority of the side-quests. And it just didn't get the praise it deserved. A lot of people bashed the game for its poor graphics and bugs, and didn't see the game for what it was, and in the end, it didn't sell at all well. Overall, it was a brilliant concept and had one of the best storylines I've played through in ANY game, even to this day. A sequel will never come to light now, as the company who made the game, Troika Games, no longer exist, something which made me very sad to hear. :cry: 
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September 16, 2007 2:26:53 AM

Before I watch this, does Rob blame piracy?
September 16, 2007 12:47:40 PM

joex444 said:
Before I watch this, does Rob blame piracy?


Nopes... just goes into why some games, though highly acclaimed, just didn't sell well.
September 17, 2007 2:02:00 AM

F@#king funny, that end is hilarious! Sorry, had to say it.
September 17, 2007 4:25:12 PM

joex444 said:
Before I watch this, does Rob blame piracy?


Aw, come on, Joe. I didn't blame piracy for PC gaming's woes; I just said that if you're ripping cracked games then you're not really helping the situation. Is that really hard to grasp? Did my assertion that downloading PC games for free doesn't help an already-slumping PC gaming business really upset you?

BTW, did you watch it yet?
September 17, 2007 7:23:49 PM

I think one of the main problems, in my case, is that I haven't heard of any of the games in the video, except for Beyond Good and Evil. Probably doesn't help that I only have a gamecube, and I rarely play it, so I don't really keep up with what's being released on it.

Are there great, unsung PC games that I should know about?

Really, I think it all comes down to marketing. The marketing people push lowest-common-demoninator titles that are likely to rake in the cash. Anything that's unique or interesting, is likely to have a smaller market share, and gets less of a marketing budget, so most gamers never hear about the game. As you said, it's the same with TV and movies, and I'd add music to that mix. When is the last time something even remotely interesting was in the top 40 charts? The 70s is the last time I know of that music that pushed boundaries was even remotely popular.
September 17, 2007 8:47:46 PM

jimbobhickville said:
I think one of the main problems, in my case, is that I haven't heard of any of the games in the video, except for Beyond Good and Evil. Probably doesn't help that I only have a gamecube, and I rarely play it, so I don't really keep up with what's being released on it.

Are there great, unsung PC games that I should know about?

Really, I think it all comes down to marketing. The marketing people push lowest-common-demoninator titles that are likely to rake in the cash. Anything that's unique or interesting, is likely to have a smaller market share, and gets less of a marketing budget, so most gamers never hear about the game. As you said, it's the same with TV and movies, and I'd add music to that mix. When is the last time something even remotely interesting was in the top 40 charts? The 70s is the last time I know of that music that pushed boundaries was even remotely popular.


If you have a GameCube, then I suggest trying Eternal Darkness. It can be confusing and it may take a couple hours to really, really get into it, but it's worth it. Especially if you're a fan of the horror survival genre.

Psychonauts and Beyond Good and Evil, I believe, are both available on the PC. But if you're talking strictly PC only games, I'd nominate Blade Runner, PlaneScape: Torment, The Longest Journey, and Clive Barker's Undying. There are plenty more -- check out this thread http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/97120-13-great-games-sold-poorly-flat-bombed for others -- but those are the ones that I've played myself.
September 18, 2007 11:44:14 AM

I never heard of those except for beyond... I never see any ads for PC games, scratch that, i've seen bioshock commercials after I bought it.

Wow Rare made that Pinata game? What happened.. after Goldeneye and Perfect Dark...
December 2, 2007 1:15:51 PM

Great stuff guys, Ben and Rob, I thoroughly enjoy watching you guys talk about video game stuff! This last installment about unsung games was great but I think you guys missed an extremely awesome game that really never quite made it sales wise but I think should have. I am speaking about PREY!! I am sure you guys have played it and I believe it was built on the Q4 engine and or Doom 3 engine. Graphics were great and I thought the story line was addicting. This game actually scared the crap out of me when I first started playing it...The sound effects are so creepy added to all the bloody and gory visuals WOW!!! Seriously this is the game Doom 3 should have been! It built on the strengths of Doom 3 and cut out the bad ideas while still maintaining a scary fun game to play! To see this game never catch on was very sad I thought it rocked especially for an FPS.
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