Willits: Industry Too "Hit-Driven," Only Getting Worse

In an interview with MCV, id Software creative director Tim Willits said the gaming industry -- the one that pays his bills and fills his belly -- is completely hit-driven. His own studio, backed by hits of its own including the Wolfenstein, DOOM and Quake games, is taking a big risk launching RAGE in a crowded back end of 2011. Studios with less under its belt wouldn't be able to pull off the same launch.

'[Gaming is still a hit-driven industry], but it can't be," he told MCV. "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."

For developers and publishers, these factors are making things tougher and tougher to create and publish anything. The games industry itself is so much more expensive now, and key talent is just as costly, he said.

"It's risky to develop a new IP and take a gamble," he added. "If you take a gamble, you'd better make sure you're going to hit that home run. Nobody would care about RAGE if it wasn't from us! At GamesCom, at this judges' event, we had Modern Warfare 3 next to Diablo 3, we had RAGE, Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3 and Batman 2. It was almost the row of threes."

When asked about his thoughts on the biggest change facing gaming as it transitions from a boxed good to an ongoing provided service, he said that companies will likely focus on the big franchises and have a big plan from the beginning.

"For us, we always try to support our community with patches, Quake levels and John giving away source code and mod support," he added. "The business aspect of it has to join in at some point, and we will begin to see economic models that support those types of games. So, we'll see more games which support those types of models for sure, although I'm not sure what those might be: more microtransactions, more pay-to-play, new content etc. Developers have to take the risk at the beginning."

To read the full interview, head here.

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  • Not every game has to be a multi-million dollar venture, why not try to do something new?
    15
  • Other Comments
  • Not every game has to be a multi-million dollar venture, why not try to do something new?
    15
  • "...we had Modern Warfare 3 next to Diablo 3, we had RAGE, Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3 and Batman 2. It was almost the row of threes."

    I don't see Farmville 3....
    -5
  • The title made sense. The rest of the article could be translated to "we need to find more and better ways to keep gamers paying."
    I call BS.

    Patches to fix problems are certainly acceptable, and a game that is extensible might attract a whole community of modders (e.g. Unreal), but I want to buy a boxed game; it's mine, and it is a complete, finished product. I can play it when and where I choose (assuming my PC meets specs), and there's no "required" content that can only be unlocked with another payment.
    7