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

By - Source: MCV | B 27 comments

id Software is able to launch RAGE amidst a sea of mega-hit titles because of its highly-successful DOOM, Quake and Wolfenstein titles.

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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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    techseven , September 23, 2011 10:54 AM
    Not every game has to be a multi-million dollar venture, why not try to do something new?
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    techseven , September 23, 2011 10:54 AM
    Not every game has to be a multi-million dollar venture, why not try to do something new?
  • -5 Hide
    vaughn2k , September 23, 2011 11:11 AM
    "...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....
  • 7 Hide
    Onus , September 23, 2011 11:13 AM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 23, 2011 11:20 AM
    "...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."

    Apparently the customers beg to differ, as perceived by the number of copies sold. Where is the 'the customer is always right' adagium with this supposedly know-it-al guru?
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , September 23, 2011 11:59 AM
    Basically, he's saying RAGE sucks and that he's scared.
  • 4 Hide
    toxin440 , September 23, 2011 12:35 PM
    Nothing to see here really -- the entire movie industry has been like this for the past 10 years or so. Toy Story 3, Terminator 5, Cars 3?

    The masses these days don't like change and are more than happy to pay money over and over for the same thing that's only slightly different and maginally amusing.

    The only way it's going to change is if people stop buying the crap. As long as a company can sell 25 million copies of the next call of duty game, nobody cares how good it is, or what actual content it has in it.

    Just like the housing market, the student loan market, and soon the medical industry... I think we will see a "gaming bubble". The idea of a company making billions of the same damn game re-hashed a few times is not sustainable. people are stupid yes, but everyone has their limit.
  • 3 Hide
    southernshark , September 23, 2011 12:38 PM
    Look at a League of Legends, a basic sleeper which is doing great. Ok its not doing like Call of Duty or something like that, but people are going home with more money in their pocket at the end of the day.
  • 0 Hide
    stingstang , September 23, 2011 12:47 PM
    ElectroDonker"...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."Apparently the customers beg to differ, as perceived by the number of copies sold. Where is the 'the customer is always right' adagium with this supposedly know-it-al guru?

    It's because Crysis is late to the fps party. If everyone's friend is playing Modern Warefare 2, and you can either buy that, or crysis, you're going to buy MW2. Doesn't matter if the game is WAY better. It's hard to convince 'your friends' to swap a game that they are having fun with.
  • -2 Hide
    Yuka , September 23, 2011 1:26 PM
    stingstangIt's because Crysis is late to the fps party. If everyone's friend is playing Modern Warefare 2, and you can either buy that, or crysis, you're going to buy MW2. Doesn't matter if the game is WAY better. It's hard to convince 'your friends' to swap a game that they are having fun with.


    It's just about "insta-satisfaction" nowadays. The game that gets more fun in a short amount of time wins. Crysis was hard (sort of) to get used to the suit mechanic and find it's pace, but the MW series became what it is now thanks to the storyline and fast paced game style. Both are FPS'es, but if you ask me, MW has a lot more "satisfaction driven" gimmicks, at least in MP. Single player MW > Crysis all the way: story telling is pretty good, even if Crysis has more options to choose from.

    Cheers!
  • -2 Hide
    warezme , September 23, 2011 1:49 PM
    vaughn2k"...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....

    Why the downgrade? It was funny.
  • 4 Hide
    FlyPonix , September 23, 2011 1:56 PM
    It's getting harder and harder to start a good Soda company. I mean, how can Coke sells millions and millions more soda pops that Pepsi? And RC cola, even though just as good as coke, struggles to even get by. Hell, if I release my 'flyponix soda', i'd have no chance...

  • 4 Hide
    demonhorde665 , September 23, 2011 2:50 PM
    "as it transitions from a boxed good to an ongoing provided service"

    this transition only exsist in the minds of greedy publishers and greedy developers, seriously kevin.

    console games will NEVER go service/download only , and even on the PC market there wil always be those that want that physical copy (sucha s myself). the day it turns to a purely service venture is the day i'll stop buying said service.

    jtt283The 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.



    amen to this, This guys sounds like he is just making excuses for the game industry to be f---ing lazy and greedy. sure if you cando minimal work and turn games into arental that cahrges consummers for content, it would be awsome for buisness.. but only for buisness. sounds like this guy wants the game indsutry to go hollywood (ie all remakes and sequals and no balls)
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , September 23, 2011 3:08 PM
    You gotta understand, these guys are coming from a time where a hand full of guys with a passion for computer gaming could develop their own IP and become fairly successful. Things have changed, success like minecraft is fairly rare these days. Nowadays gaming titles have become multi-million dollar blockbuster hits. Its become a much harder industry to break into for a small developer.
  • 0 Hide
    demonhorde665 , September 23, 2011 3:15 PM
    FlyPonixIt's getting harder and harder to start a good Soda company. I mean, how can Coke sells millions and millions more soda pops that Pepsi? And RC cola, even though just as good as coke, struggles to even get by. Hell, if I release my 'flyponix soda', i'd have no chance...



    the fact some one gave you a thumbs down proves that there are some people out there that are just plain ass holes (don't know who they are but they obviously exsist) . personally i thought your comment was funny as hell :) 
  • 1 Hide
    wiyosaya , September 23, 2011 4:24 PM
    In my opinion, I would broaden this to every industry in general. As I see it, there is a push in every industry to develop the next killer product, whatever that product might be. At the top level, it seems to be a drive to make a profit. Yes, I understand that one must make a profit to survive in any business and I am not against making a profit. However, many a quest for a profit becomes an obsession with making a profit at any cost even if that cost includes harm done to others. As I see it, for humanity to truly advance, it has to make a concerted effort not to force any one individual's views on another in the quest for profit, and, to me more important, not to harm others in that quest, too.

    The gaming industry is only a subset of industry in general, but I am sure that there are those out there in the gaming industry that unscrupulously strive to make a profit at any cost. To me, it is symptomatic of the bigger problems in today's world.
  • 3 Hide
    decembermouse , September 23, 2011 5:10 PM
    I've been feeling something similar to the concern in this article for a few years now. Mostly because I was lucky enough to come across some cheap XBox games (not 360) a while back that were spectacular and have shaped my gaming preferences into what they are today. I haven't played any of the Modern Warfare: Duty Calls series (it's a joke), but I love immersive experiences. Syberia, Indigo Prophecy, The Longest Journey, Beyond Good and Evil, etc. They suck me in, and so many fps games these days just feel like an ADD kid's delight. Something you can overload your senses on whenever you want, for either 5 minutes or 4 hours. Instant gratification, little depth. Lots of machismo, bragging about your score/stats, pretending to know how to "talk shop" about the weapons in the game, and I realize I sound a little like an old person here, but I agree with nuttymike. I find it sad that developers really wouldn't be profitable any more if they tried to make another Syberia game, no matter how beautiful and immersive it was, no matter how wonderful the story, no matter how deep the mystery and intrigue. Nope, people would rather just toss on a headset and toss thousands of digital bullets at each other while screaming "headshot" instead. /overgeneralization /rant

    I do like fps games. I'm in the middle of New Vegas right now, which has elements of that, not to mention Metro 2033, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series... so nothing against fps titles or fans of those, as I include myself in that category. I just find it sad that it seems there is no place any more for games with more merit than simply "it's got the latest graphics and everyone's playing it, man! There's like 85 guns you can use, you gotta get a copy!"

    I do miss the days when upstarts with new IP could really make a spectacular idea come to life. But these days, very few gamers would buy it. It's a whole new mentality. Instant gratification, who cares about depth or creativity any more?
  • 2 Hide
    dalethepcman , September 23, 2011 5:44 PM
    Quote:
    backed by hits of its own including the Wolfenstein, DOOM and Quake games, is taking a big risk launching RAGE


    I see those names and it brings back memories of the birth of the FPS on my 386. Too bad all of those IP's have withered and Died. If RAGE isn't a success then ID will probably be purchased by EA, then a new doom / quake game will come out every year.
  • 1 Hide
    mb2bm55 , September 23, 2011 5:44 PM
    problem is that games, as opposed to movies, take much longer to play and are more expensive per title so there is way less room to browse and be casual. Multiplayer games are the closest thing to offering a 'quick fix' without having to get absorbed into the game further degrading the value of story telling and in many cases fine crafting of games. I can't get into more than one or two titles a year while I'll go to see at least 15-20 movies a year. I'm just to busy to play a game for 60 hours and do so for 10 of them at $500 a year. Only Kids have that time but not the money.

    Disclaimer: I do live in Los Angeles so while I may not be in the 'movie industry' its kind of considered socially important to be on the up and up about movies and music around here since it is the 'city's industry'. Every1 I know around here sees a shitload of movies. People even go by themselves which I'm pretty sure is weird anywhere else.
  • 1 Hide
    tburns1 , September 23, 2011 6:53 PM
    toxin440The masses these days don't like change and are more than happy to pay money over and over for the same thing that's only slightly different and marginally amusing.

    That's Japan in a nutshell. I think I'm turning Japanese. I think I'm turning Japanese. I really think so ...
  • 1 Hide
    patrickf , September 23, 2011 10:06 PM
    System shock 1&2, Thief 1&2...we need that looking glass creativity
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