Why Making a Blockbuster Game Is a Poor Goal

Slashdot recently posted On Why Making a Blockbuster Game Is a Poor Goal.

From the comments:

What I take away from the article is that Bioware can make games like that because they have a proven track record of making games like that financial successes, but that a development team with a less powerful resume probably couldn’t get it done. Not because the team wouldn’t be up to it creatively or technically, but because in the current market, management/investors wouldn’t have enough faith in an unproven team to let them take the time to do it right.

Mongoose Disciple


Of the games that try to be the biggest, baddest, most epic ever, only the top X will be making a profit at all. Most will actually make a loss.

And that is something that seems to escape most people, sad to say. From people going into making games with delusions of being paid a million like Carmack, to kiddies who think that pirating a game is some kind of act of resistance to some uber-rich fatcat who’s only charging 40$ for it because of greed, to people starting some monumental epic as some mod and expecting to finish it with 5 people in a few months, to fanboys arguing that a publisher is the incarnation of pure Evil if they had an upper limit at all for budget and didn’t give the team an infinite limit on money and time to produce the perfect game, to ultimately the devs end publishers who increasingly compete only in that segment. The fact that there’s a finite amount of money to chase in that segment seems to be genuinely news to most people.

It’s not even a matter of “get off my turf” as some other poster made it sound. We have the equivalent of, say, 90% of the car makers deciding they want to compete only at the Bugatti Veryon end of the market. Or 90% of the computer manufacturers deciding they want to make only supercomputers. Sure, it’s great if you do manage to sell the next Bugatti Veryon for 1 million a pop, but there are only so many buyers who will buy at those prices. If actually all major companies, from Ford and Fiat and Volkswagen to Bugatti and Ferrari decided to make only supercars in that segment, that most _will_ make a loss. Same here. There simply isn’t enough money in the market to cover the costs of _everyone_ who wants to make the next super-game.