The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

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The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Prey » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:55 am

AAA title sales are on the decline in a big way...they are all broken anyway.

The declines in some cases are massive: Ubisoft's aforementioned hack-'em-up has reportedly fallen some 300,000 units short of its predecessor's launch tally in the UK. Yes, you can chalk up greater competition and a maturing generation for the decline, but surely it should be doing better than that? Titanfall 2 actually launched on more platforms than its forebear, debuting for the first time on the PlayStation 4 – but still came up short.


http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2016/11/ ... s_flopping

Well for one I'd like anyone here to name more than a handful of AAA title that released within the last 6 months without moderate to major technical issues. The pre-order fad has obviously started to decline also and about damn time too. Even so called remasters are ending up a complete mess at launch. All in all the chances your brand new game will be broken at release have never been higher and the massive surge in sales declines can only serve to force publishers to ensure games release "out of the box" in a vastly improved state to what they do right now.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Mantis » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:05 am

I imagine digital sales are probably accountable for a lot of this drop off. The digital market is huge now and for some reason we still only get stats of physical boxes sold. I can't even remember the last time I bought a boxed copy of something.

Other reasons could be franchise fatigue, open world game fatigue or just the fact that people simply don't have as much disposable income thanks to years of our economy being stuck in the mud.

I think all of the above are probably more attributable than people being sick of broken games. Games have been shipping in a poor state for the last two generations and people are still stupid enough to buy into the hype and preorder everything. Not to mention it's an issue which predominantly effects PC gamers, who will all be buying their titles digitally anyway and who make up a fraction of the market. It happens with console games sure, but not on anywhere near the same level.

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Sly Boots » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:09 am

Annual iterations of franchises, as predicted, has also killed all enthusiasm for many, I would say. When was the last time anyone got excited about a new Assassin's Creed game (much less bought one)? Or CoD? Ubisoft particularly guilty of this, I would say, as well as pushing gameplay elements (towers that reveal the map, vast numbers of icons to visit/collect etc) so hard that many of their games feel like reskins of one another.

I think a lot of people are just fed up of playing essentially the same game over and over, and coupled with rising prices, less disposable income, and guaranteed technical issues that annoy 90% of the people who do actually by them, it's not a surprise to see them struggling.

Edit: Mantis posted same time I was writing mine...
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Prey » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:10 am

EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said that the company ended fiscal year 2016 with digital amounting to around 24 percent of all game sales. That’s just for PS4 and Xbox One, and Jorgensen added that including PC in this would bring the number up to 75 or 80 percent.

“We think the industry is going to probably [be], by calendar year end, around 30 percent. And our internal estimates are around 29 percent for ourselves,” said the CFO, before explaining that the one percent lag is due to FIFA’s popularity in regions where good bandwidth and credit card availability are not great, which hurts digital sales.


Source: VG247

The frankly stupid release schedule for games the past few months has bled most people dry and only ensured that everyone had to pick and choose very carefully what it was they wished to play over the Christmas period. With games at £40-50 a pop in 2016 publishers need to realise yes we want our games and realise development costs are at an all time high but regardless of this none of us are anywhere near well off enough to afford more than perhaps 1 or even 2 of these titles in such a short period of time.

The fact Titanfall 2 can already be purchased for half price or less just goes to show that publishers take unnecessary risks to capitalise on sales and it simply does not pay off leaving what is without question in my mind anyway the best fps game of 2016 stranded on a beach somewhere with only a tiny portion of the player base it perhaps would have had had it released in Q1 2017. *Breathe*

On top of this I should also add that aside from an odd crackling sound issue some are experiencing it is technically sound in every department and one of the best PC releases of the year.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Jez » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:12 am

I'm not really sure why digital sales aren't counted in these numbers. Surely a sale is a sale no matter how it's processed?

I haven't bought a physical game in years can't even remember the last one. Might have been STALKER off top of head.

Fatigue is definitely a factor though also. To me this is a bit like movies the are gems being released but an awful lot of generic samey stuff also.

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby DjchunKfunK » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:36 am

Digital sales aren't counted because those running the digital storefronts refuse to release sales figures.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Mantis » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:38 am

Ubisoft in particular are very guilty of this, as Sly said. Having a CoD every year which is no different to the last is bad enough, but Ubisoft will annually release a number of titles which all use exactly the same mechanics. They've seen sense in that a little and stopped with the identical Assassin's Creed and Far Cry games for now, but Watch Dogs isn't exactly that unique either.

I genuinely haven't enjoyed an Ubisoft game since Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, and even then I was already starting to get a bit fed up of that franchise.

And regarding Prey's comment about budgets being through the roof. I'm pretty sure that's down to really bad management and if these developers and publishers were more competent they could probably produce the same quality games with far less resources. How many times have we heard of a AAA game going through development hell before finally being released? Final Fantasy 15 comes out in a week and that game has been in the making for ten years! Last Guardian next month has also been in development for that long. It's not just Japanese companies either, it's a problem for western developers too. Poor management and outrageous marketing expenditure puts publishers in a situation where if they don't sell big time copies they will struggle to break even. That's why we end up getting ripped off with £40 season passes and micro transactions for stupid items in game, because they are desperate to claw back as much revenue as possible. Or just greedy. I've seen small indie teams of a dozen people produce some seriously fantastic and inspiring games. If they can manage, why do others need to spend millions upon millions?

Urgh. Down with the lot of them to be honest. AAA games are vastly overrated.

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Jez » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:55 am

DjchunKfunK wrote:Digital sales aren't counted because those running the digital storefronts refuse to release sales figures.


Wow. Why?

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby DjchunKfunK » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:00 pm

I've seen small indie teams of a dozen people produce some seriously fantastic and inspiring games. If they can manage, why do others need to spend millions upon millions?


I don't disagree that there is waste going on in the big publishers and market budgets are crazy, but at the same time it takes a lot of hours of work to produce the content to fill this open worlds and they are only getting bigger and more detailed. Games from big publishers come with a certain expectation on them so they can't just pair the graphics down either to reduce the budget.

If you take away the marketing budget and reduce the waste, these types of games are still going to cost millions and millions to make because of the work involved in producing the graphics/animations engines etc.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby DjchunKfunK » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:03 pm

Jez wrote:
DjchunKfunK wrote:Digital sales aren't counted because those running the digital storefronts refuse to release sales figures.


Wow. Why?


No idea. My guess would be that in the beginning Valve didn't release stats because they wanted the store to grow and releasing sales figures would have perhaps jeopardised that. Then the store became massive and there was no real benefit gained from sales figures being released.

Individual developers are free to release their sales stats, but they very rarely do. It only really happens when a developer wants to prove how hard it is to sell a game on Steam.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Snowy » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:30 pm

But that makes zero sense. My name is Harold EA, and I own EA games. Now, apart from being an Edwin of the highest magnitude, I need to know how many copies of my game, Generic Bland Garbage 2017, has sold. Main reason for this, to ensure that I am getting the right income from the digital storefronts.

It is inconceivable that these figures are not shared with the publisher. Add to that the publisher will need to supply activation keys for each sale. They MIUST know the sales volumes, companies do not (and from an audit perspective cannot) operate on trust.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Snowy » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:32 pm

On another note, I would put the declining sales down to fatigue, pure and simple. The big devs have not had an original idea between them in the last 5 years if not more.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Jez » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:39 pm

Witcher 3 is probably the best thing I've played in 5 years. Feel those devs did something special with that one. Lots of other notables though in fairness. But as for the likes of your ass creeds and cods... nah that stuff is jaded to hell.

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Sly Boots » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:46 pm

Snowy wrote:But that makes zero sense. My name is Harold EA, and I own EA games. Now, apart from being an Edwin of the highest magnitude...


:lol:
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Sly Boots » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:48 pm

Jez wrote:Witcher 3 is probably the best thing I've played in 5 years. Feel those devs did something special with that one. Lots of other notables though in fairness. But as for the likes of your ass creeds and cods... nah that stuff is jaded to hell.


Are CDPR a AAA-developer, though? I'm not really sure of what would qualify a company, but I've always thought of them as plucky underdogs - a fairly small team who've been able to put out great products despite not having the size of team or budget of the big-boys...
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