The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Raid » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:21 pm

"AAA" is entirely subjective, isn't it? The Witcher 3 looks like a game with seriously high production values and substantial sales figures, so surely it would count.

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Jez » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:22 pm

I think they are in some ways maybe the ways that Valve were in the hl2 dayss. B7t for now especially after w2 into w3 .. they have a few hundred employees now and are sitting on pots of money they've got to be considered very highly in the genre.

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Mantis » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:57 pm

I personally only ever really associate AAA with the absolutely huge monolithic publishers of the industry, but broadly the term simply means the games with the biggest budgets and promotion campaigns. There's no specific criteria that makes a studio or publisher fall within the AAA boundary.

As such I'd say CD Projekt probably would be defined as AAA. Same with Valve. The key difference with them being that both (I think, not 100% on CD Projekt) are private companies, so their games tend to not compromise as much on their vision; whereas EA and the like are publicly traded companies that have stockholders to please.

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby DjchunKfunK » Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:39 am

CD Projekt are very much what you would term an AAA developer. Their studio is massive and they also have the GOG side of things making them a pretty large company.

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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.


Sorry Snowy I think you might have misunderstood me. The digital stores share their sales numbers with publishers and developers.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Jez » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:34 am

Why on earth are they reporting the numbers that don't include these digital sales. Makes no sense that they are getting the numbers but then only releasing the physical sales generating headlines after that seem to spell DOOMED - that can't be good for their share prices if applicable to them.

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby eVoL » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:40 am

Jez wrote:Why on earth are they reporting the numbers that don't include these digital sales. Makes no sense that they are getting the numbers but then only releasing the physical sales generating headlines after that seem to spell DOOMED - that can't be good for their share prices if applicable to them.

The publishers do when its the publisher releasing the figure but when things like in preys post "Ubisoft's aforementioned hack-'em-up has reportedly fallen some 300,000 units short of its predecessor's launch tally in the UK." thats only counting physical copies because the publisher hasnt released the numbers yet.

Watchdogs is a horrendous example to use in the first place what with how stupidly picked on the first game was. You'd have to be an eejit to think it would equal the sales numbers of the first game which had hype maxed to stupid levels.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Edwin » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:28 pm

It's not just games. Lots of TV shows, films and even some sports are struggling to attract viewers. People will pay to see the biggest events but anything less than that is struggling to meet previous figures.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Snowy » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:07 am

Same reasoning probably applies though. People are bored with rehashes and reboots, comedies and thrillers that follow the same rote pattern endlessly, repetition, homage and pointless CGI action rather than good original stories.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby eVoL » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:15 am

If that were true they wouldnt still get massive numbers. Some people are, sure, but people in general still want the same stuff.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Edwin » Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:06 pm

I think there is just more competition for attention, the big game/film/tv show/sporting event of the year still sells well it just great-but-not-unmissable stuff that suffers. Everything is competing for our time along with stuff like Netflix, facebook and the internet as a whole taking up most people's evenings.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Lee » Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:47 am

Money is tight and people are just wanting best bang for bucks games. If you have 3-4 similar games releasing in the same rough period you won't really buy them all would you? You'd get the one that most interests you and pick up the others later down the line. If that, since you know there'll be more games released and just maybe they will interest you to get on on or soon after release.

I'm bored as hell of the AAA released in the last few years myself and have been picking up Indie titles doing far more interesting things to do.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Achtung Englander » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:58 pm

Hi - I started a thread similiar to this one but then realised that this one existed - so have requested mine to be closed. This is what I posted :

There is an analysis by Rob Fahey from Gamesindustry on the sudden decline in sales for AAA games this holiday. It started with Deus Ex Mankind Divided in Q3 and so far we have seen disappointing sales from Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare, Titanfall 2, Watch_Dogs 2 and Dishonored 2. It is not just lower than expected sale but an actual decline in sales compared to the previous games.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2 ... -retailers

Fahey pins this down to the longevity of current games, but I don't buy it. Games have always been long for the last several years. Games released last year or this year have not got longer in game time than those released in 2014. I agree that it could cause part of the decline but I think the issue is a lot more nuanced.

The reason could be multifaceted:
- More gamers are buying digital
- More gamers are looking to buy new games when they hit price promotions
- More gamers are fed up with sequels (the fact that BF1 is NOT a modern or futuristic shooter but one set in WWI could classify it as a non-sequel game even thought it is part of a franchise)
- something more worrying - gamers are simply buying less because they are fed up with gaming.

We will keep an eye on this but if the decline in physical is not offset by digital uptake and we are seeing a real decline, this could be worrying.

More analysis here
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2 ... mes-retail

I am the games analyst for NPD and I know the physical and digital numbers for 10 publishers - so I know for a fact how much of an impact digital is having on physical sales. The earlier quote from Blake Jorgensen is a good representation of where Digital is today BUT some new games do have have a digital share that is now exceeding 35% from week 1. So a lot of the physical decline could be attributed to digital but even with this it is not enough to stem what are we seeing this Xmas period. There seems to be a real seismic shift in consumer attitude in waiting to buy games when they drop in price. The November period is always crowded and this year is no exception but it seems after so many YouTubers complaining about broken games, unfinished games and repetitive game play experiences, gamers are taking note.

It is not all bad - Pokemon Sun/Moon is the most pre-ordered game in Nintendo's history, 3DS sales are up year on year and the Xbox One S is in rude health with strong unit sales, EA BF1 outsold expected volume and Forza Horizon 3 is the best selling Horizon game of the three.

I think gamers are getting jaded. The fact that Sony and Microsoft decided to do a mid cycle upgrade to their consoles and Sony launched PSVR and everyone is harking on about 4K gaming (which means you have to invest in a 4K TV) is beginning to take its toll.

I think with SO MUCH media to choose from now, people are just picking and choosing more so than before and waiting for price drops.

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Raid » Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:20 pm

It'll be a combination of a lot of factors. I, personally, am unwilling to spend £40 on a game when I know it'll be half that price in any number of regular sales within six months. While I've not had any real problems with any new game I've bought this year (not many; Doom, XCom 2 and Planet Coaster are the only ones that come to mind), the thought of getting another Arkham Knight - a game that's unplayable until long after it drops in price, does put me off pre-ordering these days. It just isn't worth the risk, and it's not as if I don't have a million other things to be playing.

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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Dr@gon-UK » Sat Nov 26, 2016 1:07 am

Achtung Englander wrote:Hi - I started a thread similiar to this one but then realised that this one existed - so have requested mine to be closed. This is what I posted :

There is an analysis by Rob Fahey from Gamesindustry on the sudden decline in sales for AAA games this holiday. It started with Deus Ex Mankind Divided in Q3 and so far we have seen disappointing sales from Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare, Titanfall 2, Watch_Dogs 2 and Dishonored 2. It is not just lower than expected sale but an actual decline in sales compared to the previous games.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2 ... -retailers

Fahey pins this down to the longevity of current games, but I don't buy it. Games have always been long for the last several years. Games released last year or this year have not got longer in game time than those released in 2014. I agree that it could cause part of the decline but I think the issue is a lot more nuanced.

The reason could be multifaceted:
- More gamers are buying digital
- More gamers are looking to buy new games when they hit price promotions
- More gamers are fed up with sequels (the fact that BF1 is NOT a modern or futuristic shooter but one set in WWI could classify it as a non-sequel game even thought it is part of a franchise)
- something more worrying - gamers are simply buying less because they are fed up with gaming.

We will keep an eye on this but if the decline in physical is not offset by digital uptake and we are seeing a real decline, this could be worrying.

More analysis here
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2 ... mes-retail

I am the games analyst for NPD and I know the physical and digital numbers for 10 publishers - so I know for a fact how much of an impact digital is having on physical sales. The earlier quote from Blake Jorgensen is a good representation of where Digital is today BUT some new games do have have a digital share that is now exceeding 35% from week 1. So a lot of the physical decline could be attributed to digital but even with this it is not enough to stem what are we seeing this Xmas period. There seems to be a real seismic shift in consumer attitude in waiting to buy games when they drop in price. The November period is always crowded and this year is no exception but it seems after so many YouTubers complaining about broken games, unfinished games and repetitive game play experiences, gamers are taking note.

It is not all bad - Pokemon Sun/Moon is the most pre-ordered game in Nintendo's history, 3DS sales are up year on year and the Xbox One S is in rude health with strong unit sales, EA BF1 outsold expected volume and Forza Horizon 3 is the best selling Horizon game of the three.

I think gamers are getting jaded. The fact that Sony and Microsoft decided to do a mid cycle upgrade to their consoles and Sony launched PSVR and everyone is harking on about 4K gaming (which means you have to invest in a 4K TV) is beginning to take its toll.

I think with SO MUCH media to choose from now, people are just picking and choosing more so than before and waiting for price drops.

Blow my own trumpet - goggle Naji and NPD and you see my work online !


Might it just be that after so many supposedly AAA games releasing recently with performance/quality issues that gamers are just waiting for a few weeks/months down the line to see issues ironed out before deciding whether to splash the cash?
I personally think long and hard before I get a game on release day anymore.
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Re: The Fall and Fall of AAA Gaming Sales

Postby Mantis » Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:09 am

It's market forces at work. Make shitty uninspired games and people will eventually get fed up of your crap and stop buying it. I think all of us in this thread have pretty much identified the major reasons behind why sales are stagnating slightly, and we're not even analysts, it's just that obvious. It just doesn't occur to the head honchos of these big companies because they're too busy being concerned with keeping the profit train rolling in the short term.

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