Epic is butthurt over mobile gaming

dib

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Here's the part posted to QJ:
QUOTE said:
Epic Games president Mike Capps has commented on the current state of the gaming industry, saying that its increasingly difficult to convince customers to shell out US$ 60 for a game when you have a wave of 99-cent apps ready for the picking.

“We have not been this uncertain about what's coming next in the games industry since Epic's been around for 20 years," he said in an interview with IndustryGamers. "We're at such an inflection point. Will there be physical distribution in 10 years or even five? Will anyone care about the next console generation? What's going on in PC? Can you make money on PC if it's not a connected game? What's going on in mobile?

"Tons of really scary things," he adds. "It used to be, 'Well, of course PlayStation 3 will be successful because PS2 was amazingly successful.' But can you say for sure that you know everyone's going to jump to the next generation? I sure hope so – I'm going to try to make some great tech that will make everyone want to. But it's scary.

"If there's anything that's killing us [in the traditional games business] it's dollar apps," he lamented. "How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it ... They're used to 99 cents. As I said, it's an uncertain time in the industry. But it's an exciting time for whoever picks the right path and wins."

http://www.qj.net/iphone/news/epic-games-d...killing-us.html

It's worth noting the hypocrisy at work, because Epic is already poised to become the go-to guys for high quality graphics on mobiles by moving the Unreal 3 engine to them. Infinity Blade is probably the most spectacular game around in terms of pure eyecandy, and runs their engine. They also produced a free demo called Epic Citadel that's essentially a sales pitch for others to license their engine.

Now moving on to his concerns about how they're dieing over this, let's take a closer look at Infinity Blade.

It retails for $5.99 on Apple's store. According to Game Center, there are over 1.3 million scores currently being tracked. According to Appshopper, it has only gone on sale once for a period of five days from March 02-07.

So these are the assumptions I'm going to make: 1) the vast majority of customers purchased the game at full price. 2) While the Game Center stats cannot convey positive sales figures due to piracy, we also need to account for the fact that not everybody who buys it also uses Game Center. So we subtract some from column A, but add from column B and it may just balance out.

For every sale, 30% goes to Apple which is roughly $2. That leaves $4 for Chair. According to the licensing terms of the Unreal 3 engine, Epic collects 25% of their revenue after the first $50K. This means Chair pocketed the first 12,500 sales of Infinite Blade, and afterward have been paying Epic $1 per sale. That leaves them with $3 in profit.

So at the absolute best, Chair has fallen short of $4 million, and at worst we can estimate somewhere around $3 to $3.5 million. Even after you deduct salary and operating expenses (which are minimized because Apple operates the store--hence their cut) that's still a lot of money. And this isn't even taking into account their in-app sales--the success and extent of which is anybody's guess. In other words, all these micro sales add up to formidable profit.

And all the while, Epic is in the enviable position of collecting money for doing nothing past developing the engine that the game runs on. From Infinity Blade alone, they've pocketed over a million dollars. Perhaps its not enough for everybody to own personal jets, but I don't think they're in danger of going bust any time soon. Looking at Infinity Blade, one might argue that they stand to make more money than ever thanks to mobile gaming.
 

CherrySkitty

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99 cent games = games meant for casual gamers or lazy people xD.
"normal games" = games meant for casual gamers or hardcore gamers.

You can't compare both
laugh.gif
 

lordrand11

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I still prefer my console games and PSP and DS games over 1$ games that are reminiscent of the old atari days on the iphone.
 

Rydian

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The problem is every game nowadays is trying to be a AAA title, with voice acting and pre-rendered cutscenes and all this other expensive shit, when half the time the gameplay itself is "meh".

Companies could cut their costs in half or more by cutting out the other shit and focusing on the gameplay.

I mean, there's some free flash games I'll play more than a lot of $60 titles for modern consoles. :\

The companies are just getting worried now that people have other outlets for entertainment, they don't HAVE to pay $60 for a game because there's cheaper alternatives, and sometimes the game is actually more fun.
 

CherrySkitty

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QUOTE said:
The problem is every game nowadays is trying to be a AAA title, with voice acting and pre-rendered cutscenes and all this other expensive shit, when half the time the gameplay itself is "meh".

Companies could cut their costs in half or more by cutting out the other shit and focusing on the gameplay.

I mean, there's some free flash games I'll play more than a lot of $60 titles for modern consoles. :\

The companies are just getting worried now that people have other outlets for entertainment, they don't HAVE to pay $60 for a game because there's cheaper alternatives, and sometimes the game is actually more fun.

This!
They are trying to copy Kingdom Hearts (?) nah jk, but what you said is true and sometimes flash games can be much funnier.

But as I said you can't really compare them. AND 99 cents games are targeted to a different demographics imo...
 

raulpica

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Rydian said:
Companies could cut their costs in half or more by cutting out the other shit and focusing on the gameplay.

I mean, there's some free flash games I'll play more than a lot of $60 titles for modern consoles. :\
Same here. I'm happy that they've noticed it. I'm not spending more than $10 on a game lately. And software houses should start doing cheap titles.

If every game out there was $5-10, piracy would be already dead. Who cares about graphics!
tongue.gif

Look at the awesome indie games you can find on Steam. Great games, cheap price, and awesome gameplay.
 

shakirmoledina

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i think this issue is overrated without looking at the reasons/solutions correctly. Rydian put it very well.
Maybe since the ipod/iphone are still developing hence new games seem interesting but the price of console games is still not worth. Decrease it to around 30 to 40 maximum and definitely there will be no complain because i have not seen a single game that can impress me for a long time on the ipod/iphone.
Its all about priorities that is put on games (console) and mobile games (apple ofcourse).

Imagine if the 3DS had downloadable games like the apple library (price wise) maxing at 10 dollars. U really think that the sales would remain as they are now? definitely they would be much much better.

But on the other side, i cant understand how a game can cost 99 cents with all the production costs. Is it true that console/pc/handheld games are over priced even when comparing them to the production costs. Could they really sell for less than they are without causing considerable losses? And how much profit is from 99 cents games?
 

Hop2089

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There are no games that are 99 cents worth playing unless it's a classic game for the Atari or an Apple II game such as Oregon Trail. I'll be shelling out $70-$90 for actual games that are good thank you very much.
 

machomuu

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I hate mobile games, they should just be free for the most part. I mean seriously, Some developers over at Newgrounds.com make free flash games 100x better than the ones you have to pay for.
 

Foxi4

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I linked only Gameloft ones because they were all related videos and I was truly too lazy to look for games from different companies.

I do enjoy a flash game now and then. Loved the Madness game - I'm convinced I'd pay for it if I had to.
 

syko5150

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I can't speak for the rest of you, but I prefer hard copies of a game even if it costs $59 more. I don't play games on my phone. That's not to say there aren't good games on a phone, but I'm not interested in playing them. I use my Phone for music, text, and calls and I'll use my dedicated gaming devices for playing games. $60 isn't that much and I honestly don't know why anyone complains about the price. In the NES days games were $50 in a time where $50 was a lot more than it is now and not to mention that stores would sell games like The Legend of Zelda for $80-$100 because of popular demand and being hard to find.
 

machomuu

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Foxi4 said:
I linked only Gameloft ones because they were all related videos and I was truly too lazy to look for games from different companies.

I do enjoy a flash game now and then. Loved the Madness game - I'm convinced I'd pay for it if I had to.
But you shouldn't have to pay for a game that short, and that's part of the reason you don't. Moreover, there are games like Epic Battle Fantasy, Road of the Dead, Time Fcuk, and Toss the Turtle are all great Flash games that are free, but most Mobile games of their quality aren't especially ones similar to Toss the Turtle.
 

Foxi4

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Personally I believe it is about time to make our consoles, phones, palmtops, music players and GPS systems have group sex and spawn a device that'll do all that.

The technology can already lift that easily, and in my honest opinion:

1. More functions means better.
2. Carrying one device instead of a gajizzilion is better.
3. More functions require better hardware, better hardware leads to better execution of the mentioned functions.

Give me all that, decent battery life and I will buy 5 units just to prove a point.

EDIT: That is correct, mahomuu. It's also a reason why shitty games, with which the mobile market is saturated, DON'T sell all that well. Angry Birds is an exception for some *bizzare* reason that I cannot understand. The idea behind pricing even the worst crap is to kick-start the mobile games industry. Currently, developers think: "Hmm... mobile game... okay, we'll cook something up quick and price it 10 bucks", while the hardware can pull off really *good* games, easily comparable with DS or early PSP games. It's just that they don't generate profit *yet*. People need to welcome the mobile games market, then the devs will start *giving a shit*. That's why I'm rooting for Xperia Play.
 

dib

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Foxi4 said:
Personally I believe it is about time to make our consoles, phones, palmtops, music players and GPS systems have group sex and spawn a device that'll do all that.
They already have that: it's called an iPhone. Get with the times.

It's statements like this that lead me to believe you don't really have any idea what you're talking about:
QUOTE said:
It's also a reason why shitty games, with which the mobile market is saturated, DON'T sell all that well.
More saturated than the Nintendo DS, home of dozens of shovelware games being released every week?

Don't sell all that well? Even a simple game like Doodle Fit has sold upwards of eighty thousand units. That's not too bad for something that most novice programmers could have produced, and was likely some guy's personal project.

QUOTE
Angry Birds is an exception for some *bizzare* reason that I cannot understand.
Then you're the only one. There is a snowball effect in action throughout the market. Most companies have identified this phenomenon and target it. That's why Apple recently began reorganizing their app store to downplay the total number of downloads--they were getting so good at it, it became an exploit.
 

Wintrale

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dib said:
They already have that: it's called an iPhone. Get with the times.

Oh lulz. The entire iOS brand - poster child for "how to sell stuff for far more than its worth and still get people who buy them".

QUOTE said:
More saturated than the Nintendo DS, home of dozens of shovelware games being released every week?

Yes, the iOS is far more saturated with crap than the DS. It also has far less decent games and nowhere near as many excellent games. Apple's approach to the mobile gaming market is no different to how Atari handled the video game market - with no limit on the number of submissions and no quality control, anyone can get anything published on the App Store - and we all saw what happened in '83. The mobile market will have a crash of its own and Apple will be the ones to blame.

QUOTE
Don't sell all that well? Even a simple game like Doodle Fit has sold upwards of eighty thousand units. That's not too bad for something that most novice programmers could have produced, and was likely some guy's personal project.

Doodle Fit, a minigame being sold for 59p with £3.57 worth of "DLC" that only adds a couple of themes, unlocks all the levels and grants unlimited hints. Even if I were generous and said it has sold 100'000 times, that's still only £59'000. Of which even DS games only need to sell 2'000 copies to exceed. The large numbers might look impressive on paper, but they're not. 59p for a minigame isn't much of an investment, which is also why the popularity of Angry Birds is grossly overstated. I'm pretty sure most were like yours truly, who bought it while on the loo out of boredom and hasn't touched it since.
 

DSGamer64

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Zorua said:
Meh, I don't give a damn.
Who prefers 99 cent games over 360 and PS3 games?
Uhh, some mobile games have as much play value as 60 dollar big budget console titles. Eventually it will get to the point where portable apps can outlast some console games and I think that's already starting to become true. I bet more people have sunk more time into playing a game like Angry Birds or Plants vs Zombies then the average Call of Duty fan does every 6 months when the next game comes out.

Cheap mobile games are great but I don't think they will have too much of an impact on the console and PC aspect of gaming. The market is horrible over saturated and there really aren't a lot of great games on the App Store. You get those big hits like Angry Birds and then you wind up with 10,000 imitations that all suck ass, that's one issue about it is the lack of control and that it's free reign for every Joe Blow to create some half assed micro game and sell it for a buck.
 

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