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General: Call of Money

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Today, MMORPG.com columnist Scott Jennings devotes his column to a single thought: Activision lowers the boom on Infinity Ward, and illustrates a fundamental problem with game development.

Scott Jennings

Activision lowers the boom on Infinity Ward, and illustrates a fundamental problem with game development.

If you’ve been here before, you may remember that I’ve talked about the Modern Warfare series once before in my column. Although Modern Warfare isn’t an MMO (although it has some of the design features found in an MMO, such as a limited version of character persistence and progression), its creators, Infinity Ward, are responsible for one of the hugest selling videogames of all time. Alongside the now-slumping but previously huge Guitar Hero series and an online game company you may have heard of once or twice, it helped to make Activision one of the largest and most successful video game publishers.

Read Call of Money.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • sacredfoolsacredfool prague, TXPosts: 760Member Uncommon

    Now... all this is nice.. but I sure as hell am able to predict neither of those so nicely kicked has learned anything  and will go to EA or SOE only to get kicked again.



    because the "high-profile" devs live of the publishers, and when one contract gets broken, they sign a next pact with the devil for cash just as big.



    I would be genuinely surprised if  any of them agreed to work with a smaller Dev studio for less cash, even if it meant greater stability.



    Simply put... the devs don't learn from their mistakes, so they allow the publishers to exploit them. Had the Devs learned and all the big publishers would be left with unskilled Devs, such practices would cease.


    Originally posted by nethaniah

    Seriously Farmville? Yeah I think it's great. In a World where half our population is dying of hunger the more fortunate half is spending their time harvesting food that doesn't exist.


  • fanitafanita DinglePosts: 36Member

    I love journalism like this, it gets me all angry and sweaty! Thatcher needs ousting!

  • LobotomistLobotomist ZagrebPosts: 5,049Member Uncommon

    @Scott

    WORD

     

    Can i make that even bigger?

    Never was a truer article written on this site.

     

    Thats why i say to all:

    Support indies.

    Buy Darkfall , Fallen Earth , EVE , Turbine ( yes they are also independent )

    Mortal , Dawntide .... whatever. Single player indy games - They are cheap. Support them!

     

    I read few days ago a shocking article about game developers in Japan. Who work 100 hours week , and are payed barely enough to survive.

    Game development is quickly starting to be least desirable job for a programmer. Even to point of avoiding it at all costs.

     

    It is all because of those corporate bloodsuckers.

    Game Industry made more than film industry in last few years. Yet I never read about actors or film people complaining about job loss, bad pay.

    Whats wrong in that picture ?

     

    With digital distribution WE DO NOT NEED PUBLISHERS ANYMORE!

     

    And we certanly do not need overbudget eye candy games with shallow gameplay.

     

     

    Vote with your wallet!

     

    image

  • JpizzleJpizzle PORT SAINT LUCIE, FLPosts: 371Member

    God, I love your articles. Even when I don’t agree w/ them.

    And yes… until Developers stop taking the bait from Publishers, we’ll end up w/ more rushed, incomplete, quarterly-report oriented games.

    While it takes money to make money, it doesn’t make sense to me to get into business with companies that are known for their apathetic attitude towards their developers and more importantly, their customers. Especially in this industry where selling boxes is only a small fraction of the equation. Community, longevity, support and enthusiasm are all heavily weighed by the majority of mmo gamers. And even more heavily weighed in the most important part of each games’ acceptance: word of mouth.


    To take it one step further: when these shallow, empty, flash-in-the-pan games are released (*waves to Cryptic*), they don’t keep the attention of the hardcore player. Which, by my definition are the players that create the fansites. The players that lead large and small guilds. The players that give a part of their life over to the community of the game, beyond just “logging in and raiding”.

    Publishers are so out of touch. I just can’t wrap my head around developers that get into bed with them. Knowing full-well that creating games is something a developer does b/c they love it and these large Publishers will shit all over that love and ruin it.

  • Praxus1874Praxus1874 Taylorsville, UTPosts: 152Member

     Your reference to Radiohead and NIN was spot-on.  The middle man needs to be ousted from the process of media.  There is no need for them at this point, given that we have the technology to replace them.  The only thing they can provide is money, which, while necessary in most cases, doesn't justify their use.  

    I would rather buy a game/album/movie if I knew my money was going into the hand of the artist.  It's only a matter of time before digital distribution overshadows and eventually dismantles the traditional retail model, in my opinion.

    Prax 

  • Pokota3Pokota3 Beaverton, ORPosts: 3Member

    I do agree with most of this article, we complain a lot and still pay through the nose if it's a game/community we like. So, if you believe in the developers, and not the publishers who are out to get your wallets anyways, mark these words and support indies as they come! We do need a change badly.

  • CymTyrCymTyr Vancouver, WAPosts: 166Member

    I agree with your article, but  until the gamers start actually doing things the right way, the publishers will not change the formula.

    image

  • RavingRabbidRavingRabbid Virginia beach, VAPosts: 1,128Member Uncommon

    Good article! Blizzard, SOE, NCsoft and any F2P company  has gotten too big for it own good and have forgotten theplayer base. They create easy to play games and people started copycat the the games. There are developers attempting to adjust and compensate but im I think its too late.

    You do need money to make games, but to to companies out there dont hurry your games. Take your time and put lots of content and more content and the money will come as well as a long lasting player base!

    (BBBBBBBBBBBBBWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH dances with Miranda of Mass Effect 2!)

    All my opinions are just that..opinions. If you like my opinions..coolness.If you dont like my opinion....I really dont care.
    Playing: SWTOR, ESO, WOT, and Marvel Heroes

  • GufufawugGufufawug WashingtonPosts: 12Member

    Loved reading that article. Its a shame that activision has done this, dam bloody publishers, not much that can be done though. Personally, im not going to buy the new cods, and i doubt they will be any better than they are now anyways.

  • CodenakCodenak HullPosts: 418Member Common

    Agree wholeheartedly with your article. Studio's, go the CCP route, own your games, don't sign it away to publishers who only understand box sales and who don't care about the games they sell, as long as they can sell them.

  • mmosnarkmmosnark Columnist maynard, MAPosts: 24Member

    Nicely written Scott. Good job.

    I particularly liked the link to Schafer's awesome tweet.

  • tehikktehikk Mound, MNPosts: 497Member

    Hurray for SCOTTY!

    Good article man...

    "The question that sometimes drives me hazy: Am I, or the others crazy?" - Albert Einstein

  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member

    Time = money, whether you are developing for a publisher or independantly, it still costs the same amount.

    And I doubt anyone here would settle for less than what they get from existing MMOs on the market, which are primarily done by publishers.

  • CodenakCodenak HullPosts: 418Member Common
    Originally posted by bobfish


    Time = money, whether you are developing for a publisher or independantly, it still costs the same amount.
    And I doubt anyone here would settle for less than what they get from existing MMOs on the market, which are primarily done by publishers.

    STO? (Wonder if this will become another lesson to upcoming game designers)

  • dterrydterry Greenbrier, ARPosts: 449Member

    Good article as always but...

     

    Isn't this a bit of a utopian idea?

    If developers had money they wouldn't need publishers. Someone, somewhere has to supply the cash behind the game - even indie game studios have to find some kind of investment.

     

    And so the great cycle of life continues.

     

    I'd bet that even indie game studios can run into these same issues albeit on a smaller scale.

  • Lord.BachusLord.Bachus Den HelderPosts: 9,064Member Uncommon

    Its these people that make sure that in 3 years every MMO costs 50 bucks a box with a 30 bucks expansion every 6 months and one extra adventure every month  that cost like 6 to 10 bucks... And then there will be the item shop that takes up to $50 or more to be even competitive... On top of that there will be merchandise and other things to make money from and offcourse a $20 a month subscription..

     

    While both the developers and players cry because another great MMO just failed..

     

    I bet Activision is allready pushing Blizzard to add a real item shop to their game, and they will use the situation over at the modern warfare team as an excample to put presure on teh Blizzard CEO's

     

    I tell you we are all doomed.... Goldsellers are the least of our problems

    Best MMO experiences : EQ(PvE), DAoC(PvP), WoW(total package) LOTRO (worldfeel) GW2 (Artstyle and animations and worlddesign) SWTOR (Story immersion) TSW (story) ESO (character advancement)

  • UnSubUnSub PerthPosts: 252Member

    This special message OP was brought to you by an NCsoft employee.

    I agree that it's a nice ideal, but either players have to accept less features with their independent "AAA" titles or independent studios already need to be rolling around in cash for it to happen. Both are pretty unlikely.

  • TookyGTookyG Warhammer Online Correspondent Alameda, CAPosts: 1,188Member
    Originally posted by Lobotomist


    Support indies.
    Buy Darkfall , Fallen Earth , EVE , Turbine ( yes they are also independent )
    Mortal , Dawntide .... whatever. Single player indy games - They are cheap. Support them!

    Indeed!

    Until you cancel your subscription, you are only helping to continue the cycle of mediocrity.

  • EricDanieEricDanie Rio de JaneiroPosts: 2,238Member

    I saw COD:MW2 getting ported to the PC with no dedicated servers, costing $60 and thought "haha, no thank you".

    March 5th comes out BFBC2 and I'll be there.

  • randelreissrandelreiss San Carlos, CAPosts: 1Member

    STOP BLAMING PUBLISHERS

    Publishers are good for our industry.  They risk huge amounts of cash on high risk games.

    BLAME THE FOUNDERS

    Every acquired developer has 2 to 6 founders who each made around $1,000,000, each, at the time of acquisition.  They signed documents with the acquiring publisher that clearly stated in legalese "I, the developer's founder, assure the publishers, that these hard working 50 people who work for me will be happy to just have average paying jobs and you can fire them any old time you want and I won't care cuz I got this money."

    Randel Reiss, Game Industry-vet

  • SteamRangerSteamRanger Great Northwest, WAPosts: 920Member Uncommon

    Part of the problem is publishers' drive to turn every game into a MMO. A good example of this is Hellgate: London. The game installs two distinct clients, a single-player and a multiplayer. Flagship, despite management inadequacies, would have had a far better outcome had they simply created a well-supported single-player title without trying to cash in on some imaginary online playerbase with unlimited cash to fling at them.

    A current example is Star Trek Online, which could be an outstanding single-player experience, but is tragically wedded to the MMO model. Time will tell what the final chapter of this one will look like.

    "Soloists and those who prefer small groups should never have to feel like they''re the ones getting the proverbial table scraps, as it were." - Scott Hartsman, Senior Producer, Everquest II
    "People love groups. Its a fallacy that people want to play solo all the time." - Scott Hartsman, Executive Producer, Rift

  • HedeonHedeon GraestedPosts: 954Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by UnSub


    This special message OP was brought to you by an NCsoft employee.
    I agree that it's a nice ideal, but either players have to accept less features with their independent "AAA" titles or independent studios already need to be rolling around in cash for it to happen. Both are pretty unlikely.

     

    yep could ask OP if he himself would dare to go into a project knowing he only got paid IF the game became a succes - success in terms giving a proper sales, and on top had to work for free till release,...

    other than that....sc*biiip* the coporate world :P

  • SteamRangerSteamRanger Great Northwest, WAPosts: 920Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by randelreiss


    STOP BLAMING PUBLISHERS
    Publishers are good for our industry.  They risk huge amounts of cash on high risk games.
    BLAME THE FOUNDERS
    Every acquired developer has 2 to 6 founders who each made around $1,000,000, each, at the time of acquisition.  They signed documents with the acquiring publisher that clearly stated in legalese "I, the developer's founder, assure the publishers, that these hard working 50 people who work for me will be happy to just have average paying jobs and you can fire them any old time you want and I won't care cuz I got this money."
    Randel Reiss, Game Industry-vet

    I have long suspected this to be the reality behind the recent failures of Mythic and Cryptic.

     

    "Soloists and those who prefer small groups should never have to feel like they''re the ones getting the proverbial table scraps, as it were." - Scott Hartsman, Senior Producer, Everquest II
    "People love groups. Its a fallacy that people want to play solo all the time." - Scott Hartsman, Executive Producer, Rift

  • CodenakCodenak HullPosts: 418Member Common
    Originally posted by randelreiss


    STOP BLAMING PUBLISHERS
    Publishers are good for our industry.  They risk huge amounts of cash on high risk games.
    BLAME THE FOUNDERS
    Randel Reiss, Game Industry-vet

     

    How about we blame them both as we see fit to aportion the blame, each of us according to their beliefs?

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,183Member Uncommon

    Kotick makes the EA suits look like the good guys.  It remains to be seen if he can run this company into the ground like the EA suits have done.

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