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(Time)   Video game sales are dropping like cement shoes because gamers have discovered a thing called "real life" which includes neat skill trees such as talking, going outside, and being nice to strangers   (business.time.com) divider line 353
    More: Unlikely, technology tree, smart device, gamers, Wii U.  
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4648 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Feb 2013 at 2:30 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-12 08:58:09 PM  
Either that or we are at the end of this console generation and everyone is waiting for the next console release.
 
2013-02-12 09:01:11 PM  
Clearly the being nice to strangers skill tree is underpowered, since no one ever specs that way.
 
2013-02-12 09:02:30 PM  

RexTalionis: Either that or we are at the end of this console generation and everyone is waiting for the next console release.


But that doesn't make a good story!
 
2013-02-12 09:07:53 PM  
Video game sales are dropping like cement shoes because gamers have discovered a thing called "real life" which includes neat skill trees such as talking, going outside, and being nice to strangers  roms
 
wee
2013-02-12 09:09:26 PM  

RexTalionis: Either that or we are at the end of this console generation and everyone is waiting for the next console release.


Or PC games, because PCs can have decent hardware and almost all of them have a non-shiatty input system (which also allows for typing).
 
2013-02-12 09:15:50 PM  
I don't know  subby, Fark's traffic rating is increasing. The nerds have not left the basement.
 
2013-02-12 09:25:43 PM  

RexTalionis: Either that or we are at the end of this console generation and everyone is waiting for the next console release.


Yes, because what's stopping people from paying sixty dollars for games is the looming four-hundred-dollar incremental hardware upgrade.

Console games done goofed. It's pretty much over.  And this is coming from someone who absolutely adores his Vita.
 
2013-02-12 09:28:07 PM  
Personally I'm busy finishing up my degree and waiting for Elder Scrolls Online. The current crop of MMORPGs kinda suck.
 
2013-02-12 09:33:02 PM  
At $60 they cost too much.  And if you buy a game used you don't get all the content unless you pay more $$$ to the company.

Fark that, at $60 new I expect to be able to resell my game and let the buyer get full value from it.
 
2013-02-12 09:41:43 PM  
Sales of consoles are down?  Haven't most consoles been out for a pretty long time?

/Doesn't have a new console.
 
2013-02-12 09:51:49 PM  

Snotnose: At $60 they cost too much.  And if you buy a game used you don't get all the content unless you pay more $$$ to the company.

Fark that, at $60 new I expect to be able to resell my game and let the buyer get full value from it.


At $60, games are actually  below what they should be if the costs had risen with inflation. 15 years ago, games were $50. If they'd kept up with inflation, they should be $71 now. And some games were priced at $50 back in 1990, where it would be $87 in modern money.

That you think video games are more expensive today reflects a lack of understanding of inflation.  Not only that, but thecostof production of video games has skyrocketed since the old days, so the video game companies would be justified in raising prices anyway. Which they haven't, because in inflation-adjusted dollars, video games are cheaper now than ever.
 
2013-02-12 10:02:19 PM  
For me, the problem is that there aren't any new games that I want to play.  I love nintendo, but how many more times can I play virtually the same mario game?  Even the last Zelda was supremely disappointing.

I've been thinking about buying a Wii U, but once again there doesn't seem to be anything out there I feel like playing.
 
2013-02-12 10:02:42 PM  

ihopOVERpancakes: I don't know  subby, Fark's traffic rating is increasing. The nerds have not left the basement.


'Satanists rally for governor' appears to be a key search term for Fark these days.
 
2013-02-12 10:16:04 PM  
I'll go ahead and address the talking points right now:

"Video games are more popular than ever!": Nobody has suggested "video games are dying".  Many of the models synonymous with video games (retail distribution, major game publishing) are in decline.  This is indisputable.

"Games are going digital, so the N.P.D.'s numbers are irrelevant!": They are, and it disproportionately impacts the console and dedicated portable (3DS, Vita) markets.  Not to mention that, even with digital, total game sales in the U.S. were down roughly ten percent for the year.

"Wait until the new consoles come out!": The audiences which were expected to help console video games continue to grow (the Wii boomers) are gone.  People don't want to pay sixty dollars for the software, let alone pay hundreds for new hardware when they can already play games on their existing phone or computer.

Basically, the new digital revolution (mobile gaming, Steam, free-to-play, etc.) has completely redefined what people are willing to pay for a video game, and it's going to disproportionately impact console and dedicated portable video games, the markets which require by-far the most disposable income.  You already own the computer, you already own the phone, and you can get games on both platforms for cheap or nothing.  Meanwhile, console video game developers need millions of people to pay sixty dollars (plus DLC) for their games, and the development of those games is only going to get more expensive next generation.  All the yelling and screaming that video game fans have done about the Wii and Call of Duty crowds, and they've now figured out that they needed those people to keep buying expensive software in order to subsidize the games that enthusiasts enjoy.  They're gone for good.

Or, you can convince yourselves that the disappointing sales of the 3DS, Vita, and Wii U, and the bankruptcy of a billion-dollar game publisher (THQ) are all just a fluke and that everything is going to be back to normal when Microsoft and Sony release their new game consoles.

hb0mb: For me, the problem is that there aren't any new games that I want to play. I love nintendo, but how many more times can I play virtually the same mario game? Even the last Zelda was supremely disappointing.


While I think "same mario game" is disingenuous, and that every Mario game takes on wildly different design choices that fundamentally impact their quality, David Wong pretty much got this right back in 2007: Most people play video games for the novelty and are generally oblivious to the actual quality of the games.  Once they get bored with the novelty, they move on.  The new novelty is "being able to play games on the shiatter" or "play games in your browser at work".  The only new novelty for the foreseeable future is the Oculus Rift, and that's likely going to be a cornerstone of PC gaming.  This novelty in this generation of consoles was "online multiplayer" and "media console functionality", and for the dominant Wii, "motion controls".  The new generation of consoles, so far as I can tell, offers zero new novelty.  So yeah.  There you go.
 
2013-02-12 10:23:09 PM  
God, I feel like crap for writing that all out.  I already know how this thread is going to go.
 
2013-02-12 10:23:31 PM  

Mike_LowELL: People don't want to pay sixty dollars for the software


I blame Steam sales and a weak economy for that. Video games are  cheaper than they've ever been, and as I discussed before, the $60 price point is actually lower than video games should be priced if they'd kept up with inflation.
 
2013-02-12 10:26:33 PM  
Blame Gamefly. I don't play multiplayer games because I'm not 13 any more and there are very few games with a long enough single player campaign or enough replay value to justify dropping $60 on a copy. I can't be the only person who does this - I think pretty much every guy with a live-in  mom girlfriend is in pretty much the same boat. The only games I bought with my PS3 were Madden and MLB The Show since sports games you can play forever. 5 hour long FPSs? Not so much. Even GTA is fun for about a month tops.
 
2013-02-12 10:35:47 PM  
A lot of games now have incredible depth, and/or games release regular expansions that keep people playing, and/or online modes that keep people interested using player vs player combat.

If games give me 20 hours of entertainment each, I need 30 or 40 a year. If they give me 200 hours of entertainment, I only need 3 or 4 a year.
 
2013-02-12 10:40:29 PM  

Rincewind53: I blame Steam sales and a weak economy for that. Video games are cheaper than they've ever been, and as I discussed before, the $60 price point is actually lower than video games should be priced if they'd kept up with inflation.


I don't disagree with you for a second.  I'll still spend sixty dollars on a game if I think it's going to be worth it.  (Last two full-price purchases were Dragon's Dogma and Dishonored, so I'm one-for-two.  Oh, and the Vita.)  Unfortunately, for most everyone else, there's too much free entertainment out there, and a change of perspective ("games actually being quite cheap") isn't going to correct their purchasing habits.
 
2013-02-12 10:41:43 PM  
This is a great time to mention my "Entertainment Value Calculator" when figuring out whether to buy a video game. Basically, figuring that these days, the average cost of a movie is $12, and provides around 2 hours of entertainment, then if a video game is $60, it should provide at a minimum 10 hours of entertainment. If a game only has a six hour single player, and I don't intend to use the multiplayer, I'd wait until the price dropped to at least $36.
 
2013-02-12 10:54:32 PM  
While there are valid points to be made (and already have upthread) I'm going to bring up a point that seems to always be overlooked in these sorts of falling profits analyses from industry insiders: the games aren't as good as they used to be. The only games that I can even remember off the top of my head from 2012 are Borderlands 2, The Walking Dead, XCOM, and Mass Effect 3, and I only remember the latter because it made me decide to never buy another Bioware game. While I think Borderlands 2 is one of the most amazing games of all time, and one that actually did DLC correctly, nothing else from 2012 really stands out.

I'm sure there were other games I bought. I'm looking at the Diablo III icon on my desktop that stopped seeing use a couple weeks after it was installed. Near it is Guild Wars 2, which met a similar fate. I'm not sure what specifically happened last year to gaming, but developers seemed to have forgotten how to make games fun, instead opting towards transparent Skinner boxes and slot-machine DLC mechanics. Nothing was all that memorable.
 
2013-02-12 10:55:17 PM  

Rincewind53: This is a great time to mention my "Entertainment Value Calculator" when figuring out whether to buy a video game. Basically, figuring that these days, the average cost of a movie is $12, and provides around 2 hours of entertainment, then if a video game is $60, it should provide at a minimum 10 hours of entertainment. If a game only has a six hour single player, and I don't intend to use the multiplayer, I'd wait until the price dropped to at least $36.


Hmm. By a $6/hour metric I should never pay more than a few pennies for sex
 
2013-02-12 11:03:09 PM  
Why don't the companies that are "losing" money from second-hand sales just open stores like Gamestop and get all that sweet resell cash for themselves?
 
2013-02-12 11:07:47 PM  

Shaggy_C: Rincewind53: This is a great time to mention my "Entertainment Value Calculator" when figuring out whether to buy a video game. Basically, figuring that these days, the average cost of a movie is $12, and provides around 2 hours of entertainment, then if a video game is $60, it should provide at a minimum 10 hours of entertainment. If a game only has a six hour single player, and I don't intend to use the multiplayer, I'd wait until the price dropped to at least $36.

Hmm. By a $6/hour metric I should never pay more than a few pennies for sex


I'll admit it's only a calculator for electronic entertainment.
 
2013-02-13 12:07:40 AM  

Mike_LowELL: Meanwhile, console video game developers need millions of people to pay sixty dollars (plus DLC) for their games,


Console developers seem convinced that every game will be Halo in terms of sales.

Hopefully they will stop dumbing-down controls and start making PC games again soon, instead of just ports.

Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist: I'm sure there were other games I bought. I'm looking at the Diablo III icon on my desktop that stopped seeing use a couple weeks after it was installed. Near it is Guild Wars 2, which met a similar fate. I'm not sure what specifically happened last year to gaming, but developers seemed to have forgotten how to make games fun, instead opting towards transparent Skinner boxes and slot-machine DLC mechanics. Nothing was all that memorable.


I feel a little dirty admitting it, but I've been playing the hell out of Mass Effect multiplayer. But I sure as hell have not spent real money on equipment.

And I have my own private theory as to the plot of ME3:

Shepard, the Illusive Man, and Anderson are all the same person. The latter two are split personalities inside Shepard's skull. The game makes a lot more sense that way.
 
2013-02-13 12:13:18 AM  
I kinda wish I still played video games. My PS2 and Xbox both died a couple months apart and never got back into it. And nearly everything now seems to require internet connectivity at a speed greater than I have. So I just read these threads and wonder what happened after MGS III, Halo 2, and what the GTA after vice city was like. The Hitmans were fun.
 
2013-02-13 12:18:55 AM  
Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist:
I'm sure there were other games I bought. I'm looking at the Diablo III icon on my desktop that stopped seeing use a couple weeks after it was installed. Near it is Guild Wars 2, which met a similar fate. I'm not sure what specifically happened last year to gaming, but developers seemed to have forgotten how to make games fun, instead opting towards transparent Skinner boxes and slot-machine DLC mechanics. Nothing was all that memorable.

They're not console games, but I know a few people who are basically taking a break from gaming, after feeling they got burned on Diablo III and Knights of the Old Republic.  Which should have been two of the biggest releases of the decade.
 
2013-02-13 12:26:12 AM  

Sgt Otter: feeling they got burned on Diablo III and Knights of the Old Republic. Which should have been two of the biggest releases of the decade.


Blizzard couldn't release a decent game at this point if their lives depended on it. SC2 was so f*cking painful. Cliches and bad, dated graphics all around. I didn't even look at Diablo 3. It makes me very concerned for Bethesda getting into this MMORPG nonsense.

"Hey guys, we no longer have any incentive to make awesome, immersive single-player games due to this hoard of MMORPG-tards shelling out $20/month for our treasure-hoarding simulator!"
 
2013-02-13 01:34:13 AM  
I just got tired of gaming. I wasn't very hardcore to begin with, but I spent plenty of time on any sort of PC-based flying or space game. Exploration games like GTA and Fallout are fun, too, but it seems like too many developers are phoning it in or there's so much executive meddling that the product is just lackluster for the price. That and all of us are trying to be Superparents because our wives heard about such things on Pinterest.
 
2013-02-13 02:28:20 AM  
It's because the developers only make what sells - zombie games, sports games, and shooters for the 360 and Mario games/ported flash game packs for the Wii. And since those are the only things made, those are the only things that sell.

I get FAR more utility out of old games (I'm working on a custom retro build using an old Celeron 256 CPU I got at a yardsale) rather than the newest installment of a franchise series. Emulators, Steam, my soon-to-be-finished retro machine (not even connecting it to the net, so it should run indefinitely as long as I take care of it), and my N64 provide all the entertainment I really need for video games.
 
2013-02-13 02:32:02 AM  
It's the big pause between breaths before Fallout 4 hits.
 
2013-02-13 02:36:42 AM  

Mike_LowELL: God, I feel like crap for writing that all out.  I already know how this thread is going to go.


I hate it when you break character.  Takes me completely out of the moment.
 
2013-02-13 02:40:19 AM  

Rincewind53: Snotnose: At $60 they cost too much.  And if you buy a game used you don't get all the content unless you pay more $$$ to the company.

Fark that, at $60 new I expect to be able to resell my game and let the buyer get full value from it.

At $60, games are actually  below what they should be if the costs had risen with inflation. 15 years ago, games were $50. If they'd kept up with inflation, they should be $71 now. And some games were priced at $50 back in 1990, where it would be $87 in modern money.

That you think video games are more expensive today reflects a lack of understanding of inflation.  Not only that, but thecostof production of video games has skyrocketed since the old days, so the video game companies would be justified in raising prices anyway. Which they haven't, because in inflation-adjusted dollars, video games are cheaper now than ever.


img.godevice.com

/true story
 
2013-02-13 02:42:32 AM  
This is the longest console generation ever. It takes immense resources to make a AAA title anymore, and because it is so expensive the games themselves aren't as expansive as they were last generation.

Every company is gearing up for their next generation, which means that this trend is only going to increase. Meanwhile, gamers are stuck waiting for worthwhile releases on the newest hardware. Somewhere along the way, companies have forgotten that people buy these things to play video games on.

And that's the cycle: Company releases new hardware without worthwhile games, developers work longer and harder to create less worthwhile games, nobody buys anything, companies and developers misinterpret that information and use it to make even more stupid business decisions going forward.
 
2013-02-13 02:49:20 AM  
Well, as a PC player, I generally don't buy titles at launch unless it's something I really want.  Otherwise, I wait a while for the price to drop, especially if the game is available on Steam and is likely to be discounted during the summer and winter sales.

Also, I'm not going to buy new games at launch if I'm still busy with other games.  My Skyrim campaign is over 200 hours, and I'm not even at the civil war quest line yet.

/got burned a few times on launch day buys, too.  I'm looking at you, Treyarch.
 
2013-02-13 02:51:51 AM  
Or maybe there's more people like me, who have no life but are unemployed and are playing free games like MUDs or Eve, where I can use money I make I game to pay for my subscription.
 
2013-02-13 02:52:45 AM  
My son's video game consoles started collecting dust when he got a cell phone he could surf the internet on.
 
2013-02-13 02:53:58 AM  

Rincewind53: This is a great time to mention my "Entertainment Value Calculator" when figuring out whether to buy a video game. Basically, figuring that these days, the average cost of a movie is $12, and provides around 2 hours of entertainment


I do that too, but honestly, theater movies have a lousy value per unit time. Libraries offer unlimited entertainment for free. Cable TV and Netflix offer unlimited entertainment after the initial monthly fee. With a lot of hobbies you actually wind up with something of greater value than you started with.
 
2013-02-13 02:54:05 AM  

State_College_Arsonist: Well, as a PC player, I generally don't buy titles at launch unless it's something I really want. Otherwise, I wait a while for the price to drop, especially if the game is available on Steam and is likely to be discounted during the summer and winter sales.


With the sheer amount of DLC that companies are developing at this point, it would be stupid for anyone to buy any game at launch nowadays. Why would you buy a game today when six months down the line, you'll be able to buy it and its hundred dollars worth of DLC for a $40 GOTY edition?
 
2013-02-13 02:57:32 AM  

Znuh: It's the big pause between breaths before Fallout 4 hits.


HURRY UP, BETHESDA!
 
2013-02-13 03:03:21 AM  

Krieghund: If games give me 20 hours of entertainment each, I need 30 or 40 a year. If they give me 200 hours of entertainment, I only need 3 or 4 a year.


This.  My problem is, thanks to Steam, I have 30 to 40 games a year that all give me 100+ hours of entertainment, and I don't have anywhere near enough time to play them all.
 
2013-02-13 03:04:58 AM  

State_College_Arsonist: Well, as a PC player, I generally don't buy titles at launch unless it's something I really want.  Otherwise, I wait a while for the price to drop, especially if the game is available on Steam and is likely to be discounted during the summer and winter sales.

Also, I'm not going to buy new games at launch if I'm still busy with other games.  My Skyrim campaign is over 200 hours, and I'm not even at the civil war quest line yet.

/got burned a few times on launch day buys, too.  I'm looking at you, Treyarch.


Dafuq!?  I'm at about 270 hours in Skyrim and I've played through fully with 2 characters and am about 75% through a 3rd character playthrough with some new mods and quests installed.

Even with mods, what did you find to do for 200 hours with just one character?
 
2013-02-13 03:06:50 AM  
If they're looking to boost sales for the old consoles before the next gen hits, perhaps they could bring over some of that Japan Only content. Translate and release a few 'Pachinko Parlor' games, a few Visual Novels (like Clannad or Kanon), and a good Mahjongg game (not the tile matching bullshiat that they call 'mahjongg', real riichi mahjongg). And doing things like making Minecraft an Xbox exclusive didn't help matters either.

Rincewind53:  At $60, games are actually  below what they should be if the costs had risen with inflation. 15 years ago, games were $50. If they'd kept up with inflation, they should be $71 now. And some games were priced at $50 back in 1990, where it would be $87 in modern money.

And if my paycheck had ALSO risen with inflation, instead of remaining pretty much flat...

/and any small increase that I did get was more than gobbled up by the rise in the cost of food and gas
 
2013-02-13 03:12:01 AM  

ihopOVERpancakes: I don't know  subby, Fark's traffic rating is increasing. The nerds have not left the basement.


It's nasty out there. There's sunlight and ..

GIRLS

// draws shades back over basement windows.
 
2013-02-13 03:16:19 AM  

Mike_LowELL: RexTalionis: Either that or we are at the end of this console generation and everyone is waiting for the next console release.

Yes, because what's stopping people from paying sixty dollars for games is the looming four-hundred-dollar incremental hardware upgrade.

Console games done goofed. It's pretty much over.  And this is coming from someone who absolutely adores his Vita

Really?

People have been predicting that longer than "this is the year of the Linux Desktop"! The last 3 decades of reality begs to differ.
 
2013-02-13 03:21:41 AM  
There's a lot of factors at play (many that have already been mentioned):

-We're at the end of the current generation of consoles so of course the 360 and ps3 sales are declining.  Most people that would buy them already own them.

-A lot of people felt burnt by the Wii.  It was gimmick that a lot of people got sick of real fast.  A lot of people are not willing to give Nintendo a second chance. (although I will say I like the WiiU better)

-Publishers don't want to take risks anymore.  They only want to stick with sure things, existing IP's.  They know Halo and CoD will garner them x dollars, but no named RPG is a crapshoot.

-The expectations of quality in games for AAA titles skyrocketed and now there are teams of hundreds working on projects with multiple year development cycles.  That is simply unsustainable for the long run for most games because they all won't be hits.

-Too many money guys have moved into the gaming industry and taken over.  They've always existed, but it's just gotten worse the more lucrative the industry has become.  There are too many people who don't play games and know nothing about the product who are making decisions about what to green light and how much money is spent on each project.  This is very similar to the film industry, in fact there's a ton of Hollywood people in the games business these days.  And everyone is trying to cross-promote!

-The free to play model and mobile games temporarily artificially inflated the numbers.  Sure the shift in the industry towards these types of games has expanded the market, but now the money guys all want to gravitate towards catering towards this fickle non-loyal audience who only want to slide their finger across their phone while sitting on the toilet for 10 minutes a day.  The majority of this market isn't buying a console.

-Gamefly means people don't have to buy games.

-Gamestop means people can get used copies for cheaper devaluing the product completely.

-Steam means people can get cheaper games.

-The economy is poor and people simply can't justify spending as much on "luxury" items at this time.

-Financial "losses" based on projections based on the notion that you always have to do better than the previous year's same quarter by x percent is not necessarily a loss and the fact that businesses base their decisions on these factors is unsustainable because you can't always incrementally increase profit margins.  Basing things solely on the numbers to reach your projections is a financial science of sorts, but it doesn't take other factors into consideration.

-There's an over-saturation of the market.  There are so many companies and individuals making games these days that we're overloaded with them.  Not everyone is going to succeed and make money, there are going to be losers and it's going to eat into everyone's profit margins.

This happened in the 80's too when the industry crashed.  There were too many money guys, an over-saturation of the marketplace, a bunch of crappy games and gimmicks, and people all thought video games were dead.  Nintendo changed that when they brought the Famicon to the US and released it as the NES.  It was something new and innovative for its time.  Hopefully we'll see something similar happen here soon.
 
2013-02-13 03:23:43 AM  

Snotnose: At $60 they cost too much.  And if you buy a game used you don't get all the content unless you pay more $$$ to the company.

Fark that, at $60 new I expect to be able to resell my game and let the buyer get full value from it.


I remember NES games that cost $60 in the 80s.
 
2013-02-13 03:26:53 AM  
LoL
 
2013-02-13 03:39:05 AM  
THE PC SHALL RISE AGAIN!
 
2013-02-13 03:45:13 AM  
XBOX 360. Released  November 16, 2005. Still costs on average over 250 dollars.

/Games be too damned expensive.
 
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