'Only 80 Games a Year Will Succeed'

Obvious article from some site…


So its not just PC games having problems?

all teh gamez r dying!11


How many movies a year turn a profit?

edit: found a quote from Jack Valenti on the topic, sort of

Only two in ten films ever retrieve their production and marketing investment from domestic theatrical exhibition

Well duh, considering that domestic theatrical exhibition is only ~20% of a typical film’s revenues. That’s like saying that only 2 in 10 games recoup from Wal-Mart revenues alone.

See Joel Bakan et al for a full and detailed explanation of the why.

Only 80 mainstream AAA games a year will succeed.

Sort of depends on the def. of success, here defined in purely Hollywood terms - someone like Jeff Vogel’s doing okay and he’s light years at the other end of this scale. John Tiller and HPS Sims, Battlefront, etc.

I’m shocked the number is that high… 80 sounds like a lot to me.

If you mean “makes millions of dollars in profit”, then sure, almost no indie games will. But that is a crap metric – good for impressing people with big numbers but not much else.

From the point of view of a developer who wants to make a good livelihood, a much better metric is something like Profit Per Man-Day Spent Working on the Game… which tells you ideally, in some fantasy world where everyone shares in profit equally, how much money per year or whatever each person would get.

So if a game takes 100 people 3 years to develop and publish, it needs to make 100 times as much money as a game that takes 3 people 1 year. So if a AAA game makes $20 million in profit (a lot!), the scaled profit for an indie game would be $200k (also a lot! for an indie game but not unreasonable… it’s what, 50k-75k copies given an online distribution model that gives the developer a decent cut?).

The only thing that makes the AAA games more financially appealing market-wise is that there’s a fat slob at the top who just wants to rape everybody else. (Personified as some combination of investor + publisher).

But as a guy making an indie game with a staff of 1 + outsourced work… I will be happy with $100k for the initial game.

Yes even for a hard core gamer like myself that’s way more than the game a week average.
Even if only 80 games a year “succeed”, whatever that means, the industry will still make more than that.

To hear Hollywood accounting tell it, no movie has ever turned a profit… it amazes me that I keep getting paychecks.

You two are talking around each other. Jonathan, Matt most likely thought (as did I) that your comment about AAA games meant that you thought only AAA games could succeed. In fact, you probably meant that a lot more games (than 80) succeed, if you are willing to put success in the terms you go on to define. I think you and Matt agree here.


To hear Hollywood accounting tell it, no movie has ever turned a profit… it amazes me that I keep getting paychecks.[/quote]

If you didn’t charge those exorbitant rates, Uwe Bolle would finally have the budget he deserves!