The serious business of making games

Spend a couple hundred bucks in animation/VFX packs. Tweak speeds/timings with simple software (or by code).

Nowadays this gameplay is relatively easy to prototype (but it certainly wasn’t a while ago). If anything, you risk becoming too attached to the placeholder assets.

A long time ago (when access to these asset packs was harder) I tried the abstract hit box approach and that’s certainly not the same.

It probably helps a whole lot to do it the Nintendo way, where you’re not quite on the bleeding edge of graphics.
I imagine there must be a sweet spot between doing stuff that’s impressive, and doing it within a budget that’s not as impressive, but that’s probably making the best game of x years ago.

Which, works for me, someone in 2024 coming out with the best AAA game of 2014, will probably be cheaper and still pretty impressive.

Spencer went on to attempt to justify the closures by saying that “in the end, I’ve said over and over, I have to run a sustainable business inside the company and grow, and that means sometimes I have to make hard decisions that frankly are not decisions I love, but decisions that somebody needs to go make.”

Makes no sense. They’ve had issues finding hits and Hi-Fi Rush was a hit so let’s make the hard decision to close that studio. Never mind it was their only Japanese developer.

Was it, though?

It seems everyone on Internet kinda supposes it was a hit, without having any good real evidence, as it was well reviewed and it got a good following of hardcore gamers. Does anyone know how much money made? how many units sold in console, or how many subscribers got in Gamepass the months of release? I think the MS execs are the ones that know.

Like, I don’t think MS execs are particularly good at their job, given the trajectory of the Xbox for the last 15 years, but I trust they are able to do a basic profit/losses analysis.

I am not that sure it was a commercial hit. Both the art style and the rhythm based action are somewhat niche. I think it was more a bonafide ‘cult classic’ more than a real hit. Popular with a console gamer crowd that is very online and are somewhat older, but without good penetration in the wider market.
Now add that surely their previous two games were more clear commercial duds (The Evil Within 2 and Ghostwire Tokyo) and the founder and some lead devs left a year before, and closing the studio isn’t that outlandish.

Microsoft will probably buy Square-Enix in the next year or so. At this point all roads lead to them owning everything gaming.

In terms of video game publishing, isn’t Sony currently bigger than Microsoft?

Microsoft is only $4 billion behind now, but their pockets are limitless thanks to the parent company. They could buy everyone.

Given the amount of legal stuff they had to go through to acquire a company that made them number 3, I doubt they would be able to buy everyone while avoiding antitrust issues.

I get the sense that Microsoft is waiting to see how this holiday goes with some of their games moving to PS5 and COD going to GamePass before they make any more big decisions about Xbox.

I’m not sure they even know what their long-term plan is.

Also, I think the layoffs at Xbox suggest that there is no longer a blank check.

My guess for the eventual result:

  • Next Xbox will be living room focused PC with gaming customized version of windows that will work out of the box with controller, and there will be xbox branded PC handheld as well, both will come with few months of gamepass

  • all MS games will be published on all platforms that can support them HW-wise

I think this is what Nadella ultimately wants (other than moving fully to the cloud, but that is distant future I hope)

It seems basically impossible for this to be true. By any reasonable assumptions, just Activision was much larger than all of Sony’s game publishing.

Back of the envelope:

Sony reported about $14B in gaming software revenue in the last fiscal year. Half of that was micro-transactions, which I think we can safely assign to third-party titles. Out of the remaining $7B, we don’t know the revenue distribution, but we do know the unit distribution. 286M games in total, 39.7M of which were first party. Assuming all games have the same price, that’d give us $7B*(39.7/286) = $1B / year. Now, it’s probably the case that Sony’s games have a higher average unit price than third-party games. But it’s going to be quite hard to get that number higher than $2B.

To cross-check, 39.7M units / year at $70 / unit = $2.8B/year. That’s the absolute ceiling on their game publishing, assuming nothing is ever sold at a discount.

Activision’s revenue in their last full year of operating was $7.5B / year.

I didn’t read his comment the way you did, but your take on it is more right I think. I was looking at total revenue which would include hardware I believe.

I guess “biggest” is somewhat nebulous, but Wikipedia has an article on it.
List of largest video game companies by revenue - Wikipedia.

It’s got Sony at the top, followed by Tencent, then Microsoft.

To recap, your claim was that Sony was larger in “video game publishing”. I gave a pretty detailed explanation for why that’s not the case, and instead of engaging with any of that detail you link to Wikipedia…

That $29B number includes the revenue from Playstation hardware sales. It includes the revenue from basically all sales of non-Sony games on Playstation. It includes the revneue from all microtransactions of non-Sony games on Playstation. How is any of this relevant to video game publishing?

Well, it’s relevant in terms of how these companies are doing going forward. If Microsoft is going to try to publish on all platforms going forward, everything they publish on Playstation platforms is also going to help Sony and Nintendo when on those platforms. So the Activision part of Microsoft might be huge now, but everything they sell on Playstation, a large part of that revenue goes to Sony.

But yes, as for Timex’s specific question, that was a good answer, but overall it’s still a good picture for Sony even if they aren’t the biggest publisher.

Yeah, I guess I wasn’t thinking about the details of how that money was going into it, and was just thinking about the big video game companies.

Hundreds of layoffs in Sumo Digital

Kind of hard to know how the layoffs fit into things. If I understand that article, the layoffs are at “Sumo Group”, which is the larger company that owns Sumo Digital, as well as a bunch of other stuff. So it’s possible that the folks who got laid off didn’t have anything to do with any of the games folks actually know about.

Unfortunately, game studios were affected. Timbre games in B.C. has shuttered.