Anti-Doom: And Now The Blessed Companies

So I got pretty cross about Kotaku presenting its vast audience with a piece pejoratively entitled ’10 doomed games businesses’ (and about its industry analyst author, Gamesbrief’s Nicholas Lovell, choosing such emotive and negative terminology for an otherwise discussion-worthy topic). He then wrote his reasons for doing it, with a spot of mea culpa, and there’s been plenty of civil discussion since, though the jury apparently remains very much hung. Now Nicholas has penned a follow-up, which appears to be half a more optimistic exploration of the strange and myriad games industry business models of the hour, and half a sort of sociological experiment into whether audiences flock to positivity or negativity.

Kotaku has also reposted that one, which is noble of them – but I can’t help but doubt that they’d ever have gone for it had the controversial first piece not already attracted so much attention. Negativity and slaggings-off can certainly draw hits – people do like a moan – but the question for me remains whether it is fair for the consumer games press to unilaterally damn unreleased projects. Both rubbernecking and wagging the dog are unattractive, if universal, media tendencies.

Considered, cautious optimism I have no problem with. Quite the opposite, in fact. Here’s ‘10 Blessed Game Businesses.’ Actually it’s 12, but never mind. Agree/disagree? About six of them are related to PC in some way; there’s some interesting picks, and better still deeper discussion as to why they’ve been picked. If it were me, I’d have thrown in a couple of up and coming indie studios, too. Team Meat, for instance, look like they’re striking gold with Super Meat Boy on XBLA. (Now put it out on PC, you basts).

And here’s its repost on Kotaku, in case you want to see how the positivity/negativity experiment element’s going.


  1. panther says:

    Agreed, they wouldn’t have posted it otherwise.

    • alh_p says:

      What???? nDreams and ChannelFlip “left … of [SIC] the list to avoid accusations of conflict (and, of course, Channelflip is not a games company).”

      So putting them at the end of the list makes all the difference?


    • alh_p says:

      I my scandalised urge to respond I failed to spell unbelievable correctly and wildly stabbed the cursor at the first “reply button” in my reach. egg on face perhaps…

    • panther says:

      *Slowly backs away from alh_p*

  2. Nicholas Lovell says:

    But they did post it.

    So shouldn’t we be optimistic.

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    On Zenimax:
    >The company now has an enviable studio of household names (amongst gamers) under its umbrella.
    >[…]Even more reassuringly, from my point of view, the use of proceeds in the second tranche of investment
    >did not include the terrifying phrase “to finance massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs)”.

    Oh yes…

  4. pakoito says:

    Chillingo sold himself today to EA for 20M $. That’s NOTHING!

  5. Sunjumper says:

    hmmm… I don’t know.

    the list wasn’t really exiting.
    There were some interesting things to be found there but all in all it was mostly lackluster.
    For example the: ‘Activision is a giant that is good at making giant games.’ did not fill me with either awe or any kind of hope.

  6. tomwaitsfornoman says:

    Kotaku journo wrote a shoddy article? Say it ain’t so!

  7. Jad says:

    “Anti-Doom”? So now all you can do is talk to the monsters?

    Anyway, the list was very interesting. While I’m know that “hardcore” (for lack of a better term) PC gaming communities like RPS are niche in a world of “hardcore” console games, articles remind me that there’s this even larger world of gaming where cross-promotion Facebook gaming networks like Applifier are very interesting developments.

  8. Maxheadroom says:

    Misleading Bah!
    and there was me hoping someone had made a game based on It’s A Wonderful Life

  9. the wiseass says:

    Can we please just stop mentioning Kotaku? I come here in order to get away as far as possible from that source of mediocre games journalism.

    Also I don’t give a shit about what game business is destined for glory or doom because it’s all just wild speculation. This industry has seen business flourish that really never should have and other business go down the drain that otherwise presented some pretty smart products. The market is pretty much hit or miss nowadays proven by the random misses of many AAA titles.

    But what I really don’t get is why people get all riled up because some other dude wrote his opinion on that matter? It’s his fuckin’ opinion, let him write if for fucks sake! A business is not going down on the sole assumption of one person writing a lousy article on a gaming blog and RPS really should know better.

  10. Delusibeta says:

    Number 2 (Kinect) would have been in my “doom” list, to be honest with you. Although wait and see, considering the stock shortages.

    Number 7 (Chillingo) was bought out by EA yesterday, so that’s fallen off his list.

    Number 10 (Activision) I would also put in my “doom” list. The Tony Hawk franchise is on life support, the Guitar Hero franchise is also heading in that direction, and I wouldn’t be surprised that the Call of Duty franchise will also wind up heading that way as well. I think ActiBliz will be reliant on Blizzard, specifically World of Warcraft, which, with Old Republic and Guild Wars 2 on the horizon, I wouldn’t want to base a large corporation around.

    • pakoito says:

      Blizzard can sell crap with a pink bowtie and still sell 5 million copies. Check what they did to Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, cutting them to pieces, axing content, putting together an abortion like Battlenet 2, etc…and yet they’re gonna be the best sellers of their years.

  11. PleasingFungus says:

    You know Super Meat Boy comes out on PC in less than a month, right? It has a date and everything!

  12. Sagan says:

    Activision does seem like a strange choice. I admit, that currently they are still looking good: Call of Duty is still strong, they have Blizzard, and the next Bungie game is going to sell tons. But as Delusibeta has pointed out: Their old franchises are not going well, and they are repeating the same mistakes with Call of Duty.
    Some stuff is still kind of in the open: DJ Hero 2 could be successful, True Crime has a good developer and Call of Duty… well the double developer route might just work, but not with the same success that they had with Infinity Ward.
    His argument for Activision was “They are doing what they know how to do: outspending the competition on development and marketing to have a dominant position in blockbuster, AAA games.”
    And I think EA has just proven that that doesn’t work with Medal of Honor. Sure, it sold a ton of copies, but they are not going to be able to sell a sequel. Just spending money isn’t enough. But what else does Activision have? They certainly are completely out of ideas. Their only new thing is the Bungie game.

  13. DJ Phantoon says:

    The real lesson is Kotaku is garbage and will post anything if it’s negative or exciting enough to get them pageviews.

    Of course, we all already knew that.

  14. Shadram says:

    “… and half a sort of sociological experiment into whether audiences flock to positivity or negativity.”

    Is this what Quinns is doing with his review of Fallout: New Vegas? :P

  15. Cunzy1 1 says:

    Moonlighting as a console type person I do believe the whole console industry is in a bad place at the moment.

    Publishers only seem to be interested in how a game fares in the first month at most of a release before defaulting to a rant about how Project A did badly because of second hand sales. Also, they don’t sell their own games from their website. Which is ludicrous business practice.

    Retailers only seem to think they can generate income from stocking the newest games for two weeks because newer is better and sells more.

    Consequently, high street retailers resemble a real hodge podge of games by platform. Not necessarily the best and older games barely get a look in. The biggest GAME in the UK didn’t have a copy of Monster Hunter Tri (a big big release this year) last week for example and I did this little experiment last year link to the results of which were worse than I expected.

    I don’t know recent stats for how people buy their console games but I bet that sadly it’s from the title and box art. I really hope the industry really grows up when it comes to running business soon although looking at Kinect, PSMove, the bandwagon of social games and the growing shadow of cloud gaming will kill off the consoles soon and with it accessibility to games to the masses* will drop off.

    * The masses are people who don’t read about games in hard copy or electronic format. If you are reading this you are not the masses.