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19-03-2013, 12:31 PM #1
Is There Any Game Publishers / Developers "Too Big To Fail"?
Reading the report concerning resignation of Mr. John Riccitiello as EA's CEO suddenly made me realize one thing: there is currently almost no western publishers / developers being "Too Big To Fail" for gamers, not even publishers as big as EA.
Of course, EA's problem is that it will probably fail to meet its targeted profitability, and for a CEO of a publicly listed corporation, this is a failure publishable by termination. But EA's recent trouble inspire me to think of one thing.
By "Too Big To Fail" here I am referring the publishers / developers of which downfall would be a great loss to gamers. Consider this, which western publishers' / developers' are bring on developments of franchises with great value to us? I regret to say that there is none, at least for myself. Of course, they have been generated tons of great works. However, once a piece of great work is in the market, technically it's no longer owned by the publishers. As an intellectual work, it is owned collectively by the whole gaming work. (We have to thank warez groups for this, no publishers can retain absolute control of intellectual works with nasty DRM.) It's not the individual work, but the franchises that the publishers/developers own. Franchise IPs can be transferred, but work by a different IP owner will be completely different thing.
And there is NO western developers with franchises which I consider to have great value to carry on. EA's case is the worst. Gamers here give EA a nickname: franchise terminator.
In contrast, Japan has many great publishers with great value to us. Sega, Konami, Capcom...... you name it. (And Namco, Bandai better be careful not to screw it up.) There is one thing western publishers need to learn from Japan's game industry: to Japanese, a game franchise should not be just about games. One always seek to expand it to other fields of entertainment. Real-action movies, action figures, plastic models (Mobile Suit!!), animation, and so on. It's true that Japan is relatively backward in game technology, but they are catching up. We all appreciate how gorgeous Square's last Final Fantasy trailer is.
Plus one thing, while old nemesis, South Korea, is still struggling in its dying online game industry (stop resorting to sex contents, you idiot, bring something creative!!), Japan is very aggressive in mobile gaming. There many smart phone games from Japan, and they are very good at marketing of those games. I don't know, how many years of progress would be hindered if for now Japanese developers like Sega suddenly pull out of mobile game developments?
The only western developers "Too Big To Fail" I can think of as now would be Epic Games. I don't know if termination of development of new Unreal Engine would drive up development cost of the whole industry, in effect crowd out how many possible great games.
19-03-2013, 12:37 PM #2
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- Sep 2012
Epic are hardly developers, they make something like four games in their engine. I don't even think their fall would significantly hurt the games industry, as it seems like a few of publishers are looking to make their games in in-house engines (like EA). If they fell someone would replace them (maybe a nicer version of Unity), and it might even have Linux support.
Also, with Kickstarter the importance of publishers is slowly decreasing.
19-03-2013, 01:02 PM #3
19-03-2013, 01:05 PM #4Is There Any Game Publishers / Developers "Too Big To Fail"?
(Any of the ones that I might think of as "too good to fail" also happen to be relatively small).
This plague... The importance of Kickstarter is intensifying to a point where we may not be able to contain it.
19-03-2013, 01:29 PM #5
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19-03-2013, 12:47 PM #8
I do however get your point though, if Sega had been a western publisher it would have died completely when the Dreamcast failed but they managed to stay alive. I guess the western equivalent is Atari, which rather than having a resurgence had the brand bought be successive owners resulting in brand dilution and a drawn out death, which was sad to see.
I think the other obvious to big to fail entity (which will no doubt have already been mentioned by the time I finish typing this) is Valve, but that's more due to their distribution stranglehold that their status as a developer.
19-03-2013, 12:47 PM #9
If EA fell who would make all the sports games!?
(2K games would make all the sports games and they'd be bloody better.)
19-03-2013, 12:51 PM #10
Valve, privately owned, own the biggest walled garden on an open platform.
Even if Half life 3 was a turd "Steam" would live on and Valve would keep trying to make "walled garden" exclusive games.
19-03-2013, 12:53 PM #11
Actually, I think if any publisher IS "too big to fail" it would be EA.
Casual Gamers: The Sims, potentially Sim City, lots of mobile games
"Bro" Gamers: Basically every single sports game on the market
Shooter fans: Battlefield series
RPGs: Like it or not, Bioware is still the gold standard of the industry (which makes CD Projekt Red solid platinum or something)
No other publisher appeals to that many demographics. No other publisher has games that are that warmly received by each of those demographics (even if people still hate EA).
The problem is though: Gamers are stupid. Simple as that. The average gamer would rather laugh at a company failing and people losing jobs than think about the rammifications.
If/when EA goes the way of THQ, a LOT of people are going to be out of jobs and there are going to be some pretty big vacuums all across the board
Also: I strongly disagree with you regarding Japan. I'll give you Sega, but Konami is basically "Metal Gear and a few other franchises". And Capcom have been killing their own franchises over the years to the point that they are the Resident Evil and Street Fighter store. As for their obscene merchandising angle: Thanks, but no thanks. I don't really need to watch teenage girls power gundams by kissing their heart pad or whatever the hell that was.
19-03-2013, 12:58 PM #12
Shh, people don't like mentioning The Sims or the EA sports series because both those series sell by the bucket load.
19-03-2013, 01:31 PM #13Because it isn't particularly indicative of the actual impact of KS and will only lead to heartbreak when the people who blindly support projects without researching it realize why four kids in a basement can't make Battlefield 5?
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20-03-2013, 12:40 AM #18
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- Jun 2011
Don't think there's any that would particularly leave a large gap though. If Sony or for that matter the entire Japanese gaming industry went over it'd be bad news for Playstation owners, and pretty much unnoticeable for everyone else. Any of the large cross-platform devs disappearing would simply find the gap filled by their competitors.
PC wise the only publishers I'd see as being a problem would be Microsoft and Valve, and in both cases it has sod all to do with game publishing.
21-03-2013, 02:04 PM #19
That term only applies to banks as far as I know because those institutions hold so much of the public's money them failing would mean the public looses the money they trusted them to hold.
Game studios aren't being trusted to hold your savings or provide anyone with necessities, so I can't see how any one of them could be considered too big to fail.
If they do fail, the same thing happens to them as what happened to THQ - their licenses are auctioned off to others.Virtual Pilot 3Dô NEVER NOT SCAM!
19-03-2013, 02:01 PM #20