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19-03-2013, 01:31 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.