Console market "not supporting full range of products," says Ubisoft
The home console market is no longer supporting alternative products for big publishers, leaving only blockbuster titles to break the top ten and become profitable.
That’s according to Ubisoft Euro MD Alain Corre, who told GamesIndustry.biz that it’s safer to invest in one AAA title rather than hedge bets on a handful of smaller productions.
"The games that are not triple-A are not profitable anymore," said Corre in an interview published today. "And that’s changed in the last 18 months.
"When you have a triple-A blockbuster it costs more money to develop, but at the end of the day there’s also the chance of a good return on it because there’s a concentration at the top of the charts. To a certain extent it becomes less risky to invest more in a single game or franchise than spreading your investment between three or four games. Because if those three or four games are not at the right quality level, you are sure to lose money," said Corre.
"So the business model has changed and we’re changing our way of making hardcore games. With hardcore games that we’re not sure are reaching the right level, we stop work on them. And that’s why we concentrate more on key franchises, because that’s what the market wants - something new with huge quality production behind it. The market is not supporting the full range of product that it used to anymore."
Although the French publisher has brought new IP to market successfully this generation with Assassin’s Creed, Corre said that upcoming strategy game RUSE might be the last new franchise from Ubisoft until a new generation of home consoles, as establishing new brands is proving too expensive.
"It is more difficult now. To launch a new IP you have to invest much, much more marketing to establish it, and if you add up the huge costs of development plus the investment in marketing you cannot be 100 per cent sure the target audience you’d expect, which is needed for the comeback on the investment.
"Especially in this part of the cycle of the consoles, we are cautious now to introduce new brands. We’ll concentrate on the ones we have and make sure we bring them to the next level in terms of quality."
People are ranting doom and gloom when stories like this come out but am I crazy for viewing this as a good thing?
Either have an obscene budget that needs to be a million seller at 60$ and will be an awesome game for any fan of the genre COD/Halo/Uncharted/Mario/GTA etc, or make it an awesome 5-15$ downloadable title. Games with the 10-25$ million dollar budgets that are "decent" are the ones that usually fail spectacularly (Conduit/Red Steel 2/Dark Void/Bionic Commando etc). Why would anyone buy those at launch for 60$ when you know they will almost always bomb and be available for 20ish$ in 2 months? Either price your games accordingly, or get bigger, or get smaller. I'm a fan of the continued separation into huge and small for game releases (Lara Croft for 15$ was better than any current gen Tomb raider game, Monday Night combat might be my favorite multiplayer shooter this gen, but still loved massive dev/marketing budget games like Mass Effect 2/Uncharted 2 etc etc).