The Ongoing Disasters of the EPIC Games Store

Discussion in 'Gaming (Software and Graphics Cards)' started by hmscott, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. yrekabakery

    yrekabakery Notebook Virtuoso

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    Yup. $60 AAA games are an almost unsustainable business model in this day and age without guaranteed revenue, which is why so many developers are taking these Epic deals. It’s kinda crazy that games are still priced the same as they were 20 years ago despite them costing 20x to make in terms of developmental and marketing cost as well as inflation. I have no problem with non-P2W MTX because of the importance of sustained revenue stream for post-release content and support, and in fact more MP games should augment that with an optional subscription model.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 5:00 PM
  2. Felix_Argyle

    Felix_Argyle Notebook Consultant

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    Yes, but this is irrelevant for the customer and the game publisher ;-) Let's say I want to play Metro Exodus. Why would I pay, say, $60 at Epic Store or $60 at Steam (this would be the price if it was available there) if I could pay $1 to play it, from start to the finish? ;-) And let's say I am a publisher - why do I care how much MS would subsidize this game for if I will still get my money? ;-)


    Maybe they will not last. Or maybe they will - perhaps Microsoft will keep subscription prices low and just keep compensating for this through the other business divisions for as long as their store will exist. Nobody knows for sure, including you, it's just a pointless speculation. Like I said above, it doesn't really matter if you are a customer who just wants to play a single-player game right now. For example, if anyone wants to play Metro Exodus once. Like me, who played it, enjoyed it but does not give a **** if I will lose access to it tomorrow because I do not enjoy replaying same games more than once. If I wanted that (to be able to play the game regardless if the digital store like Steam or Microsoft Store or Google Stadia will still exist a year from now) - I would simply buy the game on a disk for a gaming console, or wait for it to appear on GoG.
     
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  3. Felix_Argyle

    Felix_Argyle Notebook Consultant

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    You are forgetting about digital distribution model, which allows to sell much more copies than "20 years ago" at a much cheaper cost. Plus you are forgetting about something called "outsourcing", which is yet another way to save on labor costs. Bioware did it with Mass Effect Andromeda, so do other smart game developers. Here is a good article about one example related to Horizon Zero Dawn:
    https://theoutline.com/post/3087/ou...e-in-china-horizon-zero-dawn?zd=1&zi=buaelho4

    "Thanks to outsourcing companies like Virtuos, making games today is less about building levels or creating characters. Instead it’s about managing a global network of labor that builds, programs, animates, and designs. Sixty-five of Virtuos’s employees spent over two years building 11 of Horizon’s 32 enemy robot types; modeling many of the bandit settlements spread across the game world.

    Virtuos was only one of 18 different outsourcing companies that worked on the game. Among the others: 3Lateral Studio in Novi Sad, Serbia, which helped character modeling and facial animation for human characters; Territory Studios, a graphic design company in New York that specializes in interface design; Audiomotion in London, which helped with motion capture; Kokku in Recife, Brazil helped build models for some of the robotic animals; and XPEC Art Center in Taipei, which helped build environmental assets to fill the game’s world"
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 7:50 PM
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  4. yrekabakery

    yrekabakery Notebook Virtuoso

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    Digital substitutes manufacturing and distribution costs with infrastructure costs. The main reasons the $60 AAA model has still managed to stay afloat are the growth of the overall gaming market and the rise of monetization schemes like DLC, microtransactions, and special editions, but those are still not enough to keep AAA in a healthy state because games these days take many more people much longer to make and have to be marketed much more extensively than in the past. You can see how damaging it is when a AAA title fails to meet expected sales target. The threat of outsourcing to countries with cheap labor keeps the price of the end product down and helps maintain status quo in an industry already infamous for poor salary, exploitative conditions, and non-unionization.
     
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  5. Prototime

    Prototime Notebook Evangelist

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    Yes, it's probably time for AAA games to be priced a bit higher. I'd rather that than have microtransactions and loot boxes. And people may not like "Day One DLC," but so long as developers give us a meaty and long base game, I'm completely fine with developers announcing and continuing to make paid DLC as soon as the base game launches. The continued revenue stream keeps their doors open and lights on, and it gives us more content. (Also, it's absolutely time for developers to unionize!)
     
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  6. yrekabakery

    yrekabakery Notebook Virtuoso

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    The problem is that the $60 AAA game is so ingrained in the collective consciousness, a higher base price for the standard edition of a game is almost certain to result in lower sales, which is self-defeating. I never understood the instinctive hatred some people have for monetization schemes as long as they are not P2W. People think that just because they paid upfront for the game at release, that they are entitled to all post-release content additions for the duration of the game’s lifespan. That “free DLC” mentality is unsustainable in the real world. In the real world, expecting something that costs money to make for free usually results in receiving little to nothing. That’s what EA’s recent live service titles, Anthem and Battlefield V, have demonstrated. Battlefield as a franchise has been panned for years because of its Premium paid DLC model, but without Premium (or any form of effective monetization really), BFV has been an excruciating drip feed in terms of content drops, including content that was finished almost a year ago and already present in the singleplayer portion, deliberately held back to stretch out the live service.
     
  7. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    This is how I see it, more than likely MS negotiated prices with the game companies that simply add to their revenue stream without cannibalizing full priced sales of their games, gaining income from those that can't afford the full price - they only get to use the game without long term benefits of ownership.

    I replay my games from time to time, that's why I buy them, I use the other services of Steam to elevate my enjoyment of gaming - specific game communities, saved games, upgrades - choice of rev level per game when offered, and discounted game bundles from developers / publishers hosted by Steam.

    I like that Steam is reliable and I can count on my games being there on any device I want to use my game library - almost anywhere I go.

    There is no similar future for the MS Store. MS's Store is failing and the games business are a fraction of the sales and cost of the services offered, and won't be enough to make the MS Store float long term, especially a $1/month service.

    No one wants to buy their full priced games and host them in MS's Store otherwise MS wouldn't be coming up with this unsupportable in the long term scheme.

    The same goes for Epic throwing around money like there's no tomorrow. Mostly because they know it's unsustainable they are doing it to make a pitch for a business to leverage for investment from other sources long term - and Tencent knows they are going to end up bailing out - buying out - Epic.

    That's how Chinese investment in small technology companies works, they invest in a company they know will fail without future investments and their plan of investment for companies from the start is to buy them out 100%.

    No one else will step in and bail out that company when the Chinese investor steps in and calls for a buyout. The Chinese investor takes over the company and now owns the technology, data collection capability, and privacy assets - or other similarly advantageous IP.

    The US Federal Government has figured this out and are finally acting to stop this kind of predatory investment:

    US government is forcing Chinese owners to sell Grindr

    I don't want that kind of future unstable ecosystem to host my games library, so I'm not going to start buying games in that ecosystem, I'm not going to contribute to the success of an ecosystem I am not interested in seeing happen.

    That leaves me buying full priced games - or nice bundles and high discount sales at Steam, GOG, etc - but not MS and Epic.

    I'm not interested in participating in any of MS's / Epic's shenanigans, even at $1/month.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 11:41 PM
  8. Felix_Argyle

    Felix_Argyle Notebook Consultant

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    "Not enough" for whom? For developers like CD Projekt RED which can still afford releasing a single-player RPG for $60, without caring how much people will pirate it (no DRM), without milking it through lootboxes and overpriced DLCs and without taking exclusive deals with companies like Epic (who have definitely made them an offer but most likely could not offer enough money to convince CD Projekt RED to do so)?
    Or "not enough" for EA, a company who aggressively promotes their games and milks them like no other company yet they cannot even manage to make a genuinely successful "Battle Royale" game and can only put a half-assed effort through BF5's BR mode, which is so bad that nobody cares to play it or even stream it on Twitch or Mixer, even though BR is still extremely popular genre and FREE games like Fortnite and PUBG still bring billions to developers through smart cosmetic monetization? A company which caused a HUGE backlash by the fans of BF series and many other games in general due to their "**** the historical accuracy, we will force diversity instead and unrealistic cosmetic mods" stance with BF5? And a company who RUINED a AAA RPG subsidiary by forcing them to release half-assed abominations like ME:A or Anthem? ;-)

    Look, I agree that price increase is inevitable for both singleplayer and multiplayer games, but saying such things as "it is not enough" about current prices is way too premature, especially considering the fact that a successful developers who put enough love and care into their product and who can SMARTLY use existing tools (such as outsourcing, in case of Guerilla Games) can still turn plenty of profit from sales of $60 games to keep them in development. As for the **** developers and the subsidiary owners like EA or Zenimax who have completely lost the touch with their fanbase - no price increase will ever save them or will make the products they themselves ruined profitable again and all of their "fake AAA" products deserve to fail regardless of the price ;-)
     
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  9. yrekabakery

    yrekabakery Notebook Virtuoso

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    Apples and oranges. CDPR releases one game every 4 years, instead of financing multiple huge projects every year, and is subsidized by the Polish government.
     
  10. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Please delete
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019 at 8:02 AM

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