Blockbusters dominate game business

Even as a culture of independent publishing explodes beneath it, the big business of video games is increasingly dominated by massively-capitalized blockbusters. Nick Wingfield, with the NYT: (Paywall)
Big video game makers, like their cousins in books and music, have scrambled in recent years to adapt to the digital technologies buffeting their business. Tens of millions of people now play games on smartphones and tablets, usually for a sliver of the cost of playing on a game console. But one part of the games business is thriving as never before: the blockbuster.

Just like the movies! And it's not just the scale: it's the taste.

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  1. It's easy to explain, really; People like to share social experiences. And video games are more social than many other mediums now with online multiplayer being a key ingredient. I've made lots of friends across the world this way...

  2. "At a time when people are bemoaning the fate of the interactive entertainment business..."

    What people are bemoaning this, exactly? After several years of articles about how the video game industry was out-grossing the movies (as misleading as that data point actually was), who is claiming this? Other than the head of Take Two? I think what he really means is "at a time when people aren't nearly as motivated to spend $60-$90 for a new release console video game", perhaps. An industry that has grown by 10% from 2005 to 2009 and sold something like $22 billion in 2012? I'm not seeing some doom-and-gloom scenario. Especially as it is something of a golden age for the consumer, especially with services like Steam bringing frequent sales.

    The article also mentions there being fewer games being produced? By what metric are they measuring that? Are they only counting console games? Yes, 2012 had a tumble, but 2013 has completely rallied from that point. The main reason sales tumbled in 2012 was fewer releases that year and franchise fatigue as companies like EA are so dependent on annual releases that consumers are starting to opt out.

    The video game industry had a decade of unprecedented growth and now it's leveling out. That's really all that's happened, from what I can see.

  3. This article uses phrases like "store shelves" and "retail sales" in ways that make me suspect it's ignoring digital sales. That doesn't invalidate the main point about blockbusters dominating sales, but I'm not sure that "...sold 67 different titles in stores in the fiscal year ending March 2009. In its last fiscal year, it sold 13" is a meaningful comparison. Origin didn't exist in 2009, and DLC was still in its infancy. How many of those 67 titles were Sims expansions whose 2013 equivalents are available only online?

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