Mid-Sized Developers Argue That The Market Might Be Saturated with Games
There used to be fairly significant windows during the year when game releases would slow, if not outright stop like in Summer season.
Now there's no such thing anymore. Hordes of games become available every week between AAA games, Early Access titles, beta tests, DLCs, expansions and more.
Not only is this uncomfortable for consumers, which don't have the time and money to play even a tiny portion of them, but it's also detrimental to the business of developers - particularly mid-sized ones.
Speaking with GamesIndustry, inXile CEO Brian Fargo said:
Curation has always been a hot topic. One might argue there's a greater risk of a game being lost in a sea of products than that of a great game not making it through the quality bar to be in the store. The stats of more and more and more games hitting Steam have not been favorable for any of us... You've got kind of a one, two, three-punch against the smaller publishers/developers.
Hidden Path's Jeff Pobst elaborated even further, adding that a large number of indie developers can't even make a proper living nowadays.
For a period of time... we could sell games that were not $60 top price games, and we could make good money... and we could get the opportunity to make more games. That opportunity is being challenged because there is such a large number of games at low prices in the marketplace. That takes the market, which gives lots of people choice and is really good for gamers in the one sense, and it splits the amount of money against a large number of people.
I know a large number of individual indies who are closing up shop because they aren't now even making enough money to pay for their own well-being. And that used to be a pretty sure thing. If you had a three-person shop or a four-person shop, you could sell enough to actually make a living. Now that's becoming challenging with so many games available for purchase.
If there's a financial pressure, it's really hard for people to get together and actually make great entertainment. So this is hard; this is really hard. And the only reason I think that there is a surprise is in part because of the Kickstarter phenomenon, where people were looking to raise the last $500,000 of a $2 million game, and people thought the game was made for $500,000... Games are really expensive to make, especially the kind that the consumer really desires.
Hidden Path is mostly known to the greater public for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Defense Grid. They've recently released Access Code for Google's Daydream and Witchblood for the Oculus Rift, where they'll also launch RTS game Brass Tactics in early 2018.