Jim Sterling’s a really good guy. I agree with him nine times out of ten in his Jimquisition video show. But in the latest one Sterling’s decided to go after microtransactions in retail games (specifically the Microsoft Xbox One launch lineup that included two examples of such – Ryse and Forza). This one I didn’t agree with.
I agree that microtransactions suck, but let’s just assume for a second that it’s expensive to make a game for a newly launched HD console with a tiny install base of a few million (and it’s the correct assumption to make); how else are game developers meant to make a healthy profit from their investment? As much fun as it is to hate developers and publishers for being businesses it’s a basic reality that as businesses they have a moral and ethical obligation to make a profit from their products.
There is evidence everywhere that even when building games for consoles that have tens, if not hundreds of millions units in houses, it is still too expensive for develop for these devices and making games for those consoles is sending developers bankrupt. The industry has not been a genuinely sustainable one from a business point of view for some time. In just the last year the following developers have all gone bankrupt, and these are just the ones that we’ve reported on:
- Japanese developer Neverland went bankrupt despite its final project being one of its most successful, and released on a popular handheld console.
- Atlus’ parent company, Index Holdings, filed for bankruptcy and was subsequently sold to SEGA.
- Speaking of SEGA, one of its studios in Australia was shut down this year.
- Indie (and popular) developer, Arkedo, shut up shop in February.
- Junction Point was forced to close down after the sequel to the popular Epic Mickey, Epic Mickey 2, failed to light up the charts.
- And, of course, the infamous story about how Tomb Raider (and other Square Enix games) cost so much to make that it was a commercial failure at 3.4 million sales.
– Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld