The Flood

edited in General
Yowza. This is...not great.

I dunno if the indiepocalypse is real or not, but man, but this kind of supply pressure can't help but cause a collapse in prices.

https://twitter.com/Steam_Spy/status/804072335997358084
Thanked by 2critic dammit

Comments

  • edited
    With a quick analysis, at the end of 2015 that year accounted for ~40% of all games released, also the year on year growth has declined, around 65% from 2014-15 and is at around 40% for 2015-16. So it's not doomsday if you look at it from a different angle.
    Thanked by 1garethf
  • It's definitely going to affect small scale games more dramatically than large games. I don't think the number of AAA games or AA games is going up. (unless there are stats showing that?). It's a flood of shovelware games, so I'd expect shovelware to have pressure on its pricing.
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  • Sure, but regardless of whether it's shovelware or not, it's probably cutting into some of the channels games get attention from. More titles passing through the steam front page, more and more pages of games in the genre libraries to wade through, more flooding of journo mailboxes.

    I'm not saying it's all doom and gloom, but yeah, it's...something.
  • So there was this thread that I ran into on twitter which I think is good context for this discussion

    image

    Also Valve just rolled out a new front page system, and by most accounts games increased in sales after that.
    Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 11.58.42 AM.png
    1218 x 1274 - 392K
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  • @Karuji I think it's a fair point, but also it's ironically cherry-picking data too.

    If there were only 2000 games on steam in 2007 then adding another ~1000 (50%) doesn't really mean much. If there is 100 000 games on steam, then adding another 38 000 is still pretty overwhelming.

    If you apply those percentages to the exponential growth of the number of games on steam, then it's still pretty terrifying.
  • I think marketing is going to play a larger and larger role in game dev as the amount of games available continues to rise but I don't think this is any sort of indiepocalypse, we have seen it in the book world, there is a crazy amount of books but the ones that are succeed are the well written and well marketed ones
  • MoonPanda said:
    I think marketing is going to play a larger and larger role in game dev as the amount of games available continues to rise but I don't think this is any sort of indiepocalypse, we have seen it in the book world, there is a crazy amount of books but the ones that are succeed are the well written and well marketed ones
    This is untrue. Some of the best books are arguably terrible (50 Shades of Grey, anyone) as with games (Flappy Bird...) and do incredibly well. Some games are brilliant and you and I will never hear of them.

    Marketing does its job to a degree, but marketing is becoming more and more difficult with more and more people trying to market more and more games. Getting noticed by an audience who blatantly don't want to be marketed at (how many of you have adblock functioning right now?) is really difficult. That's why the big budgets for marketing result in really huge and weird shows, buildings, events that sometimes are a hit and sometimes are miss. No one really knows what they're doing any more.

    I'm not saying you game doesn't need to be good to succeed. It's far more likely. I'm not saying you don't need to market your game for it to succeed. It's far more likely if you do. What I am saying is there is nothing near a guarantee.

  • I personally don't buy into the Indiepocalypse. I think there was a period where some games enjoyed more guarantees of success (like when getting onto Steam was a guarantee of sales), but I don't think there are fewer successful indie games today than 5 years ago.

    I don't know if there is good data on this, but I'm under the impression that there are more successful indie games than five years ago (and of course vastly more unsuccessful ones, as building and releasing games has become more democratized, where in the past a lot of these failed games would have died before being released or their developers never attempting to make a game in the first place).

    I was recently looking through Steamspy at the catalogues of Devolver and Tinybuild. I got the impression that the games they had released had sold a fair bit better than they would have without a good marketing team behind them. It's not evidence, but it does feel like some teams can consistently achieve success.

    Though I don't want to imply that there is a formula to success in games. Like any entertainment field, whenever there appears to be a formula investors invest heavily in duplicating it, which results in some early winners followed by some disastrous losers. The teams that are consistently successful appear to do so through a far more experimental approach (and staying ahead of the trends, or avoiding them altogether).

    @dammit Personally I'm not convinced that there are brilliant games out there that are unheard of. I think there are so many avenues today for game discovery and distribution, the games that underperform usually have something about them that predict their poor performance. I'd be happy to change my mind if there was data on this of course (I don't want to be blaming developers for their struggles if there were forces out of their control that caused their dilemmas).

    I do agree that game marketing channels are saturated. I do still think that good marketing makes a significant difference (more than enough to justify its costs in successful games), but I don't think good marketing is a guarantee of anything (like you say). I think a lot of aspects of a game have to come together in concert to result in a success.
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  • edited
    dammit said:

    This is untrue. Some of the best books are arguably terrible (50 Shades of Grey, anyone) as with games (Flappy Bird...) and do incredibly well. Some games are brilliant and you and I will never hear of them.
    I wouldn't say untrue but I will agree that they are not the only factors to success.

    In your 50 shades example, sure it was not well written in a literary sense but that did not matter as it was well written according to its target audience. It was marketed as a controversial book and that is what people wanted.

    flappy bird was not a bad game either. It was simple yes but it was just difficult enough to keep people playing and simple enough visually that it allowed people to show their peers how "good" they were. it might not have been intended but it was a inherently marketable product

    there has never been and will never be guarantee to success however
  • edited
    @MoonPanda I'm not going to dispute your point about 50 Shades. I don't know why it succeeded, but I assume there were a lot of people who loved the book and who shared it with their friends...

    Though Flappy Bird didn't succeed because it was a good game in any regard. It was a clone of a game that didn't succeed. I'd argue it became so successful precisely because it looked cheap and it was frustrating (and had a funny name). After Pewdiepie played it the game (in a video titled "Don't Play This Game", an especially popular video (33 Million views now), the game went to the top of the Appstore charts, which in itself was strange and curious precisely because the game was such an oddity in a marketplace that tries to present itself as slick and cultured.

    And if this is true, then repeating the Flappy Bird success entails making a cheap production values free game that is funny to watch Youtuber's playing it and hoping that Pewdiepie plays it. There are tens of thousands of cheap and dirty mobile games released every year, and if you follow this strategy you'd be hoping that unlike all of them yours gets propelled to the top of the AppStore and becomes a cultural curiosity that people talk about (and thus it keeps maintaining it's place at the top).

    Which is a very high-risk strategy where a lot of the factors are outside of your control. (Although that isn't stopping the AppStore being full of these kinds of games).

    I'm not saying that there wasn't something special about Flappy Bird, but as I see it it was more notable for it's badness than anything else (in that a game as stupid-looking as Flappy Bird topping the Appstore charts was noteworthy).

    And most importantly, Flappy Bird made barely any sales until Pewdiepie played it. We would have never heard about it if it wasn't for that one event entirely out of the control of the creator.
    Thanked by 2garethf MoonPanda
  • edited
    @EvanGreenwood wow I didn't know that about flappybird at all :O I honestly had no idea it was a clone or that it was covered by pewdiepie

    my experience with flappy bird was seeing someone playing this crappy simple looking game over and over and getting frustrated trying to beat their score. just by looking at it I was able to gauge what you were supposed to do so I installed it to see if I could do better than them. my peers saw me playing and did the same thing and so on

    I think success of a game depends on a huge amount of variables. The only thing we can do is just try to control the variables we can control and hope that the ones we cant, go in our favor
  • edited
    MoonPanda said:
    I think success of a game depends on a huge amount of variables. The only thing we can do is just try to control the variables we can control and hope that the ones we cant, go in our favor.
    Yeah! Though there are ways to develop games where far more of the variables are within your control.

    Generally there's a cost to controlling more of the variables (like for instance, spending time doing more public playtesting in order to have more information about your design decisions, or giving away revenue in order to work with a publisher that offers a better guarantee of not messing up the marketing), so there are choices we can make as developers about how much risk we want to take on.
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