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Why can't big companies enter the mobile game market?

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    #31
    Originally posted by xynanyx View Post
    Well, if you don't mind me entering the discussion, I couldn't agree more about EA. Some companies like Naughty Dog and Rockstar can have the privilege of creating sequels (Uncharted, Jak and Dexter, GTA, Red Dead, Max Payne.. except TLOU that was one of the best new IPs of the last generation) because they just don't create another game, they create The game each release. If the company is not passionate about their franchises, then at least create something new and great, like Remedy (Alan Wake, Quantum Break) and Quantic Dream (Heavy Rain, Beyond 2 Souls).. These two types of companies are the ones that I respect the most.
    I don't think it's an issue of being passionate about your franchises, I think it's more of an issue of knowing when to let them go. Publishers need to start realising that the franchises held in the highest regard are the ones that were allowed to die off at the end of their natural life (instead the corpses of former greats like Spyro and Sonic are still being paraded around some 20 years later...)

    Naughty Dog is a reasonable example here - they produced three excellent games, and finished with Crash Team Racing before moving on to something new. Universal however wouldn't let the franchise go and immediately ran it into the ground. Jak and Daxter got four games, critically acclaimed, then they quite whilst they were ahead. Uncharted has had three titles (fourth on the way), and then Naughty Dog moved on to the Last of Us.

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      #32
      Ouch. That hurts a bit. You know that the example you gave, Spyro, isn't the best one to come up with when you want to complain about that topic? That stuff makes so much money Activision can hardly count it anymore. It's in the same range as Call of Duty and so on (sometimes even tops it, which is of course not only because of the software but the hardware these days).

      Don't get me wrong. I may work for a publisher but heck, I love the indie scene and those great studios like Naughty Dog. But I can also understand why some "milk" the franchises. If the invest is lower than the return, every product deserves to exist (I know, sad thing sometimes, but that's business in the end).

      By the way @ambershee: Last year was indeed not a good "new franchise" year for EA. But already this year they released Titanfall and Garden Warfare (okay, that's not an entirely new franchise). I'm not defending them. But I'm also not hating them. As long as they can pay their employees, they will be around and the market seems to prove that they deserve to be around.

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        #33
        Originally posted by bCMichael View Post
        Ouch. That hurts a bit. You know that the example you gave, Spyro, isn't the best one to come up with when you want to complain about that topic? That stuff makes so much money Activision can hardly count it anymore. It's in the same range as Call of Duty and so on (sometimes even tops it, which is of course not only because of the software but the hardware these days).
        Prior to the successful Skylanders reboot / spin-off (which is certainly still very successful, but may also start to trail off with the fourth iteration), Spyro's history is the same as the others. Insomniac developed three games, all of which were met with critical acclaim. When Insomniac moved on, Universal didn't want to let the franchise go, so they assigned CheckSix and Equinoxe to the project, and produced the most poorly received title in the series. Eurocom built the next two Spyro games which also didn't fare any better. Declining interest in the main series caused Sierra to attempt a reboot of the series, which was also not met with mediocre response.

        Between Year of the Dragon and Skylanders, you're looking at more than a decade and ten games worth of flogging a dead horse - whilst that may have just about kept arses in seats in development houses for the duration of the project, you can't say it was good for the franchise itself, nor for the fans who neither want nor deserve a substandard title.

        In the long term, none of the studios that worked on a Spyro game in this period have fared well:
        CheckSix and Equinoxe disappeared immediately after Enter the Dragonfly.
        Amaze were acquired immediately after Shadow Legacy, and ceased to exist as a brand a couple of years later.
        Eurocom's slow and painful decline and subsequent bankruptcy is largely attributed to it only working on licensed projects.
        Krome also almost disappeared only two years after their Spyro games, having laid off over 200 staff and are now working on small mobile projects.
        Strange Dragonflies closed 18 months after Dawn of the Dragon.

        Originally posted by bCMichael View Post
        By the way @ambershee: Last year was indeed not a good "new franchise" year for EA. But already this year they released Titanfall and Garden Warfare (okay, that's not an entirely new franchise). I'm not defending them. But I'm also not hating them. As long as they can pay their employees, they will be around and the market seems to prove that they deserve to be around.
        Garden Warfare is as you said, not a new franchise. I mentioned Titanfall which is EA Partners once again, which mitigates that investment risk. EA haven't internally worked on a new IP in four years, and they haven't announced anything new either.

        EA let go a LOT of people last year, in the region of 1500 people - and this isn't a new thing, it's been shedding talent year-on-year since 2007 in an effort to maintain profit margins. In 2013 EA closed Visceral Montreal, closed Danger Close / EALA, effectively closed Criterion, transforming them into a skeleton studio and laid off an additional 900 people (a tenth of the company) in widespread layoffs half way through the year. Ghost Games UK closed last month. Those studios last titles? EALA: Command and Conquer 4, Danger Close: Medal of Honor Warfighter, Visceral Montreal: Army of Two (Devil's Cartel), Criterion: Need for Speed Most Wanted, Ghost Games: Need for Speed Rivals.

        EA are very definitely not doing well financially, they are failing to retain their employees, and have not been for a few years. Last year was not good (check the annual data), and the opening of this year with Christmas has basically broken even:
        https://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:EA&fstype=ii

        Or to translate that into quarterly losses:
        http://www.joystiq.com/2013/10/29/ea...f-fiscal-2014/
        http://www.joystiq.com/2014/01/28/ea...ss-in-q3-2014/

        Franchise fatigue is a very real thing; if you don't bring in any new franchises and don't let older ones rest, you're going to see your franchises die off and not be replaced by a valid successor. Ubisoft have played it smart with timing Watch Dogs, the Crew and the Division for a new hardware generation. Activision have at least Destiny.

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          #34
          ...and as if to further prove my point about EA, apparently there are large scale layoffs today at Popcap (apparently not including the Garden Warfare team).
          http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/03/...ffs-hit-popcap

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            #35
            It's a shame there isn't much job security in the industry. This is why I believe indies will become more prevalent in the coming years.

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              #36
              Originally posted by SE_JonF View Post
              It's a shame there isn't much job security in the industry. This is why I believe indies will become more prevalent in the coming years.
              I think it's not just about their failures or successes, it's about a new dev strategy. The game industry is changing lately, we had few huge companies with huge teams and now we see more teams with less people each. I don't think people are becoming unnemployed, their are just being reorganized.

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                #37
                I don't think failure or success has anything to do with it, technology seems to be heading in the direction where large teams aren't always needed as workflows are becoming more efficient in certain departments. Think of digital scanning becoming more common in game characters today for example. Layoffs = unemployment. There is always the possibility that these people will find jobs, but it isn't a guarantee.

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                  #38
                  Originally posted by SE_JonF View Post
                  I don't think failure or success has anything to do with it, technology seems to be heading in the direction where large teams aren't always needed as workflows are becoming more efficient in certain departments. Think of digital scanning becoming more common in game characters today for example. Layoffs = unemployment. There is always the possibility that these people will find jobs, but it isn't a guarantee.
                  I think it's a new way the industry is trying to deal with the market demands. It's not all bad, since you work for a company for a project and then you start a different one on another company, so you gain experience and start a small team with the friends and best developers you've been working with so far.. i think it's better than like working on a new call of duty or fifa every year.

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                    #39
                    What you're describing isn't a good situation; many developers have families and mouths to feed, and don't want to be taking the risk of starting a small business (if they have the money at bank to even do that in the first place).

                    When you get layoffs in this industry, you permanently lose talent to other more stable industries. Games are suffering from this colossally right now.

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                      #40
                      Originally posted by ambershee View Post
                      What you're describing isn't a good situation; many developers have families and mouths to feed, and don't want to be taking the risk of starting a small business (if they have the money at bank to even do that in the first place).

                      When you get layoffs in this industry, you permanently lose talent to other more stable industries. Games are suffering from this colossally right now.
                      Well, there are pros and cons for the gamers and for the developers. Maybe we've seen more about the layoffs than the hiring, but that's because usually the media give more focus on bad news. I don't think the game market is decadent as you seem to think, especially now that a new generation of consoles has been released and the game industry is strong or even stronger than ever.

                      I see things in a more positive way. Just my opinion =)

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