The latest Grand Theft Auto entry has sold far more copies than I expected it to. In a singly day, $800 million worth of GTA was sold. Then, within three days, the billion dollar barrier was broken; over 6 times faster than any other movie, game, book, CD, or the like. This is a testimony to the way the game industry is changing, and here is what I think the testimony states:
First of all, if you build hype for a game and put time into devoting yourself to it, a good game will have a MUCH better chance to sell well. Take Two and Rockstar did just that. They spent $270 million on GTA V, which is an absurd amount. Then again, it’s not that absurd when you realize that perfect or near perfect scores are streaming in from nearly every video game magazine and website. Furthermore, the lengthy production period and high budget is paying serious dividends, as can be seen by the monstrous sales.
If you’ve noticed, there aren’t a whole lot of game that meet all three of those requirements; good ratings, hype, and big budget. Call of Duty barely meets two, and other games might be content with only meeting one of these requirements. I’m not saying that all three must be met in order for a good game to be made (and bought) but your chances are much higher when you can meet all three criteria. Take Half-Life 3. Even though the game has never been announced, it has lots of hype in anticipation that someday it MIGHT be made. If Valve puts the energy into crafting an intricate title, fans will buy it up just like they’ve done with the other Half-Life titles.
Secondly, controversy means nothing as far as sales go, in this case. Considering how edgy the GTA series is, one might suppose that it will only appeal to a small group of gamers who don’t mind the edginess. Who would ever have thought that such a violent, profanity filled, wildly unrealistic game would sell so well (he said sarcastically)? My point is, people will by all sorts of games, whether it be a sports game, a Mario game, or an incredibly edgy game like GTA. If anything, the controversy surrounding the game boosted sales.
Third, the internet is a powerful tool. I’ve seen countless GTA memes, trailers, Youtube videos (such as Elders React from Fine Bros.) and other types of free advertising on the internet. That’s what it boils down to: it’s advertizing, and Rockstar paid nothing for it because those excited for the title were so enthused that they devoted their time to making comics and videos about a game they were so anticipating. They built so much hype that it compounded and spread to others. The ripple effects before and after release have been astounding.
A fourth thing I’ve noticed (culminating with GTA) is that bigger companies are making bigger budget games, which more people are buying. In the meantime, smaller companies (such as THQ) can’t stay afloat because their mid-range budgets can’t create titles that will stand up to those such as GTA and COD when the holiday season rolls around. They don’t have the right mix of marketing, budget, and other factors to be serious contenders anymore. Back in the day, nearly anyone could make a game and be on a level playing field, but this is no longer so.
Indie developers, however, are reaping benefits because they are creating simple games with hardly any budget; they only have to sell a small percentage to rake in a profit. These games don’t provide the high-action, explosive moments of a AAA title (usually) but instead give a more interpretive experience. So, in the end, I’ve found that a successful game either has to come from an indie developer with no budget or a gigantic company with a huge budget.
This is a bad thing for gamers for many reasons. There is less creativity coming from the latter group, the industry is being consolidated as mid-sized companies fail and jobs are lost, and many games succumb to mere monetization and microtransactions. The elements that used to make games fun are either gone or cost more money. I’m not going to rant about that here and now, but due to the huge gap that’s been forming in the industry over the past few years, this is where we find ourselves presently. GTA is not necessarily a game based on monetization, but it does go to make the point that the gap between large and small companies is bigger than ever, hence the insane budget and resulting revenues of GTA V.
What other changes do you see in the industry moving forward? Let me know in the comments below, and leave a like or a follow if you’ve enjoyed. then, take a look at the Let’s Play channels in the “Links” tab, and have a great day.
Done For Now