Bleszinski says disc-based market 'crumbling'

Former Epic Games director Cliff Bleszinski says "the disc-based day-one $60 model" is on the way out; believes AAA games and secondhand market cannot coexist.

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Former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski believes the disc-based console market is falling apart in favor of free-to-play games and microtransaction-enabled titles.

"Newsflash. This is why you're seeing free-to-play and microtransactions everywhere," Bleszinski said on Twitter. "The disc-based day-one $60 model is crumbling."

Xbox executive Phil Spencer offered a different sentiment recently, saying that the disc-based market is "really important" for the Xbox One and that the retail market will remain a major component of Microsoft's business strategy moving forward.

Bleszinski's comments came as a punctuation of a message about another industry hot topic: used games. He said AAA games and the secondhand/rental market cannot coexist due to ballooning development budgets.

"You cannot have game and marketing budgets this high while also having used and rental games existing," Bleszinski said. "The numbers do NOT work people."

"The visual fidelity and feature sets we expect from games now come with sky high costs. Assassin's Creed games are made by thousands of devs," he added.

Ubisoft has eight studios working on Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

The Xbox One supports used games as a platform, though decisions about allowing secondhand titles will be left up to publishers. Sony's PlayStation 4, on the other hand, will not feature any "gating restrictions" at all for software.

Discussion

2829 comments
Ne-Plus-Ultra
Ne-Plus-Ultra

If you make good games then people will buy them, there are so so many examples of this, unfortunately there are so many devs that make half ass games then bitch about used games stealing their profits. Just for an example I have GTA5 on pre order for the PS3 and I love the game so much that I plan on pre ordering it for the PS4 when I can, I have no problem paying for it twice because the devs deserve it. But when it comes to games like Aliens: Colonial Marines for an example, I feel like the devs ripped off the gamers with that one, and whose going to compensate the gamers for their loss. So if we get rid of used/rented games to help out the devs then it would only be fair if all games come with a trial period, this way the devs can't just give us half assed games knowing we have to buy them then get stuck with unplayable crap. 

santoron
santoron

If the numbers don't work, then work within your budget, moron.  We've seen what a few independent devs can do on a shoestring budget, yet the "best and brightest" can't even make a game for 20 million anymore?  Please.

Every other form of media has learned to coexist with their used markets, or businesses like rentals.  If you can't figure out how to do it then GTFO and let some one willing to work instead of whine give it a whirl.  Crying that consumer protections should be taken away so you can waste more money on sequels and clones is the sickest, most ignorant thing I've ever read.  

Agonoize76
Agonoize76

Based upon the "Behind the Scenes" movies I have seen from Epic Games HQ, I don't get the impression what Cliff says is actually true.

I get the impression that they make loads and loads of money...

twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

Maybe they should quit spending fuck loads of money to rush games out the door, with super high costs, and actually develop something innovative, and something that will last. Some people in this industry amaze me with their stupidity. This is also the guy that made 3 GoW games, which had me pissed off, given that it was hard as hell to find a match after only three months. 


Assassin's Creed is the same way. They should have stopped after 2. Rushing shit out the door isn't the way to make money, and establish a fanbase. Doing things right time and time again IS. I'll still buy a new copy of Bioshock over GoW any day of the week.

Lamesy
Lamesy

"AAA games and secondhand market cannot coexist."

Okay, keep your dime a dozen cookie-cutter AAA catalog!
We'd rather have indie games, a thriving and diversified mid-budget catalog, and freedom in the marketplace.

AAA isn't worth what you're asking.

fillup0
fillup0

He's such a hack. The business model of microtransactions would be around with or without our disc based model. I mean, look at Simcity.

so_hai
so_hai

"You cannot have game and marketing budgets this high while also having used and rental games existing,"

Oh yeah? And when did you write your thesis in Economics, Bleszinski?

He's confused what he would prefer with what is actual.

deathsquad99
deathsquad99

People like him need to understand that having used games "IS" a form of maketing! It enables more people who dont have enough money to experience games they wouldnt otherwise play.

 Example: A few years back I only had 25 bucks left after getting some stuff at the mall. Went into the Gamestop and saw a used copy of Infamous. I didnt know much about it but decided to give it a shot. Well it became one of all time favorite games. I then preordered Infamous 2 collectors edition, and now im obviously going to get Infamous Second Sons day one as well. 

So by purchasing this "evil used game", I am now a huge fan of the franchise and will buy all their future releases at launch (new!) and probably other releases by Sucker Punch as well. I know im not the only person this kind of thing has happened to. 

And you know what Cliffy B? There will always be people who only buy used no matter what. Instead of treating them like criminals, think of them as advertisement. They may help spread the word about a game to their friends and so on, and many of these people may buy their games new. 

Also how many of you out there buy new games for $60 because you know you can get some of that money back by selling it? I mean what if I really dont like the game? or get bored with it? Suddenly that 60 bucks doesnt seem too steep when i can get 20-25 of it back. People are much more willing to drop money on a product they can actually own, see in front of them, and sell when they see fit. 

Giving consumers the freedom to buy, play and sell games on their own terms wont destroy the AAA game market, stupid greedy restrictions like Microsoft are making, will in fact.

Zangan_Zack
Zangan_Zack

Cliffy B is bordering on moronic with his "opinions" on these matters.

TrappedInABox91
TrappedInABox91

Cart and CDs seemed to have worked for the last 30-40 years. Now suddenly it can't? Instead of buying a $60 CD, we should a $60 digital copy? 

Sounds like these guys want to fuck us for more money. No deal. 

LanceCypher
LanceCypher

Jeez, why the hell do people keep saying crap like this. There are practically no actual facts in support of this idea that because people download media on portable devices, all physical-based business models are going to hell in a handbasket. We still buy books, we still buy CD's, and we still buy game discs and cartridges. "Newsflash" indeed.

fluffy_kins
fluffy_kins

The problem is that budgets for games need to be lowered. Until we can get a buttload of digital storage on consoles, while NOT being outrageously expensive, I'll take my games on discs, thanks.

stanknuggetz12
stanknuggetz12

There is something special about that new disc game smell when you rip the plastic off and open that baby up.

But it is gonna be very tempting to just buy digital especially if the game becomes available to download at 12am on day one, like GameStop midnight launches

TeoKot
TeoKot

What has happened to this guy? He is constantly spitting BS since E3 started? Another M$ puppy?

SamuraiSeven
SamuraiSeven

With all due respect.  Please make games and stop with the commentary.  I like discs.  I like manuals.  I like box art.  I like little extra codes that come with it.  I won't pay 59.99 for a game digitally if I can get the game with all of the above for the same price.  Now if digital games were substantially less expensive (especially considering there is minimal overhead) then I would buy into that.

Until then.  I'll take a disc

tevic
tevic

Blezinski is saying bullshit as always. Assassin's creed sold millions and millions despite used games. Why would Ubisoft have continued to make these games if they weren't profitable ?

DeFiLeDTitan
DeFiLeDTitan

Why can't we live in a world of multiple options? It's always all or nothing with these guys.

Another idea might be to stop spending an outrageous amount on advertising. 100 million dollars on advertising for bioshock infinite? in the immortal words of Dr. Evil: "How bout NO!" People were going to buy that game like hotcakes anyway. Maybe spend like 90 million? its a start anyway

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

You damn right something isn't adding up.  Cost of manufacturing disc or the plastic it's made from hasn't changed in over a decade.  If anything it's gotten even cheaper because of the lowering of the quality it's made from.  I would be surprised if it even cost over .50 to produce a single disc.  Once a technology is perfected, it could be used over and over again.  A new gaming-engine isn't made for every new title that's made.  It just come down to GREED, pure and simple.

marshalmathers2
marshalmathers2

Just one question..

Since when did someone think that buying a game on-line and waiting for 15+ gigabytes to download is more appropriate than owning a game on-disc?

NeecHMonkeY
NeecHMonkeY

Yeah, discs are definitely on the way out... exactly the reason why you can't buy Music CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays anymore, right?

CraigNinten
CraigNinten

To me it seems like Atari 2600 is coming back to destroy gaming community again.

macca366
macca366

It works really well for steam, but I think the console market is too used to discs and non-restrictions to go fully digital. We also don't trust that given a fully digital model, that we would actually be offered the benefits, like say, all games becoming cheaper minus physical packaging, disc and shipping costs - and I doubt that would happen straight away too. The PR behind Xbox One hasn't given any good reasons or benefits for the consumer in return for being always connected, and accepting restrictions from sharing or re-selling or buying secondhand games.

The ballooning development costs of AAA titles are a real concern though. These big games cost so much to make, no wonder they pursue DLC and have begun to demonise the used-game market. I mean Tomb Raider DID sell like 3 million + units and they said it wasn't successful. Something isn't working here.

Still, the consumer should NOT be punished for it. By the way, why does everyone hate this guy again? Nothing he's said here isn't necessarily untrue or irrelevant

Randolph
Randolph moderator

Poor CliffyB, barely getting by.  He hasn't got enough money for another car that costs six figures. :(

You want people to trade your games in less, and buy them used less, make them worth buying new.  Their is a reason ic an go to gamestop and get Gears of War 1 - 3 for a grand total of about twenty five bucks.  Your games focused on being pretty, good looks are fleeting and your game is repetitive, has a shit story, and has characters no one remembers or cares about.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@Agonoize76 Since when is "loads of money" enough money for these guys? The gaming industry is calculated in billions of $$$. Ubisoft, I think it was last year or the year before, had revenues over 1 billion dollars and, contrary to the movie industry, a game doesn't cost much more than a few millions to make. A triple AAA might reach in the first ten, not much more.

Why do they need so much profit? A the end of WWII the boss of a big enterprise got around a hundred time the salary of an employee. Today it's a many thousand times the salary of one. Don't look elsewhere, the answer is there. They, and the few poodles around them who knows which butts to kiss with passion, are hungry and not for the right reasons.

ecs33
ecs33

@Agonoize76 They probably do. But what's so wrong with that? They are taking the risk of spending lots of lots of money to make lots and lots of money. Who would spend lots and lots to make only so much?

michael39238
michael39238

@deathsquad99 Exactly.  If games were $30 no one would care about being able to sell them later.  But they are too expensive and a 2nd hand market has appeared.  Markets emerge because of supply and demand.  Greedy corporations think that the only markets that should exist are the ones that make them profits and make their competitors bankrupt.  Either that or they want to be monopolies where all the consumers are forced to buy from them.

ecs33
ecs33

@LanceCypher I actually agree with his comments in a way, but I think we are far away from what he thinks. Physical media will still be a competitor for the next 10 years, atleast. 

singaporesam
singaporesam

@stanknuggetz12 plus i like having a physical manual, i enjoy reading it on the journey home in anticipation to play the game.


twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

@stanknuggetz12 You can do it on Steam. Thing about it is, they need to implement pre-load games like Steam does. Sony  already has everything rolling in the right direction, and has given us a taste of what is to come on PS4 with the E3 sales.

My only gripe is that I couldn't download The Last of Us until 12am PST. And it's a huge file. So i rented from redbox, and bought it the next morning at gamestop.


Microsoft trying to force this stuff on people is what's scary. You can still go buy PC games at the store if you wish, but it's cheaper to get the digitally on sale. Microsoft dosn't want to do sales. They want to make everything digital and keep all the games sky high and never have them on sale. They think they can remain competitive like this? Idk. They're being retarded. Oh well. Good bye gamerscore.

Vojtass
Vojtass

@TeoKot He's the same guy, as he always was. You just woke up.

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@SamuraiSeven exactly.  like i've said, they get rid of physical discs and they lose me and millions of gamers instantly.

they won't lose the foolish or the casuals, but, they'll lose their core.

ballooning budgets my arse.  what he's talking about is ballooning greed, expectations and waste.

a thriving digital option is the sane path to take. 

all digital = less profits

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@tevic Last time I had a financial report on Ubisoft, it made more than a billion in sales (for a single year, should I add). That's Ubisoft alone. On top of that governments subsidize the gaming industry to keep studios around. In Montreal a third of employees salaries are subsidize for 5 years for all new gaming studios coming in. Add to the fact that a game, contrary to a movie, cost almost nothing to make....

The most expensive game to make, AFAIK, was Red Dead Redemption (a masterpiece IMHO), something like a hundred million dollars or more to make. Usually it's more around a few million dollars, not much more. When the 3D engine is made it's reused which reduces costs for all iteration of games afterward, so can't talk of costs there.

Where is profit needed? Since WWII the revenues of bosses skyrocketed while our purchasing power stagnated. They went from a hundred times the salaries of employees to many thousand times the salaries of employees.

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

@tevic Yeah, Cliffy needs to just stop talking. Is it games that cost more to develop? Or is it license for the Unreal Engines they want everybody to use? Hmmm....

ecs33
ecs33

@marshalmathers2 Yea but most of the time they have games available for download prior to actual release. In all actuality, downloaders get to access the game quicker. 

fillup0
fillup0

@marshalmathers2 Use Steam and you'll see when somebody thought that. Instant access to the download and cheap as fook games man!

xotheusedguyox
xotheusedguyox

@NeecHMonkeY with music cds, its a bit different since most people just want to buy 1 or 2 songs instead of an entire album, and blu ray replaced dvds but there still a nice chunk of blu ray for sale but with netflix and hulu, a lot of people are starting to get less materalistic and not collectiong every horrid movie that came out over the past 20 years and just streaming the crappy movies on those services instead. but with gaming, its a mega long download for a full game and gamers tend to love their physical collections over digital especially for their favorite series.

cirugo
cirugo

@NeecHMonkeY  

It's getting that way unfortunately.  Which is why if people want to continue to have a choice they better start drawing some lines in the sand.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@macca366 Tomb Raider and Deus Ex have one thing in common: they are made by Eidos. Now until the last Deus Ex and Tomb Raider Eidos was a company with a poor portfolio, a company going down the drain. Now they are trying hard to raise their head out of the water and it's hard, but at least they are trying, by creating excellent games. What worries me, though, is that Square Enix (who owns Eidos) have problems of their own and might very well tempted to shovel them on their subsidiaries. We'll see.

The game market is calculated in terms of billions of dollars. Let me repeat it: BILLIONS of dollars! Some say it even exceeds the movie industry. I have my doubts but who knows. Whatever the case their is a lot of money going around, so don't worry about it. Of course not all game are successful. Then again not all game are expensive to make. And then again profit is not to be calculated on a single game but on all the sales a single company does as a whole.

So what's the story here? Simple. Game publishers are obsessed with the money made in the used game market by the retailers, money made with games they did and, for some reason, still think they own in some way. It's only a few hundred millions of dollars worth but they passionately want it. I remember seeing  a panel with representatives of the industries talking about that, a few years back, on TV. It's the only thing they thought and talked about and, so it seems, it hasn't changed.

Some people think it's alright, that we don't really own the games we buy. Fine, I say! If I cannot lend, rent or sell a game the way I want, it means I don't own that game. Then if I don't own it it means I'm renting it. Here in my corner of the world the price for a rented game is around $3 to $5.00. If game publishers don't want me to 'buy' the game then I say let them 'rent' their new games on the future Xbox One and PS4 for the price of a rent: $3-5, not a single penny more! When I'll see the next Call of Duty, the next Destiny or whatever at that price point I'll say OK, if not: forget it.

Agonoize76
Agonoize76

@ecs33 @Agonoize76  Nothing's wrong with that. I just don't understand the crying from Cliff... He and the rest of Epic seems to be financially, quite ok

marshalmathers2
marshalmathers2

@fillup0 @marshalmathers2 I already have Steam. Used it only once to download Portal 2 and it took me an overnight to get my game completed and ready to go! I had to think real hard deciding whether or not to buy The Witcher 2 on sale and I finally chose to leave it for some other time!!

Not everybody have high speed internet, and mine is decent to say at least (i think) :(

ApneicMonkey
ApneicMonkey

I completely agree with you... my comment was totally sarcastic based on the fact that music and movies are still able to be bought physically even after so many years of their digital counterparts also being available.