Most FPS games lose money, says TimeSplitters dev

Free Radical founder says Call of Duty and Battlefield are only profitable shooters on market, publishers afraid to pursue projects that don't follow established formula.

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Call of Duty and Battlefield are the only first-person shooter franchises making money, TimeSplitters developer and Free Radical founder Steve Ellis recently told Edge. As a result, the longtime developer believes publishers are wary to green-light projects that buck established trends.

Publishers won't pursue a unique FPS, according to Ellis.
Publishers won't pursue a unique FPS, according to Ellis.

"I spent the whole of 2008 going round talking to publishers trying to sign up TimeSplitters 4," Ellis said. "There just isn't the interest there in doing anything that tries to step away from the rules of the genre--no one wants to do something that's quirky and different, because it's too much of a risk. And a large part of that is the cost of doing it."

Crytek UK (the name Free Radical took on when Crytek purchased the outfit) recently confirmed that TimeSplitters 4 was not in development despite the game having been announced in 2007.

"Nobody really buys any FPSes unless they're called Call of Duty," he elaborated. "I guess Battlefield did OK, but aside from that, pretty much every FPS loses money. I mean, [look at] Crysis 2: great game, but there's no way it came anywhere close to recouping its dev costs."

Ellis left Crytek UK in February 2009 to open a mobile game studio called Crash Lab. He explained that the FPS genre today has morphed considerably from what it once was.

"We've been through more than a couple of console generations and seen things grow and grow to a stage where it's not really the business we got into," he said. "It's not really what we signed up for at the start."

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ADDADAC

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Edited By ADDADAC

If crysis 2 did not make a profit, then why are they making a third?

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simon1812

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Edited By simon1812

hmm thats the other thing , publishers wanting to play it safe (those pansies), the world belongs to risk takers, the ones that dont die trying thats it.

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Shredwolf

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Edited By Shredwolf

That means they gonna let the Timesplitter series sit on the side and never touch it like how EA and Activision does to every great franchise and insist making sequels of crappier series that happen to have more potential profits and zero innovations. Well that's a game industry for you now

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Dudester22

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Edited By Dudester22

I honestly think the future is going to be MMO's or MMO hybrids of all different types. I think multiplayer and persistent world's in general will make even bigger and more ambitious stakes in the years to come. Planetside 2, WoW, Guild Wars Series, Rift, Terra, Star Wars, are mostly or will sell quite well. And these games are all trying to redefine how worlds even exist and are breaking incredible new ground with their ambitious risks. And to be honest I think portal 2 was a big risk and broke a lot of new ground in the fundamentals and execution of games. And though it wasn't an FPS it still sold like hotcakes! It's because the concept is actually fun and unique, has personality, developed a sense of love for the game. Crysis 2 is largely just Crysis 1 in oh so many ways, boring as hell. If tablets show you one thing is how saturation will kill sales of most of the copycats or non-standouts and only a few (asus transformer and apple ipad) are even appreciably bought. Even if acer, toshiba, blackberry, hp, sony and others have all tried and failed miserably. Dev's should really be taking a hard look at what's out there in the FPS world and notice how saturated and vastly truly unoriginal the content is in that ecosystem.

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simon1812

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Edited By simon1812

way too many FPS out there. and they all do the same thing for the most part, it is very hard to find new and innovative in the genera, and when there is something new it is usually just a little shy spark that could have been a bright star with a little more effort. look at rage, the "flying stick" sold me that game (well technically it was the demo but u know what I mean), it was my weapon of choice and thats all I was about in that game everything else was like "Im pretty sure I have seen this before... a lot of times before!" over all it felt like a missing opportunity and I was glad I waited for the price to drop.

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Grimlim

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Edited By Grimlim

There is no way Tf2 has not made money...

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BilkeLegenda

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Edited By BilkeLegenda

Every word in this article is absolutely true.We have much less creativity this gen cuz of garbage like this.Games that could have lots of potential,such as Harker,really could have been something new.And i was really looking forward to that game. COD is on the path to downfall,they are releasing 1 or 2 COD games every year. We want a break from this garbage,we want something new,innovative,and creative.My mistake,let me rephrase,half of us want something new,the other half doesnt mind a new COD or BF every years. But thats just my opinion.

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TrueGB

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Edited By TrueGB

Here's a crazy thought: don't make an FPS? Try something new? That said, I loved The Darkness 2 because it's a faux FPS.

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Spartan_1004

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Edited By Spartan_1004

I personally think shooters get unfairly judged. Gamers hate it when it feels like the same old shooter but when a new game comes out with something unique like binary domain's use of headsets to talk to your team mates or a fps trying to change up their multiplayer people complain they want the same old experience. I think shooters are stuck in too broad of a genre. Is there really too few of every other genre? It feels like just recently a bunch of fighting games just got released and more a scheduled to come like Doa5. Same with rpgs like kingdoms of amalur and the witcher 2; and dragon's dogma is coming soon. I know technically there is alot of shooters but I think a many are hybrids. Resident evil 6 could be thought of as a shooter but it is more than that. Same with Mass Effect 3 and Borderlands2. Inversion is out or about to come out I don't quite remember and it seems like it really is going to change up the shooter formula using gravity. How many people are going to try it? Hardly any which is sad.

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kennythomas26

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Edited By kennythomas26

This sucks, but it's so true.

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charlesdao

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Edited By charlesdao

"NEW", "UNIQUE" i dont care for sales, some of the best games dindt profit, the developers should do what they love... like Indie Dev studios, thats why games like journey are looking better than full retail games...

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s4dn3s5

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Edited By s4dn3s5

TS4 isn't an attractive brand anymore, deal with that.

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Marky360

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Edited By Marky360

Wow it's sad to hear that FPS games that aren't COD don't make money. It's weird because you hear everyone talk about how much they hate COD and that other FPS are better but those same ppl buy COD every year ane neglect the other games

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ericstifer

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Edited By ericstifer

kickstarter that s***! i'd throw down!!!

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k2theswiss

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Edited By k2theswiss

lol. WELL when 90% of the devs stop making crappy games looking and don't look fun, then don't support them after release by fixing bugs. Then maybe we gamers buy more. I buy games that look like their fun, lots of hours, unique, that look like current gen graphics. Any of these games only poss one of these ideals gets bought used. BTW i was going buy crysis 2 had it pre ordered BUT once i played the demo. WOW i couldn't tell you how fast i canceled that pre order. They should fired some art designers and hired few more programers. SO heres a few things you devs and publishers should try. Make AA game or don't make one at all, Stop rushing games that need few months longer, Fire any art designers that can't put great looking graphics in your game,

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PetJel

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Edited By PetJel

And yeah Crysis 2 had multiplayer, but it was nowhere near the focus and scale as CoD and BF are.

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ADDADAC

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Edited By ADDADAC

"I guess battlefield did okay"... being the top selling non COD game last year and making millions off it is just okay. that the problem today with devs and publishers, they see it as if a game isnt the #1 selling game, it fails

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Vari3ty

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Edited By Vari3ty

The only FPS's making money? Bull. What about games like Bioshock, Borderlands, or Halo?

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PetJel

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Edited By PetJel

The reason is not because people want the same formula over and over but because CoD and BF are mainly played online. Every singleplayer game gets pirated to infinity like Crysis 2 so they lose money. But CoD and BF are the only games people buy because they need a legit copy to play online.

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Spartan_1004

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Edited By Spartan_1004

I think money decides and people are buying Cod and Bf. I think there are a lot of fps because those are what have found some kind of success or at the very least popularity. If you want different genres and new IP convince developers with your money. I swear anything new coming out gets "This sucks, this is bull!" As for "why is Crysis 3 coming out if it didn't do so well?" So what should they bring out? It is easier to sell a sequel with a established fan base than a new IP gamers will crap on. The companies are obviously making money elsewhere either will dlc or tech like Epic has done with their Unreal engine.

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Icehearted

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Edited By Icehearted

If publishers influence the development/creative process we can look forward to the industry stagnating under the weight of mediocrity.

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k2theswiss

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Edited By k2theswiss

lol. WELL when 90% of the devs stop making crappy games looking and don't look fun, then don't support them after release by fixing bugs. Then maybe we gamers buy more. I buy games that look like their fun, lots of hours, unique, that look like current gen graphics. Any of these games only poss one of these ideals gets bought used. BTW i was going buy crysis 2 had it pre ordered BUT once i played the demo. WOW i couldn't tell you how fast i canceled that pre order. They should fired some art designers and hired few more programers.

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warder3750

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Edited By warder3750

for all of you looking for a break from the traditional fps check out crysis 2 and give it a try. Crysis 2 is the most revolutionary fps on consoles...despite its host migration problems. (don't let PC fanboys fool you...they're just mad about the graphics and the step away from crysis 1 that they love so much...feel free to thumb down ninos)

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xchiefmegadethx

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Edited By xchiefmegadethx

bullshyt dont believe everything u read.

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Pierce_Sparrow

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Edited By Pierce_Sparrow

This is unfortunate. Now developers will be making less varied shooters and we'll be stuck with the formulaic Battlefields/COD's. Seriously, why do players only want realistic war FPS's. What happened to the creative FPS, like DOOM, Quake, and so many others. What is it with people seeking out real life scenarios, as opposed to the imaginitive ones we used to get. The reason devs don't make money is because players lack the desire for variety and it's really sad. It's because of this that we miss out on potentially great games, like Prey 2, and instead get mediocre games like COD Black Ops 2.

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elusivewater

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Edited By elusivewater

might as well stick to ye olde UT2004 if you're looking for a real fps game lol.

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Shinobi120

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Edited By Shinobi120

IMO, FPS in general just needs to die off. Let us get back into the many genres of Action, Adventure, RPG's, etc. before this generation came around.

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shadow580

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Edited By shadow580

@Setho10 it's quite sad actually to realize how much money is spent in marketing at the same time when good devs go down under for less than stellar sales.

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Megawizard

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Edited By Megawizard

Most FPSes are also all rehashes of each other. Go figure.

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HollowNinja

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Edited By HollowNinja

And yet, JRPG fans will continue to insist that everyone's biased against THEM and just want more FPSes.

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pomd1

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Edited By pomd1

We want TimeSplitters 4!!!

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Apocad123

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Edited By Apocad123

I say move away from the standard FPS I'm sick of the same old tat to be honest, so much that i do not even buy them no more what's the point same crap better graphics but guess what graphics is not everything.

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danwesoly

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Edited By danwesoly

Do you guys know if me and my friend would need permission from Crytek to start a kickstarter? we've been planning it for a few days now

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hadlee73

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Edited By hadlee73

Some of the video game projects on KickStarter show how much gamers will support known licenses, but aren't so keen put their support into something that breaks the mold. I'm not so sure about his claims about most FPS franchises being unprofitable though, as he only really references his own failed attempts at getting published.

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rougewarrior198

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Edited By rougewarrior198

How would he know that.

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drknessfeeds

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Edited By drknessfeeds

I'm so sick of COD, Ghost Recon here I come.

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PlatinumPaladin

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Edited By PlatinumPaladin

It may have ultimately been Ubisoft's fault, but I'm not surprised they were unable to find a publisher for TimeSplitters 4 after Haze. CoD and Battlefield may rule the market but there's still plenty of room for others.

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GamerOuTLaWz

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Edited By GamerOuTLaWz

jerseycarter we dont give a shlt about what you think of FPS games you fng orange-tanned jersey shore gwido that listens to kid'wayne. FPS games always had the biggest titles in video games ever, and no I aint talking bout that kiddos halo trash from the 2000s but more of Quake,Doom, Unreal tournament games ,Battlefield serie,real games for men. Bulletstorm was also so much fun with a great dose of humor and Im glad to be part of those who played/bought it. Games are always worth the entertainment and even if they mostly sell for around 60$ for an average of 10hrs (if not 50,100 +) /60 = nothing for the pleasure you get out of it. Ive enjoyed TS2 more than everything on game cube(except for SSBM),had so much fun playing Infestation mode in custom maps with minigun turrets n stuff with friends. I dont see why I wouldnt try a new installment . They can do so much stuff with time traveling etc, TS would deff be something fresh for the genre.

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ZeroX91

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Edited By ZeroX91

Kickstart just sayin'. lol

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shaedar

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Edited By shaedar

I was under the impression that some of the more creative FPS games like Portal or BioShock or Borderlands were actually doing pretty well...

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TerrorRizzing

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Edited By TerrorRizzing

Also funny how crysis 1 made a ton of money, but crysis 2 and going multiplat is the beginning of their end. Crytek are idiots for forgetting who their fanbase are. I hope these guys decide to make time splitters on PC with a kickstarter. With steam and solid development it could be big. Consoles are for big blockbusters, PC is for everything.

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TerrorRizzing

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Edited By TerrorRizzing

Its go big or go home on console these days. Just so expensive and shelf life is so short for the average game.

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ahpuck

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Edited By ahpuck

Most FPS games are boring and generic. What a coincidence!

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SPCLong

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Edited By SPCLong

If Crysis 2 didn't recoup its dev cost why would they make a Crysis 3? What about Halo? Bioshock? This guy needs to think before he speaks.

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brucecambell

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Edited By brucecambell

@weisguy119 - What yacht? Since when was being a developer a high paying job? These guys make sh*t money. I love how gamers think they know more of whats going on behind the scenes of the industry than the people working in the industry.

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1nitram2

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Edited By 1nitram2

I really doubt that is true, does Halo not make a profit? Just to name one, and i am sure there are others that do well enough. Maybe publishers just dont believe in Timespliters 4, but that does not mean that all other shooters but COD and Battlefield lose money.

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Orvell

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Edited By Orvell

Maybe because for a while it seemed like every other game released was a shooter. Not every game has to be a shooter or play like one, not every game has to have online. I only need a couple of shooters in my library, just as I only need two or three racing games. I like games with stories and shooters and racing games aren't big on stories. Make more good action adventure (some can even be a shooter, sort of, gta, dead island, boarderlands, bioshock, are shooters variations that will stay on the shelf with traditional shooter or two), platformers, and rpg's (haven't been impressed with most this gen to generic). Thats just my taste in games.

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UniversalPie

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Edited By UniversalPie

So... If Crysis 2 didnt recoup its dev costs; why are we getting Crysis 3? And if everyone is so scared of making FPS games outside of the usual COD/BF style, why are we getting games like Tribes:Ascend and Planetside 2, that have a strong and growing following?

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wowwow27

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Edited By wowwow27

good, we need some new ideas, not the same old rehash day in - day out.

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brucecambell

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Edited By brucecambell

@Freezezzy - Did you read the article? Why would you call this man an idiot? Not enough money in it for them? Are you calling greed? Its not him whos an idiot, its gamers. The game would be made had gamers been willing to buy another FPS game that isnt CoWADooty. The industry is driven by the consumer. Its the consumers fault we're in this position. Also they need money to make the game. You seem to think they only want million of dolars in profit. Did you read the part where he mentioned Crysis 2 may not have even made back the development cost?