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Video Games, Big Bussiness

09/07/2012

I was Googling around today, just idly following strings of consciousness, when I found something out, Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3 made $1 billion in 16 days. To put this in prospective, Avatar took 17, and only 12 movies have ever made that much, regardless of the time. I was to be honest, shocked at this, despite believing strongly in the future of video games I didn’t think that they were that successful. I clicked into another fact; MW3 had the biggest launch total of any entertainment platform, ever. Grossing $400 million in the US and UK in the first 24 hours alone it made amounts of money that would pop the monocles out of the eyes of most billionaires.

And yet, the cost was in the region of about $40 million. Compare this to Avatars $237 million for a second; that is a large difference. That’s what I want to talk about in this article, how video games aren’t just a bit of teenagers fun, they are a very profitable business. This can be both a blessing and a curse, not least because 8 out of 10 games lose money.

Video games companies tread on a fine line, the nature of the cost of buying the game means that it is rarely an impulse buy, as a movie ticket or DVD might be. Indeed, many gamers may even choose their games months in advance. This is dangerous for games companies, and a game with a bad reputation becomes toxic, losing money. The fine line better profit and loss is drawn by how appealing a game is. Of course sometimes this means that games companies create some truly awesome games, with examples like Oblivion being good examples. However, think about all the top games of 2011, how many of them were less than the 5th in their series?

It is risky to make a new series, people may not like it, and when you are gambling millions it is difficult to not choose to hedge your bets with “Random SkullCrusher 27” as annoying as that is.

Video games have also lost an amount of direction  recently, with graphics reaching a sort of infinity point, no amount of new graphical ability will change the games, unlike the moves from 8 bit to more 3D type gaming. However throughout all of this some companies are trying to push these frontiers forward, even Activison, the publishing Goliath still tries new things with Call of Duty.

Where do you think video games will head in future years? Answer or comment below.

~Sean

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