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Next Gen = Less Jobs for Devs

By Jon I in Original Pieces

Recently the PlayStation 4 got its full reveal by Sony at the PlayStation Meeting 2013. If you missed it, you might want to check out the RealGamerNewz full rundown show that took place afterwards. With the expectations for Microsoft to reveal their next generation console (currently being called Xbox 720 by most gamers and press) in April, word has come to RealGamerNewz that there is a new strategy being taken up by game companies. But before we go further into what exactly that strategy is and whether it’s good for gaming or not, take a look at some major trends in the industry right now.

Companies like TimeGate Studios have been announcing layoffs leading up to and throughout the next generation console announcements. TimeGate Studios is only the latest in a long line of gaming companies letting developers go, and there are industry indicators to explain why this happened. TimeGate is said to have lost a publishing deal after the financial and critical disappointment of Colonial Marines by Gearbox (apparently TimeGate was helping develop the title in some aspect). In any event, being connected to the title certainly didn’t help. They aren’t alone though, EA said it will have a lot of layoffs for next generation, and many other companies have already begun trimming down as well.

Bioware San Francisco was also completely shut down displacing essentially the entire team who is responsible for mobile titles like Dragon Age: Legends and Mirror’s Edge 2D. Many speculate that EA got rid of the studio because of their new business strategy. What exactly is that business strategy? One aspect of it surely revolves around the next generation of game consoles as Bioware San Francisco is dropped due to its simplistic, mobile standpoint which doesn’t really have a place on PlayStation 4 and the rumored Xbox 720.

This shift is more than just switching focus to the new platforms. RealGamerNewz is hearing whispers in the industry that there will be a new way of doing things in the developer to publisher relationship of games. From now on instead of trying to stretch out budgets and cover several demographics at once, resources will be reserved for the best projects in production only. This strategy is a way for publishers to seek forgiveness from gamers and answer their call for a rise in quality and decrease in quantity of titles being released to the mainstream and AAA spaces.

Video game companies have been heavily criticized in the PS3 / 360 generation for their “rinse-and-repeat” style of pumping out games that are almost identical but sold at full price. This practice started with sports title eons ago, but in this generation has reached epic proportions leaving many gamers with a sour taste in their mouth. Worst offender Activision and most obvious examples Guitar Hero and Call of Duty are a perfect indication of what gamers are getting sick of and publisher are trying to move away from in response.

The amount of money being spent on downloadable content and the willingness for gamers to pay for in-game features that were once considered commonplace is part of why the publishers may feel comfortable bringing an end to the yearly release business model.

Is all of this just wishful thinking and excuses to cover up the true reasons behind layoffs by the game companies? Let us know your thoughts.

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