The current generation of consoles has seen the emergence of casual mobile/browser based games as well as AAA games capturing a wider audience and even bigger budgets than ever before. According to Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat these are the two types of games that are going to survive moving forward. In an interview with Games Industry International, Mallat discussed why he believes that B- games will cease to exist.
“On one end of the spectrum you will have all the big, AAA blockbuster games that [offer] more and more production values, more value for the players, but there will be fewer of them taking a bigger chunk of the market,” While on the other end of the spectrum Mallat believes that mobile games will still serve an important function of bringing in new customers into the gaming industry.
The middle of the road games, not quite casual, and not quite AAA, are the ones that will be in trouble according to Mallat. “The in-between, the belly of the market, is the one that just collapsed in a way and disappeared,” Mallat said. “Meaning there is no room for B-games, if I should say so, which proves the point of quality. I think that companies that put quality and consumer value as a primary focus, as we’ve been doing at Ubisoft, will enjoy great success.”
This news might be troubling and confusing to a lot people. In older generations, a game didn’t have to sell millions of copies to be considered a commercial or critical success. However in 2013, companies like Ubisoft have too much money invested in their staff and in game development to spend time creating games that can’t/won’t sell massive amounts of copies.
To put this in a clearer perspective, the Tomb Raider reboot, Hitman: Absolution, and surprise critical hit Sleeping Dogs, all sold over a million copies (Tomb Raider and Hitman are currently over 3 milion), and all were considered to be commercial failures by Square Enix. While it is unlikely that niche games and medium sized studios will disappear completely in the immediate future, they have certainly seen better days.