The current console generation has been tough on a lot of video game developers. Costs of development have skyrocketed and have caused multiple developers to close. Unfortunately, the next generation of consoles does not make the future look much brighter according to Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick.
“Toward the end of the [console life] cycle, it’s bad for everyone, Third parties particularly limit their release schedules and begin to think about launching for the next generation … and third parties typically will not launch at the very launch of the next generation because there’s no install base and they don’t have a hardware business to support [them].
“If you’re not capitalized for the transition, you can find out that you’re not there for the transition,” he said. “Historically, in every transition that’s occurred in this business, one or two third parties have gone out of business. Last time around it was Midway and a couple of others. Midway was the highest profile. Reasonable people can argue about which one it’ll be this time. I have my own point of view, which I haven’t exactly been quiet about.”
The problem is, the next console transition may be the worst one in the history of gaming if costs continue to rise. Some game developers like Epic Games feel that the costs associated with creating a game on next generation consoles will double from what it is now. In other words, we may lose more developers than past console transitions because the costs just keep rising.
This doesn’t necessarily mean we will see fewer games, we may just end up with a ton more downloadable games than this generation. Or developers might stick it out on the current generation consoles for a little bit longer considering the enormous amount of people who have a Xbox 360 or PS3 in their homes.
Then again it is not exactly cheap to develop for the Xbox 360 or PS3 either, so I personally think a lot of developers are going to go the downloadable game route. More specifically, I think we might see a lot more development teams using the Telltale Walking Dead model of breaking the game up into sections and releasing them every couple of months.
What do you think, how will developers cope with the next generation transition? Will most developers be forced to work on downloadable games and how do you think this will affect the triple-A game market?