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Cheeko

Could a new console steal the next gen without big budget titles?

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After reading the E3 threads I am left with no real interest in what has been presented by the three big hitters.

For me these days it's games like Fez, Minecraft, Trials Evo, Limbo, Double Fine's output, DayZ, Dear Esther that interest me, but am I kidding myself that these games can make enough money to support a platform without riding the coat tails of the AAA infrastructure?

Xbox and Playstation are so far down a road of big budgets that even though they do deliver these great indie games they're side lined by social networking and media systems trying to bring mass market appeal.

I think Nintendo had a great idea with the Wii by making a lower spec, cheaper machine, but they're such a closed market they focus on their own IP and back catalogue.

So do we have a new opening in the market for a console that provides a dedicated Xbox Live / PSN style experience with a channel for more experimental titles like the Xbox Indie gaming but one that actually makes these games the focus and gives them better exposure?

It doesn't have to be a new player either, Steam and Apple I think are both excellently placed to step in on these, Apple's recent purchase of Leowe seems to suggest they're bringing the App store to our living room TVs.
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[quote name='Cheeko' timestamp='1338881745' post='8645851']
I think Nintendo had a great idea with the Wii by making a lower spec, cheaper machine, but they're such a closed market they focus on their own IP and back catalogue.
[/quote]
I think part of what you want [i]could[/i] be done by Nintendo, IF they loosen their grip on the WiiWare market. Developers have complained a lot this gen that not only are Nintendo's terms highly unfavourable, but their contracts also prohibit them discussing it in the press or with other developers. There was a big bust-up earlier this year when a developer released their sales figures, and Nintendo came down upon them like a ton of bricks.

What we DO know from hearsay is that Nintendo don't work well with Western developers (though I think that's an ever-present rumour without much direct proof) and that for WiiWare, Nintendo didn't work like the AppStore - they negotiate a "breaking point" in number of sales with each developer, and the developer doesn't earn a single penny until they reach that breaking point - then Nintendo skim off the top once they do start making money - and it's very hard to get them to change the price of your title once it's up.

Basically they're a nightmare to work with, which is why fewer developers put up with it compared to XBLA, Indie Games, PSN etc.
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So it couldn't be done with Nintendo. I don't know why you picked the worst download service as the potential where this could be done. The best examples of this are from XBLA and show its entirely possible to have very successful software that isn't AAA in production or development cost. Whether new hardware can be launched to entirely rely on this would depend on the cost of the hardware and I would think it very unlikely as the initial layout for hardware almost demands AAA product to justify the expense. A very low cost, download only 360 might be able to do it.
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This is a chicken and egg question, isnt it? Yes, a in theory a new console could get itself into the #1 position with a load of extremely good and extremely interesting downloadable and indie games however, once it gets into that #1 installed base position then you can bet your bottom dollar that the big boys will make [i]Grand Theft Auto[/i] and [i]Call of Duty[/i] games for it.
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See also the iPad - now featuring GTA, Virtua Tennis, Need For Speed etc.
But just because they're there doesn't preclude the likes of new star soccer doing well if the author is lucky enough.
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If Apple ever made a TV or under-TV box that could play iOS games that'd generally be massively successful with only the fare that's on there. Market disruption from below and all that.
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[quote name='Cheeko' timestamp='1338881745' post='8645851']It doesn't have to be a new player either, Steam and Apple I think are both excellently placed to step in on these, [b]Apple's recent purchase of Leowe[/b] seems to suggest they're bringing the App store to our living room TVs.[/quote]

Proof?, Loewe denied the rumours a few weeks back, I googled nothing.

The iTV rumours have been going on for ages, a patent exists for the bloody thing, but it doesn't play games according to the patent, and how many people buy Loewe TVs, let alone Apple priced Loewe-manufactured TVs. If Apple make a TV and sell it at Apple margins, I will be super amazed if they have a monster hit, nobody but Samsung are making anything from building TVs at the moment, and even they had a wobble recently.

As to your posited idea, depends what you mean, what is the crossover between the CoD/FIFA audience and what Apple or Valve could bring to the game? not much imo.

If you mean absolute numbers, eh, still not game,set & match to the low cost games set,
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[quote name='tssk' timestamp='1338882571' post='8645859']
Facebook and mobile games are already proving this.

How many blockbuster AAA titles sell as well as Angry Birds?
[/quote]

Most of them. The total proceedings from ALL mobile gaming in Q4 last year were about 60% of what MW3 alone made in week 1.

The entire "social" sector for Q4 was half as big as even mobile, so considerably less than 1/3rd of MW3's week 1 revenue.

Incidentally if Minecraft XBLA really has sold 2million copies and we assume all at full price, then its revenue to that point is about 1/3rd of MW3 in week 1.

There are questions to be answered of course. That 2million copies is obviously a considerably higher proportion of MW3's "Transactions" for want of a better word for instance.
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MineCraft is the biggest selling game ever on XBLA, the CoD map packs have out sold it for reference, that is the situation as it currently exists, 1.5 Million people are big enough mugs to pay Activision for CoD Elite too.
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[quote name='mushashi' timestamp='1338909731' post='8646746']
MineCraft is the biggest selling game ever on XBLA, the CoD map packs have out sold it for reference, that is the situation as it currently exists, 1.5 Million people are big enough mugs to pay Activision for CoD Elite too.
[/quote]

I didn't realise that, that only adds to the revenue from MW3. How many packs and how much each by the way?

I think your major problem launching a console without the big pubs is still that you'll never make the R+D back. You take 30% of Minecraft's revenue and after retailer discounting of points etc that game's worth £10m to you, it doesn't pay for that much and Minecraft is on the very,very edge of still being able to be called indie.

And bear in mind my figures were all UK only EXCEPT Minecraft. MW3's world sales went well past $1billion before xmas, let alone after another 6 months of support and DLC.

It works for Apple (kinda, although as I pointed out they're sharing £50m a quarter in that market) because the R+D costs of an iPhone don't need to be paid for by games. Not only is the hardware profitable anyway, it's not the core market for the device.
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