The announcement of Konami that from now on will be devoted to mobile games and that, if that, they will already do PES and Metal Gears (without Hideo Kojima!) for Western players is another example of how disenchanted with the traditional videogame industry is. Mobiles and online videogame devour more and more customers, alien to the concept that needed a little box in the living room you put discs to play.
Konami actually lies a little, but that’s another story. His break with Kojima, revenues that derive from casino and pachinko machines and the disinterest of the last years to keep a stable catalogue of titles has led them to this step. The idea of its executive director, Hideki Hayakawa, is the main mobile business model (pay-to-play, heir of five hard machines which gave them fame three decades) is the only thing that is worth to them: games developed a low cost, whose earning potential is much juicier than the physical game.
When an editor makes a study of 300 people to develop for two years a videogame takes risks. To be added to discs, boxes which are involved and other paraphernalia have a manufacturing cost. I have to pay a few Lords carry them in trucks to stores, a store for them replacing, and allocate part of the sales that the shopkeeper can also eat. In the case of consoles, must also pay an extra money to Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony to let you get games for your machines.
How much? Bobby Kotick, Chairman of Activision, plundered is a monumental anger with Sony back in 2009, when PlayStation 3 was sold to 600 euros and crashed in sales for the same reason. Kotick told The Times that between Call of Duty and the rest of their catalogue paying some 500 million dollars. Just for the privilege to get games for your console. Or, more easily explained: there is always one price ranging from 10 to 20 euros difference between a new game console and the same game on PC.
We are in 2015. Xbox One and PS4 have animated the roost and sold a lot amongst traditional players… Or that we think. The data in Spain say another thing: AEVI, the Spanish Association of videogames, composed by the great actors of the industry, unveiled in its report of 2014 that the game has moved close to 1,000 million euros in our country over the past year. The box office of the film was 522 million last year, and that it reached some numbers that we had gone years without seeing.
The mantra of the cinema
The simple headline is “video game revenues almost bend to the cinema”. But it is false. First, the report of AEVI adds everything: physical video game consoles, game online. Second, Steam – leading online PC video game platform – not breaks down its data by countries or to own publishers, according to sources from several Spanish subsidiaries.
Third, much of the most successful online games also offer data for countries or part of these associations, which can only make estimates: Nobody, except for Riot Games, knows how much money leaves League of Legends in our country, videogame exclusively online with 67 million players a month. Fourth: the box office of the film does not include agreements with TVs, Blu-ray sales, etc.
And, if we look closely AEVI figures, is a somewhat more raw reality for the traditional video game: the physical software, games, what you have when you take away sales of consoles and gadgets, moved only 364 million euros. Physical games of the old guard do not sell more than the film’s old-guard. Not in Spain. Look at the graph:
Sales of physical games: Spain | Create infographics
If we add the factor of those games online, the report adds another 151 million euros. That includes both games bought digitally as downloadable plug-ins: new adventures, maps, clothes for the protagonists, subscriptions online – PlayStation Plus or World of Warcraft, to cite two different examples -.
It is an impressive figure, but still missing the mobiles, which gave another 90 million euros “Dear”. 241 million euros in total. Money that must be deducted you less by its online nature: fewer carriers, less expenses of making the cassette or disc. And the shopkeeper and Distributor are the same entity (which left up to 30% of what you pay, but eh). If you had to make video games today, would to which sector you prefer to go? If you’re not Konami.
Especially if you realize that, once you turn all the trash that is not money spent directly on video games, the Spanish players spent 4 of every 10 euros in digital games. The data is not very accurate: they are based on surveys, but they mark a trend as irreversible as global. In United States, leader of the consumption sector, digital consumption has gone in four years from 29% to 53% of the total. It is more than half. Not to mention China, which spent more than 10,000 million euros in video games, in a country where up to two days ago there were the consoles themselves manufactured for the rest of the world each year.
No turning back
It may be the last generation of consoles and, in part, blame it on the traditional players. Those who rode in anger and forced to rectify to Microsoft when Xbox One said plans (terrible, but were a first step towards a future without discs) to enhance the digital market. Or that the idea of PlayStation Now, Sony aimed at that we play in streaming as we see movies on Netflix, remote, and that the idea of console is loaded they look askance.
But console manufacturers also is to blame. I am customer of Steam for more than one decade. And I’ve been able to play all the games that I’ve been buying on its digital platform in my successive desktops, in several laptops, play in my house and, at Christmas, continue the same game installing it on my parent’s computer. Worth the same for the mobile games to change Terminal.
Steam is not the end-all of nothing. Google and Apple, either. But are unaware that, Hey, we’re in 2015, we must not do things as in 1984. Or in 1991. Or 1995. The traditional console should be dead long ago.
That which allows me to Steam? Five years ago, the only similar option in the console world was to carry a backpack with more than seven kilos of machines and cables. Full disk, which should be changed one by one if you want to play anything else. Worse still, requires multiple consoles because Xbox 360 games not working on Xbox One, the PS3 not going in PS4. Not even the digital that I’ve gained over time. What will I buy digital console games if I can only play them on a particular machine model? It is their business model which is making the consoles are left behind.
And can that traditional players worship the idea, already almost vintage, choose game and machine, change everything one by one in a process almost Neolithic to present day. Even if it is something that is making them, little by little, the same as hipsters of the vinyl, making that industry is more secure in those suckers willing to let a couple of euros a week for giving the finger to a screen.
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