Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

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RodimusPrime
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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by RodimusPrime » Sat May 21, 2016 3:20 pm

without checking whats been released and just looking at my shelf at what I have bought.

Trackmania, The Crew, Transformers devastation, Deadpool, Killer instinct. Raiden v, Shadow warrior, Sundet overdrive, I would think would be classed as middle tier.

Still plenty out there, but maybe bot quite as much as it used to be, could be the higher development costs these days.

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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by killbot » Sat May 21, 2016 7:10 pm

The Beans wrote:
Rayne wrote:The saddest thing about the current (and, to an extent, last generation) is the loss of that beautiful 'Middle Tier'.

My PS2 library was absolutely stuffed with off-the-wall, random titles like Pink Pong and Mr Mosquito. Add to those the serviceable action adventure titles like Bujingai, Chaos Sword (I think?), Musashi, etc. Then you had SRPG's and RPG's galore...

These days on PS4 it's a bloody struggle to find anything like that. In some respects it makes it easier to actually play the games I want but, walking in to a highstreet store, it's rare I ever find anything I'd want to purchase.
You only got that sort of variety because games were cheaper back then in all regards. It was us who created the risk averse AAA and AA market we see today. None of us wanted to pay more for games as the cost of production went up. In fact, all we ever do is keep demanding that game prices come down. And we absolutely screwed things up with the pre-owned thing.

Middle tier games have mostly moved into the digital space. There's far less crap on the shop shelves. It's not exactly a nightmare scenario imo but like you I miss the variety sometimes. It's a pity that publishers and customers couldn't meet each other halfway. For every publisher "chasing the COD dollar" there's a thousand gamers wanting everything for £20 and calling massive games like Fallout 4 a cynical cash grab the minute a Season Pass is mentioned. Loads of middle tier games might haved earned a sequel if they'd been more modestly priced and we'd bought new and we all weren't just so sodding greedy but there you go, it is what it is.
Here's the problem as I see it. On the one hand, you have gamers who - as you say - totally undervalue games. They are why mobile gaming has moved from a model of selling complete games for two or three dollars to one where almost all mobile games are 'free' (free, of course, being a total misnomer as they're custom designed to suck money out of your account from the moment you boot them up).

On the other hand, the AAA market is now so out-of-control in the scope and scale of its ambitions that they really need to sell their games for 80-90 dollars minimum to have much hope of breaking even. But the market won't swallow that, so they have to use trickery. The disc in the box on the shop shelf still costs the same as eveer, but bits are ripped out to sell seperately as DLC, season passes, pre-order bonuses. They release a dozen different editions with different retailer exclusive bonuses. They sell 'special editions' full of plastic tat that pushes the price of the game up to three figures. These feel like shady, dodgy practices thoiugh it's hard to see what else they could do.

The indies feel like the centre-ground. By breeding customer loyalty and keeping a tight reign on finances, they are able to sell a complete game for a reasonable price and stay afloat. They are what the majors were 20 years ago before it turned into the last days of the Roman empire. Of course, that isn't to say they're all great (Steam is full of chancers cobbling together crap in Unity and selling it for crazy money. But the best indies point to a future that's sustainable and fun.
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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by Shinobi » Sat May 21, 2016 7:25 pm

I think with the online store middle tier games are easier to get and even our local game is getting a couple of copies of the obscure games in, granted they shoot up in price in a few months due to they're limited print runs compared to Fifa and the casual friendly games..

I think Sony have got it right releasing stuff like Gravity Rush and Valkyria Chronicles as budget titles hard to find a copy of Gravity Rush on release sold out everywhere online. I would say in Supermarkets and to a lesser extend places like Game they only get the triple A titles as they have less shelf space but even my Sainsburys has game like "Life is Strange" and Child of Light certainly not mainstream titles..

There's always been titles that have been very hard to find as they get released in small numbers DS Okamiden etc, whilst the 2D Castlevania's on the DS you never see them and are expensive when they do turn up in the wild shelves are always full of DS games, on the other hand 3d Castevania's on the 360 turn up in every shop for about about £1
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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by Matt_B » Sun May 22, 2016 12:27 am

learnedrobb wrote:
Matt_B wrote:It's a bit like with movies. The costs of bringing a Hollywood film to market are so huge that it doesn't really make much commercial sense to spend less than the high tens of millions of dollars making one, so that's what they do. Meanwhile, most indie film makers are lucky to scrape together a few million. Some might grow their reputation enough to make mid-budget films, but for those that break through it's usually off to Hollywood and its megabucks for them.
And then "Deadpool" happens and proves you don't need to spend $200m+ to make an effects filled, commercial blockbuster (Deadpool cost around $58m... pocket change by modern standards). There is room in the games industry for something similar to happen.
Yeah, but Deadpool 2 will probably have twice the budget and from then the series will either trend towards big-budget norms or the series will run out of steam and die. The problem isn't so much that good games and films can't be made on middling budgets, but that the way both industries are defining success leaves it as an unstable position to be in.

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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by Antiriad2097 » Sun May 22, 2016 1:19 am

Is Deadpool the best example given the middling reviews it got?
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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by Matt_B » Sun May 22, 2016 2:38 am

Antiriad2097 wrote:Is Deadpool the best example given the middling reviews it got?
Is 83% on Rotten Tomatoes "middling" these days? I thought it was pretty good; not in an earth-shattering way, but at least illustrative of the possibility of good superhero movies being made without hundreds of millions of dollars thrown at them.

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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by The Beans » Sun May 22, 2016 3:08 am

killbot wrote: On the other hand, the AAA market is now so out-of-control in the scope and scale of its ambitions that they really need to sell their games for 80-90 dollars minimum to have much hope of breaking even. But the market won't swallow that, so they have to use trickery. The disc in the box on the shop shelf still costs the same as eveer, but bits are ripped out to sell seperately as DLC, season passes, pre-order bonuses. They release a dozen different editions with different retailer exclusive bonuses. They sell 'special editions' full of plastic tat that pushes the price of the game up to three figures. These feel like shady, dodgy practices thoiugh it's hard to see what else they could do.
"Trickery" :lol:

There's the problem with old school gamers right there. Still clinging to how games were delivered in the past and suspicious of anything different. Only the bad examples are remembered, of course, it goes without saying.

But in truth, you're talking about middle tier games for the most part there. They're far more likely to have to rely on a DLC strategy in order to make a profit than a blockbusting AAA title. Games like GTA V, Fallout 4, Battlefield 4, Halo 5, Dead Rising 3, Borderlands 2, the latest COD, etc etc - they could have just released and left it at that. No DLC, no extra maps, no expansions. They'd still sell a shitload and make a profit.
The exta stuff is generally just a way to make more money out of their customer base by giving them what they want, which is usually "more game". The alternative is going back to the days when extra content would only ever be seen in a full price cash-in sequel.

It's worth pointing out that many AAA games also add free extra content and GOTY editions are bargains for the patient.
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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by learnedrobb » Sun May 22, 2016 4:41 am

Matt_B wrote:
learnedrobb wrote:
Matt_B wrote:It's a bit like with movies. The costs of bringing a Hollywood film to market are so huge that it doesn't really make much commercial sense to spend less than the high tens of millions of dollars making one, so that's what they do. Meanwhile, most indie film makers are lucky to scrape together a few million. Some might grow their reputation enough to make mid-budget films, but for those that break through it's usually off to Hollywood and its megabucks for them.
And then "Deadpool" happens and proves you don't need to spend $200m+ to make an effects filled, commercial blockbuster (Deadpool cost around $58m... pocket change by modern standards). There is room in the games industry for something similar to happen.
Yeah, but Deadpool 2 will probably have twice the budget and from then the series will either trend towards big-budget norms or the series will run out of steam and die. The problem isn't so much that good games and films can't be made on middling budgets, but that the way both industries are defining success leaves it as an unstable position to be in.
It's already been confirmed that Deadpool 2 will only have a small budget increase. Given the nature of the character they don't need to blow mega millions on the effects, certainly not in comparison to the latest Captain America film (which cost $250m). And even if you doubled the budget, that is still less than half a "normal" superhero blockbuster.

Man, anyone else remember when spending $100m on making a film was considered an extreme amount of money?
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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by HalcyonDaze00 » Sun May 22, 2016 5:18 am

no

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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by Matt_B » Sun May 22, 2016 5:19 am

learnedrobb wrote:It's already been confirmed that Deadpool 2 will only have a small budget increase. Given the nature of the character they don't need to blow mega millions on the effects, certainly not in comparison to the latest Captain America film (which cost $250m). And even if you doubled the budget, that is still less than half a "normal" superhero blockbuster.
Not really. Double it and it's at about the same as Ant Man. That's a pretty typical Hollywood superhero movie.

Also, the budget won't be confirmed until it goes into production. The writers have said they want to keep it at about the same level, but they don't own it.

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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by learnedrobb » Sun May 22, 2016 9:03 am

Matt_B wrote:
learnedrobb wrote:It's already been confirmed that Deadpool 2 will only have a small budget increase. Given the nature of the character they don't need to blow mega millions on the effects, certainly not in comparison to the latest Captain America film (which cost $250m). And even if you doubled the budget, that is still less than half a "normal" superhero blockbuster.
Not really. Double it and it's at about the same as Ant Man. That's a pretty typical Hollywood superhero movie.

Also, the budget won't be confirmed until it goes into production. The writers have said they want to keep it at about the same level, but they don't own it.
We are digressing here, but anyway. Ant-Man was "cheap" by Marvel/Superhero standards:

Ant-Man: $130m
Age Of Ultron: $250m
Avengers: $220m
Thor: The Dark World: $170m
G.O.T.G: $170m
Iron Man 3: $200m

The "normal" budget for a superhero film is about $170-$200m.

And I'd expect Ant-Man & The Wasp to hit the $170-$200m range. Thor: Ragnarok will go over $200m.

And Deadpool 2 has no real need to move above $100m really. It is far more character based and low-key action (you won't see Deadpool dropping a city on anyone, for example) than the rest of the MCU. Plus, no studio, no matter how much money a film has made will sanction a mega budget these days for an "R" rated property.

Edit: It is quite odd to think that Deadpool could have been made 5 times over pretty much for what they spent on Captain America: Civil War. Deadpool certainly doesn't look like it only cost 20% of Cap.
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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by pratty » Sun May 22, 2016 3:50 pm

Probably obvious and redundant to say but I think immediciacy is a factor. People prioritise the big releases because they're the in thing, and hyped. People buy them closer to their launch and pay the most for these games to be able to play them when they're hot, while good but less publicised games sit on the shelves and their price decreses. People then only pick them up later when they're cheap and/or pre-owned, if at all. So it is the gamer's fault as much as the publishers and retailers, we generally buy certain games early and for more money, and we buy other games later and pay less.
learnedrobb wrote:Edit: It is quite odd to think that Deadpool could have been made 5 times over pretty much for what they spent on Captain America: Civil War. Deadpool certainly doesn't look like it only cost 20% of Cap.
The actors fees for Civil War would probably be a significant chunk. Robert Downey Junior alone is probably on at least $20 mil, maybe more. Chris Evans is probably on $10-15 mil by now. The other stars less so but there's as few of them so it adds up. I would guess Reynolds probably got paid the lower end of $5-10 mil, then the rest of the cast probably way less.
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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by Joey » Sun May 22, 2016 4:32 pm

The Beans wrote:Games like GTA V, Fallout 4, Battlefield 4, Halo 5, Dead Rising 3, Borderlands 2, the latest COD, etc etc - they could have just released and left it at that. No DLC, no extra maps, no expansions. They'd still sell a shitload and make a profit.
The exta stuff is generally just a way to make more money out of their customer base by giving them what they want, which is usually "more game".
I certainly see paying around £80 for CoD every year as good value (The game + 4 DLC map packs) when I get at least 12 months play out of it. In reality I'm still going back to Modern Warfare 9 years later and with Black Ops being released on backwards compatibility this week I'm back on that again.
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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by gunbladelad » Mon May 23, 2016 1:27 am

killbot wrote:My first question would be 'is ...imagine Metroid by the guy who made Cave Story, or F-Zero by the FAST Racing team?...
Strangely enough both those series have already been farmed out to other companies in the past with Metroid having 2 other companies working on it, whereas F-Zero GX got farmed out to Sega.
Matt_B wrote:Is 83% on Rotten Tomatoes "middling" these days? I thought it was pretty good
If you believe the "ratings" system at my work, anything below 90% is atrocious... :lol:

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I reckon middle-tier games will be here to stay - if for no other reason than to provide publishers with an alternate stream of income between games (and for them to have something to come back to when people finally get fed up with having to buy their games with day 1 patches, episodic releases, store-exclusive DLC & of course "pay to play" mechanics which is seemingly invading more & more games all the time)

I'm not going to go into the "pay to play" stuff, but I am definitely not a fan - and have no intention of ever paying out extra money simply to play a game I own. I don't mind paying a subscription for any online games I play on a regular basis - when I'm in work that is - but stuff like Dungeon Keeper Mobile are perfect examples of how badly the pay to play system is broken.
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Re: Is 'Middle Tier' gaming on the way out?

Post by Treguard » Mon May 23, 2016 5:48 am

Antiriad2097 wrote:Is Deadpool the best example given the middling reviews it got?
I would say it's a bad example, but not because of the reviews, but because it's part of a franchise. It's a Marvel movie, with Marvel advertising behind it. It wasn't going to suffer for lack of publicity or a ready made audience. If you look at a film that got a similar review score on RT, like say Midnight Special, which I really enjoyed, it didn't even make back half it's tiny budget, maybe because it didn't get that many showings, but I guarantee it'll be up there when the Oscar nominations come round. But people didn't go to see it, because most people only want what they've liked before. That's why we get endless, FIFA's, COD's etc. and most new IP's fall by the wayside, and that's why publishers don't have any faith in them anymore. Even looking at Roddy's list of 'Middle Tier' games he's bought, two of them are big name licenses, and three of them are existing IP's. No-one wants to do anything new these days.

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