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StingingVelvet: Minecraft with zero marketing made 33 million and is still in beta.
You mean zero marketing that they paid for. They got tons of free press all over the place.
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PoSSeSSeDCoW: They already spend a ton on making the games. They spend money on marketing the game so people will actually buy them. Yes, Minecraft sold a lot without advertising, but that's the exception, not the rule. Without marketing, games, like any other form of media, don't sell. To get upset over marketing is idiotic.
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DarrkPhoenix: However, one has to ask the question of whether the money spent on marketing is a net gain or a net loss. With $100 million spent on marketing, and assuming a profit of $30 on each game sold (which is probably pretty generous), you'd need to sell an additional 3.3 million copies just to make the marketing campaign break even (for reference, CoD4 sold about 13 million copies total). Now, I'm certainly not going to argue that the game wouldn't sell significantly fewer copies if there were no marketing at all, but when marketing campaigns grow so large one has to ask at what point are they hitting significant diminishing returns. If a $10 million marketing campaign results in a game selling 6 million copies, and a $80 million marketing campaign results in a game selling 7 million copies, then it's pretty clear that spending that additional $70 million was a waste of money. Now, I realize that without any actual numbers I'm mostly just handwaving from my armchair over here, but when I see marketing budgets as big as the ones being talked about here I can't help but get the feeling that this kind of marketing is achieving market saturation at only a fraction of the total budget, with the rest of the budget just being wasted money.
And also this pretty much.
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Delixe: What you are seeing here is a good old fashioned penis waving contest. EA and Activision have been at each others throats ever since the first CoD was made and you can bet if they can they will spend more than $200 million just to prove who is the biggest in the US. How good the game is doesn't really matter, all that matters is who has the most TV ads and the biggest in-store adverts.
This is exactly it. If that money wasn't spent on marketing they wouldn't have increased any studio's budget, they just would have gold plated a few more chairs for the executives' asses.
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PoSSeSSeDCoW: Once again, if they spent all the money on development (which would be a ridiculous sum and probably guarantee a game with little focus), it would not sell much due to the simple fact that no one would know about it.
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thelovebat: You have got to be kidding me......

http://myfacewhen.com/323/

More money spent on development would probably mean more jobs, which means more employment for those out there looking for work, and more people working on a game means more would be put into making and polishing the game, as well as things like writing the story, testing, coding, etc. And if the game were spent carefully on and polished up with such a huge budget if it would receive so much free advertising from great reviews and stories being featured on websites that it would easily offset not being advertised as much.

Both sides win, both companies can make money if they offer something great but different, that's what competition is supposed to be about, its supposed to bring out the best in something like in sports for example. Two football teams both want to win the championship, both are great teams, but simply trying to emulate and copy what the other team does and trying to get close the exact same players on your team while choosing to run a similar scheme and strategy won't give you the edge over them just because what they did was wildly successful. Build your own team and strategy to compete, and everyone (including the fans) win. :)
More money getting thrown into development doesn't always guarantee a higher quality product or an increased chance of success. A hundred programmer making mistakes has the same basic end result as twenty programmers making mistakes.

Besides, there are jobs in marketing and it can be a very rewarding career. I say let these companies decide what to do with their own money. If any of us becomes the owner his own video game company, he can invest his money any way he pleases.
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StingingVelvet: Minecraft with zero marketing made 33 million and is still in beta.
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orcishgamer: You mean zero marketing that they paid for. They got tons of free press all over the place.
And Call of Duty/Battlefield don't?
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orcishgamer: You mean zero marketing that they paid for. They got tons of free press all over the place.
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StingingVelvet: And Call of Duty/Battlefield don't?
When an indie game, like Minecraft, gets multiple writeups on Slashdot and Penny Arcade, well you can't really buy that kind of press, if you could, it may be worth millions. So, free press Duty and BF may get, but the kind Minecraft got was extremely good, in fact I've rarely seen its like.
All people need to do is not buy the game on the first day. Wait a little. That impulse buying instinct you have because "OMG IT'S GONNA BE AWESOME!"? That was planted by marketing.

Kill it.

Then once the game is out, look up for reviews from people you trust, see what people are saying about the game. Look at the flaws it has and ask yourself if they're dealbreakers for you. Try a demo and if the game doesn't have one, wait a little further or just move on if the reviews are not convincing.

That's the only way publishers will understand. If their marketing turns into nothing but a money sink that doesn't pay off, that's what makes them think twice where should the money go. But if ads and hype gives them the money anyway, why should they bother programming something good? They already got your money. Just a matter of fooling you twice or thrice again.
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Fuzzyfireball: I miss when gaming was not as huge as it is today.
Do you miss programmer art too? ;)
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StingingVelvet: And Call of Duty/Battlefield don't?
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orcishgamer: When an indie game, like Minecraft, gets multiple writeups on Slashdot and Penny Arcade, well you can't really buy that kind of press, if you could, it may be worth millions. So, free press Duty and BF may get, but the kind Minecraft got was extremely good, in fact I've rarely seen its like.
That's kind of the point though. As an indie developer free press and a good idea can make you millions. See Minecraft, see Meat Boy, see Braid, etc. Battlefield needs to spend a hundred million just to try and break even, which is stupid.

The whole industry needs to go smaller.
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thelovebat: You have got to be kidding me......

http://myfacewhen.com/323/

More money spent on development would probably mean more jobs, which means more employment for those out there looking for work, and more people working on a game means more would be put into making and polishing the game, as well as things like writing the story, testing, coding, etc. And if the game were spent carefully on and polished up with such a huge budget if it would receive so much free advertising from great reviews and stories being featured on websites that it would easily offset not being advertised as much.

Both sides win, both companies can make money if they offer something great but different, that's what competition is supposed to be about, its supposed to bring out the best in something like in sports for example. Two football teams both want to win the championship, both are great teams, but simply trying to emulate and copy what the other team does and trying to get close the exact same players on your team while choosing to run a similar scheme and strategy won't give you the edge over them just because what they did was wildly successful. Build your own team and strategy to compete, and everyone (including the fans) win. :)
No offense, but that's wrong. Yes, more people will get paid if you hire more people. In programming, however, adding more people to a project can make the project actually take longer. It's known as Brook's law. Of course, this is not true in all cases, but is generally true. People coming onto the project need to learn the entire system and people already working on the project will need to take more time teaching them everything. If you care about this at all, I'd recommend reading the book The Mythical Man-Month.

Similarly, code doesn't get magically polished and efficient if you spend more time on it. It just doesn't happen.

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DarrkPhoenix: However, one has to ask the question of whether the money spent on marketing is a net gain or a net loss. With $100 million spent on marketing, and assuming a profit of $30 on each game sold (which is probably pretty generous), you'd need to sell an additional 3.3 million copies just to make the marketing campaign break even (for reference, CoD4 sold about 13 million copies total). Now, I'm certainly not going to argue that the game wouldn't sell significantly fewer copies if there were no marketing at all, but when marketing campaigns grow so large one has to ask at what point are they hitting significant diminishing returns. If a $10 million marketing campaign results in a game selling 6 million copies, and a $80 million marketing campaign results in a game selling 7 million copies, then it's pretty clear that spending that additional $70 million was a waste of money. Now, I realize that without any actual numbers I'm mostly just handwaving from my armchair over here, but when I see marketing budgets as big as the ones being talked about here I can't help but get the feeling that this kind of marketing is achieving market saturation at only a fraction of the total budget, with the rest of the budget just being wasted money.
A very valid point. I wouldn't be surprised to learn (if it were actually possible to get numbers) that they were reaching the point where every extra dollar was making them less than a dollar back.
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El_Caz: All people need to do is not buy the game on the first day. Wait a little. That impulse buying instinct you have because "OMG IT'S GONNA BE AWESOME!"? That was planted by marketing.
Actually there are people who would still get that same feeling without marketing. There are people who are such fans of certain franchises that they have high expectations of every new entry. Even without marketing, there would still be people buying games on day one of release along with pre-orders.
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infinite9: Actually there are people who would still get that same feeling without marketing. There are people who are such fans of certain franchises that they have high expectations of every new entry. Even without marketing, there would still be people buying games on day one of release along with pre-orders.
That is very true... & it has come back to bite me in the ass several times (Twilight Princess being a key offender... I despise that gotdamn game).
I always get the feeling that both Battlefield and Call of Duty are American gov't directives to get kids to buy it, and inspire them to signing up for the army. But not simply that, but to numb them away from asking any critical questions about the evils of the government that they're really in service to - all under the guise of protecting their fellow citizens and the ideals of freedom, of course.

Seriously, when you figure that these games have been their publishers main moneymakers during the tenure of two of the most unpopular presidents ever, it's something to think about. Then there's this news that they're severely overspending on marketing? What?
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Razzoul: DICE isn't very good at making single player anyway, and Battlefield 1942 ( DICE's first game, I think) was pretty much a multiplayer game anyway.
Not even close.
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thelovebat: You have got to be kidding me......

http://myfacewhen.com/323/

More money spent on development would probably mean more jobs, which means more employment for those out there looking for work, and more people working on a game means more would be put into making and polishing the game, as well as things like writing the story, testing, coding, etc. And if the game were spent carefully on and polished up with such a huge budget if it would receive so much free advertising from great reviews and stories being featured on websites that it would easily offset not being advertised as much.

Both sides win, both companies can make money if they offer something great but different, that's what competition is supposed to be about, its supposed to bring out the best in something like in sports for example. Two football teams both want to win the championship, both are great teams, but simply trying to emulate and copy what the other team does and trying to get close the exact same players on your team while choosing to run a similar scheme and strategy won't give you the edge over them just because what they did was wildly successful. Build your own team and strategy to compete, and everyone (including the fans) win. :)
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infinite9: More money getting thrown into development doesn't always guarantee a higher quality product or an increased chance of success. A hundred programmer making mistakes has the same basic end result as twenty programmers making mistakes.

Besides, there are jobs in marketing and it can be a very rewarding career. I say let these companies decide what to do with their own money. If any of us becomes the owner his own video game company, he can invest his money any way he pleases.
Nothing ever guarantees success.

However, If I had to choose, I'd rather go 80% money developing and 20% advertising than 20% developing and 80% advertising.

Otherwise you end up with things along the lines of Time Warner Cable.