It's not all doom and gloom. Notice the smaller Indie Publishers have no problem at all finding and making a massive (in terms of their
Studio size) profit on their releases? It's the mega-zerg Publishers that are struggling to "make ends meet" in these harsh times. Note that make ends meet
in their definition means a steady 10% year-on-year increase in sales. They have Investors that demand Return. Those Investors scream "Ten percent! Ten percent!"
Or they can just put their money in a Bank and get it that way.
A big title that sells 10 million is the same as 10 titles that sell a million each. Both would use comparatively the same amount of Staff, but the 10 for 1 mill approach could allow for a sleeper hit that sells significantly more. The 10 mill game is the very definition of Eggs in One Basket. No wonder some choke. Luckily it managed to sell that 10 million (in this example) so it made back its costs. Imagine if it didn't? That's another
Developer gone then.
Games don't have to be massive and far reaching in scope. Look at Minecraft. Angry Birds. Farmville. Counter Strike: Source. Cut The Rope. Realm of the Mad God. Legend of Grimrock. Limbo. Fez. World of Goo. Cave Story. Braid. Super Meat Boy...
What I'm saying is for every potentially Studio-busting mega-game such as Skyrim
or Fallout 3
there's a wealth of other, smaller scope games that are at least equal to, if not sometimes better quality than, the big hitters. And they're ALL cheaper. Cheaper to make, cheaper to market, and most importantly of all: Cheaper to buy.
Mega Publishers don't have it the way they used to. Like the Music, magazine, and book Industries they're going to have to
change their business models to survive. None of those other Industries have had to dumb down all of their product to get sales. Yes there's loads of hopeless, mindless, generic
trash available. But it's not all trash!
Freestyler: A customer that's too hard to please, complains all the time and wants everything for next to nothing.