Ubisoft: Casual Games Don't Always Translate To Profit
These days, the purists are all concerned about the rise of the casual gaming market. They're worried that because the number of casual gamers is rising, the incentive for developers to produce watered-down games for the mass populace will rise along with it. However, while this may be true to a certain extent, Ubisoft reminds us that it's not all roses for publishers when it comes to casual titles.
According to Kombo.com, Ubisoft's North American president, Laurent Detoc, says that hardcore gamers probably shouldn't be too worried. Casual games aren't always automatic money makers:
"The margins on these games are good when you look at development, but it takes a lot of marketing dollars," he said. "It's like packaged goods. You have to think about marketing, retail space, branding."
Thing is, casual gamers aren't always perusing websites like ours, checking the latest news and reviews, determining what their next purchase will be. They're not interested in the deepest experiences this hobby can provide; they typically don't have the time or motivation. We could lump the Wii into the casual gaming market, too, and Detoc claims that only 10% of Ubisoft's sales in 2007 came from Nintendo's "next-gen" console. While we applaud Nintendo for producing such a popular system, we do have to agree...there's a distinct gimmicky, casual, mainstream tinge to the Wii.
Besides, look at Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which Kojima himself calls a tribute to the hardcore gamer. ...does anyone believe MGS4 will be a sales flop? We believe these games won't be dying out any time soon, and the rise of the casual gaming market doesn't mean we can expect lesser quality throughout the industry.
5/19/2008 Ben Dutka