In his traditional newsletter, Simon Carless, for a moment, the former editor-in-chief of Gamasutra, as well as the former vice president of GDC, who runs the GameDiscoverCo agency today, spoke about the main trends in the PC and console games industry. We have a careful translation of his assessment into Russian.
Simon CarlessSuccessful PC genres are becoming deeper, more exciting.
- Take a look at the games that have performed well on Steam. Every year, these are more and more complex projects in terms of gameplay (but not in terms of graphics). Traditionally, games about production automation, complex titles about management and crafting go well. And the popularity of online cooperative games is also growing. It’s very, very important right now.
- Novelties in the niche of game services are faced with the fact that it is very difficult for them to compete with top titles. According to our calculations, only eight games on PlayStation have a DAU of more than 1 million, and less than 60 titles, whose DAU is more than 100 thousand (and this is among the entire PS4/PS5 catalog). Many top titles are blockbusters, which during the operation set up content for 5-10 years (Fortnite, GTA V, Rocket League, and so on). And it is much more difficult to compete with them than many people think.
- “First we release on PC, then on consoles” — a working scheme for non-AAA games. First of all, this approach is great for small titles. You can launch something on PC as part of early access, and release on consoles to coincide with the release of version 1.0, if the game has performed well. Launch as many beta versions as you want as part of the pre-launch, and the audience will help you catch bugs. However, for larger games (as well as for those that come out on Switch), it still makes sense to launch on all platforms at the same time.
- The development of middle-class games from the point of view of return on investment is a dubious idea. Perhaps today it makes more sense to invest $ 3-7 million in what looks like an AAA game than $ 1.5 million in a project that is visually not far from a game with a budget of $ 150 thousand. Yes, if you and your “average” plan to go to zero thanks to getting into the Game Pass, you may succeed. However, this is a so-so plan.
- Due to problems with findability, Switch is unable to increase its importance among developers. My friend told me how his friend, who usually does not play console games, bought a Switch. His first question was, “What’s wrong with all these one-dollar games.” Something is wrong! Yes, big discounts can help to become more noticeable, but they do not solve the problem of findability in general. Therefore, it is not surprising that some affordable and initially Switch-oriented games are still selling better on Steam.
- There is no genre matching which will make the game a hit. But there are some that increase the chance to “shoot”. Here are the genres that are worth looking at on PC: City Builder (#2 out of 95 genre tags GameDiscoverCo Plus in popularity among games that have not yet been released) can be a very powerful help (for example, take a look at SteamWorld Build, which has gained more than 14 thousand subscribers), Colony Sim is still a working topic (#4), and also I would like to highlight such a tag as Political Sim (#6) — players do not have enough games in this genre right now.