Unbelievable success for a game that was released four years ago on previous-gen consoles and three years ago on current gen. I tweeted earlier this week that I thought GTA V could last 10 to 15 years. With Rockstar’s strong support of GTA Online, I’m starting to believe that this could very well come true. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a single-player DLC to attract players that have dropped a long time ago. This could also get them to invest time (and money) in GTA Online.
What we often mention when talking about PUBG’s incredible success is the fact that the game is still in Early Access phase. But for an online multiplayer game, should there now be a difference between early access and full release? As more and more games turn into services, it is now a necessity for developers to constantly improve the overall experience on their games - whether these games went through an Early Access program or had a full release. A case could even be made that more developers should consider releasing their games earlier than originally planned, especially when taking into account the ever increasing development costs.
The good results could be put into perspective considering that Nintendo is coming out of the Wii U period. But those results do indicate quite an impressive recovery. If Nintendo can ramp up production for the Switch, it could possibly outsell the Wii U in just 18 months.
Nintendo will also continue to boosts its revenues with the development of its mobile games. Super Mario Run & Fire Emblem Heroes (and partly-owned Pokémon Go) are already out, Animal Crossing should come out during this year, Zelda is also rumoured to make its way to smart devices.
I’m ready to believe that this price increase is justified to support the increased usage of PSN from gamers. I just hope Sony has plans to extend the services that come with the PSN in an effort to solidify the PSN ecosystem. Microsoft has done great efforts in that regard by pushing backward compatibility. While it is difficult to imagine PS4 games not being playable on the next PlayStation console, Microsoft is giving more signs that their current ecosystem will be carried forward onto the next generation.
Six of the top 10 grossing games for 2017 first semester - including the top 3 spots - are from far-East Asian developers/publishers. The top grossing game - Honour of Kings, also known as Strike of Kings - will be released in the US and Western Europe on August 10th… under the title Arena of Valor.
Interesting to note that Chinese dev/publisher Tencent owns the top grossing games on mobile - Honour of Kings - and PC - League of Legends.
The Chicago event might have been a ‘disaster’ but it’s insane that a year after release, Pokémon Go was still able to attract large crowds to participate in real-life events. With regular updates to keep the game fresh and the enthusiasm that these events generate, here is a platform that Niantic can sustain for years to come. It might never get to the level of madness we saw last summer - but just like on handheld consoles - Pokémon remains an incredibly popular IP.
While the rest of the tech space has been quite open to the idea of service integration, gaming for some reasons seems to be quite behind in that regard. Some of the service integration has been done at the OS level (e.g. using Spotify on your PlayStation) but I’ve always felt that more could be done at game level. Seriously, wouldn’t be cool to use GTA’s mobile phone to actually place a real phone call? Or buy something real in an open world’s virtual shops? I think VR could provide a great context to integrate that type of services.
I like this approach from Blizzard. It’s always very difficult for established companies to balance innovation and results; it’s often recommended to establish separate organisations to build truly disruptive products/services. I would love to see that approach become more prevalent in the gaming industry. I could see Activision (which owns Blizzard) do something similar with its Call of Duty franchise which despite its great quality - has often seen incremental changes as opposed to disruptive ones.