Earlier this week, Insomniac Studios announced the formation of a new mobile and social gaming service. Insomniac Click is set to branch out into the burgeoning world of Facebook, Apps and... well... Facebook Apps, and with the age of triple-A dominance being questioned at every turn, its boss has been quick to issue a fairly stark ultimatum to their peers.
Expand your audience - or die.
The triple-A industry has come under fire over the last few weeks. Epic Games has declared that the "middle class game is dead." Rovio suggest that the mainstream console market is dying. Loot Drop announces that traditional developers are realising the potential of Facebook. And casual games are making money hand over fist. Speaking to Casualgaming.biz, Insomniac Click's CEO suggests that things aren't as bad as some pundits make out, but companies now face a challenge to attract as wide a consumer base as possible.
I'm not in the doom-and-gloom camp in terms of the health of the console market, but I do think it's becoming increasingly challenging in that space. It's getting to the point where only the very best triple-A console games are profitable. And, of course, it's increasingly expensive to make the very best games. So not every developer can survive.
But they're not giving away free money in the social and mobile space either. You still have to compete with the other top teams in the industry. - Insomniac Click CEO Brian Hastings
When asked about why Insomniac had chosen to expand into the social scene, Hastings explains that it's simply a matter of potential. He argues that the core games market isn't expanding, while social outlets such as Facebook provide millions of potential new customers and target audiences.
The main reason I believe it's important - even necessary - to expand into the social sector is that there is simply a bigger audience there. Because triple-A games are necessarily complex they have a fairly predefined audience of core gamers. That core audience isn't really expanding much and the total dollars each core gamer spends isn't going up, so as triple-A budgets inflate, each developer has to steal players away from other games.
We'll keep you up to date with Insomniac Click's projects and progress. Felix has already pondered the intricacies of the Triple-A industry's precarious situation in a recent commentary. Why not join the debate? [Casualgaming.biz]