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Livingstone: "Mid-tier Console Games Have Got Huge Problems Ahead"

Matt Gardner
AA games, AAA games, BAFTA, Casual Games, Costs, Development, Ian Livingstone, Mid-range, Next-gen

Livingstone: "Mid-tier Console Games Have Got Huge Problems Ahead"

Eidos life president and Fighting Fantasy legend Ian Livingstone is a little worried about "mid-tier" developers, suggesting that the trend which sees triple-A games and casual titles raking in the cash is only going to make the situation worse for those in the middle ground.

“It’s certainly a case of the rich getting richer,” said Livingstone at a BAFTA event last night.

“The bar is being raised in every sequel that the mid-tier developers haven’t got a hope in hell of surviving. Everyone is buying the same games like Call of Duty and FIFA. The mid-tier is going to go away because people have so much more choice on mobile platforms and Facebook today."

He qualified this later by inserting the word "console" in there later on.

"Mid-tier console games have got huge problems ahead," he stated.

This is nothing new, to be honest. The risky middle ground has been in decline for some time, and is likely to get worse as we move towards the next generation of consoles with development and publishing costs spiralling ever higher. [Develop]

Add a comment3 comments
socialjeebus  Jun. 13, 2012 at 17:09

Nevermind Facebook, Android, iOS think PSN/XBLA. Mid-tier titles should be priced as such, if I can buy Journey for a tenner on release day why would I risk 40 quid or so for a mid-tier retail title?

Likewise why would they price a mid-tier title on a par with a triple AAA title with a proven track record of quality.

Last edited by socialjeebus, Jun. 13, 2012 at 17:09
DivideByZero  Jun. 13, 2012 at 17:15

Yep, totally agree.

How good something is totally depends on the price you pay as most people take value into account. If you buy an average game but pay full price, you will feel ripped off and that the game isn't as good.

I have seen for a while that the middle ground is in trouble... but this runs true with everything. I don't believe in it (middle ground) for anything really.

JonLester  Jun. 13, 2012 at 17:23

The middle ground isn't exactly dying - it's evolving IMO. Take Double Fine, for example, who were the definition of 'mid-tier' before they went into developing multiple smaller downloadable projects in parallel, with small teams. This is the future - games like Stacking, Bastion, From Dust, Journey and others - small teams, big ideas and multiple projects if you're a larger studio. Split risk, smaller overheads, greater provision for impulse buys, it's all good.

I wish that more 'mid tier' developers had chosen a downloadable platform for their games. Might have bought Splatterhouse if it was shorter, more focused... and cost 800-1200 MSP. They'd have made more money, too. The sooner the quote/unquote 'indie' model (with our without publisher backing, hence my reticence to use the term) fully takes over from traditional double-A, the better.

Last edited by JonLester, Jun. 13, 2012 at 17:25


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