Sessler's Soapbox: Creativity vs. Big Business

Posted: February 23, 2010
Sessler's Soapbox: Creativity vs. Big Business
Adam comes back from Veges to explain why DICE is his favorite games convention and his thoughts on creativity losing out to big business.

Comments are Closed

  • 1nitial_D

    I have to say DICE is awesome award show

    but I do not like it how games have to make a profit but can't be creative at the same time. EA has changed its self over the past year and I do hope Activision does the same thing as well

    Posted: February 24, 2010 10:46 AM
  • river_tron

    i share the same feeling when it comes to folks that have no real interest or intimate history with gaming running the show, but I do understand why that is in today's industry. There will always be the creative folks that create and the business folks that manage. It's a symbiotic relationship that exists out of one's need for the other to prosper.

    Home consoles began appearing in the early 70's and started gaining some ground in the late 70's, early 80's. So the average age of your oldest gamer nowadays is typically about 30 to 40 years old (if you are an older gamer, than good for you!). Usually the big wigs are older and have gained the business experience as well as the capital over time to be in such a position, but were not as heavily influenced by games as we were. Now, as gamers get older and start making names for themselves, they will eventually be calling the shots since we are the generation that literally grew up along side the gaming revolution. We will have a better understanding of what games were, are and should be in the future. And I hope that when we are literally running the world as more seasoned citizens, we will have more of an emotional investment in the games we will be managing and selling as business men and women. We'll even have a better grasp on how to market these games as well, since we were all at some point, the target market.

    In the next 20 years the game industry is going to be MUCH bigger and much more part of our everyday lives specifically because the gamer generation will have inherited the thrones of all the shot callers in the game biz. There will be a better relationship and appreciation between the creative and the business aspects of game development and I personally can't wait to see what comes out of that.

    Posted: February 24, 2010 9:00 AM
  • lizard64

    Well, after hearing Kotik words about " stering his death star", i fear that the gaming industry may be heading in that direction of being primarily a business over art and creativity - and honestly, i would pray to god that it doesnt.

    In addition to those statements, he closed luxoflux and lowered the payroll of the PROTOTYPE Team among other things.

    THis industry, from the early days of atari and mario, were built upon two foundation principles- Creativity, and challenging fun. Thats the way developers from the past two decades looked at games and therfore, we have the memories of some truly spectacular games that were released. This list would overcome the 5,000 character limit here.

    When you have those two foundations in place, you've got the building block to a potentially great game. The rest is up to you in terms of imagination, visuals, storytelling, and gameplay. We've seen great examples this past year with games like Uncharted 2, Halo: ODST, and inFAMOUS. That is the hear tof this industry-Interactive entertainment. The ability to go and buy a game and live an experience- to escape reality and do something fun and rewarding. Maybe even virtually live an experience seen in movies like Chronicles of Riddick or AVP (which as a fan of the films, is great!)

    Hoever, we have seen the results of business being first and foremost, especially when that becomes the primary thing on the minds of developers. Now im not trying to start of flame war about these games because they are good but pointing things out.

    L$D2- the devs say they were going ecxlusive because "XBL is head over shoulder better then PSN." Then they release the game with not enough content to warrant it a sequel. Sequels are meant to be a significant improvement over the original and this boild down to an expansion. this game only added 3 new enemy types, some new maps, and a few new weapons with the abscence of a story. buisness got the btter of them by not providing a new improvement. sure, its a fun game- but think what it couldve been. What about fighting zombies in a skyscraper? on a freighter at sea? zombies with wings or aquatic? see the possabilities with more time in creativity?

    Forza 3- They were in it to prove themselves that they were "better the Sony, polyphony digital, and Gran Turismo" THey shot their mouth off with realistic crash physics. They were just dents and scratches. thats it. if they put more time into it, then yea, maybe they would have realistic physics.

    Modern Warfare 2- many have been felt cheated by the hype. for starters, while its effective for profit, it sucks for us tha the single-player is so damn short with the only incentive to play on veteran. THe game is primarily around the multiplayer but sadly, its been effectivly ruined for many gamers for the glitches and hacking. personally, its a great game, but that glitching crap and the fact that i have bad luck to get stuck with people who knife glitch and run around getting swiss cheesed kills it. it killed it for me during World at War and kinda MW 1.

    So, i dont want to a death star above my head to rob me of my money for the sake of quality. so I encourage a developer out there to go in that trench and blow it up (Not activision- just the ceo) without creativity, this industry dies. with creativity, this industry thrives.

    Posted: February 24, 2010 7:44 AM
  • Korzo

    I think DLC is becoming a big part in the business aspects of gaming. It gives companies like Activision the power to announce a release date and hold too it because whatever the developers can't finish by that time will just get released at DLC later.

    I really want to focus on Assassins Creed 2 on this point. I thought it was a good game, but I think there was a lot that could have been worked on and seeing as how the DLC isn't carrying on after the story of 2 but just giving us the parts of the story that got skipped over makes me feel like these were chunks of the game that just weren't completed by the release date (and it doesn't help AC2' case that both of the DLC are getting released very close to one another).

    I think business has really started to play a big role at this point. If Ubisoft had come out and said "sorry but we can't make the 09 release date, there's chunks of the game that would get left out if we did" I don't think gamers would be as upset as investors would. Gamers would hear "we're delaying the game to make it the best it possibly can be" where a investor is probably just hearing "don't expect to make as much money as you planned this holiday year"

    Posted: February 24, 2010 6:48 AM
  • Bacbi

    Because Activision has to make their investors happy they are probably going to have some problem in the next consol cycle. Because in the end people will stop buying games if the lack quality. Activision will probably in the end have to end up as straight publisher and just rely on Blizzard and Infinity Ward to make games. Although they will probably have the in house team make a new COD when IW has it's break (althoguh I must admit I have no idea why people are still buying them, MW2 was okey it wasn't the creation of God like everyone else thought).

    Honestly I really don't care what happends to Activision, when I want to buy quality games that I know are good I look for Bioware, Rockstar, Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Capcom, Ubisoft, Epic Games, Kojima Productions etc.

    Posted: February 24, 2010 12:57 AM
  • spiralking04

    Gaming Wisdom. Thank u Sessler.

    Posted: February 24, 2010 12:48 AM
  • spicypooptastic

    This is kinda off subject but! For a big budget title such as MAG and Mass Effect 2 how many units must they sell to turn a profit? It seems that creativity has been thrown out the window for clones of either space or post apocalyptic wastelands that no one risks anything that seems new, which makes sense but with Fall out 3, borderlands, brink, rage, gears, resistance fall or man, killzone, metro 2033 how many times do I need to see gray brown dark crumbled concrete as the backdrop before I puke?

    MAG sold 500.000 units: did they turn a profit?
    Mass Effect 2 sold 2 million: did they turn a profit?


    Posted: February 23, 2010 11:44 PM
  • doctheory

    DICE videos were great, as everyone said already it was good to see what's happening & how it works on the inside. Thanks again!
    Just to name-drop my faves -
    - EA's John Schappert, Activision's Bobby Kotick, NaughtyDog & Indie Games Disc.
    (Jesse Schell is a given & is already making a killing w/ 70k views!!!)

    Posted: February 23, 2010 8:59 PM
  • RandyMercer

    I think there are a few instances where business and creativity can go hand and hand like, for example the Sony and Insomniac situation where they were going to create something different, but Sony gave them advice and killed it off and created the beloved Ratchet and Clank. Of course I also believe that the publisher stepping back and allowing the developers to spread their wings and do something new and challenging, should be sort of like an unwritten code of respect and that extra sense of support amongst their establishment.

    Posted: February 23, 2010 8:55 PM
  • SonicMTD

    It's hard to run with something creative when it might have financial consequences. As a musician/Journalist it's hard to go and try to make everyone happy but as a human being sometimes you need to realize money is just paper. Not everyone realizes that and because of that you have many games/movies/albums/anything else that are released just for the sole purposed of trying to make a quick buck and there lies the problem.

    Posted: February 23, 2010 8:53 PM
  • Yourfinalfantasy90

    Sessler's Soapbox and Feedback are fantastic because, above all, they talk about the things Gamers NEED to hear. They inform first and entertain second. That's what makes those two programs so fascinating. These serious discussions haven't been introduced to the gaming public until now and I really think people are gravitated toward that type of discussion.

    Posted: February 23, 2010 7:36 PM
  • Warrior567

    i watch sesslers soapbox, i watch feedback. i like getting a smart perspective on games. i just can't watch the dice videos because they have nothing to do with games. i'm sorry i just can't watch them they are so boring

    Posted: February 23, 2010 7:02 PM
  • Hinanator

    Thanks for recording the Dice presentations and posting them all.
    I hope you can do the same for GDC, including all of the lectures. (yes, 2 days and multiple tracks)


    Posted: February 23, 2010 6:42 PM
  • Angry Jessie

    Was i the only one that noticed the confused Uncharted 2 Player in the background?

    Posted: February 23, 2010 6:25 PM
  • eckoampua

    In response to this creativity vs. big business point, I'm glad that Adam brought up Bobby Kotick and Activision. Personally, I'm really scared that Activision is so successful, mainly with Call of Duty. By now these games are arriving every year, and the series is, for the most part, stagnant. What's worse is the amount of people that are so excited for the next installment. If this is the case, then why would developers invest ANYTHING into creativity, if we so quickly throw money at the publishers that are dishing out cheap cash-ins and sequels?

    Posted: February 23, 2010 6:23 PM
  • Notafanboythatiknow


    I have not watched any of the DICE videos yet. I will do it this weekend when I have time to really absorb and analyze the content. It is nice to look at video games from different points of view. Great Soapbox as always.

    Posted: February 23, 2010 6:16 PM
  • Zx2654

    You feel dumb? Why that's ubsurd. Just kidding. I do think that Video games are at that time where they will either become an art to be beloved by all for creativity or an art that can be purchaced with lttle to no insight and all you care about is that what happens is cool i.e. FPSs and action movies. Great work hope to see you again next week.

    Posted: February 23, 2010 6:10 PM
  • Zx2654

    Also what do you like to be called in these comments.I mean Mr. Sesssler, Sessler, Adam

    Posted: February 23, 2010 6:02 PM
  • Traveller69

    Ummmmmm DuRrRrR @ A-Bittersweet-Life

    There is a HIGHLIGHTED link to the DICE content on the homepage, it would have taken you less time to actually look at the home page than to post your comment.

    Posted: February 23, 2010 6:02 PM
  • Zx2654

    Make you fell dumb really? Just kidding. Great job Sessler I think that Video Games are at the stage where it will either be diffined as an art to be beloved or an art to be sold. And my computer won't upload all of the DICE videos.

    Posted: February 23, 2010 6:00 PM