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Norion said:
curl-6 said:

I mean, we're at the point now where you can have a game not look cutting edge or best in class but still look "good enough" for the mass market to be satisfied. The crowd who demand the absolute latest and greatest visuals aren't the majority; if they were the Switch wouldn't be so successful and games like Minecraft and Fortnite wouldn't be so massive.

I never said that group in particular is the majority but them combined with those who don't care as much but are still more likely to purchase a game when it has high quality visuals make up a big chunk. Hogwarts Legacy was the best selling game last year after all and it definitely wouldn't have been as huge a seller if its recreation of Hogwarts wasn't high fidelity. The issue for the sequel is if it's not a notable leap over the 1st it won't be as exciting but making it a notable leap will be costly.  

If it doesn't they'll have a harder time selling it to people. At least UE5 should help alleviate this problem for a lot of developers at least somewhat.

Hogwarts Legacy on Switch was massively cut down graphically, yet it still sold really well despite arriving 9 months late. I'm not saying pretty graphics can't be a selling point, but clearly they are not the be-all end-all, otherwise the Switch would've been another Wii U. 

And you can have good graphics these days without spending a triple-A budget anyway; look at AA titles like Hellblade, Plague Tale, Lies of P, Hifi Rush, It Takes Two, etc.



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curl-6 said:
Norion said:

I never said that group in particular is the majority but them combined with those who don't care as much but are still more likely to purchase a game when it has high quality visuals make up a big chunk. Hogwarts Legacy was the best selling game last year after all and it definitely wouldn't have been as huge a seller if its recreation of Hogwarts wasn't high fidelity. The issue for the sequel is if it's not a notable leap over the 1st it won't be as exciting but making it a notable leap will be costly.  

If it doesn't they'll have a harder time selling it to people. At least UE5 should help alleviate this problem for a lot of developers at least somewhat.

Hogwarts Legacy on Switch was massively cut down graphically, yet it still sold really well despite arriving 9 months late. I'm not saying pretty graphics can't be a selling point, but clearly they are not the be-all end-all, otherwise the Switch would've been another Wii U. 

And you can have good graphics these days without spending a triple-A budget anyway; look at AA titles like Hellblade, Plague Tale, Lies of P, Hifi Rush, It Takes Two, etc.

I think the problem with those "we're trying to have nice graphics but on a low budget" games is the scale of them is pretty limited. Like A Plague Tale is like 6 hours. 

Not saying I personally mind that, but I wonder if that has a big role in why those types of games don't seem to break out and become huge hits. For "lower budget" games it seems people just want retro art styles (ie: Dead Cells). 



Soundwave said:
curl-6 said:

Hogwarts Legacy on Switch was massively cut down graphically, yet it still sold really well despite arriving 9 months late. I'm not saying pretty graphics can't be a selling point, but clearly they are not the be-all end-all, otherwise the Switch would've been another Wii U. 

And you can have good graphics these days without spending a triple-A budget anyway; look at AA titles like Hellblade, Plague Tale, Lies of P, Hifi Rush, It Takes Two, etc.

I think the problem with those "we're trying to have nice graphics but on a low budget" games is the scale of them is pretty limited. Like A Plague Tale is like 6 hours. 

Not saying I personally mind that, but I wonder if that has a big role in why those types of games don't seem to break out and become huge hits. For "lower budget" games it seems people just want retro art styles (ie: Dead Cells). 

A retro art style is cheaper and easier, but It Takes Two for example was a breakout and sold over 10 million copies, Hellblade was apparently profitable once it passed 500k and went on to reach 6.3m players, Lies of P sold over a million in a month, Plague Tale Requiem has sold over 3 million, etc.

When your budget is AA, you don't need to sell 8 figures to make a healthy profit.



Soundwave said:
Norion said:
Soundwave said:

I'll let you in on a secret. 

Final Fantasy 17 isn't going to look much better than 16. 

Lets look at the facts. The series is declining in sales and it's likely already very expensive just to have FF16 tier graphics in a large scale RPG context with big cinematic cutscenes. 

So to go beyond FF16 graphics, you'd likely need a budget that is getting into $250-$300 million, but you're only selling like what? I don't even think FF16 has hit 5 million copies sold yet, if it had Square-Enix would've released some kind of press indicating it did. 

The math simply doesn't math on $150-$250 million dollar budgets for a game franchise that is only putting up 5-6 million in sales. 

Increasing your budget while your sales are going down is obviously not workable. 

Another example of this is Monster Hunter Wilds ... it doesn't really look much better than Monster Hunter World on the PS4. I suspect actually when you're looking at Wilds, you're looking at one of the first big ticket Switch 2 third party games. They simply stand to sell so many copies of this on Switch 2 that there's no way they could look off it. 

If it doesn't they'll have a harder time selling it to people. At least UE5 should help alleviate this problem for a lot of developers at least somewhat.

Would it really though? Honestly at this point I think FF is just a brand that maybe can sell 5 million ... maybe. That's what's left of its fanbase. No one outside of that gives a shit. 

Square is just going to have to accept the bitter pill that they're no longer part of the "cool kids club", meaning they're not really going to be in the big budget top end graphics showcase space any longer, you need more than $50 in your pocket to play at the high roller's table. They don't have the sales to compete against games that are going to soon have budgets of $300-$400 million. 

Capcom didn't do a big graphical leap for Monster Hunter Wilds and MH World sold way better than FF15, 16, 7Remake, 7Rebirth, etc. etc. So if they're not willing to even spend big, cold hard reality is likely to be sinking in at Square-Enix at this point too. 

Lets just do some basic math here, lets even give Square-Enix some benefit of the doubt and say on 300 million dollar budget for an "Awesome Graphics FF17", they see an uptick in sales from FF16 to like 7 million copies. Not bad. On that 7 million lets say they make a net profit (after licensing fees, shipping/printing costs for physical, etc.) average of about $40/copy. I say $40 because some copies will be sold at full price, some significantly below full price, lets just assume an average of $40 (which is being very generous). 

That still only gets you to $280 million in net profit ... so against a $300 million budget, you haven't even broken even. And I'm not even including things like marketing costs which may add another $20-$50 mill to your budget. 

Even 300 million is kind not like the greatest budget either for a graphics showcase, lol, Sony spent $300 million on Spider-Man 2 and Insomniac's own leaked internal memos state that people at the company wonder if gamers will even notice a big difference in graphics. Spider-Man 3 (the next game) is already pre-budgeted for 385 million, that means it likely will end up over 400 million. You really probably need 400+ million to leave FF16/7 Rebirth tier graphics in the dust completely and have it be an acceptable FF experience (that means 40-60 hour playtime with dozens of environments/characters/etc. etc.). 300 mill isn't gonna cut it. 

It would since part of the appeal of games like FF16 is spectacle though you're completely right about the budget issue. The main question then is how large of a sales decline would occur from pulling back on that since if it's low enough it would be the best business move for Square.

curl-6 said:
Norion said:

I never said that group in particular is the majority but them combined with those who don't care as much but are still more likely to purchase a game when it has high quality visuals make up a big chunk. Hogwarts Legacy was the best selling game last year after all and it definitely wouldn't have been as huge a seller if its recreation of Hogwarts wasn't high fidelity. The issue for the sequel is if it's not a notable leap over the 1st it won't be as exciting but making it a notable leap will be costly.  

Hogwarts Legacy on Switch was massively cut down graphically, yet it still sold really well despite arriving 9 months late. I'm not saying pretty graphics can't be a selling point, but clearly they are not the be-all end-all, otherwise the Switch would've been another Wii U. 

And you can have good graphics these days without spending a triple-A budget anyway; look at AA titles like Hellblade, Plague Tale, Lies of P, Hifi Rush, It Takes Two, etc.

The amount it sold on Switch is small compared to PC and PS5/Series X/S so that's not a good argument against what I said. My point is that reining in budgets is an issue for AAA game makers like Square since spectacle is a big part of the appeal of those games thus doing so would lead to a decline in sales. Do you not agree with that?



Norion said:
curl-6 said:

Hogwarts Legacy on Switch was massively cut down graphically, yet it still sold really well despite arriving 9 months late. I'm not saying pretty graphics can't be a selling point, but clearly they are not the be-all end-all, otherwise the Switch would've been another Wii U. 

And you can have good graphics these days without spending a triple-A budget anyway; look at AA titles like Hellblade, Plague Tale, Lies of P, Hifi Rush, It Takes Two, etc.

The amount it sold on Switch is small compared to PC and PS5/Series X/S so that's not a good argument against what I said. My point is that reining in budgets is an issue for AAA game makers like Square since spectacle is a big part of the appeal of those games thus doing so would lead to a decline in sales. Do you not agree with that?

Actually sales of the Switch version of Hogwarts have been outpacing the Xbox version despite Switch being massively worse graphically. If high end graphics really were the main selling point, the Switch version would have flopped.

If you're primarily selling your games on spectacle to the point where you struggle to make your money back, then maybe you should rethink your strategy.



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curl-6 said:
Norion said:

The amount it sold on Switch is small compared to PC and PS5/Series X/S so that's not a good argument against what I said. My point is that reining in budgets is an issue for AAA game makers like Square since spectacle is a big part of the appeal of those games thus doing so would lead to a decline in sales. Do you not agree with that?

Actually sales of the Switch version of Hogwarts have been outpacing the Xbox version despite Switch being massively worse graphically. If high end graphics really were the main selling point, the Switch version would have flopped.

If you're primarily selling your games on spectacle to the point where you struggle to make your money back, then maybe you should rethink your strategy.

I was combining the two consoles there and I never said "main selling point". I said it wouldn't have sold as well as it did if didn't have high quality visuals and a portion of the sales being on Switch doesn't contradict that at all. It is a clear fact that graphics are a significant selling point for some games so I'm not sure why you're with me over that.

Rethinking will need to happen yeah though the tricky part would be making up for the loss of appeal if spectacle is reduced since they'd need to make up for it somehow to avoid a reduction in sales. It's a difficult balance and I'm not sure what exactly companies like Square should do.

Last edited by Norion - on 14 March 2024

Norion said:
curl-6 said:

Actually sales of the Switch version of Hogwarts have been outpacing the Xbox version despite Switch being massively worse graphically. If high end graphics really were the main selling point, the Switch version would have flopped.

If you're primarily selling your games on spectacle to the point where you struggle to make your money back, then maybe you should rethink your strategy.

I was combining the two consoles there and I never said "main selling point". I said it wouldn't have sold as well as it did if didn't have high quality visuals and a portion of the sales being on Switch doesn't contradict that at all. It is a clear fact that graphics are a significant selling point for some games so I'm not sure why you're against with me over that.

Rethinking will need to happen yeah though the tricky part would be making up for the loss of appeal if spectacle is reduced since they'd need to make up for it somehow to avoid a reduction in sales. It's a difficult balance and I'm not sure what exactly companies like Square should do.

It might not have sold as much without countless contributing factors; a game is composed of a multitude of elements each of which adds to the whole in some way. Graphics were just one factor of many, and clearly not essential as the version without them still did well.

A game like Final Fantasy is not going to tank in sales if it looked merely good instead of amazing, most gamers aren't that hung up on cutting edge tech.



Soundwave said:
Chrkeller said:

The amount of false correlations you draw is funny.  

Dead Space Remake sold a few million.

Alan Wake 2 sales are low.....  and it isn't available on Steam.  Sales would be much higher if not for blocking the largest base of consumers in gaming.

Games have scalable engines, it isn't 1995 anymore, your comparisons are based on an antiquated understanding of tech.

Look at it this way.  Why release a switch 2 if graphics don't matter?  Hmm...  maybe Nintendo is looking to release new and more powerful hardware because graphics play a part in consumer acceptance.

Edit

Personally I think the ps4 was sony's best system in design.  Super powerful and well priced.  Sony made some big mistakes with the ps5, just my opinion, that is holding it back.  It should have been a standard ssd storage and more put into the gpu.  

Alan Wake 2 is on the graphics oriented PS5, XBox Series X is it not? Do these people not want a graphics showcase that actually pushes the system? Guess not. You should be able to crack at least the top 20 with PS5/XBox Series X alone easy if graphics are such a big draw. It's not even like it's just a graphics whore showcase, it got great reviews too, GOTY nominations, etc. etc. Still can't even chart in the top 20. 

Nintendo is releasing Switch 2 to focus around a graphics upgrade not even probably because they want to but because they want to force people to buy in again to another (what they hope is) 150m systems and without a Wiimote or DS type input miracle, they have to rely on basically better hardware. Some people don't even care for that, but they get forced into having to upgrade otherwise you're locked out of new installments of IP you enjoy. Simple as that. 

These hardware totals are not growing either, it's the same group and same numbers of people just buying over and over again, any gain in audience looks like its being offset by equal numbers of people who quit/grow out of game consoles. 120-130 million-ish Playstation users, 120-150 million Nintendo owners, maybe 40 million and sinking XBox. Which wouldn't be a big deal if the budgets of the games weren't going up 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, etc. etc. etc. You need the userbase to rise equivalently and it's not happening. Shawn Layden former head of Playstation just flat out stated this is a big problem and he would know better than anyone on this board. 

If the market worked the way you think it should the sales of hardware would go like this

1.) High end PC GPUs like a 4090 for max graphics powah!

2.) XBox Series X (most powerful console)

3.) Playstation 5

4.) A distant, irrelevant 4th ... Nintendo Switch

When the reality is actually inverted completely, lol. Games like Alan Wake 2 and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora should be dominating the sales charts, when they're less relevant to gamers than Roblox is, a game so ugly it that makes the Wii U LEGO game look like a master class in visuals. 

Graphics have their place, but it isn't actually the majority driver of the market and the economics of chasing graphics is becoming more and more unrealistic. To get a serious generational leap beyond PS4 games like Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West I don't think even $300 million is gonna get you close. Spider-Man 2 does not look a generation better than Miles Morales. You need to go in to $400-$500 million range on the minimum spend I think, GTA6 is what? A billion for the main game? Are you getting even 50% extra customers for the 300% additional budget you've spent? Nope. Insomniac's own leaked memos bemoan this fact, they're aware of it and not happy about it. 

For me Alan Wake was more of a PC franchise than console.  

Power matters, but so does price.  You still keep viewing things in overly simplistic stagnant terms and seems incapable of multivariate understanding.

Nintendo is upgrading the switch because graphics matter.

And you keep bringing up costs while ignoring AI tools that will be bring development costs down.

Honestly I'll leave it be, given I don't get your point anymore. Graphics aren't going anywhere and will continue to be a focal point, like it always has.  

The biggest issues is you are ignoring, and the real problem, is corporate greed.  Developers are not having trouble turning a profit, but the elite shareholders simply want a second yacht.  Thus we have a "problem" in the industry.  

Last edited by Chrkeller - on 14 March 2024

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Chrkeller said:
Soundwave said:

Alan Wake 2 is on the graphics oriented PS5, XBox Series X is it not? Do these people not want a graphics showcase that actually pushes the system? Guess not. You should be able to crack at least the top 20 with PS5/XBox Series X alone easy if graphics are such a big draw. It's not even like it's just a graphics whore showcase, it got great reviews too, GOTY nominations, etc. etc. Still can't even chart in the top 20. 

Nintendo is releasing Switch 2 to focus around a graphics upgrade not even probably because they want to but because they want to force people to buy in again to another (what they hope is) 150m systems and without a Wiimote or DS type input miracle, they have to rely on basically better hardware. Some people don't even care for that, but they get forced into having to upgrade otherwise you're locked out of new installments of IP you enjoy. Simple as that. 

These hardware totals are not growing either, it's the same group and same numbers of people just buying over and over again, any gain in audience looks like its being offset by equal numbers of people who quit/grow out of game consoles. 120-130 million-ish Playstation users, 120-150 million Nintendo owners, maybe 40 million and sinking XBox. Which wouldn't be a big deal if the budgets of the games weren't going up 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, etc. etc. etc. You need the userbase to rise equivalently and it's not happening. Shawn Layden former head of Playstation just flat out stated this is a big problem and he would know better than anyone on this board. 

If the market worked the way you think it should the sales of hardware would go like this

1.) High end PC GPUs like a 4090 for max graphics powah!

2.) XBox Series X (most powerful console)

3.) Playstation 5

4.) A distant, irrelevant 4th ... Nintendo Switch

When the reality is actually inverted completely, lol. Games like Alan Wake 2 and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora should be dominating the sales charts, when they're less relevant to gamers than Roblox is, a game so ugly it that makes the Wii U LEGO game look like a master class in visuals. 

Graphics have their place, but it isn't actually the majority driver of the market and the economics of chasing graphics is becoming more and more unrealistic. To get a serious generational leap beyond PS4 games like Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West I don't think even $300 million is gonna get you close. Spider-Man 2 does not look a generation better than Miles Morales. You need to go in to $400-$500 million range on the minimum spend I think, GTA6 is what? A billion for the main game? Are you getting even 50% extra customers for the 300% additional budget you've spent? Nope. Insomniac's own leaked memos bemoan this fact, they're aware of it and not happy about it. 

For me Alan Wake was more of a PC franchise than console.  

Power matters, but so does price.  You still keep viewing things in overly simplistic stagnant terms and seems incapable of multivariate understanding.

Nintendo is upgrading the switch because graphics matter.

And you keep bringing up costs while ignoring AI tools that will be bring development costs down.

Honestly I'll leave it be, given I don't get your point anymore. Graphics aren't going anywhere and will continue to be a focal point, like it always has.  

The biggest issues is you are ignoring the real problem, which is corporate greed.  Developers are not having trouble turning a profit, but the elite shareholders simply want a second yacht.  

Well first of all, if they want a second yacht so what? Are you risking your own money on the line to finance a game? No? Well if they are, then they have the final say on how things get run. Anyone can talk a big game when they have no skin in the game. 

Nintendo isn't upgrading because they're obsessed with graphics. They're just following the standardized hardware upgrade pattern, they want to sell 150 million more systems the next 7-8 years, if they don't have a Wiimote/touch panel control miracle, then really they're going to have to fall back on the same ol' hardware upgrade pattern of better hardware, but I don't think Nintendo themselves has any kind of obsession with graphics. 

AI tools if they ever get really good will destroy traditional game development in the long run IMO, at least as we know it because anyone will eventually be able to make a game and mods will run out of control. AI companies don't care about game companies. If we ever get an AI algorithm that is smart at making games, they will immediately move to offer that to the general public, because there's far more money to make that way. Wanting a 2nd yacht and all that, as you yourself said. 

People will be able to do stuff like remake games and change things on a whim that they prefer and then it's going to be "well why even bother paying for a game", much like MP3s led to "why even bother paying for a music album" to some degree. Nintendo doesn't want to remake Ocarina of Time, well some people will then do it, except using AI if the AI is good enough, it'll actually look and play well, and well if you're getting that, then why even bother paying $70 a game.

Graphics aren't going anywhere, but I don't think they will be as much of a focal point, not like it was in the past. Kids today are different, they don't care about nice graphics just like we don't care about color TV ... because you don't know what things were like before that existed. So it isn't anything special. That's why I don't think younger games are obsessed with that stuff, it's like 40 year olds who grew up with old consoles and get excited by the tech side, because tracking progression from NES to SNES to N64/PS to PS2/GC/XBox to PS3/360 etc. etc. But for a 15 year old today, what do they know about any of that, they don't give a shit, they just see a nice looking game and it's "whatever". It's not a special thing for them, it's just what they accept as standard, so much so that think Minecraft graphics by comparison are "cool". 

Case in point ... is Final Fantasy VII Rebirth quite probably the best looking Japanese video game ever? Is it not based on one of the most celebrated and revered Japanese video games of all time? Did it not get phenomenal reviews from critics? Best reviewed FF game in like 20+ years? Has it not been pushed by Sony (I understand in Japan the marketing is quite high) themselves? And what's the result? Not even 300k opening week. The old generation that cared is too old to spend 40+ hours playing a FF7 Remake, the younger generation aren't impressed by graphics. 

Last edited by Soundwave - on 14 March 2024

Soundwave said:
Chrkeller said:

For me Alan Wake was more of a PC franchise than console.  

Power matters, but so does price.  You still keep viewing things in overly simplistic stagnant terms and seems incapable of multivariate understanding.

Nintendo is upgrading the switch because graphics matter.

And you keep bringing up costs while ignoring AI tools that will be bring development costs down.

Honestly I'll leave it be, given I don't get your point anymore. Graphics aren't going anywhere and will continue to be a focal point, like it always has.  

The biggest issues is you are ignoring the real problem, which is corporate greed.  Developers are not having trouble turning a profit, but the elite shareholders simply want a second yacht.  

Well first of all, if they want a second yacht so what? Are you risking your own money on the line to finance a game? No? Well if they are, then they have the final say on how things get run. Anyone can talk a big game when they have no skin in the game. 

Nintendo isn't upgrading because they're obsessed with graphics. They're just following the standardized hardware upgrade pattern, they want to sell 150 million more systems the next 7-8 years, if they don't have a Wiimote/touch panel control miracle, then really they're going to have to fall back on the same ol' hardware upgrade pattern of better hardware, but I don't think Nintendo themselves has any kind of obsession with graphics. 

AI tools if they ever get really good will destroy traditional game development in the long run IMO, at least as we know it because anyone will eventually be able to make a game and mods will run out of control. AI companies don't care about game companies. If we ever get an AI algorithm that is smart at making games, they will immediately move to offer that to the general public, because there's far more money to make that way. Wanting a 2nd yacht and all that, as you yourself said. 

People will be able to do stuff like remake games and change things on a whim that they prefer and then it's going to be "well why even bother paying for a game", much like MP3s led to "why even bother paying for a music album" to some degree. Nintendo doesn't want to remake Ocarina of Time, well some people will then do it, except using AI if the AI is good enough, it'll actually look and play well, and well if you're getting that, then why even bother paying $70 a game.

Graphics aren't going anywhere, but I don't think they will be as much of a focal point, not like it was in the past. Kids today are different, they don't care about nice graphics just like we don't care about color TV ... because you don't know what things were like before that existed. So it isn't anything special. That's why I don't think younger games are obsessed with that stuff, it's like 40 year olds who grew up with old consoles and get excited by the tech side, because tracking progression from NES to SNES to N64/PS to PS2/GC/XBox to PS3/360 etc. etc. But for a 15 year old today, what do they know about any of that, they don't give a shit, they just see a nice looking game and it's "whatever". It's not a special thing for them, it's just what they accept as standard, so much so that think Minecraft graphics by comparison are "cool". 

Case in point ... is Final Fantasy VII Rebirth quite probably the best looking Japanese video game ever? Is it not based on one of the most celebrated and revered Japanese video games of all time? Did it not get phenomenal reviews from critics? Best reviewed FF game in like 20+ years? Has it not been pushed by Sony (I understand in Japan the marketing is quite high) themselves? And what's the result? Not even 300k opening week. The old generation that cared is too old to spend 40+ hours playing a FF7 Remake, the younger generation aren't impressed by graphics. 

My liquid asset investments are 7 figure and then some.  I have plenty of skin in the game.  I'm happy with 4 to 5% gains.  The real problem is most rich people aren't.  They want more and more.  Gaming doesn't have a development cost issue, it has a greed issue.  It is sad you can't see the difference.  

Edit

Rebirth might be the highest rated FF game in a very long time.  Exclusivity was a terrible idea as was making it episodes released over a decade+ with time traveling nonsense.  Rebirth doesn't even close out the story.  The third entry will probably be a ps6 title, assuming square even bothers.  

Last edited by Chrkeller - on 14 March 2024

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