McGee’s F2P games making more profit than Alice: Madness Returns “ever did”

Tuesday, 17th July 2012 09:24 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Alice developer American McGee has dismissed a future for consoles in their current form, saying the idea was doomed from the start.

Spicy Horse boss American McGee has said the traditional console model will not survice, and that his free-to-play, web-based games are generating more money for the company that the EA-published Alice: Madness Returns “ever did”.

“Earning out on a console title is like digging out from under an avalanche,” he told Game Informer.

“If you don’t get out from under the advances within a very short period of time it’s all over. F2P offers an opportunity to release something into the wild and improve it continually until it returns a profit. Making good on the opportunity is in no way guaranteed, but the option is there. This all being the case, we’ve already seen our online F2P games generate more profit and a better ROI than [Alice: Madness Returns] ever did, or likely will.”

McGee was assured in his assessment of the current console model: it won’t work going forward.

“Though the console market extracted two decades of profit and mindshare from Western developers and consumers, it was unsustainable from inception,” he said.

“Looked at from the perspective of external markets where consoles aren’t the foundation of the gaming ecosystem, the idea of physical media (discs) and fixed location gaming (consoles) now seems anachronistic.

“But it’s worth examining where the money flowed in a market where consoles dominated and how they helped consolidate power among a handful of publishers. The transition we’re now seeing is a revolution of the model that will lead to greater freedom for future publishers, developers and consumers.”

Spicy Horsew publishes several web-based F2P games, such as BigHeadBash. The Shanghai-based studio employs 50 people, and has three original games in development.



  1. Sini

    THat is painful to read, considering Madness Returns is severely underrated game.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    I still haven’t played it. It’s been on my list since it launched.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Pytox

    I have it in my library but same as @2 :D Still such a huge backlog thanks steam :)

    #3 2 years ago
  4. absolutezero

    Agreed with Sini, im currently awaiting the arrival of the artbook about the creation of the game. Theres some stupidly gorgeous levels in that game. Inventive and challenging.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. OlderGamer

    Prolly no suprise to anyone thats read a few of my posts, but I completly agree with him.

    The question I have is really this: Is a new model possible on dedicated game systems? Or is the future truely iOS/Driod and PC?

    What I wonder is how much are Sony/MS/Nintendo willing to give up(controlwise)? And do they even feel threatened in the first place?

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I play next to nothing on my consoles these days. Compare that to 8 years ago when this gen started, I played next to nothing on my PC. The importance and roles of my consoles and PC have completly switched. Hell I am even strongly considering a handheld system, something I would have balked at a few years ago.

    I just feel burnt out on what the big boy consoles/publishers have to offer.

    So, will platform holders embrace change or be left behind because of it?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    Next-gen console: premium, triple-A games.
    Next-gen PC: F2P, indie.
    Mobile/handheld: connect to everything.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. absolutezero



    #7 2 years ago
  8. The_Red

    So true.

    The only things that can potentially change that balance are Ouya and SmartGlass but the probably won’t. It’s just a shame that PC will probably abandon premium games in favor of crappy F2P ones (awesome ones like Tribes A excluded). Super heavy PC exclusives for their time (Crysis 1, Witcher 1&2, Total War games, Diablo / Blizzard stuff) can be enjoyed in ways that are impossible on consoles or within frame of F2P.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. OlderGamer

    Well Red, I don’t think PC has anything to do with it. Meaning that by itself it isn’t a mind set or even an entity. Not in the same way a console is. No one single person, compnay, or biz model can control the PC market.

    I don’t see PC only going f2p/indie. I think that is a steiro type from people that have spent years thinking consoles were the only valid games platform. I think, just my 2cents, that the selection and sheer number of high profile big budget games coming out on consoles in the next gen will drop. I think consoles will see a steady flow of the same franchises we have now. Very little new. And very little from anyone not a powerful publisher.

    The few at the top of the food chain on consoles control everything, from game content to price points. Only so many times you can step on people and have them running back to you.

    I think the smaller and even medium sized pubs/devs will end up on PC and mobile. But I also think that the market on those platforms will be so large that even the big boys will want their games on them. As evidence by EAs march into Origin.

    I think in the end high price hardware, high priced games, recycling the same franchises(often yearly), non consumer friendly priced DLC, online play subscriptions, extreme focus on online MP, will drive gamers to cheaper and more friendly platforms. I think that is what has happened over the course of this generation.

    I think there will be great interest in the new systems. But if they aren’t priced right and offer the same games and experiences we already have, I don’t see any reasons to believe people won’t continue to look elsewhere for their gaming needs.

    I also find it interesting that we keep reading industry insiders(dev/pub/studio head/analyst/whatever) saying the same types of things. And yet, we also see a lot of posts on this site and others by people that won’t give it any credience. I am not preaching, or calling for the end of gaming or any other such sillyness. But I do think somethings need to change.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Ge0force

    I enjoyed American McGee’s Alice, but Madness Returns was boring as hell. Online stores sold the game with heavy discounts only a few weeks after the release, so yeah, I can imagine they didn’t make much profit from that one.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. roadkill

    What Sini said. I was amazed by how incredibly awesome the game was, is.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Len

    Pat, grab Alice in the Steam sale, you know it makes sense.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. sh4dow

    I can only say: No quick save, no buy (at least for me and for a game such as this)

    #13 2 years ago

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