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Lack of marketing and wise spending causing ‘middle industry’ to shrink – report

Wednesday, 17th October 2012 08:54 GMT By Dave Cook

The holiday season is almost upon us, and gaming’s biggest triple-a juggernauts are about to come out and play. Gamasutra’s Matt Matthews has shed light on why games that fall between indie and triple-a – the ‘middle industry’ – are having a tougher time these days. Basically they aren’t marketed enough and you’re not spending as much money.

Matthews stated to Joystiq that games without the big marketing spend aren’t going to perform as well – which is obvious we know – but the middle market is now shrinking by 11 per cent annually as a result, rather than expanding.

Matthews explained, “Consider games like Sleeping Dogs and Darksiders 2, each of which sold under 300,000 units in August and then disappeared from the top 10 by September. These middle-tier titles fall by the wayside when they don’t get the first-class promotions of titles like New Super Mario Bros. 2, which is now over 500,000 units in its second month on a platform with fewer than 6 million owners.”

“However,” he added, “I think it likely that other titles, like say XCOM: Enemy Unknown, are on the edge and at risk of being overlooked by gamers who appear to have become more discerning with the money they’re spending on games.”

He has a point though. Money is becoming tighter these days. Does this have a felt impact on your gaming habits these days? Will the coming of next-gen consoles give the middle market a chance to thrive once more, or has the gap widened too far for them to catch up now?

Let us know what you think.

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5 Comments

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  1. Telepathic.Geometry

    I don’t think it’s money so much as time. Even if I decide I’m only going to buy 2 games a month, that’s a lot of games, but you nearly have that many every year in AAA and indies. It’s hard, games I’d otherwise buy fall by the wayside…

    #1 2 years ago
  2. SameeR_Fisher

    yeah I can’t afford 2 games a month, and sometimes there are 4 games per month which is stupid, I had to choose between Darksiders II & Sleeping Dogs, I went with Darksiders II cause I loved the first one and I was really anticipating the 2nd, but at the same time I really wanted to try out Sleeping Dogs, maybe I will pick it up later.

    This month is the same, I will get Dishonored, I didn’t buy Resident Evil 6 to get Dishonored, at the same time I waiting next year for RE6: Super Duber Golden Edition.

    Thank GOD I have friends who I share games with, so I still can play RE6 this year, ACIII, and some of the games I won’t be able to buy.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Timurse

    I feel a huge shame cause I got Darksiders 2 from exchanging for Halo: CEA on one of the local gaming forums. The shame comes from realization that Darksiders 2 is unexpectedly really-really-really good game. The first one was shitty. But this one is like a mixture of Prince of Persia 2008, Assassin’s Creed, Bayonetta and Diablo. This game deserves good sales.
    They really failed to market the game as TOTALLY different to first Darksiders.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DrDamn

    Part of the problem is the quality you can get from an Indie/XBLA/PSN game. It’s pretty damn good. These middle industry games have to transition to cheaper digital releases to compete in my opinion. That I can see happening more next generation with better self publishing and greater variety in pricing models.

    The current model where we have all retail games essentially releasing at the same RRP is archaic and inflexible. We need multiple price points and digital will better support that. More money can go to the developers too – which will reduce break even sales requirements.

    I see a model where we have small indie titles/minis going for a couple of quid, bigger XBLA/PSN titles at up to £10-15, premium XBLA/PSN titles at £20-£30 and then just the bigger AAA releases commanding the top end price points. The middle industry will shift into premium XBLA/PSN.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. absolutezero

    I honestly would’nt class either Darksiders 2 or Sleeping Dogs as middle-ware because it suggestst that they somehow had a small budget or less advertising, both of which is false.

    XBLA/PSN and Steam is the perfect place for middle-ware titles but its just not happening. For every Siren or I am Alive theres a million Hell Yeah’s (which is perfectly fine its just an example).

    XBLA and PSN is being dominated by Retro updates and more simple fare, theres very little there that could be called middle-ware. Very little that contains the same content as full boxed Triple-A titles only created with a slightly lesser budget.

    #5 2 years ago