The glorious variety afforded by smaller downloadable titles on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live may be under threat; the creator of the excellent Super Stardust HD has said that there’re simply not enough consumers to support the rising costs of development and lower price points.
“Games need to generate more sales, otherwise we see the end of these smaller games on console platforms and that certainly would be a big loss for [the] core gamer crowd,” Housemarque co-founder and CEO Ilari Kuittinen told GamesIndustry.
“During this console generation, there were only a handful of million-selling downloadable games, which is surprising to me as the console installed base for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade games is well over 150 million today. There are probably between 300 and 400 retail titles that sold over 1 million units, if not more.”
Kuttinen said the cost of developing download-only games is rising, and developers feel pressured to license engines, simulate physics, and offer persistent worlds – which adds significantly to the cost of production.
“Calling downloadable games smaller is true, if you compare them to the big production games, but I believe that cost of some of the bigger downloadable games has already had a budget in the range of several millions of dollars, so there needs to be quite a lot of sales to even breakeven at the given price point of $10 to $15,” he said.
“We hope that more and more gamers find these smaller, high-quality downloadable games than during this generation of consoles. It is crucial that the next-gen downloadable console titles find a bigger audience and we need smart ways to support our gamers with additional content and provide ways to keep them playing our games longer.”
Housemarque is currently working on a spiritual successor to the Super Stardust franchise for PlayStation 4.