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Cliff Bleszinski's Dire Industry Outlook

Discussion in 'News & Articles' started by hal, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Bgood

    Bgood New Member

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    He's been blogging more support for EA and microtransactions. Maybe Fortnite will be F2P?

    Imho ,F2P needs to go away , and it probably will, because unless you spend dosh or join early, you either get left behind with insurmountable item hurdles to joining , or they have to nerf existing players - which is hugely unpopular.

    All too often F2P means pay -2-win. The reality is , if there are lots of F2P games no one will be interested in starting all of them and then putting in the hours grinding. And no one joins them late, because experienced , often item enhanced players dominate by that time.

    Most gamers I know would rather buy a full game and own it , rather owning a bare bones version. Even if Clifford thinks that's wrong?
     
  2. Sir_Brizz

    Sir_Brizz Administrator Staff Member

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    Do I really think Steam will exist in 20 years?

    Yes.

    The stark reality is that in the space of all the time you've just talked about, there are several highly profitable companies that have never gone away. The only reason platforms have changed is because they were surpassed farther and faster than anyone could have ever dreamed.

    What I want to know is, what is the next thing after Steam? OnLive (or, rather, cloud based solutions) won't be viable for another 20 years at the rate we are going right now. And even when they are viable, a hybrid of Steam and OnLive is going to come out on top of whatever companies are doing one or the other. Who is the most likely to adopt this model? Steam. I think all of us knew AOL wouldn't last forever back in the day. AOL would still own massive mindshare today if it weren't for the adoption of an open internet platform. I'd have to see something tangible to make me even the slightest bit worried about Steam ever going anywhere during my lifetime.

    I can't fathom what could happen in the next 20 years, but that is like saying I can't fathom what will happen in the next thousand years. Could Steam disappear? Yes. But I really doubt that it will unless something far more drastic than a competitor popping up happens. Steam is extraordinarily valuable, it's not naivete it's looking at raw facts. I'm pretty good at looking ahead, but I still can't see what's next after Steam. I think it's silly to assume everything is going to fail and disappear even when they are highly profitable and there is no end of that profitability in sight. It's like the people who are saying Apple is going to go out of business in the next 5 years. It's not going to happen.
     
  3. Al

    Al Reaper

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    Well said, Bruzz.
     
  4. ambershee

    ambershee Nimbusfish Rawks

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    AOL had 25 million customers in 2002. By 2007, it had 4 million. This is also a fact.

    Consider what would happen if ISPs suddenly started streaming games to you for free as part of your broadband package - it's not that far fetched, especially in this country where BT (our national telecom) had a heavy stake in OnLive. The market could change dramatically like that; and in these cases, how is Steam to compete? What if Window's own game store takes off spectacularly?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  5. Bgood

    Bgood New Member

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    True. If OnLive were ever to become truly viable Valve would be all over it. People forget just how much bandwidth it would take to drive a game at 1080P at current levels of visual fidelity, and that's only going to increase with next gen and better graphics , possibly 4k too?

    The only worry with Steam , would be if it were sold to one of these companies dominated by cigar chomping , greedy CEOs that infect and leech off the gaming industry and seem to be pushing the transaction model , possibly to fund their unjustified inflated salaries? The real talent is the hard working , often over worked, dev talent.

    For me it seems that Cliff is possibly on a downer because things aren't going well at Epic , idk? The people who've suddenly left, after they seemed hyped about the future only recently does seem odd. But his ideas on the future of gaming seem pretty wide of the mark.
     
  6. Sir_Brizz

    Sir_Brizz Administrator Staff Member

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    That's fine, but AOL is a system meant to make up for the lack of "The Internet". What system is Steam making up for the lack of?

    I'm not saying it's impossible for bad things to happen to companies, but it's not like AOL ever had a very good reputation, even amongst their own users. What I am saying is that I don't see an end in sight. Your hypothetical situation I could see working out for 1-2 ISPs worldwide, but not for every ISP. I'm not even worried about the Windows Store.
     
  7. _Lynx

    _Lynx Strategic Military Services Staff Member

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    Nope. What he is saying that it's not only EA who is doing that. And that if you don't like it, what you need is to stop buying games that encourage microtransactions and/or stop paying these microtransactions. Because whining about it and buying these games just encourages companies to keep doing that.
     
  8. Sir_Brizz

    Sir_Brizz Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, he's saying microtransactions aren't going anywhere, as crappy as they are. This is because people keep spending money on them.
     
  9. Bgood

    Bgood New Member

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    Yep, my bad . Reading it in full [not just the summary], it's different to that which I presented , he sort of throws it out there as an open question rather than giving it his backing.

    Imho , If gamers do encourage the microtransaction model then it risks becoming an excuse to deliver half the experience. Customisations and otherwise unlockable in game items are one thing , core gameplay elements 'left out' of the full priced game and day 1 DLC are another, especially on-disc dlc. Suppose the question then becomes would 'customisations' and otherwise unlockable items generate enough revenue.
     
  10. Capt.Toilet

    Capt.Toilet Good news everyone!

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    In response to this

    [M]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFWFYqDD8EE[/M]

    Skip to 5:43 for the nitty gritty. Basically says what Brizzy says in that we are unfortunately a vocal minority and there are a helluva lot more people who support the money grubbing. More money than brains is the phrase here.
     
  11. Kyllian

    Kyllian if (Driver == Bot.Pawn); bGTFO=True;

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    I think microtransactions can be a good thing if done "right", the problem is a majority of microtransactions are done horribly, horribly wrong.
     
  12. AKWolf

    AKWolf New Member

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    I think EA will be gone before Steam . I mean they offered a billion for Steam and were declined. Their crappy Origin content delivery system and GUI just blows.
     
  13. dinwitty

    dinwitty DeRegistered User

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    CliffyB shows the same frustration like I had on the Dubner graphic system.
    This system led the way for broadcast television graghics, but on the artists view, you find yourself dumbing down to the system's limitations when you know there could be room for something better.

    Its an artistic frustration, XBox/PS, Wii are a marketing money deal.

    Cliffy's a push the edge. PC's are going thru a new mini-revolution.

    I never went to any console. One day all them old games will be unplayable on a dead system.

    I have a wall of games, many unplayed. Working at it...games that were about before consoles...or consoles in their infancy.

    If I got a console I would feel like I went back in time technically.
     
  14. Feralidragon

    Feralidragon UT n00b coder

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    In F2P defense, if you do a proper research you will see that the tendency of F2P gaming is starting to go towards "fair-grinding" and getting away from the P2W paradigm.
    I will give you a really good example (which I have been playing myself for over a year): Blacklight Retribution.
    It's F2P and you don't need to grind that much or at all, even because you can rent any weapons after playing just a single 10min game. I never paid a dime, yet I have all the items I want in 2 accounts already.

    There, the paid stuff is purely cosmetic stuff, or to build your own "premium" servers with custom mutators, or to get the high level weapons sooner (and higher level stuff is not an upgrade btw, you get more of something but you loose in another, it may just fit your own play style better, nothing more than that), to not mention that many of the pro players there (including the ones who spend tons of money on it) prefer actually the level 1 items way too often since those provide the best balance between power and accuracy/recoil/firerate already.
    And the high level weapons can be obtained by a level 1 already by "renting" "premades" (weapons you cannot modify the parts from, but are still awesomely built), and to rent them, you play about 1 or 2 games (5~10min each) and you can rent one for 24h.

    It's profitable for them, and enjoyable for us since we can have the same amount of fun from day 1, as a level 1 can still beat a level 40 (which is the current max level) anytime of the day as long as that level 1 knows the basics of the game (like I said, I have 2 accounts myself, and when I started the 2nd after maxing my first account, I still didn't feel inferior nor the need to grind).
    And this model and the game itself had such a success that it is already trying to explore the eSports scene, and they have to continually add servers to it (specially after the last "zombie" patch).
    And I repeat: I never ever spent a single dime on that game, and I always had fun playing the game thus there's no that "griding" feel at all as long as you actually like the game as well.

    Therefore, I have faith that many of the F2P games to come will follow a similar model and be fun for us and still be profitable for them.
    It's true that many others make you grind to no end, and some are P2W, but you can't generalize it nowadays given that big titles are already out there following a much better model for the actual non-paying players, and still profit a lot from it.

    Define "most gamers I know" please. Do you know why F2P is better? It allows one to play without spending money. Even if you buy a full game, companies like EA will release DLCs and other bs for you to spend money on, how is that better than F2P.
    Plus, many of those games already implement the same "griding" concept themselves (COD anyone?), since you have to play to unlock weapons, level up and whatnot, right?

    The "gamers you know" are actually the minority, many many many people don't buy games at all or just buy one or another specific one, either because they don't want to or because they can't afford so like "the gamers you know".
    With a free game, many will likely play it since it's "free" to at least try it out, from there if the player wants something more like a "camo" or something, he can give a dollar and buy it rather than give 20, 30 or even 50 bucks for a whole mediocre game (which most of them are nowadays).
    For a weapon, following the good F2P model of Blacklight for example, you just have to play, which is no different of what you would have to do in buying a full game with online support.

    TL;DR: F2P is actually better in a sense, it goes down to which studios and publishers make them. Some are P2W, some make you grind to no end, but some others do not and those are becoming more popular than the former ones for obvious reasons.
    F2P just has to be made the right way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  15. Alhanalem

    Alhanalem Teammember on UT3JB Bangaa Bishop

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    Are you this cynical about everything?
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  16. Sir_Brizz

    Sir_Brizz Administrator Staff Member

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    You're the type of player F2P companies hate, though. Honestly. F2P can work out great for some people, but if there was no one paying the game would crash and burn (and this has happened with oh so many F2P games in the past). The reason Blacklight Retribution is still running is because people are paying.

    I have no problem with paying for a game that is fun. I've spent over $80 on Borderlands 2. I will spend $80 more if they keep adding great content. I prefer the "pay up front keep forever" model, though I do appreciate when demos are provided for games I'm on the fence about.

    One thing to keep in mind is that for every one F2P game that succeeds, there are at least a dozen that fail and go under. There are tons of people trying to model and it is by no means a guarantee of success even for the best games ever made. However, because of my first paragraph here, almost all of them have P2W elements, even if you can enjoy the game without them. Tribes Ascend is a good example of a F2P game that has P2W elements but is still enjoyable without purchasing them.
     
  17. Feralidragon

    Feralidragon UT n00b coder

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    I think I didn't get my point across. The only reason I didn't pay for anything there is that I cannot yet, simple as that. Would I have some money to "waste" on virtual stuff, I would have already bought a camo or something else just for the lulz.
    Bottom line, and the point I am trying to get across is: mentality.
    If you make a player feel like he doesn't need to pay anything to get fun, and there's no particular advantage in gameplay itself by paying or not, F2P works for everyone.

    In the end, I am not the type of player they hate, I am the type of player they need in the first place to populate their game and bring it to the light. For instance, have you noticed I just made free advertising for them? That's something money cannot pay, having players talking about the game just because it's great fun.

    This model works greatly because it reaches a point that the game is so good that you get the "shut up and take my money" reactions from everyone, as you even stop needing to make certain things paid and you opt to make them also free to bring even more people in.
    This is what I am seeing in the game I play right now, and I watched every single turn, the good and the ugly ones, every since it came out from closed beta.

    The ones who pay, they pay for cosmetic stuff and some addons, or premium servers (which provide custom mutators which is what people like: customization in their hands) which are no much different from hosting a dedicated server for a full game.
    And in the end they get profit from both free and paying players: they get the money from the paying ones, and the population of the free ones to make the game standout and get even more paying players.

    But you realize that nowadays that business is starting to become inviable due to higher development costs, don't you?
    Tim Sweeney stated so that it would cost Epic 10x more money to do the next generation games. In the end they could restructure a few things in there and make it only about 1.5x to 2x the previous costs, and they have to somewhat cover these in the end.

    The fact that you buy the game once, and expect a lifetime support is a flawed business model by design, destined to fail unless they keep doing sequels and DLCs, since they still have to develop patches in the aftermath, and new content for DLCs altogether (to which they have to get a bigger team or drop the quality of the work for the sake of new releases), and still potentially provide dedicated servers in the process (although that one is somewhat covered by giving a lesser quality service by making the players the hosts themselves).
    That's why we have CoD being released over and over and over, and in the end you get a game that will always have bugs remaining and won't be ironed out ever, then you get a bunch of new "basic" bugs in a new version of the game.

    In F2P, they won't drop the support as long the game is alive. They control the game more, yes, but there's more potential to get a much more steady gameplay and a much more stable game, servers, etc, since they do not feel nor want to release new versions, they can instead add content and have a much better focus on bugs and make the game far more stable than a paid one.
    The only downside of F2P is that if they drop it, you can't play any longer, and that's honestly the only downside I see with it, but in turn, I wonder how many games you have boxed getting dust and which are never going to get played ever again simply due 2 facts: no one playing them online (dead) and hardware limitations (new hardware generally means new operating systems which no longer support the older games anyway).

    The ability to mod the game was also a downside of F2P in the past, but not only that is also starting to change little by little, as many of the great paid titles do not offer such possibility any longer nowadays.


    The same can be said about games you actually pay for: many fail and only a few succeed. This has nothing to do with F2P, this is an existing paradigm every since there has been literally a spam of games from the industry in the past few years, and just like anything in life, once you get a ton of offer, only a few share of that offer actually worths it. That is nothing new.

    And again, the P2W paradigm is already starting to change to the point of inexistence, in such a way that makes the game fun and still profitable for them.
    One of the advertising some F2P are starting to make is exactly the question "is it P2W?" to which they answer "no, everything can be obtained by free means".

    F2P is a good model for both parties, as long as it's made the right way with the right balancing.
    Plus, perhaps I need to remind that publishers and studios do not own a single future steady release of anything besides the mandatory support for their already released games. So what they do from now into the future won't affect the games released before, all the boxed games you bought are still going to keep in your hand, and from there you decide to buy more (pure consuming) or go into F2P.
    For instance, many still play UT1 years after its release, and I can still play it whenever I want even if the next 100% of the games get to be F2P, so it's not like Epic can get their hands in my UT1 copy and make me pay for it again in the future.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  18. Sir_Brizz

    Sir_Brizz Administrator Staff Member

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    They hate all freeloaders. It costs money to support the freeloaders, money that is never made up by them. For every one committed player like you are a hundred that are not committed and, even having plenty of funds, won't spend a dollar. I could afford to pay for lots of things in those F2P games, but I don't and I never will. The barrier to entry represents my commitment to the product. 0=0=0.
    Populating servers only costs them money, though. They get nothing out of it. If they could figue out a way to keep you playing for a while and also force you to pay at some point that was guaranteed, they would do it. F2P models are designed to bring a constant stream of income. If that stream dries up, the game goes away. It happens all the time.
    No, I don't. It could cost 100 times more, if the cost benefit ratio is unbalanced, then it's not worth it. If you can't make a game viable, then don't make it. The fact that so many companies are making them despite the increased cost simply says that they see the cost benefit ratio in their favor.
    I don't expect a lifetime of support, unless you mean a game I can play in the future regardless of the company's current commitment to said product. Unreal came out almost 15 years ago and you can still play it. How much time and money does Epic spend on that game? The cost is more than likely next to zero.

    And DLC is paid for because it costs money. This is no different than the old expansion pack model, they are made if they think they can justify the expense. They generally have much smaller teams involved or are outsourced.

    Also, Unreal has "retail" dedicated servers and people run their own. So do games like Left 4 Dead. You can give a good experience and make it relatively open if you really want to.
    It is generally easier to judge pre-release interest in a game when it is paid for. With F2P you are guessing, the game could be shut down in 2 months for all you know. Judging the pre-release interest is not really possible. There are hundreds of F2P games that had high interest in the beta and then at the final release, everyone stopped playing. I've played dozens of them.
    What many of them don't tell you is the time investment required to get such items.

    Also, I'm not saying that F2P shouldn't exist, I'm saying that too many developers are jumping in head first and they can't even see the bottom of the lake. For most of them it's 2 feet down and they are paralyzed and potentially die because they weren't thinking right. There is no one business model that is the future or always works. There is room for games in both camps. I tend to avoid F2P simply because I have lots of games I have paid for that I still haven't played and I'd rather invest my time in them than games that require time grinding to get items to make you competitive after a certain point. Even Team Fortress 2 has this problem to a certain degree, and lots of people did buy that game. That's an issue with microtransactions, though, not F2P per se :p
     
  19. Feralidragon

    Feralidragon UT n00b coder

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    And so you completely disregard what I said about one of said games, despite watching every turn of it and the huge amount of great opportunities they had to introduce such low blows to win tons of cash, and they didn't?
    I will just say this once more: the F2P you know is changing, and you have a ton of free users and some paid users, but population is key to bring it to the light.
    They don't win money from players alone, something that is popular brings partnerships, contracts, and a shitload of other funds from elsewhere, and a F2P is bound to get more popular than any other games since you don't have to pay a dime to try it for real.

    The paid players will only play if the free players are in the game too, so the free ones serve as part of the product itself, saying that they hate the free players is the same as saying that they hate their own product, and that doesn't make any sense at all.
    No one wants to play a dry game, much less pay for things in it, so free players are part of the investment, and if it's profitable, there's no reason to "hate".

    F2P has many clever ways to win money, and it's not transactions from players alone, because once a F2P game gets mainstreamed, there are a bunch of other entities who want to join the bandwagon (and again, I also saw this happening a lot in the past year).

    True, they only make games if it has a chance to be profitable. However, games still get released at somewhat the same prices, therefore if you higher the costs but apply the same prices, the profit-cost gap starts to be closed up, and if you higher the price, many won't even buy it.

    However, you disregard the fact that many many games are done by reusing previous versions assets, and that alone makes their development much much cheaper, thus viable as a full paid product, for example: CoD.
    Did you forget what I just said about Tim Sweeney's declarations on costs? He said it himself that the costs are starting to get too high to make game development profitable, thus they had to restructure many things within Epic itself to lower those costs, and even so they are going to be higher anyway and things are still getting evaluated. Even he admitted that the only way out is to start to invest in F2P.

    He wouldn't say this if they could still profit from paid games in the next years.

    The fact that the game has still master servers up is a cost. Of course, it's not a huge cost, but it's a cost nonetheless.
    Plus, you forget that one of the strongest points of UT for instance, is not the online play, but the play against bots, since UT is still a reference when it comes to bots AI.
    It's a game that you can play for hours offline, unlike the new ones which get old rather quickly if you don't play them online, and here's the whole problem.

    However, for instance, from what I have heard (and this one I am not sure) that once the new Gears game comes out, many of their dedicated servers relative the previous version will move to run the new one, and the old version will have less dedicated servers and players are rather pissed off about it.
    So why they don't simply buy more dedicated servers? Costs.

    By buying a full game, they keep X number of dedicated servers, and move them once a new version comes out, and unless you buy the new version, you get a crappier gameplay in general.

    In F2P, I am seeing the exact opposite: once it gets more profitable and more players, they add more dedicated servers. This is what I am seeing for little over a year, not sure what games you played, but this is what I saw so far.

    UT has only still the master servers up since they are the only thing the game needs, since all the servers are created by the community, and paid and maintained by that same community.
    The game needed (and still needs) very important patches that never saw the light of the day, since they would represent a cost to Epic. They simply dropped the ball, although they're still selling it (probably the reason they even keep up the servers is because they are still selling the game).

    F2P also costs money to develop.... free bonus packs (which are pretty much free DLCs) for games like UT2k4 also costed money to develop... so what's your point exactly?
    The thing is: in F2P you get that money back in one way, and with DLC in another, with the catch that nowadays DLCs are not exactly "expansions" per se in plenty of games, but parts of the full game that weren't released together with the game as they should, so the cost in doing them is rather minimal, yet they still have high prices.
    DLC is the tactic to get a game more profitable and to keep it viable.

    DLCs are the equivalent of the deleted scenes of a DVD version of a movie, with the difference that you actually pay for them in games.

    Afaik Unreal does not have any "retail" dedicated servers any longer, it only has a master server, and I think that in UT's case is maintained by Epic, but in Unreal is another entity that does so.
    And for people to run their own, they have a cost. It's no different from running a premium server in Blacklight for example, besides a more open modability, but which is not significant because admins generally run the same tools and mods relative each others.

    The fact that they can pull the plug at anytime is a downside, and I referred and explained it so in my previous post, so I won't reiterate the same.
    However, in F2P you can take a better grasp on the actual gameplay, so I am not sure what your point is?
    How many paid games seemed fun at the beginning in a pre-release or a demo, to only be below mediocre as a full product? Countless. Why? Because just like trailers, they ensure to fill you with the best they have in a smaller package to get your money, to then provide the sub-par "rests" as a full product.

    Indeed. I played PlanetSide 2 myself to try it out. I played it for little over than a week to have solid opinion on it, and then I stopped.
    The grinding needed, their claim of "sidegrades" when there are clearly full on upgrades instead, the boredom of the game itself despite its hype... I didn't like it at all, and the time needed to get the items worth the trouble was just too immense.
    However, should I base my opinion on ALL F2P based in this game alone? No. Plus the sole fact that I play another F2P for a year shows that someone else did it right, since they were honest most of the time with the players, listened, there's almost no grinding needed and everything are really sidegrades and you don't need them at all to be competitive, UNLESS some items fits your own playstyle better, and that is all.

    Indeed, there are many failed attempts in F2P because developers and publishers are being reckless about it, but the same can be said about paid games, there's no difference in that aspect, however in F2P you still have time to get out and not having spent anything more than time, when in paid games, once you get the full thing you may regret it later on and you can't do a thing about it other than not buy any other games from said publisher/developer.

    I also played TF2 myself, when it was already a F2P, and I didn't like the game. What did I loose? Nothing. Does that mean it's a bad F2P model? Nope, I just like it's style. If it was a paid game, I couldn't judge the game after have given money for it (and no, demos and such do not provide the slightest about its real gameplay as a full product, that's why a few prefer the demo version of UT rather than the full game actually, they always end up being different products).



    Anyway, conclusion: you clearly have a different view and opinion on this, and I respect that, but you can't disregard the latest batch of F2P attempts that are actually making it a better model to follow than what it was a few years ago, and the actual declarations of developers worried about the costs of the next batch of paid games exactly due to the reasons I stated in this and my previous posts. That is all. :)
     
  20. Bgood

    Bgood New Member

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    @Feralidragon.

    Wouldn't the market just get flooded with generic F2Ps? F2Ps that nobody wanted to play. Surely Studios could then get even more hesitant about developing new IPs and the whole situation could be back to square one?

    And as was talked about in that Youtube TotalBiscuit Content Patch edition. Those that have invested heavily in some of these games are now getting burnt, with their item purchases "disappearing into the ether" as the game shuts down.

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    It's difficult to predict AAA's future moving forward. Reaction, uptake of next gen and next gen games will likely give a much clearer pointer to viability . But there's no point acting like a prophet of doom for the industry that's on the cusp of what could be a truly impressive tech leap in the form of the PS4.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013

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