This week we had a talk from Gareth Wilson who is design director for Sumo Digital. He mainly talked about the difference between working with a brand new IP and working on a licenced IP such as the Lego. He mentions the difficulties of both with a new IP being a risky investment were as a licenced IP can have difficulties working with the licensee or may not succeed were the original did.
There are many advantages with working on video game sequels such as an existing fan base. There is also an existing structure meaning that developers can make sequels by just adding new features. This brings the cost of development down and takes a lot of the risks out of development. Bringing down the cost is a huge advantage and over the last few years as seen the rise of the annual video game such as Call Of Duty. The rise of the sequel peaked back in 2011 when a survey revealed that 90% of the most anticipated games were sequels. According to electronic arts “fans don’t actually complain about sequels – editors do” they believe that players enjoy sequels much like the movie industry does (snow 2011).
One of the big problems for games is that there is no secondary market as there is with Movies. With a movie you will first get a release at the cinema creating vast revenue there will then be a DVD release where fans of the movie can buy it to watch in private. With video games they will get released at one price point usually around £40 and once the game is bought it will provide no other revenue (Unless DLC is created). This is a problem as well because of the huge pre-owned market which does not put a penny into the developer’s pocket. With these problems developers are less likely to take risks so making a sequel to successful games is a safe bet.
What we are currently finding is that a lot of new IP’s are being created for the new generation of gaming consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox one. This is partially down to most games being release at the beginning of a console cycle will sell well which means it can acquire fans for sequels. As stated before the sequels will also cost much less as the base is already there (Wilson 2014).
Overall video games sequels are going to stay around as there are a much lower risks to the developers and publishers. What we are seeing is some of the big publishers now taking risks on newer consoles to cement a new franchise. As long as there is a pre-owned market developers will not be willing to take such big risks