The Video Game Sequel Cycle

We discuss the reasons for tiring sequels and how the ongoing cycle can be broken. Or has it been already?

Nothing€™s more relatable when it comes to gaming than the familiar title name. And there is nothing more irritable than having a great game or franchise ruined by a milking production company, that one off title being released, released and released again with just a couple of new features that don€™t even warrant it being a sequel, never mind another game. It€™s not just gaming, it€™s seen in movies as well (ahem, Pirates of the Caribbean), but for gaming it seems to be a bigger and more frequent thorn in the side. I could name a few elongated franchises but I think it€™s that apparent I needn€™t have to. So, why does it happen? Ah, the money of course. Lazy developers wanting to shorten the production cycle on a popular name so the production & developers companies can rake in the cash and shamelessly roll in it when they€™re present in their mansions. Actually, for that simple reason, albeit lacking the rolling in money and owning mansions, it can be true, but it€™s usually a little bit more complicated than that. Boiling it down to the basics it is all about money, but though when you do that it you automatically bring all the detrimental connotations of evil corporations looking to siphon the green from our depleting wallets. What it actually is though is a response to a drastically evolving market. If you think of any other sales situation where new consumers have entered/or left the medium the business model changes somewhat to accommodate and/or attract. A great example would be the slowly dying cinema as a method of watching film. Money is being lost in the cinema and so to adapt the film industry is looking to release cinema films to DVD a little earlier than the 6 month period we usually have to wait, because that€™s what the marketing experts think we want. The music industry is another instance where the market has shifted. Artists and production companies are attracted more and more to the live tours than being reliant on producing material to make money. This is mostly in reaction to music theft, but that€™s because it€™s convenient and easy due its audience, and everyone else, moving to digital consumption - needs change so the business model adapts to fit the need. Now if we swing that commercial telescope back at the gaming world you€™ll be able to get a better idea of why we have so many 2€™, 3€™s and 4€™s at the end of our games. Our console games have a high standards bar to meet. High standards in terms of content but especially high standards in terms of technology, these are standards that have been set by the manufacturers as this generation saw to compete with the PC gaming platform and grab that audience through the attractions of quality through convenience, and it worked. The problem is that creating these graphically pleasing games for the console is an expensive process, and the core, long term gamer as an audience hadn€™t been enough to make a profit, something that Microsoft and Sony had the long aching experience of but Nintendo saw coming.
Contributor

Maker of bread, jammie dodgers, clothing for middle class men and twisted dark fantasy films, in my own time I'm also a free-lance writer. I lie, I'm only a free-lance writer with a love for those predecessors, and a love for video games for that matter! I'm here to spread that love in article form for you all.

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