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Big games are better than ever, but why aren't sales?

The Division
The Division (Image credit: Ubisoft)

This has undeniably been a busy period for gaming, with dozens of memorable experiences over the past twelve months. Amidst a constant flow of refined sequels, distinctive reboots, and intriguing new properties, change is undeniably on the horizon for games and how we experience them. And yet… amidst all this greatness and hype, sales seem to be faltering.

Single-player shooter campaigns have seen a revival with titles such as DOOM and Titanfall 2 – an element of shooter franchises once neglected in favor of more substantial multiplayer content. Overwatch and Battlefield 1 both managed to deliver refreshing online experiences, with new themes, pacing and gameplay traits that stand out from the competition. Even on the indie front, Firewatch and Inside managed to deliver artistic narrative-driven adventures, which question the standards currently in place for game design.

But with all these triumphs, dwindling sales across the board appear to be at the forefront of discussion. Although many titles are putting forward new ideas and intriguing premises, their inability to meet sale forecasts leaves some franchises without any hope of a successor. Even with a surplus of critically acclaimed releases, could 2016 go by as a forgotten period for gaming?

The holiday rush

When discussing games and sale projections, it's hard not to draw attention to one of most undeservingly neglected titles of this year: Titanfall 2. With a release during the last week of October, the game launched between two hotly anticipated end-of-year behemoths: Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. It's like slotting a sci-fi/fantasty movie between the latest Harry Potter and Star Wars premieres.

The game wasn't off to a great start prior to launch, after a lackluster public technical test that mixed up some of the game's mechanics from its predecessor. Although these negative early impressions will have been a contributing factor toward what was to come, the placement of its release date was far from ideal.

Titanfall 2's 'failure' is an example of a more widespread issue

In the end, Titanfall 2 suffered for its release window, being thrown into the deep end, among a wave of triple-A releases. Hurled into the pack during the most vicious quarter of the year, the game had little chance of emerging successfully from its competition.

Titanfall 2's 'failure' is an example of a more widespread issue, which continues to affect today's triple-A games industry. The fourth quarter of the year is simply too crowded, with brutal rivalry seen between the world's largest publishers. Wanting to be behind the hottest new releases for the holiday season, companies are often left fighting for attention in an excessive noise of marketing.

The idea of later releases only stretches so far, with only a certain amount of cash in the system. Being harder than ever to gain widespread attention from consumers, just a small subset of games can overcome these burdens. Whether publishers start experimenting during quieter portions of the year or the competition keeps growing, smaller titles will continue to suffer from the current model.

Hyped up, let down

A shift can also be seen the buying habits of consumers, with an increasing number of individuals reluctant to invest in new games. This is no surprise — we've seen too many broken games at launch, underwhelming releases, games laden with in-game micro-transactions, and other anti-consumer movements. With this lack of faith in even the largest of publishers, it's tougher than ever to fully commit to a $60 game at launch.

Information prior to launch can be built off far-fetched promises and sugar-coated opinions

This skepticism also appears to lead to a lack of enthusiasm among gamers – with some games passing without any attention from the wider public. Gaming coverage and exposure are quickly moving over to personalities and 'influencers', sometimes limiting exposure to what grabs the attention of these individuals.

A bulk of the gaming industry now feeds off anticipation, using the excitement and flashy showcases to gain the attention of the public. With the media also conforming to this approach, information prior to launch can be built off far-fetched promises and sugar-coated opinions.

While this nothing new in marketing, delivering on promises has proven to rather challenging for some titles. Trying to live up to the expectations of gamers has proven to be challenging and in a time of heightened communication, word travels fast. Gamers may finally be voting with their wallets, even if it is without intention.

Experiences as services

Over the past decade, the rise of online services has been a huge influence in the approach to game design and its goals. While units sold were previously the best measure of a game's success, player retention is quickly becoming a key focus for many business models.

Games now have a longer life span than ever before, with many designed to maintain larger player bases for years on end. With new content being frequently delivered for our favorite experiences, there's often little incentive to move away from your daily gaming routine. In 'Games as a Service', players are being treated for a constant flow of post-launch content, and in many cases, for free. After a single purchase, time can be dedicated solely to one title, with rewards in place for those who show long-term commitment.

There's often little incentive to move away from your daily gaming routine

This also opens routes for monetization, with more dedicated players willing to invest into additional content. Whether refreshed gameplay opportunities or simply bypassing a game's harder portions, consumers are happier to hand over some extra cash for experiences they've invested time into. If players can invest hundreds of hours into an experience they enjoy, there's even less of an incentive to risk both time and money with new games.

In the end, Titanfall 2, like many releases of this year, has suffered due to its competition. Although many of these titles are bringing forward interesting and refreshing ideas, it's becoming harder than ever to establish a presence in the market. Whether this is down to poor timing or simply a lack of appeal, the approach to triple-A games is changing.

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

80 Comments
  • What's interesting is the player base for Titanfall 2 is much larger than I ever saw in Titanfall. The highest I ever I've seen Titanfall was 7000 online with 2000 in my region. Where as Titanfall 2 I normally see 16000 online with 5000 in my region. This all in Attrition. I did see it hit 20000/8000 but that was the free weekend.
  • Yeah. Titanfall 2 online is very healthy. Great game.         
  • What the hell. Are you serious? Titanfall 1 regularly hit 100k in its first week. And even2 weeks ago Titanfall 1 had 22k at one point. There's just no way in the world a game that hasn't even sold 1 million and isn't only online has more people online than a game that is ONLY online and sold over 10 million copies.
  • It did not help Titanfall 2's case, that Respawn pulled the game from EA Access (Origin Access on PC), apparently in a bid to cater to PlayStation fans. This move hurt them two-fold. 1 - the free 10-hour demo that came with EA Access, would have put to rest any negative impressions left over from the TF2 alpha tests, which left many in the TF community running for the hills, due to perceived changes making the core game more Fall of Duty, and less Titanfall. EA Access' 10-hour demo period is using the finalized retail game code. And as we all know, the final game was one of the best shooters ever. Millions of people currently use EA/Origin Access. So that was a huge opportunity missed to prove to the gaming world that TF2 was a much TF as the original - and then some. 2 - TF's established fan base was on PC and Xbox - how many millions of units of the first game sold between the two? 10 million? There is nothing wrong with attempting to bring PlayStation fans into the fold - the more the merrier. But when your attempts to bring in new fans leads you to punishing existing fans (and pulling TF2 from EA Access was seen as a punitive measure by many in the TF community), you have made a huge PR error that your fans are going to make you regret. Essentially what Respawn did was leverage the goodwill of their existing fans, to bring in new fans they did not already have. Huge mistake. Made only bigger by the fact that at the time that TF2 was pulled from EA Access, Respawn was embroiled in the middle of a Twitter war against their own fans from their existing fan base. Their timing could not have been worse to make the decision. As it came off as punishing those fans for daring to question Respawn policies and actions.
  • That core gamer is getting older, not alot of time to play. Gamers maybe doing what I've been doing for a few years now, buy triple A games, or any game really, when they go on sale, I usually wait for under $30. After much debate early on, I'm all digital,simply more convenient. So many great games are free to play nowadays. Gone are the days people lined up to buy the latest greatest game.
  • I do think this has a huge bearing on buying habits/engagement. Sure, there might be loads of people wanting to play a game, but modern life is simply too busy for a lot of people to put aside hours upon hours for gaming.
  • What's not being discussed is the notion the pricing for everything today is high?  In 1990 I was paying $35 - $50 for a game that didn't have nearly the visual capabilities of today's game and I thought nothing of it.  There weren't writers or cheapskates always talking about price.  It seems today's writers don't make enough money and complain about everything being expensive which then trickles down to readers thinking everything has to be free or next to nothing.  Not to mention the oversaturated app games for phones. 
  • Nes and SMS were $49.99 per game. The game prices $59.99 have not changed since Snes and SG. I still remember buying Lakers vs Celtics for my Sega Genesis with money my grandfather( Mother) sent me. $59.99 without tax.
  • And that's precisely my point.  Today we get a great deal on most all devices.  Computers, games, etc.  I purchased a Packard Bell 8088 for $1800 and today the amount of incredable whining because a Surface Book cost $1400 is almost shameful.  Mostly from writers who are way too young to be writing about things they have zero perspective about.  I owned an Atari 2600, 5200, Sega Genisis, Turbu Grafx, SNES, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, not to mention a number of handheld game systems.  I don't play as many games today maybe because I'm just older, but I can't really stand first shooter games never really liked then.  I liked sports and fighting games and fun puzzle games in the day.  LIke Mario.  But first shooter games are the rage right now so my game purchases have dwindled.  I still look for great for sport games but they are far and few in between.  And the simplicity is gone.  You've got way too many buttons to press on a controller today not to mention you don't even get a booklet on the basic features of the game.  Oh well, the game makers don't get near the amount of money they use to get out of me and I have the money to purchase them.  But that's the way it goes sometimes.
  • I thought I was the only one that noticed a good laptop back in the day was $3000, now they are less and better spec'd and people complain. I am also an original gamer starting with Magnavox Odyssey, Atari 2600, and the much beloved Amiga 500. My backlog is unbelievable and I buy mostly all of the triple A games at some point, my way of giving back.
  • Cartridges were so expensive! Gone are the golden days of games on cassette where 1.99 was the sweet spot.
  • Most NES games were around $30 a pop... they did go up with SNES and N64 tho. but, if you look over inflation from today and back in the mid 80's (NES was out in 1985), It's amost like buying a $60 game anyway...
  • I'm with you. I bought titanfall at launch and battlefield 1 recently (still unopened).I have no time for games and would rather buy all my games digitaly. Bf1 is a hardcopy because we gifted the other in B2G1. I still debated on keeping it. I hate having to change media when the game is downloaded on the system. I have no time for games... I wait to they are cheap or $30. The numbers in these sale forcast are only going to come from mobile games and bigger better does not mean success there...
  • That, and I'd add that all the people on my Xbox friends list are on some video streaming service. When I want to play an online game I'd rather play with friends, but most of the time I don't bother because all my friends would rather watch Netflix. :(
  • Because most people are casual gamers who aren't interested in these types of big overly complicated games.
    It was the hope of many that the casual gamers would eventually become more hardcore over their gaming life but this doesn't seem to be happening, as Nintendo proved with the Wii.
  • And to add: The experience we have with games is currently barely any different to what we've had in previous years. Apart from looking better there's nothing that I can say is any better.
    Modern gaming has brought with it big files to install/download, patches for games knowingly released below par (great for those with super slow internet) and even things like longer load times etc.
    Retro games have seen a resurgence lately and is there any wonder? As games that are intended to be fun, they are just better.
    Modern gaming is for the minority willing to put up with all the downsides, not for the majority looking to have a good time and to do that with ease. Merry Christmas everyone.
  • Good points.
  • Yup totally agree. I play retro games a lot. **** graphics at 320x200 resolution, but damn fun. It seems like games now are designed to frustrate you to the point where you'll buy the IAP just to get over the obstacle. Though there are two games im appreciating now...Doom and Rainbow 6 siege. Doom has a great single player campaign, with much the same feel as the original doom from 1993 or so. Love it. And Rainbow Six Siege, is the best multiplayer game I've seen in many years. Its nothing like the spastic crazy online arenas out there now. Its slower, strategic, calculated, and the impatient one often loses. Each player has specific talents nobody else has, so you REALLY need to play as a team. It's like the total opposite of other shooters. And thus the playerbase is, on average more mature. I just find it a MUCH more engaging experience than anything else I've played. And the player base keeps growing. I think others are also slowly discovering the really unique and rewarding gameplay of R6 Siege.
  • not to mention the ability to play in the same room with friends! Nowadays they wanna sell you 2 systems, 2 copies of the game, 2 online subscriptions, etc instead of a second/third/fourth controller. I enjoy local multiplayer games WAY more than I enjoy online multiplayer games
  • Exactly. As a casual gamer I all the DLC and online content confuses me. I'll never be good enough to play online so I don't care about that stuff. I only play once a week when I'm lucky. More if I'm really into a game. Since I play seldomly there's always an update when I want to play but idgaf, I just want to play the damn game BY MYSELF. They make it hard for anyone but hardcore gamers to enjoy themselves
  • I use to scour Target isles and Best Buy looking for good deals whether I wanted the game or not, thinking how bad can a game be for 15-20$ I still buy the big favorites like Halo and Gears of War, but Fifa is my favoirte game.....however, I don't always buy the latest version. I have 2o15 version and have enough fun with it. ......and time to play? I wish I had more time!
  • I'm starting to find a lot more gems for Xbox One backward compat. Even though a lot of games are seeing price hikes when they're supported, it's pretty easy to get them for pretty cheap if you know where to look!
  • Old man now, so less time to play and get to a high level in games. I have Destiny, love it so much I don't have an urge to buy anything else. Same when I had the 360. It was all Skyrim for me
    .
  • With games hitting an rrp of £49.99 in the uk I just wait for the inevitable price drop that occurs usually in 2-3 weeks.
    All the "top" AAA titles C.O.D, GOW TITANFALL etc can be had for £19.99 and under.
  • Wish they were that low digitally. I too only buy in a sale. MS has improved massively in the pricing during sales, could always do more though. Also, Games with Gold titles limit my need to buy more. Hard drive space is at a premium for me.
  • I invested in digital when these consoles came around, but I feel we're constantly punished for jumping into a new medium. Even without shipping and packaging costs, digital just isn't a viable route on consoles when on a budget.
  • It helps that I now have two Xboxs in the house. Half's the prices. But still, not cheap.
  • The only consolation I get from digital titles is that I can play them simultaneously on my 3 xboxes, no need to carry discs from console to console. Just play anywhere you are.
  • I think things like "No Man's Sky" has got people on the back foot a little. Along with the fact that there's really no "new" games. Nothing that hasn't been done before. Plus there's these games now that are just grind-fests and I think that's throwing off the more casual gamers that just don't have time for it. Graphics haven't really improved all the much to the casual eyes in the last few years. Gaming is losing the "wow" factor. So many disappointments. VR isn't really going anywhere very fast, I think people are getting confused over these mid-generation refresh's. Gaming just seems to be in a wind-down right now. Most of my hardcore gamer friends are online less and less these days, compared to 12-24 months ago. There's just nothing different enough coming to the table and you play a game now it doesn't really feel too different from a game you've played previously. What is also lacking is an engaging story and single player experiences. Then there's things like where is HL3? do you really want to start to get into a nice deep story that the devs just abandon, or they go bust?
  • This^
    It's all the same FPS rinse and repeat these days. Seriously, I can't tell one from the other. Occasionally a gem like Ori and the blind forest or Bayonetta comes along, but it's mostly just more of the same CoD, GoW, Halo etc. Not that these are bad games, but they all start to feel the same very quickly :-(, especially the FPS games!
  • Some of all the above. Especially Kierans point about engaging stories and single player content. I would also add/include again about adding micro transactions to triple aaa games. Id say a big nono. I can see paid for dlc "down the line" as full or partial expansions, but the primary original game had better be amazing in its own right. (read no day one dlc's with content that should have already been a part). And broken games on release. Most don't have time to invest that much $$ or time into a game that doesn't work at launch and takes months....if ever...to fix.
  • I can also add that releasing a sequel every year or every other year is not a healthy move. Developers are becoming greedy trying to milk their successful franchises. They should learn from companies like Bethesda how to build anticipation.
  • Yeah, there are also a lot of people getting burned out with repetitive franchises. Think that some publishers are finally starting to realize this (for example, Ubisoft with Assassin's Creed). In order to keep people engaged with franchises, expansions and updates are becoming the way to go.
  • Absolutely loving The Division right now, had it for about 10 months before getting stuck in. Very addictive and great mechanics...games like that live or die on the userbase. Thankfully once you finish the main game it really picks up and the player base jumps!
  • Hardware is also an issue, I spent a small fortune buying a laptop capable of playing Skyrim on ultra @ 30-40 fps. Yet when the remastered version appeared I could barely hit 10 fps on medium settings. Not everyone can afford £1000+ to play the latest games.
  • I really like Titanfall as a series (paid full price for both I and II). I am glad they added the campaign to II and hope that if they do decide to offer add-on content, it will include campaign extensions rather than just multiplayer maps, though I really liked the mulit-player collaboration add-on to Titanfall I. I would also think it would be interesting to see some coverage of the demographics of the gaming population, particularly with regard to anticipated annual expenditures by age group.
  • Couple things here. Generally reviewers are out of touch with gamers. Sure don't get me wrong some people will agree with the reviews, but in general most don't agree. Also last gen something happened. Sony made a huge error at the start of the gen. The PS3 was overpriced. And Sonys exclusives were far and few between. But also they weren't great games. As Sony started to try and claw it back they went down the route of cinematic high visual games, that lacked gameplay. The media started applauding Sony for taking gameplay out of its games and replacing it with 1 button presses. Games like Uncharted 2&3, The Last Of Us, are being put my media in the same sentences as Mario, Zelda, Sonic, Final Fantasy and Halo!!!! Seriously? 17 of the 20 hours of The Last Of Us are terrible. Boring and hand holding crap. So the rest of the industry tries to imitate them. Because the media applauds them. There is a couple of other factors which people do seen to forget. Digital sales are being accounted for this gen. Some people would have you believe Halo 5 has sold poorly at 5 million copies. Yep even the sales site VGC has doom threads about Halo on the decline. When MS confirmed it had 50% of its sales for the game was digital in its opening week. Putting Halo 5 at the worst already selling 8 million copies. Better than any previous Halo with its timeline the same. I could go on as to why the videogame world is in a really bad ACTION orientated way. Look at Final Fantasy 15 and it's complete lack of JRPG qualities in favor of its Westernised action gameplay. But that's another day of words.
  • Stopped reading when you crapped on TLoU.
  • IMO Titanfall 2 weren't a failure but The Division it is, some times i go up to 100-120 friends online and no one play that game, and most of then have it.
  • Well Titanfall definitely didn't do as well as EA hoped. The company's stock did see a drop, and the game's overall mindshare is pretty low for such a big release. The Division had the advantage of a Q1 2016 launch, separating it from the crowd.
  • They have become ridiculously expensive. You used to buy the game and that was it. Now there are add-ons and IAP's and you can literally spend hundreds of dollars on one game. They are just gouging the consumers now. It's driving me more and more to games like Armor Games.
  • I'm in my late 20s, I've maybe bought 5 games new since graduating college, I'm an adult with responsibility these days, can only spend so much time gaming and I'd rather buy last year's games heavily discounted than buy today's new games. I don't have the money to drop $60 on a game either, my money goes towards home improvement and travel. Many of my friends are the same way, we used to pull all nighters gaming together, now we do other stuff. I've got no clue why the younger generation isn't gaming and spending money like we did. Maybe it's economics to blame, maybe it's become more difficult for the average person to afford games.
  • I think its a combo of lack of time, especially with open world games. Back logs because of AAA games going on sale, cheaper indie games, and again lack of time. Lastly, the same **** being pumped out/lack of interest.
  • Reasons I have bought fewer games: 1. Paid DLC that inflates prices to $100-150. I don't find myself buying more DLC, I just find myself skipping games because of the DLC prices attached. 2. Moralizing and politicizing in games turned me off to some stuff. 3. Long day spells of games. I might have gotten Titanfall 2 or Dishonored in the summer, but I picked up enough older games on sale that spending another $60 made no sense. Instead, rather wait for those games to drop in price. Too much stuff, too much money, too much ancillary crap in games. It's easy to skip stuff now. When there are 5 new shooters, I only need one. Four games miss a sale for releasing on top of each other.
  • Reason 2 annoys me
  • This.
  • Yeah, I think "oversaturation" would be the best phrase to summarize the situation for gaming. With the rapid release cycle of games, plus competition from all these other forms of digital media, it's super hard to keep up on gaming, which ASA consumer, has actually been beneficial. I can get two or three of my closest gaming buddies to pitch 20 bucks to get that old multiplayer/co-op game we missed out on and now has all the DLC included or at a discounted rate (like Rocket League) before I can convince all of them to fork over $60 plus day one DLC and an online service that might not be ready on launch. There's 0 incentives to be cutting edge with all new games because there's too many games now.
  • Games aren't selling because Microsoft won't let us upgrade our Surface Books to the performance base in order to actually play them.
  • While mobile gaming and AAA console gaming are two different worlds, they do compete for the same thing: Players Time. 10 years ago we couldnt play a quick 5 minutes of Mobile Strike or Clash on the Bus, multiple times per day like we can now (well Android/iOS owners). These games are free to get into, run on cheap hardware and are highly social. For many people it is enough gaming for their daily needs, hence why Nintendo are now building Mobile games. There will still be consoles in 5 years, but I think the pricing model with IAPs will dominate even the AAA space in the years to come. Like it or not, "Free-to-play" is the future.
  • Well thanks to the Steam Sale I've managed to get what should amount to several hundred hours of game play for $20, all older games of course, but games I never played when new and I'd still like to play them. Why pay $60 plus additional for DLC on a game my PC will struggle to run when in 2 years I'll have a better PC and the game with all included DLC will be available for $10- $15.
  • That Steam pricing is sweet!
  • For me it's simple. I like my games to pull me in to the single player experience. A game like Alien Isolation is worth every penny. Same for MGS5 or GTA5. Where I live - it is almost $100 for a new game. A 5 or 6 hour campaign is not worth that to me. If they offered a version of the game with all of the Multiplayer cut out - and charged less I'd be more inclined to purchase more games.
  • I still feel like there's an issue that lies with the release structure and culture, rather than the value of products. People are simply overwhelmed by games and sadly, only the most outstanding will prevail.
  • There is of course the game sharing on Xbox One. I have a lot of mates who buy 1 digital copy and game share So both can play it.
  • Although people use this, this isn't exactly advertised by Microsoft. Would be interesting to see how many gamers actually use this feature as it requires giving away your MS account information to another player.
  • Why would you share your information? I went to my friends house, logged in as myself and set the home console, then next time he was at my house he did the same.. no one shared any account info.
  • Simple.
    Because they are way way way to expensive. Digital games should be cheap and not the current price gouge.
    I simply won't pay the outrageous prices for new games.
  • Overlooked is that Xbox Live and PSN users now get 4 free games a month. You might now have the urge to buy the latest, greatest game when you have a stack of unplayed games you've been meaning to get through.
  • First person shooters are all looking the same these days. With no real innovation, only big franchises will stay afloat.
  • The FPS saturation is exhausting :-(
  • And personally out of this fall's shooter lineup, the game I felt that mixed up some stuff with its campaign was Titanfall 2. Sadly, it seems that rehashing existing successes is sometimes a safe and profitable route :/
  • I have cut back on my game purchases this year because of many factors, but one in particular, the price. Prices for games are getting too high, especially with all the DLC. I usually wait for the price drop now, because I just won't spend that much money on one game.
  • Titanfall 2 is my current game of choice.  There's only so much time available to to play so I've dropped COD for now. In Canada, the price of new games has jumped about $20 in the last couple of years to $79.99. I bought Titanfall 2 because I tried it during the free weekend and liked it.  So many games now have no trial available, which I don't get.  I've been burned a few times on good games that reviewed well, looked good on youtube, but just didn't appeal to me after 15 minutes of actual playtime ($79.99 out the door). I am very leery now of shelling out money to pre-order a game or even buy it full-price once available without being able to try it.  Additionally, the  variety of games available now is kind of pathetic.  I love FPS's, but enjoyed my systems more long ago when there were so many other great options for game types. There used to be several golf, baseball, football games each year. There were lots of splitscreen 2-4 player games that I could play with friends when they came over. The hottest racing games now are generally one local player only. Bummer.  I won't buy them.   Game companies, please bring back some good quality variety to your portfolios, and give us trials and demos. I won't spend $240 on 3 FPS's (Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1 and COD Infinite warfare), but might spend that much on 3 vastly different gametypes.
  • guess what i purchased. tf2 and bf1 combo pack. i have played tf2 1 time and bf1 3 times. im going to play bf1 next. why should i care if a game suceeds or not. if i purchased it i should play it if i want or not at all and play something else. good article though.
  • If you buy a game and it fails you have few people to play it with. Battlefield would SUCK without a decent player base.
  • I grew up in the era of casual, fun, quick to play, easy to master games. I've never had the time nor the inclination to move up to these modern complex games that suck up hours of your life, far too busy for that now I'm older anyway. I've recently started playing casual games again through Steam, where I can just play for a few minutes here and there. I'm not about to spend hundreds of pounds on modern games (my other hobby, buying vinyl records takes up all my spare money anyway!)
  • Battlefield 1, if you want the full game with DLC is $97.48 ON SALE! Most people won't pay over $100 for a game, the DLC divides the player base and ruins the experience when only a limited number of players invest in the DLC. I actually had a conversation with friends about this, we see no reason to buy a brand new game. Heck we were playing battlefield bad company 2 tonight and having a blast, that game is what 7 years old and still has a decent online player base.
  • "Big games are better than ever, but why aren't sales?" No, they aren't. With day one patches, gated preorder bonuses, hype culture, season passes, DLCs, microtransactions, terrible PC versions, mandatory always online etc., big games hit the new low in 2016. Glad to see people are waking up.
  • The problem I have with new games is I need a hardware upgrade. 6 months ago it was fine. I could ruin almost anything. Now the new games such as Forza and battlefield 1 won't run on my system. I need to upgrade my video card. To make it worth while I have to go to a 4 or 8 gig card. $500 or more . Do the new games will have to wait.
  • Until about 2 years ago, I used to spend a couple of hours a day playing on my Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I used to play so much that I would have never imagined that my interest in video games would eventually start to decrease. I haven't bought new games in quite a while, and that's mostly because I feel that they'll just be given out for free later on, just like many of the games that they've already given out with GWG that I already had. I guess that's the main reason I don't buy games at launch anymore. I have too many games and not enough time. You would think that it would be the opposite, but for me, the more choices I have in video games, the least I feel like playing any of them. And so I barely play games anymore, and much less buy new ones, they might be given out for free someday anyway.
  • I disagree, i dont believe we've had any good games this year, the problem is, its too much copy and paste, lack of effort in either, Story or Gameplay etc, what the market needs is new ideas (perhap VR can help inspre that) Because honestly ive not bene impressed in any games a good couple years now, well, theres a couple, maybe. But thats it.
  • Here's an idea to increase sales again: STOP WITH THE F*CKING DLC'S! How can greedy bast*rds be surprised sales are down? They charge us 70€ for a game only so that we can find out that, in the end, we only got half a game because the other half will have to be acquired separately via a "Season Pass" that costs another 70€. Well guess what? I'll sooner NOT buy the game than I'll allow myself to be ripped off. There are games designed to make you spend extra cash. LEGO Dimensions is an example. HOWEVER you get the complete game in the starter pack, minifigures that will allow you to finish the game AND an in-game alternative to buying the extra characters. Then, IF you want, you can buy story packs and level packs to add to the game but none of them is crucial to anything. Now look at what crooks like EA do with things like Star Wars Battlefront. And you'll understand why sales are down. (In the meantime, LEGO is making a sh*t load of money with that original game that they can continue to expand upon without problem or deterrent to those who only bought the starter pack. Also, those extra packs with exclusive minifigures? In 10 years, when the game is gone and so are this generation consoles, those minifigures that cost you now 9€ will go up in value to double or triple that. So unlike the other DLC's, these bring stuff that will actually be valuable in a couple of years).
  • The problem for me is that the titles all basically do the same thing. Especially titles on XBox. Big unreal guns and people being mowed down with em. What is original about that and who the F are you so mad at? This has been done to death. Battlefield, Gears of War, the Halo series, BattleFront, The Division, Call of Duty, Wolfenstein, Metal Gear? WTF man. UMAD? For those that don't mind the run and gun type game, that audience isn't as big as the developers think they are. No matter how much they hype the game, they are not increasing the audience for games like that. People that buy those kind of games, are the only people buying those games. Its the same crowd and there is no race to the next one. Where are those developers that create "experiences"? Games like No Man's Sky and Cities:Skylines show whimsy and creativity and intelligence for that matter are not being developed for XBox.
  • Simply put, they AREN'T better than ever. Rushed releases, poor ports, downgrading, micro-transactions, being burnt in the past, are all reasons why the games aren't selling much. Also, they just aren't as fun, style over substance. I'm still yet to find a game that I enjoy as much as the original Command And Conquer! There will never be a game that surpasses that for me. Most companies (especially the big ones) just don't know how to make fun anymore.
  • I can't speak for others but download codes in disk based games pisses me off.  If I buy Destiny the complete collection, the complete collection should be on the disk.  But is it?  Nope, you get the base destiny on disk and everything else comes with a download code in the case.  The companies are doing more and more crap like this to get us to only buy new and not used and at least for me its causing me to not buy any games that do this.    There have been several games this past year that I wanted to buy the game of the year/complete edition only to find out only the basic game was on the disk and everything else was a code.  Sorry but no, that crap has got to go.
  • Agreed. I buy a disc based game, i want the whole game on disk. It's alaways been this way tho. Back on the 360 it's always been this way, getting the game was on disc but, all the DLC's were downloadable with a code.
  • Not always, the GOTY/Complete editions I've bought in the past actually had everything on them, no code needed.  You go and buy Fallout 3 GOTY, everything is on the disk, no codes needed.  I have several others that are like this as well.  If I buy a GOTY edition it should all be there on the disk for anybody to use. I hate these code based editions.  If I lend a GOTY edition to my friend (or they lend to me) the person with the disk in their machine should have access to everything, not just the person who purchased the game and used the code.  Its a frustrating attempt to hinder the used game market. And just to clarify, I'm not talking about buying games with dlc that has yet to come out. Obviously that would need a code.  But for games where all the dlc is already done and this is a complete/consolidated collection, it should all be on the disk with no need for codes.
  • Your right, not ALL but, MOST of them...
  • It's a pretty scummy reason, but keeping it off the disc prevents second-hand sales. Even though it's not consumer friendly, it's something that publishers are inclined to do to push up sales figures.
  • 1. Too many releases in a time frame.  If you release 10 games from all devs, there will be a few titles that will do good but, none will do great. 2. People today dont have time like they did 10 years ago (in my case the same thing).. I find myseif skipping over a series because there is just not enough time to play them all. 3. Paid/ Add on content has taken over. DLCs are too much money. I HATE when I buy a new COD and they release a new MAP pack, as I need to spend double the cost of the game or I cant play with some of my friends.  A game is no longer $59.99, it's $100+. and that is too much. 4. Innovative games are something of the past on most titles. A shooter, is a shooter is a shooter. No matter how much you pretty it up, it's pretty almost the same game just with a different story that is only SO-SO in most games. 5. Digital games should be cheaper, PERIOD. There is no costs for shipping, packing or the art on the game package. They are not really a value for most people as in a good 80% of cases if you watch sales on a hot AAA game, you will find a deal someplace but, digital gmes are never really as great as a deal as physical games.