Thursday, 17 January 2013

Next Gen: The Generation of Casuals and Blockbusters

As you've noticed on this blog, my posts are starting to focus on the next generation of console's. Looking back, this gen has seen some new trends. The casual market has really picked up with the Wii and Kinect. However, there has been question marks regarding the longevity of the casual market. Wii's sales quickly took a nosedive while Kinect and Move have been criticised for the lack of games that really utilise the technology. We have seen the rise of blockbuster titles that have smashed records and put video games's on par with movies. This article looks at why the next generation of consoles will focus on blockbuster titles and improving the casual market.

Companies investing in blockbusters

As is seemingly the case with every new generation, costs rise as developers invest more in graphics, sound, research and marketing. Publishers are looking for the next big thing, an existing franchise or a new IP that can last a whole console generation. The risks are high but the rewards can be huge. It will mean that we will see a lower number of games coming out, with a focus on a few big budget, blockbuster titles. In the first couple of years of the next console cycle, expect to see new IP's look to quickly establish themselves.

Next-gen game Watch Dogs has all the hallmarks of a blockbuster title.

Along with the new IP's, the successful current franchises will continue to sell incredibly well. The next Assassins Creed trilogy will continue on next-gen consoles and so will Call of Duty. These are cash cows that don't look like dwindling.

Of course, expect Activision to invest heavily in the COD franchise

Simply put. Publishers will be less inclined to invest in lots of different games. Instead they will hedge their bets on a fewer number of blockbuster titles.

The Casuals are here to stay

Disney Infinity was announced a few days ago and is set to combat the extremely  popular, Activision owned, Skylanders series. The concept sees video games crossed over with real action figures. Unlike Activision, Disney have access to a wide range of Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters. The casual market will eat this game up. Although the game is set to be released on current-gen consoles, expect it to be on next-gen consoles when they are announced.

Disney Infinity will capture the casual markets attention for years to come.

Developers and publishers will continue to find concepts like this that look to keep the casual market engaged. The problem with party games such as 'Just-Dance' and 'Wii Sports' is that the casual market got bored of these titles quickly and therefore, there wasn't longevity when it came to usage. Just Dance rolled out the sequels to great success but eventually people will get sick of it, the market for these types of games are already saturated. Games like Disney Infinity will add DLC and extras to maintain sales and interest of the casual market for years.

What new trends do you think will arise from the next generation of consoles? Let me know in the comments below.