This Week in Business is a collection of stats and quotes from our sister site GamesIndustry.biz that sheds light on console sales, new trends, and more. Check back every Friday for a new entry!
Earlier this week, Kotaku posted an in-depth report on the troubled development of BioWare's Anthem. It was framed as an explanation as to why the game turned out bad. And yes, the reported combination of poor direction, overworked employees, and deteriorating morale certainly didn't help the game at all. But we've seen these stories enough now to know that these same circumstances are often present on critically and commercially successful games, in indie circles as well as triple-A.
I don't want to take anything away from the site's excellently thorough reporting on the development process, but the concern here shouldn't be that these conditions are hurting the games we play; it should be that they are hurting the people who make them.
QUOTE | "These problems are real and it's our top priority to continue working to solve them." - BioWare general manager Casey Hudson tells employees the company has recognized problems with its working conditions and decision-making processes in the wake of Anthem's difficult development.
QUOTE | "We are appalled and sad to hear about these experiences. It is very painful to hear these stories and to know that anyone is facing such behavior at Microsoft. We must do better." - Microsoft head of human resources Kathleen Hogan, responding to an email thread where women in Microsoft shared stories of discrimination and harassment they suffered there. (Since 2015, the company has been fighting a lawsuit alleging "systemic and pervasive discrimination" against women at the company.)
QUOTE | "Despite the immense and continuous support from our players, the sales for Starlink: Battle for Atlas fell below expectations." - Ubisoft's Starlink development team explains why the toys-to-life game will no longer send toys-to-shelves.
QUOTE | "We have a saying: at Ubisoft you always have a second chance. We don't cut people's heads [off] if they make a mistake first time. We would give them a second chance. But what is rewarded, obviously, is the success." - Ubisoft Worldwide Studios executive director Christine Burgess-Quémard explains the company's approach to a commercial flop.
QUOTE | "As we think about 2019 and beyond, we recognize the challenges facing our pre-owned video game business and are prepared to address them as we continue to evolve our business model going forward." - In reporting GameStop's record $673 million net loss for its last fiscal year, COO and CFO Rob Lloyd talks about the company's need to adapt to a market that has undermined the traditional second-hand games business.
QUOTE | "What we think the future will be is the market will shift to more server-based games—similar to the movie business where most people just rent instead of view films in the cinema." - 2K Games president Christoph Hartmann, almost exactly ten years ago, lays out the model game publishers will embrace to thwart piracy and used game sales.
QUOTE | "Epic is open to continuing to sign funding / exclusivity deals with willing developers and publishers regardless of their previous plans or announcements around Steam." - Epic CEO Tim Sweeney backtracks on previous statements the company made that it would not sign deals with games that already planned to launch on Steam.
QUOTE | "Our mission, in addition to delivering the most engaging and captivating entertainment experiences, is to embrace new distribution platforms that will contribute to our effort to grow the audience for Borderlands 3." - 2K president David Ismailer explains why the publisher decided to make the PC version of Borderlands 3 a limited-time exclusive on the Epic Games store.
QUOTE | "We worked out that we needed to sell 20,000 copies in the first three months, and that would give us enough time to maybe make another game… We had no idea we were going to do that in the first day." - Motion Twin's Steve Filby talks about the studio's breakthrough success with Dead Cells.
QUOTE | "The difference between us and a lot of teams is they will go, 'oh, we're not going to do that because there's too many edge cases' and they avoid doing some of the bigger, chunkier stuff. We prefer to go bold on those sort of things, and if there is the odd edge case, as long as it's funny, as long as it still entertains the player and isn't quite what they expected, then that's okay." - Avalanche senior technical designer Hamish Young explains the Just Cause studio's approach to cool (if janky) new mechanics.
QUOTE | "There's never been a case where we signed a game because a person was well-dressed at the pitch. And there's also never been a case where we didn't sign a game because the person was dressed as a slob." - ID@Xbox head Chris Charla offers ten tips for developers pitching games to platform holders. Number one is to shower and brush your teeth so you're not gross, but beyond that, wear whatever makes you confident.