NEW GAME LIKELY COMING SOON!!!
Is A Matt Hazard MMO — “World of Hazard” — To Be Announced Next?!?!
I’m sure you’ve all seen the huge news of the big merger that just went down (http://blogs.ign.com/MattHazard/), bringing together the awesome powers of Marathon Software and Megasoft. And the trend of industry consolidation continues unabated, right?
While some of you may be concerned with what might happen, let me reassure you beyond any doubt that in the video game industry, big-time mergers are GREAT thing!
I’ll tell you why:
More Mergers Mean Less Creativity: And thank goodness!
I mean, if you already know you like a game, why risk the disappointment by trying something new?
Who wants to play games that involve new ideas, new characters and new controls when you can play the same familiar game, only with a slightly upgraded weapon or modified environment?
Big-time mergers mean a stronger focus on selling games ONLY from proven “evergreen” franchises. Those that will repeatedly sell more than 2 million units will be greenlit for devlopment. If your innovative and interesting “media-darling” of a game can’t sell 2 million units, you’re in the wrong business! Go make edutainment titles!
Focusing on only the proven franchises does good for everyone — it makes it easier for the big publishers to place their bets — which means they can bring you exactly what you want – MORE OF THE SAME!
That’s right — more WWII (now modern-day) military shooters; more macho space marine shooters; more generic football and baseball sims; more repetitive skateboarding and racing games. You know these are your favorites… and so do they!
Publishers can pump out, for example, skateboard game after skateboard game without any perceptible differences between years, and the lemmings in the gaming public will line up to buy them!. This is the brilliance of the focus of mega-corporations!
Big Mergers Mean Cost Efficiencies: That means savings passed on to me, the corporate executive!
As a former VP of Marathon, one of the things that always bothered me was having to shell out so much money to these cry-baby “developers” who always wanted an actual investment of money to “make a good game.”
As companies merge and become bigger, there simply aren’t as many of these annoying “independent developers” left, which means, thankfully, the new, bigger company can work more efficiently. This efficiency is then maximized with the consumer through a slight increase in game prices and less quality assurance testing.
Here’s how this efficiency is created inside a big publisher:
- First, overwork your most dedicated and talented employees – lots of long hours and weekends, no promotions or tangible rewards, but always promise “a big bonus” at end-of-year
- When these hardworking souls ship the game after pouring 3 or 4 years of their life into it, immediately “lay them off” (thus, avoiding paying bonuses and eventually, higher salaries)
- Hire under-qualified, fresh-from-the-test-lab, entry-level kids to fill the roles of “Senior Executive Producer” company-wide
- Do this while you are between sequels, of course!
- Do this while you are between sequels, of course!
- After a couple of months, fire the unqualified employees for “Failure to Perform”
- They will fail, and when they do, firing them means no severance!
- Re-hire your original staffers, but at a lower position and reduced salary – you know, because they are now desperate for a new job. Instant savings!!!
This is an established, cost- effective business management method called “EAting it,” pioneered in Playa Del Rey, CA.
Mergers Mean Less Competition: Benefit: removes the need for innovation !
Once we get down to just 2 or 3 major companies, and eliminate all these free-wheeling creative organizations, we can standardize the video game release schedule for the whole industry on a yearly basis.
The following is the ideal release schedule (to be repeated every year) and frankly, we’re ALMOST THERE NOW:
- March: “Famous Skateboarder Game: Edition 32“
- April: Licensed Baseball Sim
- The only change needed is to alter the names on shirts – this costs $373 for an intern to complete, but you can still charge full price for the “new” game!
- August: Macho Space Marine Shooter #1
- Big bulky armor + face-covering mask + shotgun/machine gun = $$$$$
- September: American Football Sim
- No need to fix bugs or its rubber-band AI, just put a new player on the box cover and ship it!
- October: Macho Space Marine Shooter #2
- Just change armor color and the name of alien race he is fighting – no one will ever know!!
- October: Cutesie Elf with a Sword Game
- It can be any kind of game really, as long as the Cutesie Elf has a sword and appears on the box
- November: Macho Space Marine Shooter #3 (see #2)
- November: “Football” game to keep the Europeans quiet
- December: Licensed movie games #1 – 325
- Key to keeping licensed game costs down? Replace the head of “Macho Space Marine” from MSM Shooter # 3 (Nov) with a scan of an actor’s head shot — call it a day!!
Anyway, these are just a few of the benefits of mega-mergers in the video game space.
I think we can all agree that as publishers have grown bigger and more powerful, our gaming experience has certainly improved as better – well, more profitable – games have shipped and have eliminated the risk and fear of playing something new.
So What’s Next From This Merger?
This merger likely means that Matt Hazard is coming back soon. Real soon. My sources can’t say for sure yet, but there will definitely be an announcement soon. REAL soon.
The best case scenario? They leverage Megasoft’s online technology to create a Matt Hazard MMO! World of Hazard is a no-brainer! Maybe that’s the announcement?
I’m so excited about the concept, I threw together this mock screenshot, imagining all the fun we could have online in WoH…
I wonder if they need a VP of PR? I better prep my resume.
– R. Tokey