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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Chicago Trib on Familiar Games

The local paper takes a look on branding and marketing with video games:

The targeting system is useless, the levels are bland," says Electronic Gaming Monthly.

"If you're looking for a fun third-person shooter, look elsewhere," scorns

"The fact that the battles can be boring, if not frustrating at times, makes most of the general gameplay rather uncompelling," says IGN.

These don't sound like video game review quotes for a million-selling title, but they are. Vivendi Universal Games' "50 Cent: Bulletproof," made by Majesco, just passed the platinum mark for retail sales, stacking the company coffers with $50 million. Not bad for a game that scored a middling 50/100 at, a review compilation site that collects criticism of games, movies and music.
-- Familiarity breeds bucks, sales reveal

Much of this is old ground to seasoned gamers, naturally. As the gaming demographic widens, I'm sure it will only get worse as the industry realizes that there are more than few easy marks to be made. It's a lot easier to make a profitable game targeted against a specific market, despite the quality, as long as the market is large enough.

One could be optimistic and hope that publishers will use the profits of one type to develop more revolutionary or evolutionary games ... but by the time you get to the comparison of Pyschonauts to 50 Cent: Bulletproof, it's hard to keep one's chin up.

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