Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Media Entertainment Games

Warren Spector on Licensing 326

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the something-to-read dept.
An anonymous reader writes about an "interview with Warren Spector about his thoughts on licensing movies for games. From the article: 'At these Hollywood meetings, the same thing has happened to me more than once, with multiple people...I describe the game I want to do. I tell them I can deliver you a triple-A title for this cost...Spector names a high figure; no one has ever yet written a check that big...They think it over. Then they say...What could you do with twice as much money?'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Warren Spector on Licensing

Comments Filter:
  • by bigwavejas (678602) * on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:32PM (#13331669) Journal
    It's no wonder Hollywood is considering alternatives, they've just experienced their worst box-office slump in 20 years. Ticket sales are down nearly 8% compared with 2004. With movie revenue quickly shrinking (due to lackluster movies, overpriced tickets and dvd's), this seems like a logical transition for Hollywood studios.

    Hollywood is going through a transition and struggling to find its next niche. It's evident the gaming industry experiencing a virtual explosion (with games like WoW posting users at 3.5 mil) so I'm not surprised they're considering this move... advertisers have already jumped on the bandwagon, displaying their logo's throughout the installation process for many games.

    • Don't forget the rise of the home theater, and the terrific increase in public assholes...
      • Oh God, did I just post that?! It always looks ok before the [Submit]...

        /me cries...
        • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:48PM (#13331804) Homepage Journal
          I think most of us got that it was a play on "Public Assets". (Or maybe I'm hearing the Battlestar Galactica remake in my head: "I got thrown in the brig for striking a superior asshole, sir.")

          I wouldn't be too worried about it. The Chicago Red Eye just ran a story the other day called "The Bling Culture." They managed to dig up mid 20's people who were making $50,000/yr salaries, yet buying $2000 guici bags monthly and driving HumVees. Their point was that a LOT of people are currently living far outside their means. The problem is that they're young enough to not yet feel the effects of their spending. It's a rather hideous sitation, and it may result in disasterous economic consequences.
          • by Coryoth (254751) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:01PM (#13331910) Homepage Journal
            Their point was that a LOT of people are currently living far outside their means. The problem is that they're young enough to not yet feel the effects of their spending. It's a rather hideous sitation, and it may result in disasterous economic consequences.

            The US trade deficit is appalling. And what's worse it's very steadily gowing. Quite simply this is not sustainable. At some point the current account deficit is going to have to turn around and start decreasing - the question is, what could cause that. Massive reductions is budget deficits would be a good start, but that doesn't seem to be happening (for those who will quote Bush speeches about reductions: it's largely book keeping and managing to push Iraq and Afghanistan expenses off the books for a while). A shift in consumer buying habits reducing the massive demand for imported goods might help a little - but as you say, the culture just isn't headed that way. The other option is for the US Dollar to drop significantly. That may not be pretty.

            The US current account deficit is running at over 6% of GDP. That is, quite simply ridiculously high. 6% of GDP is the point where economists usually start getting very worried. It's the level that places like Argentina, and Indonesia were running before things broke badly. The US can hold out longer because the the US Dollar is the defacto global currency, so people are far more inclined to hold it. Somethign better start reversing the trend in the current account soon though, because this really can't go on forever, and if it snaps the way, say, Argentina did, things will not be pretty.

            Jedidiah.
            • by CyricZ (887944)
              Indeed, any truly competent economist is very worried about the situation. But what can he or she really do or even say? Of course the obvious thing to do would be to suggest stop wasting literally hundreds of billions of dollars on various wars of aggression. But then he or she will be labelled a "terrorist sympathizer" or a "liberal".

              Perhaps the problem is that American is innundated with morons. Morons don't understand economics. Morons find it easier to label people as "supporters of terror" than actual
              • by renderhead (206057) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:52PM (#13332290)
                Are there any wars that aren't "wars of aggression"? Isn't all war wasteful? You obviously don't believe that the war in which the U.S. is currently engaged is worth the money we spend on it, but it's not as though the administration invaded Iraq just because they enjoy that kind of thing.

                War is dangerous and expensive, but the U.S. doesn't go to war unless it intends to do something very important (note that I say "intends", not necessarily "succeeds"). Given that fact, the importance of the goal justifies the cost in dollars to the supporters of the objective.

                Heck, it's pretty expensive to even have a military! Why not dismantle the whole thing and save a bundle? And arresting criminals costs us millions of dollars and the lives of many policemen every year. It's high time we stopped wasting these resources!
                • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:29PM (#13332566)
                  A "war of agression" from the pespective of America. The Iraqi citizens are in a "war of defence" against the American and British invaders. It's all a matter of perspective. In response to the previous poster's post, it is concerning an American perspective on the situation.

                  Remember, the citizenry of the US is very different and very separate from those who are actually calling the shots. While the citizens do their little election dance every four years, it makes very little difference. They're choosing between two people from basically the same group. The people running the country do benefit financially from war. They aren't dying; it's the sons and daughters of the American citizenry who are over there right now.

                • by OwnedByTwoCats (124103) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:33PM (#13332623)
                  Some wars are defensive, rather than a war of aggressive. E.g. Soviet Union in WWII. They were attacked; they fought back.

                  At this point in time, I believe that George W. Bush declared war in Iraq to gather political capital. To him and his closest advisors, that was very important.

                  9/11 was an excuse. "The U.S." didn't intend anything; there was no poll of the 300 million residents. There was an elite group of individuals that conspired with each other and manipulated and cajoled the congress, the media, and the public to go along. In large part, they did this by fixing the intelligence around the policy.

                  Why, if the goal of the war was very important, has it shifted like the ocean waves. WMDs! No, restructuring the Middle East! No, a liberal democracy! Freedom for half of the Iraqis, and burkas for the other half.

                  What was the greater purpose for which Casey Sheehan's organization risked and lost his life?
              • by Golias (176380) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:57PM (#13332325)
                Indeed, any truly competent economist is very worried about the situation.

                No, any competent economist (as opposed to editorial writers for the New York Times) understands that trade deficits are completely irrelevant.

                We are the number one importer in the world. We are also the number one exporter in the world. Furthermore, we are the number one economy in the world (Japan is #2). In other words, we are the economic envy of the world. We're rich. Filthy, stinking rich. Our "poor" people wear $100 shoes and $200 sports-logo jackets. People in northern states regard air conditioning as an "essential" rather than the extravagant luxury which most countries in similar climates would consider it to be.

                All a trade deficit means is that there are a lot of US dollars floating around outside of US borders. That's a good thing.

                Now, if you want to hand-wring about the federal budget deficit, that's a whole other discussion.
                • No, any competent economist (as opposed to editorial writers for the New York Times) understands that trade deficits are completely irrelevant

                  We can presume then that Paul Volcker [economist.com] (Greenspan's predecessor as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and former head of research at the World Bank) and the current head of the IMF [bbc.co.uk], to pick two random examples, are not competent economists.

                  Yes, a current account deficit is not necessarily a bad thing, and a strong economy can easily carry one. The US current account defi
                  • by Golias (176380)
                    We can presume then that Paul Volcker (Greenspan's predecessor as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and former head of research at the World Bank) and the current head of the IMF, to pick two random examples, are not competent economists.

                    Given the track record of the World Bank, the IMF, and the US economy prior to Greenspan's arrival, we can pretty much presume that anyway.
                • It all depends on what is important. If giving the up-and-coming challenger to America's dominance in the world (i.e. Communist China) the keys to the fiscal health of America isn't important, then don't worry about the deficit.

                  China gets dollars by running a trade surplus with the US. They then use those dollars to buy U.S. Government securities. And U.S. companies. Unocal? Each of those dollars floating around outside of US borders represents a claim against the US for goods and services. When those
            • The current account deficit will be reduced. Either because the US is producing more goods that the world wants. Or because the dollar falls relative to other currencies. I am about to place a bet on the latter, by investing retirement funds in European stocks. I'm not comfortable with Hong Kong; that may (or may not; who knows) keep me away from east asian funds.
          • Not me, I thought it was insightful. There are a lot more public assholes today than there were 20 years ago.
      • by shmlco (594907) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:05PM (#13332392) Homepage
        Another cause for the overall decline, that's often forgotten, is information.

        Blogs, independent review sites, aggregators (Rotten Tomatoe), and other sources are giving moviegoers more information up front about what movies are really worth seeing, and which ones are over-hyped and over-priced.

        This as opposed to what we had just a few years ago, when the newspaper and TV reviewers gushed and drooled over every latest "blockbuster" release. Still do in fact, but now we have better sources.

        I really don't think Hollywood is producing that many more bad movies... it just seems like it because we've been warned beforehand.

    • by op12 (830015) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:38PM (#13331720) Homepage
      Hollywood is going through a transition and struggling to find its next niche.

      Maybe they could go back to being creative...that seemed to work well. It's the boatload of sequels (often sequels of pseudo-flops) and remakes that's killing the industry. Sure, they want to guarantee a profit, but relying on sequels usually doesn't work, with few exceptions.
      • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:49PM (#13331806)
        Indeed, they're experiencing what may be a significant problem with American-style capitalism. There is no place for innovation (due to the risk of not making immediate profit) in Big Business American-style capitalism. That's clearly displayed in the vast selection of sequals and triquels Hollywood puts out today. But the unwillingness of the Big Boys of Hollywood to truly innovate (ie. produce new movies) actually decreases quality, and thus purchases. Their revenue, and thus profits, decrease.

        Now, in true capitalism these businesses would either exit the market or would fold. Profits are the potential benefit of risk. Profits are not to be expected in a true capitalistic marketplace, but are the reward for those who successfully innovate and make a worthwhile contribution to the market. But that is not how American-style Big Business capitalism works. Profits are treated as a right, regardless of the products that the firms produce. It is that socialistic-corporate view of profits as a God-given right that is giving us these shitty movies year after year.

        • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:56PM (#13331874) Journal
          Hollywood: We've been chugging out sequel after sequel and they're just not making very much money. We notice that you guys in the game industry are doing well. How would you like to partner with us, and we'll fund you and give you licenses for the right to make your game a sequel of one of our movies?

          Game Maker: What, am I stupid?

          Hollywood: We were thinking of a budget of 100 million dollars.

          Game Maker: Ok, I was thinking of changing careers in the next few years or so anyways.

          Game Player: Scrabble anyone?
          • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:03PM (#13331918)
            "Game Player: Scrabble anyone?"

            This isn't so far from the truth. My grandson recently was given for his birthday the game that was released with the recent Star Wars movie. After initial trouble installing it (it didn't like his video drivers or something), he probably played it for about an hour before he had enough of it.

            He told me about it the last time I saw him. I believe his quote was, "Gramps, this game fucking sucks." He's not one to swear much, so I knew he was truly disappointed. I suggested we play a good old game of Monopoly, and so we did. And you know what? He had fun. He improved his math skills, too.

            • If you'd like to encourage your grandson to become a more social gamer (he likes monopoly, so it's very possible), I'd suggest a more "hard-core" board game like Carcassonne or Settlers of Catan. I don't know how old your grandson is, but I know kids as young as 12 that enjoy both.

              There's a huge slump in video gaming lately, mostly to do with the fact that new consoles are a year away (so who wants to put out a blockbuster game for the older ones?) and PC gaming's been going downhill for years. Unless y

            • Almost all video game conversions of movies (and TV shows) fucking suck, just like all movie versions of video games fucking suck.

              Looking at the Metacritic list of PS2 games in score order [metacritic.com], the best movie game ever is Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, at 85%--but that puts it at #183 on the chart. So basically, there are hundreds of games better than the very best video game ever based on a movie.

              Now look at the bottom of the chart. By my count, 15 of the 40 worst PS2 games ever are movie/TV games.

              Pers
          • Game maker: We make sequals too, we have a special company for that called "EA games" with a motto "challenge everything" which was originally in the brainstorm session "sequal everything". So if you want a sequal to your movie in game style, I am you man.
      • by robertjw (728654) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:08PM (#13331962) Homepage
        Maybe they could go back to being creative...that seemed to work well.

        That and
        1. Get rid of the half hour of commercials
        2. Get some ushers to keep other people from being noisy and rude at the theatre
        3. Reduce the price of tickets
        In that order. I like going to the movies, and I can afford the $9 once in a while, although I'd go more often if the price was lower. What I will not tolerate is watching actual advertising before the movie. Previews are one thing, but commercials are, for me, unacceptable. The other thing I will not tolerate is noise in the theatre. Why would I go and pay for a movie when I miss a significant part of it due to people talking or babies crying.

        These three factors have changed movie going from something I will do on the spur of the moment to something that I really consider before doing. Used to be you could go see a mediocre movie and not feel guilty about it. Now, if the movie is not something I really want to see on a big screen, like Star Wars, I'll just wait two months for the DVD.
        • Another thing that get on my nerves is to hear the glorious noise of an army of cows ruminating jumbo buckets of triple sauce Nachos/Popcorn and slurping their barrel of coke. I am sure they will sell pork chops and fried chicken very soon.
        • And on top of all of that, Hollywood needs to realize they aren't the only show in town any more. There are more things vying for our entertainment dollar and leisure time than there were 20 years ago. The internet and game consoles being two big ones.

          Which (IMO) is why they want to get into the game market.

        • Get rid of the half hour of commercials
          Get some ushers to keep other people from being noisy and rude at the theatre
          Reduce the price of tickets


          I go to a small second run cinema down the road from me to see my movies these days. The theatres are smaller but the screens are still big and the sound system is good. Because it's (a) smaller and (b) second run it is also generally a little quieter and doesn't have as many of the noisy teens that you see at mainstream multiplexes. They also don't bother with much
        • I'm glad im not the only one who thinks its *FUCKED* to pay 9$ to sit and watch commercials. I dont even want to see previews.

          Secondly, I won't rent DVDs because most of them now have non-skippable commercials. Nothing like being forced to watch an advert for a movie you never wanted to see which isn't even in theaters anymore. I think even a few consumer dvd releases have commericals of this type?

    • by Iriel (810009)
      WIth the previous dominance of movies in the entertainment industry, one has to think about the possibilities. Movies still have quite a bit of pressence when marketed properly, and I've been seeing more and more movies coming out that would have never been made in such large numbers in the past because nobody thought so many 'geeks' would watch movies based on games/comics/sci-fi. What makes me curious is the possibility of seeing a game that is one day brought to you by $foo Studios and MGM. I know it may
    • My opinion on the solution - start cutting costs, hire independants, and cut the ticket prices in half. Yes, it flies in the face of the "bigger is better" mentality in Hollywood, but so many industries are hitting hard times from making projects bigger than they can support, thinking that bigger budgets create bigger successes. The truth is that having a huge field of innovations allows the sucesses to bubble to the top.

      Alternately, find a way to make a 200-player game of Super-Smash Brothers and give ev
      • "start cutting costs, hire independants, and cut the ticket prices in half. "

        To some extent that is what was done on LoTR. Turned out to be a smash hit, mostly because no one actor was the (primadonna) centerpiece (IMHO). Too bad they didn't take your ticket price idea though :(
        -nB
        • It would be nice if Hollywood finally realized that almost all movies that revolve around a big-name actor end up bombing. How many horrible movies was Bruce Willis in? They were bad because they relied on his presence to make the movie a success, as opposed to coming up with a real plot, storyline, etc. Good stories make good movies, not just big-name actors combined with special effects.
    • While more people may be playing games, I wouldn't say the industry is all that healthy. WoW has some serious problems that have many users unhappy. I expect many will leave as soon as there is a new MMORPG to play.

      In the meantime, there are fewer and fewer new games that show any originality, and quality seems to be decreasing rather than increasing.

      The last thing we need to add to the game industry is the same kind of myopic management that has created such horrible movies as we've seen this year.
      • WoW is pretty awesome, but I see a lot of issues with the endgame. I have only gotten to lvl 24, but I know a lot of lvl 60s who are bored stiff.

        Maybe WoW needs to be a movie? :)

        In response:
        Not all those who wander are lost
        -Tolkien

        -WS
    • advertisers have already jumped on the bandwagon, displaying their logo's throughout the installation process for many games.

      So, that's why it takes so long to install games these days. They can show more ads that way!

      Play indie games: Gish, Oasis, Zuma, GLtron, Threadmarks, Savage, Puzzle-Pirates etc.

    • by ChefAndCoder (902506) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:49PM (#13331811)
      The only people talking about the slump are those who are being spoon fed from the movie industry. There's a heavy vested interest on the part of the industry to act like they're in a slump and blame it on something (piracy especially).

      I quote from Dave Poland:http://www.thehotbutton.com/today/hot.butto n/2005_thb/050621_tue.html/ [thehotbutton.com]

      Three of the eight highest grossing domestic releases of all time were released last year in February (Passion of the Christ), May (Shrek 2) and July (Spider-Man 2). The top two films of last year release by this date has put $740 million into the till by now. This year, the top two have been good for $530 million by this date... a different of about $210 million, which by itself makes up for all but about $90 million (or about a 2% drop from last year) of the current "slump."
      There is no slump.
      • Although the site is not responding, I would still like to discuss this claim.

        Does he take into account:
        a) Inflation, and
        b)Market Growth

        Because if he does not, these may not be the highest grossing releases of all time. This misconception can also be seen in media stating that oil is 'at an all time high', while failing to realize inflation.
    • by Coryoth (254751) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:50PM (#13331812) Homepage Journal
      The Hollywood "box office slump" is highly overrated. They are, indeed, down 8% on last year. That is, they are down by about 1 bloakcbuster film, like say "The Passion of Christ" which managed to draw a lot of cash out of an otherwise non-movie going demographic. Given the remarkable year on year growth (this year is still up on 2003) with little levelling out and no dips, it makes as much sense to call 2004 anomolously successful as it does to this year unsuccessful. They are still making bucket loads of cash, more than they did in 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999 the list goes on.

      I'm interested to know why people are apparently interested in pitching this year as "unsuccessful" or "performing poorly". I wonder whether that's a product of the studio and resulting media obsession with "first weekend box office takings", and hence a general media focus on immediate box office returns. I also wonder if it isn't in some part a pitch on the part of studios to queue up some more lobbied legislation while whining about the pirates destroying their profits.

      Jedidiah.
      • Your right of course, the studios are still making a huge amount of money. However another aspect that is worth noting is DVD sales, they are through the roof and generating more revenue than the box office.

        Personally I love the cinema experience and don't think that it will die out anytime soon, but I also enjoy watching films at home (protected from those annoying people who talk in cinema's), so do at lot of other people going by DVD sales. DVD's are just one half of the home entertainment pie though,
        • by Coryoth (254751) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:12PM (#13331988) Homepage Journal
          Your right of course, the studios are still making a huge amount of money. However another aspect that is worth noting is DVD sales, they are through the roof and generating more revenue than the box office.

          Which the studios adore! Due to an anachronistic accoutnign quirk video and DVD profits for a film get booked at a flat 20% of gross income. The remaining 80% is written off as "production and marketing expenses" regardless of how much it cost to produce or market the DVD. Given that most studios now have their own in house production and marketing of DVDs, and given that these days production and marketing costs are nothing like 80% of the gross income on DVDs, that's a huge amount of money going straight to studio coffers that never has to be booked as gross income for the film, and hence need not be shared with any participants signed up for a percentage of (not just net, even gross!) profits.

          That is to say DVD is an absolute goldmine for studios because, for accouting purposes, they barely make any money at all, yet they make the studio a fortune.

          Watch out for the coming trend: Simultaneous theatre and DVD release so that the studio can do simultaneous marketing and save themselves even more of that "80%". A very basic DVD will be released the same time as the film. Various higher quality with added features and new deluxe editions will then be released to milk the DVD business for all it's worth.

          Don't think the studios are concerned about DVDs. They love them. The only people who should be worried about DVDs are the theatre owners who insist on putting 20 minutes of ads before the movie.

          Jedidiah.
      • It's not just about growth, it's about rate of growth and fast-twitch responses to statistical noise by investors - "immediate returns" is a good phrase to look at, as very few people can see past those opening weekends. The instant gratification culture will be (rightfully) its own downfall.
    • It's no wonder Hollywood is considering alternatives, they've just experienced their worst box-office slump in 20 years. Ticket sales are down nearly 8% compared with 2004. With movie revenue quickly shrinking (due to lackluster movies, overpriced tickets and dvd's), this seems like a logical transition for Hollywood studios.

      There is no slump!

      This so called "slump" is just political marketing on the part of the big studios. There is no slump as far as they are concerned. In fact, their theaterical revenue
    • advertisers have already jumped on the bandwagon, displaying their logo's throughout the installation process for many games.

      Yeah, I am an old fart. And I have been a gamer all my life. I've seen the whole industry slide downhill and sell out over the past 30 years.

      The purpose of the opening screen, way back when, was to give the user something interesting to look at WHILE THE GAME LOADED in the background. Sometimes on the old cassette tapes, and even on 5.25" fl
    • For those who think that Hollywood is dying because of shrinking box office revenues, think again. Hollywood is doing just fine on its movies. Yes, when you look at the box office returns, a surprisingly high percentage of movies actually are pulling a loss when you deduct profits from box office against marketting.

      Of course they make all of that and more off the DVD sales. Most Hollywood flicks are making far more money now off the DVD sales than they are off the theatrical runs and to some extent, licensi
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:36PM (#13331698)
    What exactly is a "triple A" title? Is that marketing speak for all those shitty movie-themed games released at the same time as movies? The ones that places like GameSpot and GameFAQs overhype just because they're being paid to provide such hype?

    • I think it has something to do with Vin Diesel.
    • I'm curious about this too. I've been seeing the "triple A" buzzword come around recently, and it scares me. I assume it refers to the budget and hype level of a title. This means that the industry has totally given up on considering games based on their quality, just on the amount of labour poured into the game and it's promotion.
    • by MaestroSartori (146297) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:50PM (#13331816) Homepage
      In my experience with my previous employer (I work in the games industry), triple-A means virtually nothing in practice. It's a goal, an aim, and a bunch of marketing drivel designed to make something sound better than it is. What they failed to realise was that while it may be possible to polish a turd, all you end up with is a shiny turd. But I digress...

      Real triple-A titles are those which achieve critical and commercial success. So, things like Deus Ex, Half-Life, Mario 64, Zelda (not that I like it personally), Goldeneye, GTA3, etc.
      • Indeed. A game like Goldeneye is truly a masterpiece. It drew from the best of both the gaming and movie worlds. You get the rock-solid story of the 007 movie, and combine it with the fantastically original and playable Goldeneye gaming engine.

      • Real triple-A titles are those which achieve critical and commercial success. So, things like Deus Ex, Half-Life, Mario 64, Zelda (not that I like it personally), Goldeneye, GTA3, etc.

        This is off the topic, but I'm curious. You mention liking Mario 64, but not (I assume Ocarina of Time) Zelda.

        I've wondered, in a way, how anyone can not like Zelda. I mean I'm sure it's possible, but when I get to the specifics of it, it doesn't fit into my brain, I guess.

        Would you mind explaining what it is about it that d
        • Well, I'm not a fan of Zelda games either. They're just not fun. Perhaps it's the story line more than anything. I can't relate to some young little boy dancing around in some medievel fantasy world with Deku trees and all that. I don't care if he can't find his magical flute. At least a game like Mario 64 is a bit closer to reality. And a game like Goldeneye even more so.
          • At least a game like Mario 64 is a bit closer to reality.

            I want some of what you're smoking if you think a plumber/olympic gymnast (come on, the triple jump?) going (by means of magical, oversized pipes no less) to a castle to save a princess from a giant fire-breathing, monstrous turtle is in any way closer to reality.
      • If that were me, I would have offered a Five Star product.

        Of course, not to be confused with a Top Choice game, or a Gamer's Choice, or a TenTenths production, or the coveted Kick-Ass! Award, or A-1, or ...

        All that said, I have a soft spot for a local plumbing company called AAA Aardvark plumbing. They may very well be Teh F1rs7 Po5t!! in the phonebook.
    • This has got to be about the best question I've seen asked on Slashdot in a long time.

      I also work in the gaming industry right now (and am trying desperately to get out!) and I, too, wonder what exactly this means. My boss talks about AAA titles, and I ask him what it means. He just sort of dodges the question by trying that, "what, are you stupid?" kind of response.

      It seems to be a buzzword roughly meaning "over-hyped, high-budget" and is well-loved by stuffy execs and wannabe big-shots.

  • So you plan a great game, ask for the money. Get it twice then release yet another awful platformer (or side scrolling beat 'em up)..

    How the hell does that work?
    • it doesn't. no one's ever given him the money. you find this out on page 3 or thereabouts. he's never done a liscensed game, despite the fact that he's the biggest cheerleader of liscensing.
  • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:39PM (#13331726)
    I've played that Triple-A game before. It's boring as hell.

    You drive around all day, helping stranded motorists. Talk about repetition.
  • by DoctaWatson (38667) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:45PM (#13331773)
    Spector is sitting here telling us that Hollywood is bending over backwards to give him lucrative big budget liscensed projects. He's telling developers not to shy away from them and that they provide "cool sandboxes to play in" and that they working within the boundaries of a liscense is a rewarding experience. And yet...

    Warren Spector has never once made a liscensed game.
  • by clem (5683) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:45PM (#13331776) Homepage
    Good Lord, that article made my eyes hurt. Obviously the article's content mattered less than ensuring the cool background graphics were aligned with a specific font size. The result is that one can't punch up the font size without the text overlapping.

    Attention web designers of Slashdot: one of you probably knows the individuals who developed this site. If you do, it is now your professional and moral obligation to smack some sense into them. That is all.
    • by pete6677 (681676) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:58PM (#13331895)
      Yikes, that's pretty bad. That site is what happens when a print media company starts publishing online and has no clue about the web, so they take the same form and layout that worked for print and make their website just like it. Hmm, much like the RIAA and MPAA refusal to adapt to a new media, how fitting.
    • Obviously the article's content mattered less than ensuring the cool background graphics were

            This is usually the case in the gaming industry anyway. Graphics and eye candy are WAY more important than trivial details like actual content or functionality. The article is merely trying to be true to form.
  • My first powerpoint article. Or was I the only one sat there, hung over, wondering why my scroll wheen was broken?
  • by AnotherEscobar (852831) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:48PM (#13331799)
    A. Twice as many hookers and twice as much blow
  • isnt that guy on trial for shooting a B-movie actress in the head while getting a BJ?
  • by teutonic_leech (596265) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:52PM (#13331834)
    ... looks like the movie studios are falling into the same trap like the dotcomers in the late 90s: drop more money into it and it'll be bigger/better/shinier/etc... I've run software development projects before and the lessons I've learned is that there is a certain 'sweet spot' - no matter WHAT you do - may it be developing a J2EE app, a PS2 game, an Indie movie, or a TV show (I've been on both sides of the spectrum): if you throw too much money at it people tend to become too complacent and whatever you build will be bloated and will have no soul. Maybe too many opinions and/or opportunities when there's too much money available. I really think that human beings are at their best when they're under pressure AND when they're inspired at the same time. It's a strange phenomenon and I could probably write a long posting about that but I'm sure most of you know what I mean. Come on - what was that killer P2P app you were working on in your dorm? ;-) The stuff you're doing now might be corporate crap compared with that - I'm personally guilty of the very same. Anyway, these studios probably COULD help make great games and bring in capabilities that would enhance the experience, but they should only throw in as much money as is necessary. I know many of you will start bitching about how Hollywood is all evil and that they only produce crap - well, there were always periods where good movies came out and periods (like today) when only crap was released. Most of the time it were outsiders that forced Hollywood to release good stuff - experiments that paid off. If you leave it up to those money grabbing suits you get the usual canned recepy crap that we've had to endure this summer. Hey, maybe the game industry is going to wind up buying the entertainment industry - it happened with AOL/TW ;-)
  • Neat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:01PM (#13331913)
    They think it over. Then they say...What could you do with twice as much money?

          Let me get this straight, this is the same Hollywood who the MPAA claim are losing thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars a year from piracy, right? Yeah, they sound really strapped for cash alright...poor bastards.
  • by defile (1059) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:10PM (#13331969) Homepage Journal

    Maybe after Hollywood's sustained saturation bombing campaign of ``Meet the Fockers: The Game'' and ``Deuce Bigolo in Thailand Happy Ending'', game publishers will be begging for independent game developers to take them back, along with this thing they call "original ideas".

  • by RichDice (7079) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:20PM (#13332038)
    Spector names a high figure; no one has ever yet written a check that big...They think it over. Then they say...What could you do with twice as much money?'"
    In this situation, your natural feeling is to think that you're on top of the world and that everything is going to be hunkie-dorie from here on it. So you lead back in your chair, think about it, and 45 seconds later you give them an honest and reasonable answer. (After all, they're being reasonable, nice guys who just gave you a warm fuzzy, right?)

    So then they give you 60% of the original amount of money discussed (after all, noone had ever cut a cheque that big before), and they hold you to delivering on the "2x as big a budget" pie-in-the-sky dreaming version. This, after all is how the state of the art is advanced -- stretch goals.

    Cheers,
    Richard

  • by Ath (643782) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:22PM (#13332055)
    Do not allow such design styles in websites to become popular. Please! I'll do anything! PLEASE!
  • I'd be happy if the biggest problem with licensed games was lack of innovation. The major problem is that most of them suck. If the industry is finally getting away from the "we don't need to make it good, we got a license" mentality, that is a good thing.

    We are beginning to see real quality in license-based games (the Riddick game comes to mind), but most of them still clearly have that "rushed to make the movie release date" feel. If the game is to be a product on its own, and not just a marketing gimmick
  • by llZENll (545605) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:33PM (#13332145)
    Its not video games, piracy, sequels, or crappy movies which are killing them, its DVD and home movie theatres. Why the hell would I want to see a movie in a theatre when I have a system at home with better audio, better video, no screaming idiots, no cell phones, and yay, the floor isn't sticky!

    The ONLY reason I go see a movie these days if its at the IMAX, which is well worth the money IMO, the resolution, screen, and audio are the best, they all have standard theatre seating, and its so fracking loud people talking and eating snacks doesn't matter. I saw Batman Begins 2 days ago.

    To save the box office they need to 1) upgrade theaters and 2) raise, yes raise ticket prices.
  • by Duncan3 (10537) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:43PM (#13332226) Homepage
    I've recently been to a theater after not going for a long time, I guess I needed a reminder why I never go. This is what happened...

    1. 30 minutes of commercials.
    2. Talking idiots
    3. Cell phones ringing every 5 minutes.
    4. Air conditioning set at "cryogenic"

    So screw em, I'll stay home and if I want to see a movie, I'll goto the library and checkout the DVD for free.

    That all the movies are now remakes/ripoffs of movies from 20 years ago doesn't help either.
    • I had a dream/nightmare once about cellphones in theaters. This one theater set up RF detectors and spotlights and if your phone went off the spotlights lit you up until you hung up. I hated waking up from that one.
  • That's so Hollywood. You can waste vast amounts of time doing pitches or being pitched at. You can have lunch at good restaurants. None of this necessarily means anything is actually going to happen.

    In some circles, this is called "development hell".

    I used to sell software to Hollywood companies. It's amusing. Projects in development have trouble coming up with a valid credit card number. Projects in production want new features yesterday.


  • The Escapist web site is for the web what Wired was to print media. It is completely over-designed to the point that it defeats its purpose - miserably. To its credit, Wired calmed down after a bit- let's hope that the Escapist has the same epiphany.
  • by HunterZ (20035) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:12PM (#13333075) Journal
    Ticket sales are down nearly 8% compared with 2004. With movie revenue quickly shrinking (due to lackluster movies, overpriced tickets and dvd's), this seems like a logical transition for Hollywood studios.

    No, it's due to pirating. Haven't you seen the little "Rated I" placards at the ticket booth and the commercials full of pleas from starving moviemakers?

    I'm being sarcastic of course - I agree with the parent poster. The scary thing is that it sounds like they think they can try the same tactics in the game's industry, and we all know that that's just going to make it sink like the movie industry is now.

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.

Working...