VNs Now is supposed to be a slight step above that with actual thoughtful analysis when something happens in the gaming world that impacts the English Visual Novel one. And regardless of your opinion on the actual machine, there was something that happened at the Xbox One presser that does impact EVNs. But first, let's go over the absolute basics: what did I think about it.
- An expanded line of exclusive titles NOT Halo
- A better on-demand package that'll give us the option of choosing between paying a cable bill or an Xbox Live subscription
Does any of that impact anything of any actual importance? No. While the gaming media focused on the lack of games, I instead kept my ears open for a few key things that actually impact you all: the audience of this site. So, for those who are actually looking to do something other than snark, here is the big story everyone is ignoring: Halo.
Not exactly a small feat. However time marches on and many gamers spent the past twenty years coming of age...some faster than others. With growth comes higher expectations: which is how story-driven games took the place of gameplay-centered romps on the console. Yet the A=A paradigm stayed the same even as the games changed to fit the older, more demanding market. But age changes everything and it doesn't work anymore. $60, which will realstically speaking go up in the next generation, should go much further than just one unit of a game.
Wait, that sounds like a very familiar train of thought. Did some internet asshat talk about something like this within the past few days? No? Yeah you're probably right...did I mention the new podcast for the site: Sound Off? Yeah? Okay moving on.
This is why the Halo series is so important because it has the potential to redefine the model. On the surface, it is the obvious direction video games as a genre of entertainment need to go. I know it would seem that books and comics based in the game's universe would do well enough to be an important part of game production, but it doesn't allow for much outside of the usual A=A. Television is different because it involves a third party that has just as much say if something fails or succeeds: advertisers.
What a television program can sell during is just as important if not MORE important than who is watching...which would explain Glee's continued existence BUT I digress. The more ads can mix into your program, the better placed your program will be: it's simple business...and something I think someone talked about before. You know, the important of ads vis-a-vie content producers? No one? Ah well.
So now you have this new equation beginning to take shape: A+B=A - or rather your money plus outside interests equals one unit of a game. Now what does this look like? Using Irrational Games again, let's say that I'm in charge of developing programs for the XBox. It is in Microsoft's best interest for Irrational to make games exclusively for Xbox One, so here's the deal. Not only will they have the global machine that is Microsoft at their disposal, BUT Microsoft will also finance a six-episode mini-series to be developed exclusively for the Xbox in-house network.
Now an IP that may have been worth millions is worth potential billions because you have game sales from the game PLUS season passes and DLC and you have advertising money from the series along with DVD sales, which would also boost any extra merchandise from the IP and I could go on but I think you get the point. The fact the got freakin' Steven Spielberg to produce it automatically raises the potential of the idea in the right boardrooms and more people will begin to see how their entertainment brand can fit into Microsoft's vision for Xbox One.
Now just copy that scenario and make similar offers to Bethesda, Rocksteady, Remedy, etc. Whatever they potentially lose for being Xbox exclusive can be erased overnight by what you can potentially earn through the right deals setting up a television series. This isn't just a win-win. This is a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN-I JUST ATE YOUR LUNCH IN FRONT OF YOU BECAUSE I WIN. The equivalent of this move would be if Sony financed Shinichiro Watanabe to produce a full-length series based in the Final Fantasy 13 universe and hosted the series exclusive on the Playstation network. But even then, you would need moer than just hardcore gamers rushing to the PS4 in order to offset the audience Xbox is building.
That is the big takeaway here. The content you can take and grow based off an IP is just as important now as the IP itself. The future will belong to those who can extend their content in as many profitable directions as they can think of. Again, have I mentioned Sound Off? Specifically Episode 2? Suddenly it's quite relevant to gaming. Not saying I'm going to buy a next gen console or that what Xbox presented today was a rousing success. But in one area, the one area that could cement the difference between Microsoft and Sony, as well as give Microsoft a clear edge; on that note they did pull out a victory.