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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shit people say: graphics have "peaked"

If you think that rendering has peaked, it's probably good. Probably it means you're not too old and haven't lived through the history of 3d graphics, where at every step people thought that it couldn't get better. Or you're too old and don't remember anymore...

Really, if I think of myself on my 486sx playing Tie Fighter back then, shit couldn't get any better. And I remember Rebel Assault, the first game I bought when I had my first CD-rom reader. And so on and on (and no, I didn't play only Star Wars games, but at the time LucasArts was among the companies made all must-buy titles... until the 360 I've always been a "computer" gamer, nowadays I play only on consoles).

But but but, these new consoles launched and people aren't that "wowed" right? That surely means something. We peaked, it happened.

I mean, surely it is not that when the 360 and later PS3 came out games weren't looking incredibly much better than what we had on ps2, right? (if you don't follow the links, you won't get the sarcasm...). And certainly, certainly the PS2 launch titles (was touted as more powerful than a SGI... remember?) it blew late PS1 titles right out of the water. I mean, it wasn't just more resolution.

Maybe it's lack of imagination. As I wrote, I was the same, many times as I player I failed to imagine how it could get better. To a degree I think it's because video-game graphics, like all forms of art, "speak" to the people of their time, first and foremost. Even if some art might be "timeless" that doesn't imply that its meaning remains constant over time, it's really a cultural, aesthetic matter which evolves over time.
Now I take a different route, which I encourage to try. Just go out, walk. See the world, the days, the nights. Maybe pick up a camera... How does it feel? To me, working to improve rendering, it's amazing. Amazing! I could spend hours walking around and looking in awe and envy at the world we can't yet quite capture in games.
Now think if you could -play- reality, tell stories in it. Wouldn't it be a quite powerful device? Won't it be the foundation for a great game?

Stephen Shore, one of the masters of American color photography

Let me be explicit though, I'm not saying that realism is the only way, in the end we want to evoke emotions, and that can be done in a variety of ways, I'm well aware. Sometimes it's better to illustrate and let the brain fill in the blanks, emotions are tricky. Take that incredible masterpiece that is Kentucky Route Zero which manages to use flat-shaded vector graphics and still feel more real than many "photo-realistic" games. 
It's truly a game that every rendering engineer (and every other person too) should play, to be reminded of what are the goals we are working for: pushing the right buttons in the brain and trick it to remember or replay emotions it experienced in the real world. 
Other examples you might be more accustomed to are Call of Duty (most of them) and Red Dead Redemption, two games that are (even if it's very questionable actually) not as technically accomplished as some of the competition but manage to evoke and atmosphere that most other titles don't even come close to.

At the end of the day, photo-realism is just a "shortcut", as if we have something that spits realistic images for every angle and every lighting, it's easier to focus on the art, the same way that it's cheaper to film a movie rather than hand paint every frame. It's a set of constraints, a way of reducing the parameters space from the extreme of painting literally every pixel every frame to more and more procedural models where we "automate" a lot of the visual output and allow creativity to operate on the variables left free to tuning (i.e. lighting, cinematography and so on). 
It is -a- set of constraints, not the -only- one. It's just a matter of familiarity, as we're trying to fool our brains into firing the right combinations of neurons, it makes some sense to start with something that is recognizable as real, as our lives and experiences are drawn from real world. But different arguments could be made (i.e. that abstraction helps this process of recollection), this would be the topic of a different discussion. If your artists are more comfortable working in different frameworks there is a case to be made for alternatives, but when even Pixar agrees that physics are a good infrastructure for productive creativity then you have a quite strong "proof" that it's indeed a good starting point.


Diminishing returns... It's nonsense. Not that it doesn't exist as a phenomenon, but we are still far from being there in terms of effort vs quality, and there are many ways to mitigate it in asset production as well (money vs content, which will then hopefully relate to money). 
As I said, everyday I come back home from the office, and every day (or so) I'm amazed at the world (I'm in Vancouver, it's pretty here) and how far we still have to go to simulate all this... No, it's not going to be VR the next step (Oculus is amazing, truly, even if I'm still skeptical about a thing you have to wear and for which we have no good controls), there is still a lot to do on a 2d screen, both in rendering algorithms and in pure processing power. 
Yes we need more polygons please. Yes we need more resolution. And then more power on top of that to be able to simulate physics, and free our artists from the shackles of needing to eyeball parameters and hand-painted maps and so on...

And I don't even buy the fact that rendering is "ahead" and other things "lag" behind. How do you even make the comparison?
AI is "behind" because people in games are not as smart as humans? Well, quite unfair to the field, I mean, trying to make something look like a photo, versus something behave like a human, seems to be a bit easier to me.
Maybe you could say that animation is behind because well, things look much worse in motion than they do when they are static. But, not only part of that is a rendering problem, but it just says exactly that, things in motion are "harder" than static things, it doesn't mean that "motion" lags behind as a field...
Maybe you can say we implemented more novel techniques in rendering than we did in other fields, animation didn't change that much over they years, rendering changed more. I'm not entirely sure it's true, and I'm not entirely sure it means that much anyways, but yes, maybe we had more investment or some games did, to be more precise.

Anyhow, we still suck. We are just now beginning to understand the basics of what colors are, of what materials are, how light works. Measure, capture, model... We're so ignorant still. Not to mention on the technical side. Pathetic. We don't even know what to do with most of the hardware yet (compute shaders? for what?).

There could be an argument that spending more money on rendering is not worth it - because spending them on something else now gets us more bang for the buck, which is a variation of the "rendering is ahead" reasoning that doesn't hinge on actually measuring what is ahead of what. I could consider that, but really the reason for it is just that it's harder to disprove. But on the other hand, it's also completely random! 
Did we measure this? That would be actually fascinating! Can we devise an experiment where we can turn a "rendering" know and an "animation" or "gameplay" know and see what are people most sensitive to? I doubt it, seriously, but it would be awesome.
Maybe we could do some market research and come up with metrics that say that people buy more games if they have better animation over rendering, but... I think rendering actually markets better (that's why companies name and promote their rendering engines, but not their animation ones).

Lastly, you could say, it's better to spend money somewhere else just because it seems that rendering is expensive and maybe the same money just pays so much more innovation somewhere else. Maybe. This still needs ways of measuring things that can't be measured, but really the thing is some people are scared that asset costs will still go up and up. Not really "rendering" costs, but "art" costs. Well -rendering- actually is the way to -lower- art costs. 
No rendering technique is good if it doesn't serve art better, and unfortunately even there we still suck... We are mostly making art the same way we always did, triangles, UVs, manually splitting objects, creating LODs, grouping objects and so on. It's really sad, and really another reason to be optimistic about how much still we have to do in the future.

Now, I don't want to sound like I'm saying, I'm a rendering guy, my field is more relevant and all the money should go to it. Not at all! And actually I'm passionate of a lot of things, animation for example is fascinating as well... and who knows, maybe down the line I'll do stuff that it's completely different than what I'm doing today... I'm just annoyed that people say thing that are not really based in facts (and as we're at it, let's also dispel the myth that hardware progress is slowing down...).

Cheers.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Offline rendering shows real-time still has a ways to go. The newest real-time stuff is amazing, but offline still paves the way.

Creaks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DEADC0DE said...

Creaks: calling someone names is not the best way to get any reply, I haven't read your message past the first line.

Try to improve your manners and you might get more than a second of my time.

Goodbye for now.

Omar Ismail said...

I don't think you understand what is meant by "diminishing returns". It doesn't mean that we don't have a long way to go, it's that the amount of effort required to get a similar jump in quality is going up. i.e. previously you could get a double in rendering quality by putting in double the resources. However, now you need to put in 4x the resources to get double the quality. And in the future it will be 8x the resources to get another doubling.

That's why it may be more useful to invest resources into other aspects such as physics, AI, sound, animation etc where you can still get double the quality with double the resources.

DEADC0DE said...

Omar: I understand that - but I don't agree with the fact we are at such point and I don't know where do you infer that we are. We "just" "discovered" physically based rendering that is making everybody do a new jump in quality without requiring bigger productions (only adjustments in workflows and knowledge).

As far as I know, nobody produced a graph of where we are on the ROI curve, and these measures anyways are not even easily quantifiable.

So really, what people mean when they say things like that is not that they we hit any kind of peak on the ROI curve, but rather that they don't feel how significant improvements can be made, I feel, and how much space ahead still remains...

Hi-Score said...

Sounds like a strictly offline viewpoint.

I strongly dislike the use of the word 'discovered', as it devalues the hard work of those that create.

Diminishing returns is not some fixed graph where our current location is a point on it. And its not a one size fits all solution either. Offline graphics also have diminishing returns, but really have no need to ever be concerned with it, unlike the real time space.

Diminishing returns is liquid and malleable, changing constantly at events that occur at the hands of people. Physically based rendering would be one of those events that COULD readjust diminishing returns (Just because a superior cheaper wonderful alternative presents itself, doesnt mean it will be adopted by the hard headed beast of habit that is the games industry)

I also dont think the late 90's qualify as 'just' created. (By 2004 Greg and Pat published a book detailing the history of physically based rendering, from 'theory to implementation'. Adaptation to realtime applications, sure, but its not remotely the same thing.

Money, time, and personell are spent to create a product, in this case, real time graphics improvements. That product is not a return. You sell that product to GET a return. The more money you spend on the product, the less returns you see. In the case of real time computer graphics, the returns could be one of two related things. Mindshare, which is the impression that improvement of graphics makes on the target audience, and of course, the money you get from selling your games using those graphics.

Mindshare is hard to quantify, but the very existence of people saying 'Meh', is actually proof of diminishing return in effect. (Lets face it, some of those mehs actually are genuine).

Quantifiable evidence, however, is even easier to come by, and very, very real. Just look at the state of the 'core' games industry. No. Look deeper than the guilding. Its in deep, deep, doo-doo, because of diminishing returns. Self inflicted pavlovically conditioned, diminishing returns.

If diminishing returns did not exist, the cost and personell required to make 'leaps' would go up at a static rate. from 5 to 10 people, from 10 to 20, from 10k to 20k, to 40k. And eaxh time we would see the 'generation leap' mind blows. But thats not the case, for a variety of reasons, including purposefully artificially created ones at the hands of major publishing companies.

Here we have a very relevent graph charting a factor of diminishing returns, in this case, the cost of 'leap parity', and it is important for a number of reasons.

http://monstervine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Factor_5_dev_costs.jpg

first off, it is from factor 5. Real time graphics technology geniuses from the pc demo scene.

They were also a mid tier studio, that was destroyed by diminishing returns.

This graph they made also fatally underestimated the diminishing returns of the seventh generation of game consoles.

Actual AAA game in fact, did NOT stabalize at 20 million and just over a hundred staff members. It stabilized at THOUSANDS of staff members on aproject and a hundred million, for your typical AAA publisher homogenous title like say, 'assassins creed'.

And even higher for AAA games like rockstars gtav clocking in at 255 million.

thats a >40x increase over the previous generation, which was only a 2x increase over the generation before it (GC). Which was only a 2x increas over the generation before IT (N64), which was the biggest leap at the time, at 3x bigger than the gen before it (16 bit).

That is diminishing returns in action. When you have to spend 40x as much on your graphics production, just to mantain the status quo (Which was purposefully set unattainably high by publishing companies with the means to afford it, to thin out competition), your profits, or returns, are very, VERY diminished, unless you can afford the advertising exposure to increase your 100-500k then 'healthy' sales to 5-10+ million sales.

Anonymous said...

You're looking at the equation backwards, diminishing returns is not the result of technology, but the limitation of the person using the technology. As the subsequent number of objects increase, as the polygons increase, as the resolution of textures and the quality of materials improve, it's not the capability of the computer, but the capacity of the human to differentiate it.

You don't need better technology to make something look more realistic, games like killzone 2 on the ps3 used high contrast textures and a lot of visual noise to help create the illusion of more complex or realistic graphics. That illusion in return leads to people thinking that what they're seeing is more than whats there. They're hitting a theoretical limit to the information they're receiving and are now producing their own limits on what new information to absolve.

You can decide to add more polygons to a scene, but there's a limit to how people see the negative shape and resolution of an object, as complexity of an object doubles, we're less likely to notice that change, especially if we're meant to focus on something else entirely (like... you know, the game). This applies to resolution, frame rate, models, textures, even lighting and physics.

All virtual experiences are illusions, and like any illusion, there are many ways to fool us. But adding more elements, trying to be more convincing of your method, doesn't necessarily make for a better result. A street performer can impress as much as a stage act.

DEADC0DE said...

Hi-Score: replying to your various points.

Albeit my use of the English language is often sloppy in this case it was accurate. I said discovered as the science have been there for thirty years, exactly in the form we are using it. It's not that videogames or movies invented PBR, we were (and still are) very ignorant and now we are a bit less ignorant... So much more to both discover and invent.

Mine is mostly an realtime viewpoint, by the way.

PBR -is- happening, there is no doubt about it, even the most stubborn studios are noticing that it makes a difference that can't be ignored. Interestingly for the first time movies and games are going at the same speed on that.

I know PBR is not new, that's why again I said "discovered".

What is the return? It depends on what you want to measure. For sure companies care about money. And companies are still investing a lot on graphics as well, so if you think, as you should, that most successful companies are led by people that make very sound, very informed, very expert decisions, you got it, we are still riding that wave as a fact.

But I wouldn't disregard taking "visual quality" or "immersiveness" as a measure of return as well, it's a perfectly valid angle to talk about, even if it's separated from making money... Actually this separation is why we don't get even more resources but that's another discussion.

About the "meh", google a bit around and you'll see that often people don't see initially the value of a new product. Also, it takes time to properly use a new product. Google and look how 360 launch titles looked like... and how they look like now. I think I have some examples in the article as well.
People are... let's say, not often reliable, at first. I remember the "meh" people talking shit about the iPad for example. Which was just one of the greatest technological inventions ever, and completely smashed the PC market...

About the state of the industry and the graph you plotted. You should -also- plot the graph of the -returns- to have that discussion. The fact that the (AAA) industry wants to make bigger and bigger productions is not about diminishing returns at all. ACTUALLY IT IS THE OPPOSITE. If we were at such point you would see team sizes start to stabilize as it's financially unsound to keep growing.
But they don't, they do keep growing. This in only saying that we are in a phase where we make HUGE games, and the middle ground is dying (average-sized studios closing, megaproductions rising). But that's not about diminishing returns! And it's not an issue, by the way, at all. ALL industries grow in the same way. And when these things happen you start seeing like we are also the emergence of "indies".

We are, if not in an easy spot, surely in a very interesting one. Making games is hard and today it's super hard. But it's also wonderful to see that on one side we have Hollywood-sized games, a maturing industry of great professional productions (we still have lots to learn there, but we're starting) and a plethora of indies on the other...

DEADC0DE said...

BTW - people of neogaf. I'd like to reply to your comments on the forum, but I still don't have posting rights there. Sorry.

DEADC0DE said...

Anonymous: "You can decide to add more polygons to a scene, but there's a limit to how people see the negative shape and resolution of an object, as complexity of an object doubles..."

That is -EXACTLY- what I'm talking about. I don't think we are near that limit AT ALL.

Even images like this http://i4.minus.com/iAGbUZApWLFj0.jpg are not really "accurate" in a way that even if surely you can make the point that aften a given pixel size of triangles you don't need more mesh detail, but we're not there yet at all, even in such a easy, trivial metric.
And when we will be there in terms of geometrical detail there will be other thousands of things between realtime CG and reality, or "presence".

By the way, speaking about geometry again for a second... do you know that the number of pixels per triangle has been a constant for almost -ever-? We increased resolution and triangle densities, but we are not moving towards 1-pixel sized triangles that would be the limit to strive for, we are still constant in pixel size. And we're not even talking of such impressive resolutions! Plus, screen sizes have been growing as well, so all things compounded, really, even geometrical detail is far from being great.

Anonymous said...

Again, you're missing the point to a degree. You need people to actually look at the object for them to notice the object.

There's a fundamental flaw of comparing cgi and realtime graphics in that cgi is a single visual stimulus that allows for the observer to passively critique the content on a single sensory input.

In realtime experiences you have additional stimuli to help distract the observer. You get to produce feedback loops and have physical player input. Time, space, volume, etc, are all magnified in that the player is directly responsible for manipulating them. Ignoring them is ignoring your medium.

In many ways, even right now, we have surpassed the quality of "real-life" in terms of visuals. We no longer imitate real-life but have begun to imitate art, photography and film. We produce post processing and lens-flares that don't actually depict reality. Add immense amount of decals to environments which in real-life would be boring and un-interesting. (I'm sure we've modeled/textured a brick wall, what we produce in games is ostensibly more complex visually). We're artificially moving the bar.

I'm not saying we've peaked, I'm not saying that graphics wont improve. They will and are. But diminishing returns is very much a real thing, and perhaps the reason people feel that the rate and quality of technological improvement is stagnating is directly related to those diminishing returns. Back in the day we only had one window open with one tab, now we're encumbered by tabs and windows of information, hell, I'm typing this out while rendering in 3dsm. We don't notice the speed increases in technology like we once did, it's the definition of diminishing returns, and it's happening with realtime visuals too.

DEADC0DE said...

I'm not missing any point, trust me. In the article I really and only wanted to make clear that there is much more for us to do than people think there is.

And that on and on through the history of CGI (realtime and not, really) people think we have "peaked" while we don't, and they don't realize it till they stop and actually look back and actually notice how crappy the things they were so excited for look nowadays.

Now. That said and established, if we want to talk about returns, get me some data. Why do you think we are at diminishing returns? What concrete evidence there is? We come from a trend of "riding" on top of graphical returns, for the past ten, twenty years it has been like that. So now you claim a change in pace, where is the evidence? I'm not sure myself, but it seems to me that we are still investing in bigger and bigger games that make more and more money, mega-productions are squashing middle-sized ones and creating these two poles of AAA on one side and indie on the other.

It seems so that we can still push money (invest) in bigger productions as they still make more money (returns), overall. Of course that's not only graphics, but the whole production, I know, but other than marketing (which is huge) game production is for a big part about graphics. And we're not seeing that investments in graphics among game companies are shifting towards dunno, sound or animation or other things, in a significant way.
So all the actual evidence from the people who actually put their money on the line seem to point in a direction...

Hi score said...

Hi-Score: replying to your various points.

Okay so will I.

Albeit my use of the English language is often sloppy in this case it was accurate. I said discovered...

It has nothing to do with correct or incorrect, my issue with your use of the word is it slaps the creators in the face by essentialy glossing over their existance. Its entirely semantics, not technical.

Mine is mostly an realtime viewpoint, by the way.

Thats... not good.

PBR -is- happening, there is no doubt about it, even the most stubborn studios are noticing that it makes a difference that can't be ignored. Interestingly for the first time movies and games are going at the same speed on that.

Not even close, movies have been doing it already for a considerable time. Epic has removed support for their PBR solution from unreal 4 even on pc, because the new consoles just couldnt handle it. They have gone back to... UGH, prebaked light maps. Joy.

What is the return? It depends on what you want to measure.

No, this is not a thing. A return is specifically a monetary value, or something that can be measured in projected monetary value such as focus group test results.

Its literally why it is called RETURNS. You can not just give new definitions to words to suit your needs. That goes to the people erroneously using the term 'diminishing returns' to talk about 'graphics peaking'. That is not diminishing returns, they are not arguing for diminishing returns, you are not arguing against diminishing returns, that is a completely different topic. Returns is, by definition:

The gain or loss of a security in a particular period. The return consists of the income and the capital gains relative on an investment. It is usually quoted as a percentage.

See, the graphical improvement can NOT be both the investment AND the return. Diminishing returns actually has nothing whatsoever to do DIRECTLY with graphics, please stop arguing as if it does, and please, PLEASE correct people who are using the term to incorrectly to try and imply a point where graphical improvements no longer matter. Like Anonymous here you are debating with. That is not diminishing returns he is arguing.

Hi Score said...

For sure companies care about money. And companies are still investing a lot on graphics as well, so if you think, as you should, that most successful companies are led by people that make very sound, very informed, very expert decisions, you got it, we are still riding that wave as a fact.

That is where you make the biggest of gigantic mistakes. The industry is being led be blind greedy pitiful cowards. That make very bad, very disgusting, very greedy very, very, very STUPID decisions.

Lets take a look at one of the publishers you seem to celebrate. Lets look at EA. EA does NOT make money from videogames. EA makes money via asset liquidation, namely, publishing for smaller upstart companies that made a new awesome IP, like say, dungeon keeper, or command and conquer, or ultima, then, it fires large portions, until they agree to a horrible horrible deal, under the premise of 'It will be just like you are on your own, but with the production values of EA, and EA's exposure to potential consumers'. Then the franchise is run into the ground and destroyed by impossible deadlines, impossible demands, lay offs, and lack of consumer faith in the franchise from all of the above thanks to EA. Then EA lays off the team, keeps the name of the studio as a trademark, here comes the money: Sells all the buildings, sells all the equipment, sells the land the buildings were on.

Investors begin wildly masturbating in public.

Look at what has happened recently.

Battlefield 4? Didnt even WORK upon release.
Sim city 4? Glorious fiasco.

Microtransactions,, worthless dlc, 5 different 'collectors editions' for a single release. So much damn capital has been spent mantaining the unsustainable graphics race of the past gen, that the publishers who started it have to find NEW SOURCES of capital to make a profit, because they CANT UNDO THE BRAINWASHING they engaged in on the seventh gen. ANd thats where dlc and microstransactions came from. I know. This is NOT something made for the consumer.

Let me tell you, word for word what John Riccitiello said, regaurding EA's new method to mitigate diminishing returns (Remember, it doesnt actually have anything DIRECTLY to do with graphics, but rather a business model).

'Ideally, We can make a a big... a substantial portion of digital revenue to be microtransactions... say when... you are six hours into playing battlefield... and you.... run out of ammo and you need a new clip... And we ask you for a dollar to reload... You're really not very price sensitive at that point in time... Um... And for what its worth the cost for just one is really low and uh... essentially what ends up happening, and why the pay first then pay later model works so well (MODEL, he is talking about a business model, NOT game design!) is the consumer gets engaged in a property they may spend 30, 40 ,50 hours in the game, and then, when they are deep in the game their well invested in it, now were not gouging (I vomit a little extra in my mouth whenever I hear/remember this part) no, now were charging, and at that point in time their commitment can be pretty high, as a personal anecdote, I spent about 5,000 dollars testing just this kind of thing on our products, I can readily attest to how well it works.'

This is how they are getting around the diminishing returns of their idiotic business model. This is how they are How did you say? All industries grow like this? Like a destructive disgusting cancer? No they dont. Some do. ANd they crash, or the incumbents are disrupted, however, that is exactly why these top publishers have been destroying the mid tiers.

This is why they are pushing dlc and microtransactions so god damn hard, and have their pr telling anyone who has a problem with it that they just dont understand the future of games and are a relic of the past.

ANd it is a thin disguise, that I will never, ever, understand how it worked so well. Probably has something to do with that 7 billion dollar advertising budget.


DEADC0DE said...

-- Albeit my use of the English language is often sloppy in this case it was accurate. I said discovered...
- It has nothing to do with correct or incorrect, my issue with your use of the word is it slaps the creators in the face by essentialy glossing over their existance. Its entirely semantics, not technical.

And I explained the semantics I believe, right?

-- Mine is mostly an realtime viewpoint, by the way.
- Thats... not good.

In your humble opinion, of course.

-- PBR -is- happening, there is no doubt about it, even the most stubborn studios are noticing that it makes a difference that can't be ignored. Interestingly for the first time movies and games are going at the same speed on that.
- Not even close, movies have been doing it already for a considerable time. Epic has removed support for their PBR solution from unreal 4 even on pc, because the new consoles just couldnt handle it. They have gone back to... UGH, prebaked light maps. Joy.

This is wrong. What you're talking about I believe is a given realtime GI solution Epic "had" which was unrealistic (lol) so it couldn't ship. GI is not PBR at all, nor realtime GI is. Also nothing wrong with lightmaps, but regardless, you can make "physically based" lightmaps (or realtime GI or whatever) or "non-physically based" ones.
It's a rather technical discussion and I won't get into it, if you want to know a bit more maybe the Marmoset Toolbag tutorials might help, they are artist oriented so less technical, here http://www.marmoset.co/toolbag/learn
And as I wrote, PBR is one technique where for the first time movies and games have been going side-by-side, I'll ask you to just please just take this as a fact, I don't want to go and grab the siggraph papers proving they were discovering similar ideas in the exact same timeframe.

-- What is the return? It depends on what you want to measure.
- No, this is not a thing. A return is specifically a monetary value, or something that can be measured in projected monetary value such as focus group test results.
- Its literally why it is called RETURNS. [...]

It certainly holds a strong financial connotation and surely it originates there, but there's nothing wrong in talking about non-monetary returns of technological investments in my opinion.
Anyhow arguing on words is the most boring, pedantic and useless thing ever. I don't think I'll get any ROI from spending my time on such discussions :)

I think I made very clear what I meant. Besides, I commented on the actual financial returns when I urged you to not only show the investment graph (factor5) and I talked about the state of the industry.
Then, after commenting on that, I did say that we can -also- talk (imho) about returns that are not directly monetary.

You see, I did actually write a bit about both, but you swiftly ignored ANY of the actual CONTENT of my reply to instead talk about the choice of wording I made.

That I don't like, so if you want to have a discussion on the merit, I'm as you can see extremely open and accommodating. Otherwise, don't waste my time.

DEADC0DE said...

- For sure companies care about money. And companies are still investing a lot on graphics as well, so if you think, as you should, that most successful companies are led by people that make very sound, very informed, very expert decisions, you got it, we are still riding that wave as a fact.
- That is where you make the biggest of gigantic mistakes. The industry is being led be blind greedy pitiful cowards. That make very bad, very disgusting, very greedy very, very, very STUPID decisions.

I don't take arrogance well, and you are serving a king size portion here. You both think you're right and I make gigantic mistakes, and you think you know better than -ANY- of the companies actually making games and making money with games and advancing the state of the art.

That is youtube level of comments so please let's stop right here.

- Lets take a look at one of the publishers you seem to celebrate. Lets look at EA. EA does NOT make money from videogames.

That is an interesting statement. Data?

- Then EA lays off the team, keeps the name of the studio as a trademark, here comes the money: Sells all the buildings, sells all the equipment, sells the land the buildings were on.

You realize that in order to actually make a profit by doing this it would mean the equipment, building, land and so on had to significantly increase in value since they were purchased. And that this would need to happen hundreds of times a year, not once or twice.
You actually think EA makes money by selling one or two buildings every year when a studio closes? And that investors go crazy over selling... two buildings.

Really. REALLY?

Ok...

Hi score said...

But I wouldn't disregard taking "visual quality" or "immersiveness" as a measure of return as well....


No, its not. The definition of return in the context of diminishing returns is literally MONEY. You are attempting to create a new definition to suit your argument against an argument that is attempting to erroneously do the same thing. Everybody stop making up definitions to words!

About the "meh", google a bit around and you'll see that often people don't see initially the value of a new product...


Irrelevent. Yes it is true that experience on hardware yeilds better results. Its something so incredibly obvious mentioning it is beyond reproach. But it is irrelevent, what matters is the first impression. WHat last gen had, that despite the simpler fidelity of the beginning, was a huge jump in resolution, that made an immediate impression on people sensitive to (Marketing, tons and tons of forceful HD damn everything marketing) Resolution and image quality over say, graphical fidelity like geometry textures lighting and other effects. That impact didnt happen this gen.

"People are... let's say, not often reliable..."


Irrelevent. True, but, again, completely irrelevent. Those unreliable flesh bags are where the money comes from, damn them. If they werent such unreliable, spineless, easily manipulated morons gaming wouldnt be the pile of steaming anti consumer fecal matter it is today.


'About the state of the industry and the graph you plotted....'

No. You only need one side of an equation to figure out the other side, at best you are just misunderstanding, and at worst you are easily being dishonest and scheming, purposefully using very bad logical fallacies. I will assume its the former. Dont you know who factor 5 was? Factor 5? Its FACTOR 5! Rouge leader? Rouge squadron? Time frickin splitters?

Anyways, they went out of business after a single game cost them so much in graphical production, that despite it selling more than many of their gamecube titles, their returns were so low they had to close shop. Factor 5 is gone man. Thats your diminishing returns, they are dead and gone, because they invested too much in graphics to keep up (Not of their own violition), and didnt get enough in returns.


The fact that the (AAA) industry wants to make bigger and bigger productions is not about diminishing returns at all. ACTUALLY IT IS THE OPPOSITE....

No, guy, they have investors, they would rather end up with no money if they cant have ALL the money. Theyre attempting to mitigate diminishing returns by increasing exposure. Thats why they have psychotic projections like how less than 10 million sales and the project was a failure. More exposure=more people= more money. It is a looney toons cartoon villain unsustainable business model, which is why they have began agressively persuing microtransactions. Because they CANT scale back, havent you seen the frothing psychotic ps4 vs xbone resolutiongates? Crap is ridiculous, they did far, FAR too well a job indoctrinating the consumer base under rocket speed graphical production. They are trying, kaz help them, they are TRYING to back peddle on it, TRYING to downplay graphics, little by little, and the internet goes ape shit every time. They cant, they cant go back, they did too good a job conditioning their consumers to ditch everyone else who couldnt provide those production values, and now they demand more, more MORE, and it cant be given, why do think there are no damn games?

Hi score said...

But they don't, they do keep growing....(average-sized studios closing, megaproductions rising)... But that's not about diminishing returns! And it's not an issue, by the way, at all. ALL industries grow in the same way. And when these things happen you start seeing like we are also the emergence of "indies".'

Oh jesus what year did you drop out of? Indies havent emerged guy. They have been here since the beginning. Hell, they are all there was at the beginning. An indie is just an independent developer. A developer not relying on a publisher. They all used to be Indie! The Mid tiers were all Indie too, except certain games which they would land a publisher. And it has EVRYTHING to do with diminishing returns, as that was the very weapon the big publishers used AGAINST the mid tiers. Without the exposure the money of the big publishers could buy, AND the production values they brought to the table, you had no HOPE of increasing returns, It worked exactly as planned.

The reasons the Mid tier was so important was because they could AFFORD TO TAKE RISKS, while still being bigger games than 2d retro platformers, Mid teirs made almost ALL the AAA franchises that exist today, and none have been created since that arent practically a mod of an existing one started by a mid tier. The loss of the mid tier is directly correlated to the current stagnant state of the AAA industry.

Mid tier would create a new franchise, word of mouth would make it popular, franchise has proven itself, publisher would pick up for a AAA sequel. That was a sustainable industry model.
We are, if not in an easy spot, surely in a very interesting one. Making games is hard and today it's super hard. But it's also wonderful to see that on one side we have Hollywood-sized games, a maturing industry of great professional productions (we still have lots to learn there, but we're starting) and a plethora of indies on the other...

No, Gunpei no.

No. No. No. No.

We are at the end of the planet of the Apes, when George Taylor sees the remains of the statue of Liberty, and realizes he had been on Earth the whole time. And everything had been destroyed, and humanity did it to themselves, and he wails and screams, and gnashes his teeth, while his brain dead female companion just watches confused and thoughtless, and looking upon what was left of his tribe he realizes theyve grown small, and theyve grown stupid. Now nothing more but squealing game... that the publishers hunt for their meat

But that has nothing to do with Diminishing returns. Youve gone off to several different tangents.

Both you, and the people you are arguing against are using the term incorrectly.

Please stop, And Please, when people tell you graphics have peaked and mention diminishing returns, tell them that thats not what diminishing returns is about, and that they should stop using the term incorrectly.

DEADC0DE said...

As for EA's former CEO, I honestly don't know why I should comment on his words. Are they really indicative of anything?

Gaming has gotten -cheaper- over the years (http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Average-price-for-new-games-discs.png), not more expensive. Today when you buy a boxed game you pay less and you get much much much more content (as measured in money needed to make what's on that disc) than five or ten years ago.

Then it is true that companies will always want to find more ways to make more money, and if consumers like they ways they find it's all fine, if they don't then the game/company tanks, and it's all fine as well.

BTW. EA didn't end up selling bullets. Instead they fired that guy and this this http://www.polygon.com/2014/8/4/5968715/ea-access-xbox-live-gold-subscription-no-requirement

DEADC0DE said...

- Irrelevent. True, but, again, completely irrelevent. Those unreliable flesh bags are where the money comes from, damn them. If they werent such unreliable, spineless, easily manipulated morons gaming wouldnt be the pile of steaming anti consumer fecal matter it is today.

So let me get this straight. If people say "meh" on a forum that is the "meh" of god. But if they then -actually- spend money on nextgen making this not a failure but the biggest console launch so far, they are spineless? They are voting with their wallets and no amount of troll-forum-youtube-whatever rage changes the facts.

- Anyways, they went out of business after a single game cost them so much in graphical production, that despite it selling more than many of their gamecube titles, their returns were so low they had to close shop. Factor 5 is gone man. Thats your diminishing returns, they are dead and gone, because they invested too much in graphics to keep up (Not of their own violition), and didnt get enough in returns.

Yes, that is what happens. It's sad, but it's not per se an issue of the industry as a whole. GREAT studios that knew how to do "medium" sized games don't know how to do blockbuster sized games. It's an entire different level of production, and requires entirely different skills.
BUT there is NOTHING wrong in doing blockbusters or having an industry that thrives on blockbusters. That's actually great, it's a sign of maturity. But yes, there are victims along the road. AND new opportunities. If only megastudios could make games, I would be worried and sad, but actually we live in this wonderful time where we both have Hollywood and indie, side by side making great entertainment. Nothing wrong about that.

- No, guy, they have investors, they would rather end up with no money if they cant have ALL the money. Theyre attempting to mitigate diminishing returns by increasing exposure.

"Mitigating" diminishing returns by MAKING MORE RETURNS is exactly what makes diminishing not diminishing, FFS.

- Thats why they have psychotic projections like how less than 10 million sales and the project was a failure. More exposure=more people= more money.

You are saying that we need bigger sales to keep up with the investments. I'm starting to think you don't know what ROI is. Again and I hope for the last time. There is nothing wrong in bigger production if they make more money, yes they'll have to sell more, so what? That is not diminishing returns, it's just bigger productions. Diminishing returns would be if actually these uber-productions made after costs less money than smaller ones...

Hi score said...

Then EA lays off the team, keeps the name of the studio as a trademark, here comes the money: Sells all the buildings, sells all the equipment, sells the land the buildings were on.

You realize that in order to actually make a profit by doing this it would mean the equipment, building, land and so on had to significantly increase in value since they were purchased. And that this would need to happen hundreds of times a year, not once or twice.
You actually think EA makes money by selling one or two buildings every year when a studio closes? And that investors go crazy over selling... two buildings.

Really. REALLY?


I just had to answer this specifically.

Yes. Though not your strawman. EA made profits because they didnt BUY those buildings, or that equipment, or that land, they aquired the companies through debt to EA via WORKING WITH EA, and the assets came with them.

Ea has consumed thousands of companies, in hundreds of countries, and are the sole window to many, many,many, many countries for anyone who wants distribution there.

It is no stretch to say that games are not EA's main since of Revenue. At least ever since they stopped calling themselves electronic arts.

Liste to the words of Lorne Lanning if not mine:

'F--k that business. I don’t want to play with that business, because it was a losing business,” said Lanning. “I just don’t want to go back and play the old [publisher] game. I’d rather not make games than go f--king be a slave for public companies who care more about their shareholders than they do about their customers.'

Sounds great dont it. All that celebrating you were doing about the big publishers and how it just keeps getting better? Its fake.

But theres more:

“Why did Battlefield 4 ship? You know that team was crying. You know that team knew that game wasn’t ready to go. You know that team f--king spent a lot of sleepless nights building that s--t out to look as good and play as good, when it was able to be experienced, being played as they were intending it to be played. Someone made a decision that the shareholders are more important than the customer. And we see a lot of that. How do you blow that? How do you take that f--king jewel and ship it with dirt all over it?”

Whoops, he wnet off on a tangent there didnt he?

Ah here we go:

Lorne Lanning: 'Well, we’d had enough of the terms. We’d had enough of what was happening. And what was happening was quite simply if you wanted to build big expensive games, and you were getting them funded by a publisher, you were basically giving up your company. I mean that’s it, that’s the nutshell of how the industry changed.'

Thats why it is so profitable for EA. Its not theirs, they never paid for it, in fact, they were bankiong off their 'slaves' the entire time they were gaining the studio.

Listen, you seem passionate. And thats a good thing. And I am sure you are plenty talented.

But wake up and smell the apocolypse, before someone uses and abuses you.

I heard Dan Adelman is on the open market now, I am sure he could be of immeasurable help in this regaurd.

DEADC0DE said...

"The loss of the mid tier is directly correlated to the current stagnant state of the AAA industry."

...

"It is no stretch to say that games are not EA's main since of Revenue. At least ever since they stopped calling themselves electronic arts."

...

From now on, let's be on a strictly -facts- or don't bother please.

You are entitled to your opinions but I don't have anything to say when they are just that, things you are persuaded are true but I see no factual basis for them to be thus no real reason for an interesting discussion.

Google will be your friend and I'd be glad to talk if you have something a bit more objective, otherwise I really don't know what to say further.

I find for example laughable that even if EA got studios for free, they could make any (significant) money at the rate they close studios.

Not to mention that I find against simple common sense to think that a studio would sell, even in debt, for less than the money they would make on the building and equipment alone!
That really defies common sense, if you have evidence for this happening, great, post it, and I'll be surprised.

Otherwise, let's end this here. Anyhow it already went way too much off topic compared to the spirit of my original article.

Have a good day.

hi score said...


You are saying that we need bigger sales to keep up with the investments. I'm starting to think you don't know what ROI is. Again and I hope for the last time. There is nothing wrong in bigger production if they make more money, yes they'll have to sell more, so what? That is not diminishing returns, it's just bigger productions. Diminishing returns would be if actually these uber-productions made after costs less money than smaller ones...

Weve gotten pretty far away from graphics yes? Thats because diminishing returns are not really about graphics.

Anyways, No, that last sentence... thats not what diminishing returns would be, Im not even sure thats a thing.

What you are claiming is proof of diminishing returns not existing, is a RESPONSE to diminishing returns. Which is proof of its existence.

DIminishing returns isnt some fatalistic doom myth. Or some inescapable black hole.

There are many ways to respond to diminishing returns, the big publishers decision was to remove competition by placing their business model, with their exposure, and their production values, out of reach of mid tier studios.

The result of this is the current incredibly anti consumer landscape, my opinion of which is near complete crap and filth and worthless garbage full of atrophied game design and worthless dynamical meaning. But thats subjective, and beside the point, which was diminishing returns.

Its a formula, not a prophecy, and as such, changing the values of certain factors, affects the path of the function.

Actively avoiding diminishing returns is not proof it doesnt exist.

DEADC0DE said...

Really as a last comment on this. I've worked with companies small and big, and don't worry about my career, it's fairly safe and it would be even if the AAA industry crashed.

Among these companies I also worked for EA. Now mind you, EA is big, and shit can happen I'm sure, I've even seen some failed projects some times.

But overall, on average, I can't say anything but that it's a pretty nice company. And I have no real reasons to be nice to them, nor I'm generally nice if people don't deserve it. I would tell you one company that is absolutely the worst I've ever seen, but don't think I'm allowed to.

You might not believe me, it's ok, it's the way internet works, negative sentiments make the news. But they slice of EA I've seen, and it wasn't such a small slice either, I can't do anything but endorse. We made great games. We worked a fair amount for a fair wage.
We did them with real passion and I never saw one feature that was intentionally "saved" during Dev for a money grabbing DLC, we did start working on DLCs pretty much right after closing the main game (minus some infrastructural stuff that needs to be done beforehand) keeping a team on them and on lifetime support and tuning of the game.

I think it was fair, fun, and didn't see anything evil. Then BF4 on a new console generation can launch with issues. And Dungeon Keeper on IOS might be a money grab. And I didn't like the ME3 ending as well, I actually loved the "indoctrination theory". But that's not the industry, and it's not even, on average, EA.

Hi score said...

Not to mention that I find against simple common sense to think that a studio would sell, even in debt, for less than the money they would make on the building and equipment alone!
That really defies common sense, if you have evidence for this happening, great, post it, and I'll be surprised.


I already have, look, I cant help it if you dont know who any of these major names I have been dropping and quoting are. If they were before your time, I can see that as the seventh generation was so incredibly long.

But thats your problem, not mine.

Lorne Lanning spelled out word for word how EA took his company from right under his nose, how publishers were doing it to EVERYONE, which is why he quit making games.

That is a personal testament from a LEGEND who 'left at the top of his game'.

If you just pretend they never existed, there is nothing I can do for you.

Regaurdless, what you have here are two different things.

1. Graphics have not peaked. You are absolutely right.

2. Diminishing returns does not exist. You are completely wrong, in fact, you are so wrong you arent even in the correct subject as diminishing returns doesnt actually have anything to do with graphics.

Hi score said...

Look, I am glad you worked with EA without getting royally screwed over. I am.

But the whole head in the sand thing is really confusing me.

Its like, there is this convicted serial killer, who was really charismatic and charming to you and helped you move and didnt even murder you.

So you think hes perfectly safe and totally not a serial killer.

EA has literally killed every studio they have ever 'aquired', stolen their IP's, ruined them, without fail, and liquidated billions of dollars worth of capital.

Not a fan.

Hi score. said...

Also, I think their games suck. Bad. Really bad. I hate when EA aquires a studio because I know the franchises I love are going straight down the crapper.

Starflight was the last time I ever looked at the EA logo and sais, 'Man, those guys published a great game, I hope they stick together, great things will come from this'.

DEADC0DE said...

I don't think we agree on what "facts" are. If you say that most of EA business is to acquire studios for cheap (less than the value of building+equipment) and resell them, then it's not a quote from a guy (who doesn't say they bought the studio for the building) that is a fact.

A fact would be to study how many studios they buy a year, they close a year, and know or estimate how much they can make out of it, how much they paid and how much they got. I can assure you, bet if you want, that the numbers not only won't add up to EA's revenue (which is just a ludicrous though, IMHO, laughable) but that they won't even net any profit, just a loss.
There might be some cases where you really want to acquire just the IP and you're willing to buy the entire studio for that, but it's not common. If you come with even just one example of an acquisition and studio closure where you can say they made money, and prove it, I'll be happy.

As far as liking or hating EA or other publishers, I really don't care about what games you love, honestly, I don't think that matters in a discussion.
I probably hate publishers you love (for example I don't like Nintendo and I have mixed feelings about Valve, both publishers that are often praised) but I know that doesn't matter either... And I really don't play EA games to be honest. I loved mass effect though.

If you want to talk -fact- then let's look at numbers, sales, ratings, -objective- stuff. I have zero interest for rants. I don't care who you quote, opinions are not facts. You know what are some facts? As an example...

- http://www.metacritic.com/feature/game-publisher-rankings-for-2013-releases
- http://www.metacritic.com/feature/game-publisher-rankings-for-2012-releases
- http://www.metacritic.com/feature/game-publisher-rankings-for-2011-releases
- http://www.metacritic.com/feature/game-publisher-rankings-for-2010-releases

DEADC0DE said...

If "EA has literally killed every studio they have ever 'aquired', stolen their IP's, ruined them, without fail, and liquidated billions of dollars worth of capital" -- then you won't find hard to find a factual example of just one such liquidation, where they made profit.

Go ahead.

Hi score said...

If "EA has literally killed every studio they have ever 'aquired', stolen their IP's, ruined them, without fail, and liquidated billions of dollars worth of capital" -- then you won't find hard to find a factual example of just one such liquidation, where they made profit.

Go ahead.

Sure, you want one of their 10k405's? I can link it striaght to you, or just cut and paste from it. I mean, its not my site, and if I use one old enough no one will care.

Give you a little vertical slice of 1995. This was when they just aquired bullfrog. They were already murderers, just no one cared because they werent high profile games studios. They were companies that made megabucks behind the scenes, things like distribution operations, companies like kingsoft, vision, or abc (software), which ea killed but kept the name, and the subsidiary out from under the ea umbrella.

First we have their slaves. Companies that had a hostile takeover from EA, but havent been liquidized, so EA just owns controlling shares and collects the money from them. For example in 1995 well heres an exerpt:

EAV is sixty-five percent owned by the Company and thirty-five percent owned by Victor Entertainment Industries, Inc. ("VEI"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Victor Company of Japan, Limited. Minority interest for fiscal 1995 represents VEI's pro rata share of net loss from EAV's operations. Conversely, the fiscal 1994 minority interest represents VEI's pro rata share of EAV's net operating income for that period.

1995 1994 % change
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Net income $55,718,000 $44,737,000 24.5
As a percentage
of net revenues 11.3% 10.7%

So, just by forcefully taking over eav, and doing... Nothing, EA was making 11% of their net revenue.

Dont want to go over the limit so *Break*

Hi score said...

Yes, yes, THAT victor entertainment, kenwood jvc now, victor music might ring a bell.

1995 was when victor realized EA was slurping away an alarming amount of the companies net profits, and was consuming ever increasing shares of victor through the EAV merger, and soon they would no longer own any company at all. So they called off the merger, and only had to pay EA 8 million something to back out. On top of the 55 million bucls of their net revenue for the prior fiscal year:

'The increase in net income was due to the after-tax net gain of approximately $6,000,000 (net gain, again AFTER taxes) from a one-time payment associated with the termination of the merger as well as higher revenues, partially offset by higher operating expenses and the impact of a higher effective tax rate.'

Then there was br0derbund software, not much with games, more of home publishing grade software... Although they did end up doing the carmen sandiago games. But of course, not after EA got a hold of them:

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1995 1994 % change
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Interest and other
income, net $13,250,000 $3,782,000 250.3

As a percentage
of net revenues 2.7% 0.9%
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That about a 200% increase in 'other' net income. Suspiciously high for interest when looking at 1994.

Well, thats because 8.6 million of it was from EA slowly slitting the throat of br0derbund software. They like to bleed em out slow like, to get those yearly payments, before the snuff and sell.

The increase in other income was primarily due to a one-time payment of $8,600,000 from Broderbund Software, Inc. ("Broderbund").

Because EA had managed to string them along and burn them out, having them accrue 1.4 million in debt to EA's producing 'services', so Borderbund failed to meet EA's undoubtedly psychotic (Just ask Lorne Lanning) merger agreements. So of course, 8x profit for EA. Thats just the cold hard cash, that doesnt include the money EA made from the learning company when they bought B0rderbund (Of which EA owned a significant amount, if not controlling by then) for 420 million in 1998. Got a nice chunk of that. Wonder how much. I mean, 420 million, that number sounds familiar. Oh,I know! Its close to EA's gross profit from the 1995 report, $229,989. The question is, how does that chunk of that 420 million they got compare to that 2230 million 1994 gross profit? Probably REALLY well. But thats 1998, And I havent dug that form up, I have 1995.

So... We got what, 55 million from bloodsucking victor+6 million cash payment from extorting victor, + 8.6 million from extorting b0rderbund for 69.6 million compared to their Gross profit which was (Sorry for the sloppy copy pastes, the form has a.... distinguished format):

Net revenues $493,346 - Cost of goods sold 263,357 = 229,989

$70 million of 230 million is not an insignificant amount, though I would absolutely posit they were insignificant compared to the chunk they got from what they owned of B0rderbund or Victor when they sold them off, and thats not even getting into high profile stuff like origin, or bullfrog, or Westwood.

And thats just 1995. Youve got damn near 20 years of that now. Much much bigger badder years. Billions in blood money.

So, can I attach the pdf to a post, or do you want me to send it to an email?

Hi score said...

Wait, did you just post links to metacritic is your baseline of 'objecitve' and 'factual'. A consilidation of the numbers, of reviews, of journalists who are entirely dependent on the good graces of said publishers whos products they review in order to have any hope of remaning competitive (Not getting blacklisted) in their market?

Huh. Form 10-K405
Annual Reports what the hell was I thinking? This is what I get for not reading the last setences before I respond. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Sorry, redo.
http://www.themarysue.com/ea-is-the-worst-again/

There we go. Nothing says objective and factual like Meta critic and Golden poo awards.

Annual reports phhht.

DEADC0DE said...

The gross profit is by selling inventory - games.

After subtracting all the costs of manufacturing the games and doing them (design, programming marketing etc), they get an operating income. Which is from selling games.

The "other income" is from financial or other kind of operations not related to inventory sales.

And you can clearly see that it's a small percentage of their business. Thus proving that EA makes money selling games.

Case closed. Goodbye.

- What you say about EAV is really that once a company buys another company it makes profits from the business of such company. No shit sherlock.
And you're actually surprised, amazing. I just bought control of this factory over there and I make money out of it, like, without doing nothing. Wow. What a surprise.

Anonymous said...

Guy, why do you think the really big number subtracted the smaller big number to arrive at 230 million? Im not doing the math here, or the labeling, I am copy pasting from EA's annual 10K405. You are trying to argue with EA, not me.

There is another bracket past that where ea subtracts r and d, advertising budgets etc, but...

I stopped there because Going past that and removing costs such as advertising r&d etc would be disingenious and skew the data heavily in my favor with an incredible bias, as the money they get from extortion and studio murder would heavily eclipse their final revenue. Not sure why you would want to compare a clearly smaller number with the 60 million in blood money. It would clearly benefit me, but would be douchy to use like that.

The reason being for such a vulgar difference in 94/95 that was a between generation year for ea, and they had just failed breaking into the market with their own hardware (3do) on top of the increased costs of 32 bit game production (ea actually DID still make some games back then, a little less than a 50% split of 320 something games)

Its almost like I have the form in front of me that explicitely labels everything step by step and im just copy pasting data.

Im not the one who is surprised. Ive known this for a very very long time. Its like im the one with access to the forms or something while you post links to metacritic and deny the existence of bullfrog, origin, westwood, pandemic etc.

You are the one who is surprised, before this post you completely denied the existence of this revenue source in its entirety. And your mental gymnastics are amazing, particularly when I am looking at the breakdown of data while watching the story you are trying to weave with the part of the picture I gave you. (sorry, thats not on purpose, the 4000 character limits are a bit restricting)

EA only included b0rderbunds millions with other, eav, victor and its 8.6 million in pure profit 'penalty' is covered under its own bracket. I mean, think about it, just adding the numbers together exceeds the total value reported for 'other income'.

Regaurdless, again, 70 million dollars of 230 million dollars can not be dismissed as irrelevent as you are attempting to do.

That was EA's second largest source of revenue (especially since it doesnt need to be packaged or advertised or shared with retailers) Just behind the sega genesis.

Back in 1995. Did I mention that? That was 1995, not today. Pretty important peice of context.

Yes. Case closed in 1995 indeed. Lol wtf.

3dude said...

Deadcode pretty big fan of your stuff. Really liked your Quality vs Quantity piece, And link people to it quite a bit XD.

Hi score, do you think you can send me some of those reports? If you could arrange contact info or any arrangement over my 3dude Discus account that would be great. Im sure it would be fascinating.

DEADC0DE said...

Hiscore. You said that they make money by selling buildings and equipment.

Then showed that they made 70 mil. by buying a company and (obviously) getting revenue from what that company does.

That is not shutting it down and selling the building, quite the opposite. Every time you buy a company you do it because U think it makes good products and U wanna have these products (and their profits).

What else would you expect to happen?