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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | Preview of 1999
   

Preview of 1999
  — by Gestalt

Sequel Syndrome

One thing that is clear is that although 1999 should be a great year for original and innovative games (Anachronox and Homeworld for example), the vast majority of the games on our wish list are sequels! Duke Nukem 4Ever, Quake 3 Arena, Diablo 2, Turok 2, Age of Empires 2, Team Fortress 2...

Gestalt sees this as a symptom of the current boom in computer games. "It seems that either everybody is fresh out of new ideas, or they're all banking on an established brand name to raise their next offering above the others in what is sure to be a crowded marketplace next year."

Joost agrees - "We're going to be seeing more and more sequels and expansion packs to sustain interest in a product and keep the development times down."

"With so many new startup companies forming, there are _tons_ of new games due out in the next 18 months. Have we passed the critical mass? Can each new developer still sell enough copies to stick around for a 2nd title?"

"The good news for the consumer is more variety through more titles, the bad news for the developer is they have to work extra hard to make their products stand out."


Internet Sales

Bastard is also worried about how to make "products stand out"...

"When I walk into a retail game store all I see generally is a confusing mess. Rarely are there computers setup so I can try the games before I buy. I can walk into any record store around here and pre-listen to a $15 CD, but I can't try a $50 game unless they release a demo on the net."

"Most gamers aren't internet freaks like us... so they are reduced to a hit and miss approach. UGH! I can't help but think that a better retail approach is needed - and internet sales are going to have to beat the crap out of retail stores until they change their approach."

Gestalt is even more enthusiastic about taking business online...

"Internet sales are the way to go. You can cut out all the middlemen - the distributor, the publisher and the retailer - and sell direct to the public yourself. That means a much better return per unit, most of which will go directly to the developers, who are after all the people who really deserve the money!"

"At the moment there just isn't enough volume in internet sales for most games to be sold that way, though obviously it's a great way to sell multiplayer only games. Also, all the established publishers are tied to retail still. If one of them tried to sell their games direct over the internet at a price that undercut the big chain stores, the retailers would have a fit... ;-)"

"It isn't going to happen, so we need someone to come out of leftfield and short circuit the whole system to give the retail publishers a good kick and get things moving. Watch for some developments in this area in the coming months!"


That's All Folks!

So, that's our preview of 1999. I'll leave you with a final word from Mark "Bastard" Surfas...

"We are in what I think is the first "golden age" of online gaming. The games are GREAT, the Internet is ALMOST FREE, the game servers ARE FREE and thousands of people are deathmatching 24*7!"

"Does it get any better than this? 1998 saw massive growth in the online game community - I can't wait to see what happens in 99."


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