At his keynote at Digital Dragons, Quantic Dream COO, Guillaume de Fondaumiere, stated that innovation and experimental games doesn't always result in unprofitable games. He cited Quantic Dream's PlayStation 3 game, Heavy Rain, as a prime example of that. He states that it cost a total of $40 million to produce, market, and distribute the game. The game successfully generated $100 million for Sony, making it extremely profitable.
Foundaumiere says that Heavy Rain was highly experimental, and it pushed the boundaries of gaming, but it still became widely successful. The experimental game was not only successful in sales, but also in bringing exposure to Quantic Dream as well. Foundaumiere says that now gamers who loved Heavy Rain will be more likely to purchase the company's next game, Beyond: Two Souls. Foundaumiere states that the game industry as a whole needs to start taking more risks and being more creative, instead of just creating the same games over and over again.
Fondaumiere also cites ThatGameCompany's game Journey as an example. While he wasn't able to release any sales figures for the game, or how much it cost to produce, he says that the game was both profitable for the company as well as Sony. He uses the Tomb Raider series as an example as to why lack of innovation can be deadly to the game industry. The franchise became irrelevant because the game company behind it overkilled it with too many similar sequels. By completely revamping the game's story and gamestyle, Crystal Dynamics was able to revive the franchise.
At the keynote, Foundaumiere also touched on many other topics, including campaigning for the implementation of tax breaks for the game industry, as well as getting developers to be more responsible when developing their games. He says that children play their video games, and that even an ESRB rating won't stop them. To make develop games more responsibly, he says that developers should "ban gratuitous violence in our games, that would be one step in the right direction."
To conclude his keynote, Foundaumiere states that the gaming industry is currently going through a financial crisis. Part of the reason is due to the economy, but he also says that another part of it is the lack of creativity from developers. He says that the lack of creativity is the reason why gamers are "playing less." He concludes that by offering new IPs and creations, developers will be able to get gamers, old and new, interested in their products once again.
[via Games Industry International]