Christofer Sundberg, CEO of Avalanche (Just Cause 2), had some interesting words about the gaming industry, stating in an interview with Develop Online, "I still believe publishers should cancel more projects in case the developers fail to deliver quality, before the investments become too high."
Sundberg goes on to specifically call-out Ubisoft's Avatar: The Game as an example of the project that should be canceled:
Avatar is a great example of a game that should never have come out, regardless of how much money it made. I don't know if it was profitable or not, but games like that give licence-based games a bad reputation, and that reputation is already at an all-time low.
The film was undoubtedly successful, but the game failed to chart in the top 10 for the month of December across all of its platforms, combined. So what does this mean for the industry as a whole?
Sundberg believes that "in this industry, if you want to be successful you have to be patient, and look beyond that big bag of money. There is no way to make a quick buck in the game industry. The sooner people realize that, the better."
In response to comments made by Gas Powered Games (Supreme Commander 2) CEO Chris Taylor detailing the trend of indie developers becoming outsourcing studios for the major publishers over the last 15 years, Sundberg believes:
Yes, I think that's true but that's generally an American thing.
American developers tend to sell their companies way too early, and then they whine about not getting enough money when their projects become successful after a couple of years of being owned by a big publisher and not really being in control.
There are quite a few successful managers when it comes to being acquired by a publisher. But many developers look at this and always see the dollars and not the significance of actually being owned by someone else. Being acquired means that, ultimately, you're not in control of your destiny, or your daily work.
Sundberg's Avalanche Studios is based in Europe and is still independent. Its newest title, Just Cause 2, will be published by Eidos Interactive, itself acquired by Square Enix.
Yes, cause I'm sure publishers are more interested in the reputation of games rather than the profit of them.
I agree with you that they care more about profits, but I think he is talking about games like Avatar that aren't that good and do not sell particularly well.
This sort of attitude would have killed Trespasser before release, a crying shame, imho. Looking at the book publishing industry, relatively few books are profitable, it's the mega-hits that fund smaller, riskier projects.