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Wednesday, May 03, 2021

fun and profit
A read through this blog’s Videogames category informs you about my overwhelming preference for the simple games of yesteryear over today’s intensive/interactive titles.

Believe it or not, there’s a big market for last century’s pixels, with a seemingly ideal business model:

Among the companies with an increasing number of titles on Xbox Live Arcade is Midway, the Chicago-based developer and publisher. Midway began as a maker of arcade machines, such as Defender, Mortal Kombat and Spy Hunter. It still develops new games but it is also focusing on putting its older games on new platforms.

Putting out older games is relatively inexpensive and fast, thanks to new technology. “We can get it done in a few months with under $100,000 in development costs,” says Steve Allison, chief marketing officer. “It brings in a few million that is almost pure profit.”

Pure profit indeed, as those old programs don’t consist of anything remotely as complex as the movie-like production elements of modern games. Plus, all the work that went into titles like Robotron: 2084 (pictured above) was finished twenty or thirty years ago; porting to current consoles is a snap.

But I wonder: With all the money being made off this old intellectual property, how long will it take for the oldtimer programmers who wrote those games to sue for a cut of what the publishers are treating as “found money”? I’m sure they all signed work agreements way back when that gave up their rights; but in this new and unanticipated landscape, I’m sure a challenge is looking awfully tempting.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/03/2021 09:58:12 PM
Category: Videogames, Business | Permalink |

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  1. I bought my xbox expressly to use as an emulator for older games. We mainly play the NES version of Dr. Mario on there, but I like Dig Dug and Rally-X on the MAME as well.

    Comment by tim in tampa — 05/04/2021 @ 11:20:27 AM

  2. What, you modded the Xbox? Hardware or through that Mech Assault software trick? Mine is actually prepped for modchipping — a bonus tossed in when I had to get it repaired — but I have no intention of messing with that. I’ll take the nostalgia discs they pump out.

    Comment by CT — 05/08/2021 @ 11:32:31 AM

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