Acclaimed PS4 Developer Housemarque Changes Course, Saying Arcade Games Are ‘Dead’

Illustration for article titled Acclaimed PS4 Developer Housemarque Changes Course, Saying Arcade Games Are ‘Dead’em/em

Housemarque, the veteran Finnish development studio behind Resogun and Nex Machina, announced in a blog post today that they will abandon arcade style games after a lack of financial success.

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In a post titled Arcade is Dead, Housemarque CEO Ilari Kuittinen said that the studio will move away from their arcade sensibilities to focus on “something totally different than you might expect,” citing a lack of sales for their recent title Nex Machina. The game was a twin stick shooter developed with Robotron creator Eugene Jarvis. I liked it a lot.

“Lackluster sales of Nex Machina have led us to the thinking that it is time to bring our longstanding commitment to the arcade genre to an end,” Kuittinen said. “While this genre will always hold a special place in our hearts, the industry is moving more toward multiplayer experiences with strong, robust communities.”

Many Housemarque games were featured as free PlayStation Plus titles, though Kuitten said that didn’t help with sales. “While some of them have reached a massive audience due to free game offerings across various digital sales channels, this unfortunately doesn’t help pay for development,” Kuitten said. Resogun released in 2013 as one of the first games available at no added cose to people with a monthly Playstation Plus subscription, while zombie shooter Dead Nation and Ikaruga-inspired platformer Outland were later featured as well.

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Housemarque’s announcement comes at a time where many are questioning the fate of some long-running styles of games. Recently, a statement from EA after the shutdown of Visceral Games led many news outlets to assert that single player games are dying, though our reporting showed that the situation wasn’t quite that simple and EA has since affirmed that they’re still into single player games. Kuittinen’s statement that “Arcade Is Dead” adds another type of game to now worry about.

Former Senior Writer and Critic at Kotaku.

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DISCUSSION

They’re being awfully optimistic. The truth of the matter is probably something closer to “Indie development is dead.” The market is over-saturated. Your game didn’t sell because there are too many games and you didn’t get lucky. Genre probably wouldn’t have made a difference. That being said, I’ve heard good things about Nex Machina and plan to pick it up eventually. Of course, that eventually, is when the game drops to $1 because that’s how much games are worth to me in a world where I have more games than I have time to play them.

Oh, and on an added note. “multiplayer experiences with strong, robust communities” isn’t the magic bullet for the problem dude. Most of those crash and burn hard too. The market there is actually “very specific multiplayer games that are already hugely popular with strong, robust communities (i.e. not your clever new shooter that nobody knows about).”