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Rapid growth and fast updates of Fortnite are damaging for the industry

Oct 26, 2017
6,052
#1
I was kinda hesitant to make this topic but after yesterday's financial call from Ubisoft I really think that we should talk about this.

Yesterday during Ubisoft conference call for FY19 one of the investors asked Ubisoft if they plan to match Fortnite content update frequency or something like that. And their response was that they already started preparing for more frequent updates for all of their current and future GaaS games.

Month ago we had whole Epic crunch thing and we saw how Respawn response regarding Apex Legends was received. I mean look at this


Fortnite exploded and they are pushing content out at really unreasonable pace. Now if we add to that Fortnite userbase that are mostly teens or even younger population issue gets real. Fortnite is "training" whole new generation of gamers to expect new content in their games basically on weekly base.

That is not sustainable and not every company can match that pace or even want to match it. But then they are stuck with tons of complaints on social media or other community channels because people are expecting new content constantly, and they have Fortnite to point to at that does new content at that pace.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,456
#2
What must be the standard rate of updates for a GaaS title especially for an F2P title? Maybe these publishers should stop doing GaaS if they can't meet the demand especially if they overwork their devs.
 

doop_

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
632
#3
I mean we can't ask Epic to slow down the new content, that's one of the biggest reasons Fortnite is still massive.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,291
Germany
#4
I don't even think that Fortnite itself can keep this up forever.

They will fold sometime and reduce the frequency of the updates. The only question is what will be the incident that triggers this change, because let's be honest: Epic is not gonna care about the well being of their developers until something horrible happens that affects their revenue
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,195
#5
I haven't paid that much attention to GaaS stuff like Fortnite but that is worrying that these investors are going to try and make other companies match it. That will burn people out at a faster rate and that is my main concern going into the next generation, just how big can games get really?

I hope one day these shareholders who have no idea how game development works go away and companies can concentrate on just making a successful product at a pace that is healthy for their developers and consumers.
 
OP
OP
dex3108
Oct 26, 2017
6,052
#6
What must be the standard rate of updates for a GaaS title especially for an F2P title? Maybe these publishers should stop doing GaaS if they can't meet the demand especially if they overwork their devs.
Companies can control the market. CoD MW or BF4 were played for years for example with regular content updates at reasonable pace. But then comes other company that sets unhealthy standards and raises expectations and suddenly other companies should match it or leave genre?
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,456
#7
Companies can control the market. CoD MW or BF4 were played for years for example with regular content updates at reasonable pace. But then comes other company that sets unhealthy standards and raises expectations and suddenly other companies should match it or leave genre?
Yes but what is the standard rate of updates for a GaaS title especially F2P ones?
 
Oct 26, 2017
12,121
#8
This was to be expected. Companies like EA and Ubisoft have already raised the barrier of entry to a point where most devs can't compete with them. This is just another way of making it almost impossible to break into the market with a new game. Ubisoft and EA being practically forced to keep up with Fortnite is just the chickens coming home to roost.
 
Nov 15, 2017
1,505
#9
It's a matter of time. GaaS games require your time for that particular title, and people only have so much time. Eventually when the market is saturated itll crash.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,692
#11
meh.. i mean what else are they going to say? (at an investor conference no less)

with focus going towards service games, yeah updating will be prioritized and increased. but likely still manageable
 
OP
OP
dex3108
Oct 26, 2017
6,052
#12
meh.. i mean what else are they going to say? (at an investor conference no less)

with focus going towards service games, yeah updating will be prioritized and increased. but likely still manageable
Ubisoft can manage it because they have over 10K employees. What about other smaller companies?
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,456
#13
There is no standard unfortunately. There is no regulatory body that can or will set some kind of standards. That's the issue.
That's the thing. I don't think it's wrong to expect frequent updates from GaaS. If it results to crunch then publishers should add more people to prevent it or maybe plan ahead like an internal roadmap. I don't know, I'm not a dev but whenever work requires more hours it's always better to add more people than have your current people work more hours.
 
OP
OP
dex3108
Oct 26, 2017
6,052
#14
That's the thing. I don't think it's wrong to expect frequent updates from GaaS. If it results to crunch then publishers should add more people to prevent it or maybe plan ahead like an internal roadmap. I don't know, I'm not a dev but whenever work requires more hours it's always better to add more people than have your current people work more hours.
But by doing that you are setting standards and expectations that many other companies can't follow. Apex Legends is obvious example.
 
Oct 25, 2017
699
#15
...KFC has a gaming arm?

Anyway, as I said a few weeks ago on the topic, Pandora's Box is opened, not only by Fortnite, but by the general progression of humanity over the last 150 years. People want more things faster and for less money - preferably free. Can't put that back in the bottle, nor, frankly, would I want to.
 
Last edited:
Oct 27, 2017
3,649
#16
Ubisoft can manage it because they have over 10K employees. What about other smaller companies?

They should hire more (and so should Epic). If you're making the type of game that has to worry about Fortnite, you're not making a cheap game. Your example is an EA published game.

Epic has a crunch problem, but so does pretty much the entire industry, and that was before GaaS too. The answer shouldn't be "update less" it should be "hire more" and unionize, etc.
 
Oct 27, 2017
8,769
#17
Epic only adapting to the standard that mobile games have had for years now - there is alot of competition out there fighting for customers time and attention - you have to deliver content at this rate if you wanna stay the top dog.

But not every game has or will be Fortnite level of successful - its an exception in the console/pc/mobile space, not the norm.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,692
#18
Ubisoft can manage it because they have over 10K employees. What about other smaller companies?
fair point. though "the little guy" is already swimming upstream trying to break into the GaaS market, don't know if i can shed much tears if it doesn't work out for them tbh

i think with Apex Respawn didn't anticipate how popular it'd get so fast and had hands tied with star wars and whatever else
 
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Oct 27, 2017
987
#19
There's a middle ground here. Respawn hasn't made many meaningful updates since launching Apex. Their biggest update which introduced the battle pass was met with lukewarm reception due to the rewards being (to put it lightly) not very good.

Respawn even said they were putting Titanfall completely on hold due to the success of Apex and yet the updates have still not come through. It's unfair to expect new content daily - or even weekly - but there needs to be something coming at regular intervals to keep people invested in service titles.
 
Nov 1, 2017
426
#20
You could remove the first half and change the are to an "is" and it would still be appropriate. I can't wait until Fortnite does a WoW and fucks off, or at least isn't so ubiquitous that it affects the rest of the gaming industry. Obviously crunch is horrible and Epic have set entirely unrealistic and unhealthy standards for other companies to live up to. Hey Epic, seeing as you are swimming in that sweet Fortnite cash how about instead of throwing your money at other publishers to try and make your shiny new game store a thing you employ more fucking people so that instead of crunching your staff into an early grave the work is more evenly and reasonably distributed? Just a thought.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,788
Denmark
#22
That's a weird investor question in what was Ubisoft's best fiscal year results ever. A case of more want more, I guess, and screw the health of the developers.
 
Oct 30, 2017
828
#23
Epic only adapting to the standard that mobile games have had for years now - there is alot of competition out there fighting for customers time and attention - you have to deliver content at this rate if you wanna stay the top dog.

But not every game has or will be Fortnite level of successful - its an exception in the console/pc/mobile space, not the norm.
Yeah, without constant updates, players might grow bored and stop playing and it's difficult to get someone to restart something they've quit.

And I do think that causes problems for other games of the same type trying to reach a midtier level of success. Similar to MMOs or gacha games, battle royale games take a lot of time and it's discouraging for players to try a different game in the genre. So only the biggest games get visibility.
 
Last edited:
Dec 8, 2017
482
#24
Players are constantly jumping between different online GaaS and frequent updates helps those companies have their users stay on their game. Things are going to escalate before something in the industry crashes. Everyone will be pressured to go the way of constant updates.
 
#25
I was kinda hesitant to make this topic but after yesterday's financial call from Ubisoft I really think that we should talk about this.

Fortnite is so successful also thanks to the massive amount of content being published.

(I mean, in addition to the good gameplay, perfect monetisation model and so on...).

So, what's the problem? I'm really missing the point here.
 
Apr 7, 2019
51
#28
Yes, but he talked about pushing content out at really unreasonable pace".

This makes no sense.

The problem may the WAY a software house does this (crunch time is never good).
I really dont think you can push out so much content in that time without heavy crunch
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,254
#29
There's really like 4 things going on here, or being discussed.

The first is the concept of fast updates: these do not, on their own, hurt anything -- quite the contrary, it's one of the few times you can actually champion the whole "competition" thing; companies actually competing to get content out to consumers faster, and at a higher quality, is, on its face, a good thing.

The second is the idea that everyone needs to be held to the standard of Fortnite. This is laughably insane: the proper response to investors should be "Our products put content out at a rate that is proportional to the amount of money we expect to make from said product." Now, if they think they can make more money by putting content out faster, then they may, but that's still not a "Fortnite schedule", and the wording was careful to not imply that.

Third there's the Apex comparison. Apex just frankly shit the bed. They aren't putting content out at a reasonable pace -- nevermind talking about a Fortnite pace. They entered into a competitive market, but were able to actually carve themselves a large enough piece of that pie, and then they dropped it on the floor because they never expected to hit it out of the park, I'd wager. Now they're paying for that as they play catch up.

The last thing is the external influences: namely, crunch. Crunch is bad, and if your company is doing it, you should feel bad. I don't think there is any reason to suspect that Fortnite's success (or their success with crunch, if that is the way some investors / shareholders see it), almost seen as unrealistic anyway for most companies, is going to move the needle even a little bit for how companies proceed to make their money. People who are crunching now are still going to crunch until it eventually fucks their company, and people that aren't crunching won't start because Fortnite is a massive success. Ubisoft may make to push out more content releases on more aggressive schedules as they go harder in the direction of GaaS, but nobody over there is thinking Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is the next Fornite.

Fortnite, for what it's worth, seems to be sustainable. They have a well-oiled machine over there, content comes fast, but they're making a metric fuckton of money over there and that's driving their content, as well as their company size. Anybody in their situation, sans the crunch issue, would be on the same ridiculous schedule of content delivery, even if they had to massively increase their operation to do it without crunch (and that's assuming crunch even works -- I personally think that burning out your workers produces worse work in the long run)
 
Nov 2, 2017
2,385
#30
I agree with the OP. The success of Fortnite has put unreasonable expectations on developers to push content out every week. The industry's moving from pushing out new playlists every few weeks and some maps every few months to consumers expecting to see new modes, skins, weapons, every week - if not sooner!

On the flipside you could say that one of Fortnite's greatest strength is also one it's biggest weaknesses is it's simplicity in that it's a very basic shooter at heart. Without the constant updates people would likely tire of the game fairly quickly. If other GaaS titles offer more depth in terms of gameplay then it's entirely reasonable to expect that player engagement will last longer therefore the updates won't need to be as frequent.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,312
#32
What must be the standard rate of updates for a GaaS title especially for an F2P title? Maybe these publishers should stop doing GaaS if they can't meet the demand especially if they overwork their devs.
The problem isn't GaaS. The problem is Epic setting up an insane height of expectation in terms of update pace, that now everyone expects other studios to match it easily
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,323
#33
The entire reason that Fortnite is being developed at an absurd pace is deliberately to try and snuff out any possible competitors by making it impossible for them to match the speed.

It's the videogame equivalent of stores with financial backers deliberately pricing things below cost to force competitors to close so they're the only option later. Even beyond the horrendous treatment of workers, it's not actually something that should be allowed to happen, but hey, America isn't ever going to regulate the industry so...
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,456
#34
The problem isn't GaaS. The problem is Epic setting up an insane height of expectation in terms of update pace, that now everyone expects other studios to match it easily
Honestly I don't see it as an insane height of expectation. This is how I expected GaaS to be. If any expectations are to be set, I'd rather have it for the benefit of the customer and not anything corporate can dictate like Activision or EA, that has no advantage to the customer. Again if this results to dev crunch then add more people.

There's really like 4 things going on here, or being discussed.

The first is the concept of fast updates: these do not, on their own, hurt anything -- quite the contrary, it's one of the few times you can actually champion the whole "competition" thing; companies actually competing to get content out to consumers faster, and at a higher quality, is, on its face, a good thing.

The second is the idea that everyone needs to be held to the standard of Fortnite. This is laughably insane: the proper response to investors should be "Our products put content out at a rate that is proportional to the amount of money we expect to make from said product." Now, if they think they can make more money by putting content out faster, then they may, but that's still not a "Fortnite schedule", and the wording was careful to not imply that.

Third there's the Apex comparison. Apex just frankly shit the bed. They aren't putting content out at a reasonable pace -- nevermind talking about a Fortnite pace. They entered into a competitive market, but were able to actually carve themselves a large enough piece of that pie, and then they dropped it on the floor because they never expected to hit it out of the park, I'd wager. Now they're paying for that as they play catch up.

The last thing is the external influences: namely, crunch. Crunch is bad, and if your company is doing it, you should feel bad. I don't think there is any reason to suspect that Fortnite's success (or their success with crunch, if that is the way some investors / shareholders see it), almost seen as unrealistic anyway for most companies, is going to move the needle even a little bit for how companies proceed to make their money. People who are crunching now are still going to crunch until it eventually fucks their company, and people that aren't crunching won't start because Fortnite is a massive success. Ubisoft may make to push out more content releases on more aggressive schedules as they go harder in the direction of GaaS, but nobody over there is thinking Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is the next Fornite.

Fortnite, for what it's worth, seems to be sustainable. They have a well-oiled machine over there, content comes fast, but they're making a metric fuckton of money over there and that's driving their content, as well as their company size. Anybody in their situation, sans the crunch issue, would be on the same ridiculous schedule of content delivery, even if they had to massively increase their operation to do it without crunch (and that's assuming crunch even works -- I personally think that burning out your workers produces worse work in the long run)
Also this.
 

Ryo

Member
Oct 28, 2017
955
#36
I've seen it with so many titles recently where they release and people seem more concerned with how much endgame content there is rather than how enjoyable the meat of it is.

At least these concerns don't seem to correlate with the sales of these one-and-done type games.
 
Oct 27, 2017
120
#37
There has to be a middle ground. I agree that Fortnite is pushing updates out so fast its kind of crazy but Apex is the polar opposite. I've finally finished the battle pass and that's me done with that game for now until we get some sort of update. That's probably not going to be until next month though
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,355
#38
AAA publishers pushed for this so I'm ok with them burning to the ground with this but man the actual dev teams are going to go thru hell and back, and with 0 overtime paid between, because of this

Feel bad for anyone getting abused because of this unsustainable trend
 
OP
OP
dex3108
Oct 26, 2017
6,052
#39
Ok if Apex is not good example then I will take R6 Siege as one. Game that already has good amount of content and good release schedule will be one of the first Ubisoft games that will apply new faster update frequency (that was said during conference call too). Game that is already profitable and has good userbase is suddenly changing to meet expectations other game set.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,312
#40
Honestly I don't see it as an insane height of expectation. This is how I expected GaaS to be. If any expectations are to be set, I'd rather have it for the benefit of the customer and not anything corporate can dictate like Activision or EA, that has no advantage to the customer. Again if this results to dev crunch then add more people.
If you don't see it as an insane height of expectation, then you are part of the problem.

Adding more people is just a bandaid solution to a deep wound, because it solves nothing if people are quitting at the same rate due to burnout. It just result in a high turnover rate where new employees fill most of the roles. Its not even solving the root of the problem.
 
Feb 2, 2018
2,198
Denmark
#41
Let them fight and race to the bottom. It'll sort itself out.

Wise people will seek employment in other areas of design and programming etc. Probably better paid as well. Games are not worth killing yourself over.
 
Dec 30, 2018
1,182
#42
The entire reason that Fortnite is being developed at an absurd pace is deliberately to try and snuff out any possible competitors by making it impossible for them to match the speed.

It's the videogame equivalent of stores with financial backers deliberately pricing things below cost to force competitors to close so they're the only option later. Even beyond the horrendous treatment of workers, it's not actually something that should be allowed to happen, but hey, America isn't ever going to regulate the industry so...
That sounds like a Tim Sweeney thing so you're probably right.

After watching that telltale noclip documentary and seeing what crunch does to devs I can't even start to imagine what it's like working on fortnite.

People like Sweeney claim they care about devs, that's been his entire line so far "I care about devs that's why I am giving them a bigger cut of money" (ignoring the fact he doesn't seem to care about the 30% cut on consoles...)

But If he REALLY cared about them then we wouldn't be hearing reports of poor treatment of development teams and he wouldn't be having them push out updates so fast for his own greedy agenda at the risk of causing serious damage to his employees mental and physical well being.

Anybody who truly cares about developers wouldn't be willfully ignoring what's going on in this industry, not just at Epic but at multiple companies across the board.
 
Jan 28, 2018
4,272
#43
The Respawn and Epic comparison in terms of update is not fair by any means.

Epic killed all their project to focus only on Fortnite and they have way more people than Respawn.
Respawn is making a VR Game, an aunannounced game, Star Wars and doing post-launch support for Apex Legends. You should not expect to see weekly updates and you are not entitled to get them.

Only Fortnite is doing weekly updates at this pace, no one in the industry is doing them or should follow their model
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,649
#44
Ok if Apex is not good example then I will take R6 Siege as one. Game that already has good amount of content and good release schedule will be one of the first Ubisoft games that will apply new faster update frequency (that was said during conference call too). Game that is already profitable and has good userbase is suddenly changing to meet expectations other game set.
Well, then, so what? Unless we start hearing about crunch at Ubisoft regarding this (if they aren't already crunching) why do you or I really care? The end result of this is likely just that Ubisoft is going to make more money as they have the employee overhead for this sort of pace already.
 
Nov 3, 2017
2,889
#45
The problem isn't GaaS. The problem is Epic setting up an insane height of expectation in terms of update pace, that now everyone expects other studios to match it easily
Yes the problem is GaaS. A race into madness was always how this whole thing was going to end.
Ubisoft can manage it because they have over 10K employees. What about other smaller companies?
Smaller companies can always choose to stay away from GaaS as far as possible. There´s still demand for real, complete videogames that don´t require weekly updates.
 
Jan 10, 2019
1,161
#46
The weak will die out and the strong remain, just like in ancient sparta. And I don't really care about crunch times, there are FAR MORE BIGGER ISSUES in workforce usage around the world, so this is a minor issue for me compared to child labour, green energy usage etc.

Sea Of Thieves is great in this regard, we get proper content packs every few months for free, and the game has no MTX whatsoever.
Also, it is a management issue, crunch times are because of poorly handled scheduling, and because gamers are whiny babies if they don't get stuff fast enough.

Look at downgrade threads, or if a game is postponed etc. people will cry like no tomorrow without thinking what it requires.

Yes the problem is GaaS. A race into madness was always how this whole thing was going to end.

Smaller companies can always choose to stay away from GaaS as far as possible. There´s still demand for real, complete videogames that don´t require weekly updates.
The problem is not GaaS, see Sea Of Thieves, Siege etc. Its the companies and management styles behind them. ffs.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,312
#47
Yes the problem is GaaS. A race into madness was always how this whole thing was going to end.

Smaller companies can always choose to stay away from GaaS as far as possible. There´s still demand for real, complete videogames that don´t require weekly updates.
No, not really, because even those who are not making GaaS games are crunching their employees too (and layoffs after game development completion).
 
Dec 6, 2018
78
#48
We can't blame epic for being too supportive to their game, it's a little unfair to their hard work with the game, I don't like fortnite, but recognize they effort, it's awesome . Every month I read or hear some news about the game.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,456
#49
If you don't see it as an insane height of expectation, then you are part of the problem.

Adding more people is just a bandaid solution to a deep wound, because it solves nothing if people are quitting at the same rate due to burnout. It just result in a high turnover rate where new employees fill most of the roles. Its not even solving the root of the problem.
No I'm not part of the problem. The frequent updates is what I expect out of GaaS. Service includes updates and if you can't keep up then sell the game as a product. It's a choice. Adding more people is not a band aid solution. It's actually a way to prevent crunch hence lessen burnout thus lower negative attrition. Let me ask you this, what is the root of the problem then?
 
Nov 8, 2017
1,535
#50
I don't mind or care about updates in multiplayer/F2P games, but I hate the idea that an expectation of content change updates seems to becoming a thing in single player games. I bought FFXV on launch, and the amount of changes since then has been staggering and made me not want to play the game at all until they stop with the updates and the game is actually in its final form (maybe they already have; it's been ages since I checked).

If this becomes common, it will make me very cautious about buying any big single player games at launch.