THQ’s Danny Bilson to Publishers: Make New IPs

THQ New IP
It’s always refreshing to see someone high up in the games industry look at things the way we do. While there are going to be some people who won’t feel the same, we bemoaned the lack of original games in a recent podcast (and many times before) because we’re getting a little tired of spending our money on the same thing every year.

At the recent opening of their Montreal studio, THQ’s Executive VP of Core Games Danny Bilson talked with IndustryGamers about a variety of things, one of them being the importance of new intellectual properties, or IPs. While most publishers seem to be content to push out a new title in a franchise every year with little experimentation because it’s safer, Bilson argues that this could be more harmful in the long run. See his reasoning after the jump:

“I think the world has changed. I think old IP is risky. I think that iterating over and over again on the same thing without a new position and a new experience for the user is deadly these days, Bilson remarked. People’s money is too tight and they want new experiences.

Oddly enough, he mentions the upcoming Call of Duty as trying new things with the setting, but Black Ops seems to be a different sort of animal than what we’re used to. The other reason Bilson argues that old IPs are getting more risky is because gamers are getting tired of paying money for the same things over and over.

Old is old and if I’ve only got sixty dollars to spend, the consumer may say ‘Well I’ve played that already. I’d rather spend my sixty dollars on something else.’ It’s not the world where someone goes into the shop and buys three games anymore. I think they’ve got to pick one and I believe unique experiences are going to be really important going forward. I don’t see it as risky, personally. I think risky is doing the same thing that other guys are doing or the same thing you did before.

It’s nice to see that at least someone out there understands our frustrations, but part of me thinks that Mr. Bilson may be over-estimating your average consumer. While most gamers are savvy about the products we buy, it seems that more and more games these days are trying to appeal to people with only a basic understanding of gaming culture by advertising themselves as being similar to a household name like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.

Whether or not that’s the case, THQ does have a few new IPs coming out in the next fiscal year, the most prominent of which is Homefront, an FPS game about a North Korean occupation of U.S. soil in the not too distant future. We haven’t reported much on that game because all it has been is a series of teasers, but what little I’ve seen of it has got me intrigued.

So, is Danny Bilson right? Are we going to see more unique IPs in the future, or will we be stuck with Halo, Call of Duty and other popular franchises until the end of time? Let us know in the comments!

Source – IndustryGamers

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

6 thoughts on “THQ’s Danny Bilson to Publishers: Make New IPs”

  1. Well, I think it’s pretty clear that a sequel will sell easier than a new IP. I’m not really a “multiplayer” person, because I’ve got counter-strike. Comparing other experiences to that just isn’t fair, so for me, the single player experience is what I’m really looking for in a game.

    I used to treat games like movies, where if I started one I’d push through and finish it regardless of how poor it was. Now I just don’t have time for that anymore. If a game doesn’t keep me having fun or is too frustrating or boring or anything, it’s pretty easy for me to turn it off and go back to something else. Maybe it’s because I have too many games at once to play usually, or because CS is always right there. I’m not exactly sure what I’m trying to say, but I guess my answer is: I’d love to see some new IP’s, but the kind of “game” I’m looking for isn’t exactly what’s going to make the developers big bucks in most cases.

  2. I’m sure most developers have already realized that gamers – fans or not – want new IP’s and innovative experiences, but I suppose it’s the publishers that’re holding them back. Their fear of risk is actually what’s killing them, and Bilson makes a good point about it.
    When Bilson calls Black Ops a new approach to Call of Duty, I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily new as it is…refined. I mean I haven’t played it yet, so I can’t really say anything for sure, but from the features that they’ve announced it seems that Treyarch has seriously listened and reacted to the community. Geez, I don’t know what the hell Infinity Ward was smoking when they released MW2. MW2 could have been so much better. But I digress.
    I definitely foresee a new era of innovation and new IP’s. The IP’s that were new at the time made the generation before this one so great; it was all new. Nowadays, most genres have already been explored quite a bit, but that’s not to say that there is no more room for game innovation (not just perfection of what’s already been done) – not at all. It’s just that any new awesome Adventure game is going to be contrasted against Ocarina of Time and any new Shooters are going to be examined under the Call of Duty “golden standard”.
    There are two main ways to foster more innovation:
    1) Emphasize Indie Developers. Give them the capital and talent they need to make great games, and while those indie games are selling well the indie developers can move onto larger, more ambitious titles if their game(s) are excellent.
    2) Give the developers more freedom. If publishers stop demanding regurgatations of tired old franchises and actually allow developers to experiment with new gameplay features and IP’s, this will add more awesomeness to the mainstream, and this innovation can benefit from the full force of the publisher’s marketing funds.
    I think the first option is the more appealing option because companies don’t necessarily have to risk as much money on a “risky” title if they simply have to give some venture capital to an indie developer as opposed to all the development money and advertising needed for mainstream games. It has a nice flow from low-key to mainstream since the developer(s) have proven themselves.

  3. I can’t really venture anything new on the whole issue of new IPs, but I do want to say that Homefront looks kinda awesome. Red Dawn the game? Yes please.

  4. I think when Im low on cash Im gonna go for the sure thing. Call of Duty might get bland but Ive gotten my moneys worth with each one.

    I guess I can agree with him, I want to play new games. However, if I was a higher up at some big publisher, Id probably play it safe too, just makes more financial sense to me. Lets say Treyarch makes a new IP a year from now and its released the same day as the new Call of Duty. A majority of the people comparing the two arent gonna look at the little Treyarch logo in the corner and say “oh they made the last one and I liked it, let me try this.” I think the average person cant recognize who made what, I know I lose track. I think theyll go for Call of Duty made by some random developer rather then a new game made by the people they dont realize they are a fan of.

    In movies you can put the actors and director on the poster and most people will have that influence their decision to watch it. With a game when you put the developer on the front cover it means a whole lot less. Now I know with marketing and everything you can hype up a new game but I think the established franchises will stay on top. Theres numerous exceptions I know, Im just ranting.

  5. Speaking for myself, I defiantly like to see new IP’s. Unique new experiences can be pretty awesome. But as much as I personally want to see more unique IP’s, I think the public in general may not.

    It’s a lot like TV Shows in that as much as people say they want to see “new things”, they seem to gravitate towards shows, styles and plots they’ve already seen 100 times over and are comfortable with. There is a line at the end of the “When Aliens Attack” episode of Futurama that says:

    Fry: It was just a matter of knowing the secret of all television: at the end of the episode, everything is back to normal.

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