AAA, $100 million dollar budgets say what? Apparently video games are always getting more expensive to make and if you aren't spending top dollar to make them then they won't sell. That's the arse-backwards thinking of corporate executives who never touched a video game in their life. Minecraft is continuing to trudge ahead with its no-dollar marketing campaign and viral, word-of-mouth popularity, becoming big enough to actually topple Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 as the most played game on Xbox Live.
Major Nelson broke the stats down this week [via Forbes] and lo and behold the top game of the week of October 15th was Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition.
The game has moved well over 3 million copies since debuting earlier this year on Xbox Live Arcade and is just brimming with popularity carried over from its PC fanbase.
The thing that excites me most about this is that it's showing the big wigs that video games were never about AAA Hollywood blockbuster budgets. Those games can exist when it's viable but sustaining an industry on “Me-too” clones does not work, as showcased with the dredging disappointment that is Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
I doubt all the success in the indie market where word-of-mouth is helping select titles pull in veritable sales numbers will affect the Hollywood-budget direction of most big companies. Pumping out clones seems to be what most of the top tier publishers are good for, except for maybe Ubisoft (but that's because they're French).
I'm extremely curious to see if Microsoft or other publishers will try to leverage on the success of a game that has $0 graphics and none of the hand-holding linearity of all the other clones out there.
In the meantime, we can prep for Minecraft to get knocked off as the king of the hill next week when Halo 4 launches and then we can expect Halo 4 to get knocked off the hill once Call of Duty: Black Ops II launches a week after Halo 4 debuts.