EA, makers of the annual Madden NFL $60 Roster Update, has announced an increase in layoffs and "plans to focus on hit games with 'higher margin opportunities.'" That means more sequels, video games based on movies, and less effort put into more off-the-beaten path games like Mirror's Edge and Dead Space (which will hopefully earn sequels thanks to their extremely positive reviews; the first Need For Speed title sold very poorly). The recession likely means a similar story in movies, television, and probably books as well.
This shift could have any number of effects. One possibility is that actors, set designers, and writers who feel frustrated by the lack of innovation could move into a new medium, especially if someone figures out how to make money selling content on the Internets. Another is that Hollywood can learn some lessons from Joss Whedon, and figure out how to shoot action films with fewer shooting days and smaller CGI budgets. A third is that we direct some of the coming stimulus package towards funding the Arts, though that's highly unlikely in today's political climate. A fourth is that something completely different happens. Either way, enjoy this year's Oscar Bait ... there may not be this much effort put into movies for quite some time.
Actually, my friend in the video game industry claims it's exactly the opposite. EA has been moving towards developing new intellectual properties for a while, like Mirror and Dead Space, and so at some point that involves deleting the studios that made bad repetitive games. He could be overly optimistic, of course.
I'm actually hoping that studios lessen their reliance on CGI effects in action movies. Unless done very well, CGI takes away more than it adds (see the newest Star Wars films, for instance). I'd rather adopt something similar to the approach taken in the Hellboy movies, where costumes and set pieces were enhanced by CGI, instead of replaced.
EA spends more money on titles that don't come out than anyone. (How many Harry Potter MMOs have they cancelled?)
I'm not sure they really know what 'profit' means.
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