The Middle Market is not dying

Published on Thursday, March 24, 2011 By Brad Wardell In Elemental Dev Journals

There’s been a lot of debate in our industry in the past year about the so-called “middle market”.  This is the class of games between say Call of Duty and Angry Birds.  Not quite AAA (i.e. not $25 million to produce) but also not $250,000 to make the game. The middle market is the world that Stardock and Paradox thrive in. And both of us have done very well in this market.

The argument against the middle market basically boils down to market size.  That the middle market just misses the “sweet spot”.  Retailers don’t want to carry middle market products because they don’t sell as well AAA or the casual market.  The thing is, digital distribution changes all this. 

I contend that a game like say Baldur’s Gate (with updated graphics but no where near Dragon Age) would likely sell very well at a fraction of the cost of Dragon Age.  The same is true on a whole host of games.  The challenge, of course, is for developers to carefully budget their title based on their best guess on the market size.  A game like War in the East may not sell a million copies but they also didn’t cost that much to make.

What’s your take?