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3 New Gaming IPs That Must Succeed in 2014


New IPs have become something of a rarity in the gaming industry. Rising development costs and the often sure-fire success of sequels in popular franchises have created an environment that is frequently inhospitable to new properties. Going up against the likes of Activision Blizzard's (NASDAQ: ATVI  ) "Call of Duty" series, Electronic Arts' (NASDAQ: EA  ) "Battlefield" games, or Ubisoft's (NASDAQOTH: UBSFF  ) "Assassin's Creed" series would be suicide for most fledgling franchises.

When attempts to debut a new series are made, they often come at the beginning of a hardware cycle. This gives publishers the opportunity to grow their brands in conjunction with the console base and put forth their wares as reasons to purchase new hardware.

While blockbuster sequels are the lifeblood of the industry, gaming companies cannot survive without successfully introducing new properties. Last generation's megasellers have begun to lose steam, and it's time for the big publishers to turn the page in search of tomorrow's hits. The following new IPs absolutely must succeed in order for the respective companies behind them to remain healthy.

Watch Dogs
With Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag selling two million less than its predecessor within the same timeframe, the company desperately needs a new series to prop up its earnings. Watch Dogs was one of the first games revealed for the next generation consoles and has built up a substantial amount of hype. The property represents a sizable investment for Ubi. Prior to the game's delay from holiday 2013 to second quarter 2014, development spend on the game had eclipsed $68 million. This figure does not include marketing costs, which could match or exceed the production budget.


The Watch Dogs numbers might not seem like a lot in comparison to Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto 5, which has been estimated to have a development budget of $265 million, but the title represents a large investment for an untested property. With months of extra development tinkering, the development budget for Watch Dogs could wind up in the neighborhood of $100 million. Should the game fail to find suitable success, the opportunity cost for Ubisoft will be massive.

When the creative minds behind the success of Activision's Call of Duty 4 split from the company to form Respawn Studios, it didn't take long for EA to swoop in and secure a partnership. Titanfall is the product of their publishing arrangement, and it looks to be one of the year's biggest games. EA has repeatedly tried to wrestle the first person shooter crown from Activision, and Titanfall may represent its best chance of doing so.


The fact that Titanfall is exclusive to Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC limits the game's sales potential, but it should still do massive numbers. What's more, the fact that Respawn's title won't be hitting Sony's PlayStation platforms means it is the first massive exclusive in this round of the console wars. The project is of great importance to both EA and Microsoft. An Xbox One bundle that includes the game will hit alongside Titanfall's March 11 release date.

Destiny should wind up as the best selling new IP released in 2014. Given that the title received Activision's biggest ever investment in an original property, anything less could be considered a spectacular failure. The "Call of Duty" series is suffering a sales decline and Activision's future outlook is dependent on its ability to produce the industry's premier shooter property. Developed by Bungie, the studio behind the blockbuster "Halo" series, the game certainly has the right pedigree.


Like Titanfall, Destiny is built around the online experience. The game represents a melding of MMO and first person shooter elements, and has been designed to keep players engaged for years to come. With the rising importance of in-game transactions and selling DLC expansions, Destiny has clearly been tailored to provide a continuous stream of revenue. Activision will first need to cement the game's status as a hit. A failure to do so would be disastrous for the company, whose valuation currently hovers around an all-time high.

It's more than just a game
The big game publishers exist in a symbiotic relationship with platform holders like Sony and Microsoft. With last generation's marquis properties losing some of their strength, the industry needs new properties to explode and drive hardware adoption. Of the three titles on this list, Titanfall and Destiny look primed for massive success. Watch Dogs remains a much more questionable prospect. Introducing new IP is a matter of sink or swim. While EA and Activision are gearing up to compete at an Olympic level, Ubisoft looks to be relearning the doggy paddle.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2014, at 8:01 PM, PsiKick wrote:

    ".....gaming companies cannot survive without successfully introducing new properties."

    Yet they keep trying.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 12:53 AM, CriticKitten wrote:

    "While EA and Activision are gearing up to compete at an Olympic level, Ubisoft looks to be relearning the doggy paddle."

    The writer of this article hasn't learned from history. EA can't hold Activision's jock strap, much less compete with them on an equal playing field. Activision's beaten them soundly in the battle of Call of Duty vs Medal of Honor, then did it again against EA's Battlefield, and they'll do it again here, too.

    Destiny's being launched by the former creators of Halo, a franchise which saved the Xbox brand from being a financial disaster (instead, it's only mostly a disaster, to the tune of a $4 billion loss over the last 11 years, $1 billion of that coming from FY2013 alone thanks to the Xbone). They know their stuff well enough to produce a solid product, and it's being sold on multiple platforms (though the PS4 version looks to be the superior one).

    Titanfall is gimped from the opening gate by being restricted to the Xbox brand, selling only on Xbone, 360, and PC. On its signature console, the Xbone, it only pulls a dismal 792p in beta and can't maintain the consistent 60 FPS rate it boasts having. So it's not even as high as the benchmark 900p that other upscaled games on the console can attain, though it's technically better than the 720p of most shooters on the console. There is no practical reason for someone to buy the Xbone just for Titanfall when it can be purchased at nearly the same framerate and FPS on the 360 (which is why Microsoft pressured the studio to delay the release of the 360 version of the game), or for a better res and FPS on a PC. Yet EA is already quick to claim that this game will be the next Call of Duty and will outsell all other games, not remembering their own history of losing to Activision with each attempt they've made.

    And honestly, of the three games here, Watch_Dogs is perhaps the only one with the genuine potential to be something new and unique. The other two are just more of the same, shooters with new toys attached.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 10:58 AM, Theinsultedelf wrote:

    Who wriites this stuff? MP gamers are not the majority of gamers. It is very rare that MP only shooters are successful. It happens but not often. Most people play SP and dabble with the MP if it's any good.

    TitainFall is CoD in Space. Nothing new here other than the location. Not saying it won't be successful .Just saying nothing new. It's a standard shooter with mechs set in the future. Been done before.

    Destiny is i Halo + Mass Effect + Gears + MMO. I hope they have finally learnt how to aim the camera because the Halo games have some of the worse aiming of any franchise ever. You would have thought by the time they got to the terrible Reach they would have a modern aiming system instead of worse aiming than Halo 1.

    Watch Dogs is the only thing that shows anything new with the hacking ability but I seriously doubt it will live up to the hype machine. They never do. Promised features seem to get cut due to technical reasons, over ambitious plans, money & time constraints.

    Way too much money is being wasted not only in development but marketing of these games. It's entirely possible to have a run away hit and not make any profit at all.

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