We consumers expect to get "amazing things" for $40 or $60. Even "something of great quality" but lacking a component ends up as 'punished'.
"I think the industry is in such state now that it's almost impossible to make money even on a good game," said 1C head Nikolay Baryshnikov.
"Because marketing budgets are tens of millions dollars, consumers are expecting that they're going to pay $40 or $60 and get amazing things. Hundred hours of gameplay, tens of thousands of hours of DVD footage, super multiplayer..."
"If we did this it would be, I don't know, $200 million... If we produce something of great quality but it lacks this component or that component, then the press says, 'oh, 85 per cent. I played the game, it's kind of nice, but it has no video or any of this..'"
"And the consumer says 'it doesn't have multiplayer, I'm not going to buy it.' So it's catch 22," he said. 1C will be focusing on smaller titles for PC still attempting to capture niche markets instead of going up against the goliath franchises.
"We've been successful in niches, and I think that's a good way for us to go. Try to find a niche like we did with IL2 or Rig'n'Roll or Men Of War, and try to get to the top three in the niche," continued Baryshnikov.
"Not compete with hundred million dollar development, with Call of Duty 7 – but make the best game and target it at much smaller groups of fans. We have developed a couple of highly accepted IP so far, like King's Bounty, Men of War."
"I think it would be a good idea to continue development. We'll have a spin-off where we are actually developing a King's Bounty massive multiplayer game; maybe one day we'll take it onto consoles and maybe to iPad."
Do we consumers impose a standardized formula of expectation on releases these days? Not everything is suited to multiplayer - but perhaps we've subconsciously cobbled together a list of 'must-have' components for our favourite genres?
Then again, maybe those games really are just 'fine' and not 'great'...