Arcade is Dead
End of an Era – Long Live Arcade, and Now For Something Completely Different
Letter to the fans
For more than 20 years we’ve been carrying the torch for arcade, bringing arcade coin-op inspired games to the market with a Housemarque twist, and I think it’s fair to say we’ve gotten pretty good at it by now! Our games have received great critical reception over the years, perhaps the best example being Nex Machina, which we published in June to great critical acclaim, garnering a metacritic score of 88. Nex Machina was a dream project, as we got to work with our hero and arcade gaming legend Eugene Jarvis, who is responsible for some of the most revered arcade games of all time such as Defender, Robotron 2084 and Smash TV. He has had a tremendous impact on our games, including Resogun and Dead Nation.
However despite critical success and numerous awards, our games just haven’t sold in significant numbers. While some of them have reached a massive audience due to free game offerings across various digital sales channels, this unfortunately doesn’t help pay for development, which gets costly for high production quality. We are extremely grateful to our fans and partners, who have enabled us to work on awesome games like Super Stardust HD and Outland. For your unfailing love and support we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
But now it’s time to move on to new genres. Lackluster sales of Nex Machina have led us to the thinking that it is time to bring our longstanding commitment to the arcade genre to an end. While this genre will always hold a special place in our hearts, the industry is moving more toward multiplayer experiences with strong, robust communities, and it’s time for Housemarque to move forward with the industry. Hence Nex Machina and Matterfall will be the last of their kind coming out of our studio. Our purpose as a company remains the same, however – to create enjoyable and memorable gaming experiences for players while simultaneously creating a great workplace that allows people to flourish both professionally and personally.
Looking ahead to our next projects, we are exploring something totally different than what you might expect of us, but we believe this will lead to the creation of even more engaging gaming experiences. Our core values remain the same – gameplay first with first class execution. We are really excited about our new projects and look forward to unveiling our first game from the new era of Housemarque.
Whether you have been a fan of Housemarque for years or have just played a few of our first games, we invite you to join us in discovering new gaming frontiers! Stay tuned!
It's a damn shame to see them taking this direction and conforming to the whims of a market already oversaturated with maximalist games focusing more on breadth of content than depth. I seriously bought Nex Machina on a whim because I knew Housemarque puts out good shit and because I saw the levels weren't fucking procedurally generated. It's a double shame because Nex Machina is a genuine GOTY contender for this year if you were to look at it from both a fun and design perspective, but nobody seems to care about coin-op arcade games anymore unless you barely lose any progress on death like in Cuphead.
A significant part of the Steam reviews was filled with people bitching because they could creditfeed their way through the game and thought it was too short and easy, instead of 1cc'ing it properly. Is it even possible to make a successful arcade game these days where people are expected to clear 30 to 50 minutes of game on one credit, or must there be checkpoints all over the damn place?