Friday, June 17, 2011

Designer Notebook: Let's face it, We Are Doomed.

I often read Cracked like I read The Onion: Merely edited and slightly refined version of bad forum-posts and fan-fiction. These sites thrive on the idea of being absurd, and that they parody real life in impossible ways.

Then there was this article:

Just in time for E3, the author's intent was probably to satirize what's going on, yet I get the feeling that by the end of the article it's become apparent:

The Video Game Industry as it is, is fucking doomed.

The first five points: Going backwards with technology, DRM, Turning games into a service, Sequel-itis, Lack of vision for the future, I totally agree with. It's pretty obvious that in general, companies have become more risk adverse with new IPs, dumbing down the experience to chase down a casual audience, and trying to squeeze as much money out of as little work as possible. While I appreciate some of the fan favourite sequels, the total lack of innovation from all parties, the bombardment of "HD Remakes", and the new coat of paint over well-worn ideas is doing one hell of a job in pushing me away from caring.


  1. In some ways you're right. The industry as a whole totally falls into these traps because for them it's become a cash cow. That's what the mainstream wants and will pay for, so that's what the most money will be spent on.

    However, maybe we're just demanding too much. Before we were so impressed with the improved graphics of games that we nearly treated them as new types of games or genres altogether. The gaming industry took a huge leap with the XBOX 360, PS3 and Wii, and the DS and PSP, and now it seems there's little room to improve in these directions.

    I mean, every so often you'll still find a great game that's unlike anything mainstream. They just seem harder to find when all anyone seems to want to talk about is the latest CoD. Further, the casual audience was before relatively untapped; it's only natural that there will be a resource shift towards it, before we reach a balance on casual games and Zynga controls everything.

  2. I don't think we're demanding too much, in fact, I'm worried that this industry has done the opposite. In past industry cycles, the mid/late system life have brought out some pretty wild and interesting experiments. I find it interesting that it's happening less and less.

    Well, to be more specific, they're still happening, at the indie level, at the iOS, on Steam, and with smaller development teams.

    While I find that comforting that it exists, I worry what that means for the big budget titles. Are we basically heading towards the hollywood model of unoriginal blockbusters + interesting art films?