Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and pretty everyone who enjoys the company of electronic amusement playful entertainment...
We are fucked.
I'm not gonna go all Michael Pachter here and feed people bullshit, or make statements of absolute untruth. I'm just gonna state facts, and see where this is going.
The gaming industry, is proper fucked. From around the 2000s, the time alot of classicism-loving nerds says that games became "ruined" due to the involvement of so many new players and the entry of videogames into the standard of recognized hobby, instead of just being toys grown ups played with, the videogame industry started being a bigger thing. Like Hollywood and the music industry before it, more people started getting into the thing for the money, and not just for the love of the art. Companies previously filled with people who earned a steady salary simply doing what they liked, started filling up with people that wanted to be in control of a "new thing", that was starting to interest the masses. A new medium, something that would eventually rival movies and regular old television as the bigtime entertainment source.
And it happened. Games are bigger than they EVER were. Everybody plays games. They're in tiny forms like the flash shit people who aren't classy enough to waste their time on Solitaire play at their work, to the bigger titles that people spend their entire life savings on, simply because the game communities ended up taking part as their new social status standard. Nowadays, you see crazy shit like the DLC schemes, tons of games released that are nothing more than Newgrounds flash rejects, and cellphone titles that cost you a nickle. Gaming is BIG, baby. And everyone plays.
And this is what fucks everything up. There's pretty much no companies out there that give a damn anymore. Nintendo? I haven't seen a new big thing from them in a LONG time. And when there is, it's something so small, that's generally overshadowed by what fans normally ask them. Ports of rehashes of ports of rehashes of ports.
Microsoft? Good luck with that. Kinect took off, so they're putting all of their money on it. Got a 360? You better enjoy Halo, Gears or Forza, because XBLA aside (which honestly keeps being filled with amazing titles, to be honest, but doesn't get the deserved attention) those are the only exclusives you're gonna get this year.
Sony? They try and do their part. But even then, games start being more about Hollywoodish experiences. Look at Uncharted and Killzone. Good, solid games. No bugs. Good graphics. Nice gameplay. Bore the fuck out of me, because it seems like I'm going through this big experience that tries everything to make me feel good. I honestly don't feel like it's a game anymore.
And hell, look at the other companies. Blizzard used to be top dog. Now, no more LAN parties. Heck, no more LAN. Diablo 3 has to be online, even on single player, and they take ten damn years to make a third of a single one of their games. Which they sell at full price. Did I mention they're the same company as Activision now? Yeah, THAT Activision. The one that killed off Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero, and a number of other franchises last year due to full-on milking. Companies that inexplicably look to the now instead of the future, and end up nosediving into bad economical situations.
Bioware, previously one of the world's greatest RPG designers, has hired a lead writer who thinks Twilight is the best damn thing in the world, who uses "squee" as an everyday term, and who has publically stated that the thing she hates the most about videogames is playing them. Yeah. These were the same guys who wrote us the greatest Star Wars tale of all time in the past. Let's not be too glad about EA either, because this pretty much happened after they bought Bioware.
So will the japanese save us, like they did before? Nope. Nintendo's having their salaries cut in half, and has plunged into a situation where they must desperately get their old customer base back, or get third parties really interested in their products. Capcom is currently having alot of fun running every single franchise they own into the ground, by banking on constant fighter versions (the thing that killed fighters in the 90's to begin with) and giving the middle finger to their fans. Square-Enix is getting DESPERATE to even make anything come out. They seem like all of their employees stopped knowing how to make games after the PS2, so all they make are PSP titles and bleed their popular franchises dry by announcing titles that will only come out a decade later. Their owned company, Eidos, is trying to ruin the best assassin simulator ever made by turning it into a cover shooter. Konami keeps doing what they've always done, but while Kojima's working on their one single new original innovative title, they seem like they're working on ports for the next year.
So is the indie market our next best hope? I don't think so, mostly because ideas seem to be driven purely by the need to "go classic", and make the same sprited platformers, fighters and schmups that people played in the 90's. The entire fanbase is driven by nostalgia and the entire casual customers are driven by easy, simple and amusing experiences. Developers like Platinum Games and Suda 51 try to make fun games, and end up selling very very little. Microtransactions rule now, and all games must have several Special Editions with tons of useless stuff. It seems like the dot com market, where everyone thought they were striking gold, but so much money was lost, that was enough to bankrupt thousands of companies. This is probably happening now, and neither the companies, or customers, seem to want to stop it.
...so, what are your hopes and dreams for the future? Your thoughts on this? What games will you keep playing and enjoying, and which companies will you still support? I'm uneasy with Valve, but honestly, all of their stuff has been decent. I FULLY support CdProjekt, due to them trying and testing out new stuff with the Witcher games, and due to their platform, Good Old Games.com, giving people full rights over the creation of security copies, and full rights over owning the games they buy. I think eastern european developers are honestly people to follow. They've got really good programmers and artists, and they seem to be driving the current PC games market into a wonderful direction.