FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round...
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| Itís not gamerís stupid! Why the game industry should not blame gamers for lack of creativity in games (1 comments )|
by: xts (27) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 1
Posted 76 months ago ( edited 76 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
Youíve probably seen the articles, and every so often you will forums with gamers that say ďGames lack innovation because gamers donít buy original gamesĒ or that they are a bunch of sword swinging swashbuckling pirates. Arrr!! Me, Mateys! But the truth is there are many factors to why the industry and game developers in general are in such a creatively stagnant state and most of them have nothing to do with gamers themselves. The truth is the industry partly brought it upon itself.
Now it has to be said that the console makers in the industry did dig a whole for publishers and developers financially. The industry itself must face the fact that it pushed skyward its own development costs by itself in looking inward at itself too much. Gamers do not control what console makers like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft do. So a big part of the fault lies with those companies as to why games cost so much to make and not the consumer. We all realize games have to exist in the real financial world and we all should know deep down the problem is not with gamers most of the time. Itís with the industry itself; and the complex the web of relationships between developers, publishers, console makers and retailers.
So without further ado, letís explore some of the reasons why gaming has stagnated.
The desire to grow the industry and profits conflicts with certain genres of gaming demographics
It has to be said that the desire to grow the industry and profits conflicts with game developers making certain games as pure labors of love, especially in certain genres where the markets are small and tight. Take for example games like Ikaruga and Gradius V. They are shining examples of a genre that has fallen out of favor with the game buying public, despite the acclaim. Hardcore gamers know that Gradius 5 was an extremely well designed and fun game. But the paying market was just not large enough and the price was just too high on release for anyone to just pick up and buy on a whim.
I agree with some developers that developing a game should be about making the game fun (being a labor of love) first, profits second, but not without doing the necessary market research that isnít totally devoid from reality. Is the market saturated? If we rehash the same gameplay, are we going to make the experience worthwhile? (i.e. god of war for instance). Is the theme of the game too ďout thereĒ? Viewtiful Joe and Planescape torment Iím looking at you.
The desire to maximize profit by rushing a game goes against making a good game
This fact is probably the worst facet of the game industry. Weíve all been subject to rushed games and we get enormously frustrated when we know deep down the game was just pushed out there. This is part of what really pushes the urge and sentiment to pirate games.
Itís too bad there really doesnít appear to be any end in sight to this ugly aspect of the industry at this time. Iím sure you older gamers (25+) have all felt the cookie-cutter and rehashed nature of many modern games. Younger gamers donít usually have as much finished games under their belts and gaming breadth as older gamers, so like me, you see rehashes of old games with new graphics applauded as the second coming when new fresh gaming blood has no clue about what came before.
Lack of knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated teams
This one might seem to go against the grain but deep down inside game development houses, they know itís true. Many people that work in the games industry are not there because they love games, are skilled enough and actually understand games and what makes them great. Letís face it, weíve all been subject to rushed games or games that do not seem like they were designed by people who knew what they were doing.
Iíve played many a game and asked myself while playing it if the developers have any clue about what makes games fun to begin with or even how to design a game. Iím sure youíve all felt at one time or another, that there is some real incongruence in some games in terms of gameplay, level and art design that should never have been allowed to begin with in the final products we received. There is a lot of incompetence and lack of experience in the game industry being relatively new industry still. I hope they work out these problems. More technically minded gamers know game development is complicated and messy (more of an art then a science) but ultimately at some point game development must grow up and become as rigorous as other scientific and engineering based disciplines.
Game developers can no longer ďSeedĒ and slowly grow franchises as easily
This fact of the industry is never mentioned and should be. Before in earlier years when game development was much cheaper then it was today game developers had more room to experiment (and therefore turn out flops) in order to discover the next-big-thing. To be able to find what is fun and what isnít through trial and error, and slowly seed and grow a fan base for their new and original games they got right.
Take for example; when I first played Final fantasy 1 on the NES which I rented. After reenting and finishing that one gameI went on to BUY nearly all subsequent sequels. Howís that for growing a franchise? ONE single 8-bit game rental grew into purchases and square grew into the monolithic empire that we all know today with its flagship Final fantasy franchise.
Great games with strange presentations or unpopular themes
Ok it has to be said. Weíve all seen some great games fail. But it is not GAMERS fault that they failed, can you believe it? I can. Some game developers were probably very excited at being able to make ďThe game of their dreamsĒ or the game theyíve always wanted to make. Without asking themselves, is this creatively a little too weird for the average human being? You have to understand that hardcore gamers and hardcore game developers tend to be pretty open to gaming because that is their passion, but for more moderate gamers the same simply cannot be said unfortunately. So this was the fault of game developers and their total lack of doing the necessary demographic and market research. We all know Planescape Torment is the king of developer creativity gone awry, great game, butÖ the developers forgot to ask themselves, whoís going to buy it thatís NOT a hardcore gamer? Planescape is totally the definition of a hardcore game.
Franchises that met death at the hand of disinterest and developer mediocrity
We know these games, these are games we used to love but for some reason the game developers were unable to ďcapture the magicĒ or went too far off the formula and turned out a turd of a game in terms of fun. Or paying gamers became disinterested in the game for reasons like competition from other games, or other reasons. These and similar fates happened to games like Descent 3 and Freespace Franchise. Other such games of similar fates either went off on a creative tangent (too far thematically), lost the core of what made them great or the market interest in these games dwindled.
Problems of related to money versus time
Too many games are being made
Alright, this fact has to be faced. The market is only so big and can only absorb so many games, so unless the games themselves are extremely killer like God of war, it's unlikely to do that great. Every game released by a publisher is competing against other games (even it's own) and peoples time. There is only so much time in a day and it is finite, developers and publishers have to eventually realize this, before they go off on more of their piracy tirades.
Game developers should really start having a say in how many games could possibly be produced and to manage the flow of game creation.
Rehashed games being made are burning gamers out on the genre
This is true, Iíve found myself sometimes yearning more pure gameplay in games in the so-called ďnext generationĒ of video gaming. I really donít feel this generation is off to a very good start yet despite the sales of Xbox 360 and the Wii. Some good games have been released, but nothing that sucks me back into those groundbreaking all-nighters I used to have with other older games. Many of the Ďnext gení games are incremental updates to games weíve been playing for a long time already, hardly anything revolutionary.
Ridiculous price of games distributed via online distribution and the clout of Wal-mart
Ahh, online distribution. Online game distribution at this point in time has no cost or other benefits to the majority of gamers, and I know this one is complicated because the Wal-Marts of the world put pressure on publishers and in turn this puts pressure on game developers. But ultimately the cost of games via online distribution is little more then a collusion and racketeering, totally screwing gamers as customers.
It has to be said that the power of other businesses and their influence over the gaming industry is bad for the industry. Increasingly, Wal-Mart's market dominance has led to a shift in creative control over video game content from the hands of developers to those of the giant retailer. While no doubt frustrating to game designers, hard business facts are at play. If Wal-mart one of largest chain of stores in the world won't carry a game, is it worth making?
Other distractions besides games and boredom
Yes it has to be said, that we get bored of games there are so many other things out there to do and combine that with job responsibilities and there you have it. Only the hardest of the hardcore can keep playing the same game over and over again, or play every game that is out there or within a reasonable timeframe.
So, what have we learned? Donít blame gamers!
So ultimately donít blame gamers. Especially the hardcore gamers, the hardcore gamers had a lot to do with the reason the industry came back and flourished again to begin with. The hardcore segment nurtured the industry from infancy back after the crash in the NES days to what it is today. If it wasn't for the hardcore gamers among us, there would be no final fantasy 10. Go back and play Final fantasy 1 for the original NES, and think to yourself what has been said in this article. All those hardcore gamers who purchased it are the reason square and other game companies survived
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