Rant: Where is the Gaming Industry Headed?
Am I the only one seeing this gloom and doom trip that everyone's going on heading into the next generation? Because it's been beyond noticeable to me.
Whether it's people saying that consoles are going to be taken over by smartphones, or that gaming development costs are skyrocketing continuously, a lot of people are saying that consoles are going to die out, that digital distribution is going to kill off physical distribution and that the industry could, should and will crash sooner rather than later.
I've already established why smartphones and tablets will not take over, but I'll explain it again, hopefully even better than before.
Digital distribution is DRM, whether it's buying a game off PSN, the EShop, Xbox Live or Steam. There are places all around the world that have a terrible internet connection if they have one at all. You'd also be alienating the people who prefer physical copies and by killing off physical distribution, you'd be shafting MILLIONS of consumers.
Games are becoming more and more advanced faster than the advancement of bandwidth. We can all tell just by looking at how much space next-gen launch games are going to take up. Imagine trying to download GTA6 with millions of other people, a game with a world twice as big as GTA5, amazing graphics and physics. It would not work at all.
Look at Netflix and ITunes. They've been around for ages, but people still buy CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs. Why does gaming have to be any different? Why can't physical and digital distribution co-exist?
Mobile gaming taking over would not be good AT ALL.
People say that tablets and smartphones will kill off consoles when they surpass the power level of the PS4 and the XBO, but to do that, you'd need to develop quantum physics. You can only make processors and chips so small before they fry like a chicken. Size does matter. Why do you think powerful PCs are so big?
The IPhone is probably the most popular phone brand in the world. And you can tell that whenever Apple makes a new one, they make very minimal improvements. I know that the PS4 and XBO aren't an amazing leap (in terms of graphics) like the PS2-PS3 was, but it is very significant. So how long will it be before they catch up to the PS4 and XBO? Another 6-8 years like some tablets took to catch up to the PS3 and 360? Some of these same people say that consoles are holding back gaming, which is BS. What are they holding back? How much music that you listen to when you already have a phone or a laptop for that? Graphics?
Most phones are more expensive than the PS4 and XBO, so could you how much they would cost if they matched the power of those two consoles, let alone "dwarfed" them?
Nothing I see on a tablet or smartphone will convince me that they are a viable part of the industry. It's a casual fad that will crash and burn soon enough.
Let's face it. How many of us on N4G consider mobiles to be something that actually contributes to core gaming?
Like motion control, it's just a fad. Casuals will look at something for a while, get bored of it and move on to something else.
It's just like Gangnam Style and the Harlem shake. One second, everyone's saying that they're the best things that have ever happened to the internet and the next, they'll get bored, call it the worst thing ever and call it a day.
Now something that really makes people think that the industry is in for a crash:
Rising game development costs.
It's no secret the game development costs are skyrocketing. On current gen hardware, we got Grand Theft Auto V, a game that cost 265 million dollars to make. Luckily for Rockstar, they made a $735 million profit in just 3 days, from working on the most hyped up project this gen. Not all developers can do that, but game development costs are just going up and up and up.
Why? Well, for a lot of reasons.
Too much demand for graphical detail
Everyone is guilty of this in some way, shape or form. Casuals especially, with the media backing up the hype behind graphical fidelity.
Gamers are always obsessing over whether or not you can see the nose hairs on a character model, the performance of the game the resolution etc. To meet those demands, publishers have been spending so much money on game development that they cannot take risks anymore.
Gamers then complain about not getting something fresh and innovative, but when something innovative does show up, no one's at the scene. Publishers who do take risks see this and back away from making anything that isn't already an established franchise. We all know how Activision, EA and Ubisoft have been milking the same IPs over and over again. Another Call Of Duty that costs a ton to make, another Assassin's Creed game this year that costs a ton to make and another bullshit NBA 2k game from EA, raised up and overhyped by the masses.
To be 100% honest, I really wasn't expecting EA to make Mirror's Edge 2 on the scale it's going to be on. It's going to be running on Frostbite engine 3 and it's an open world game. That is going to cost an unimaginable amount of money. And if that game doesn't sell enough units, you can bet EA is going to feel a huge loss and they're going to be very discouraged to ever make something as creative as ME again.
Saying that consoles are holding back the industry because they don't run at 4K resolution at 60fps with eye popping textures and models is not legitimate.
They're holding back developers and publishers let development costs skyrocket at an even faster rate. And so much for innovation. One second, it's all about innovation, the next it's like 'Ew, the graphics don't look real.' Like, WTF?!
Gaming has also become and investor infested industry. Investors just want the money and will be willing to create bad business practices to try and get as much profit out of their games. We all know about online passes, especially from EA.
I'm telling you right now, if MS didn't have the original XBO policies in place, EA would still be doing online passes. The pieces fall into place too perfectly. One second EAs pounding their chests going like 'We are the defenders of gaming! No more online passes!' and then sniggering in the corner with MS.
Too much competition.
The market is too split for gaming. If you remember the era of Nintendo, Sega and Sony (which I like to call the Golden Age), each of them had their own specialty:
Nintendo- Family oriented games and local multiplayer
Sega- Arcade ports and cool platformers like Sonic the Hedgehog
PlayStation- Single player blockbusters.
When the PS1 came into the industry, a few casuals started to come into gaming. This is when the Japanese developers were RULING the industry. Western developers stuck to the PC and when MS came into the industry with the Xbox, western developers went over to them and the PC gamers and Western casuals along with them. This is when the market was too crowded.
Thanks to MS, the PlayStation market share was split, especially with the PS3. Publishers also have to pay royalties to both MS and Sony giving them more of a reason not to take risks. Video games are far too niche to be running three console manufacturers anymore.
Put that on top of the fact that we have the PC, all these companies trying to hopscotch their way into the console race, tablets and smartphones, the pie is not big enough for all these companies and investors to eat. The attention from us gamers is too divided. Competition can be good for the industry, but sometimes it's just not good. You can't tell me that the PS2, which was dominating the console market, had less creative and innovative games than the PS3, 360 and Wii and most of those games were exclusives!
Like I said, the PS1 even brought in quite a lot of casuals.
Even Nintendo is guilty of whoring with the casual market. Case of point: The Nintendo Wii. I'm a Nintendo fan and the Wii was a good system and all, but that thing brought in too many casuals.
MS isn't squeaky clean either as they started DLC on the original Xbox, paid out the ass for timed exclusives and whored for exclusive DLC as well.
Don't think I'm just talking from a manufacturing standpoint, I'm talking from a publisher standpoint as well. Too many devs are trying to reach the same level of success that COD is at by implementing multiplayer where it's just not necessary. Example? Tomb Raider 2013. Hell, Uncharted 3.
Competition isn't always good for the industry. Good competition is good for the industry. If the market is too saturated, it's not worth it to have all these companies trying to go for the same industry or go into the console race when they have NO business there whatsoever. For example, the Steam Machines, the OUYA, the Madcatz Pro. Too many people trying to just jump into the industry because they see money in it.
Maybe someone needs to go this generation. I don't think MS, Sony, Nintendo or Valve should leave (although they shouldn't be trying to pass of a PC with smaller dimensions as a console), but a lot of companies need to back off to prevent a crash. It's not always good. Competition can also trigger shady business practices *cough* EA *cough*. Here's a blog going into even more depth about competition, by Lukejrl:
Well guys, thanks for reading. What do you think? Should a few companies leave the industry? Should graphical fidelity advance at a much slower rate? And do think that the industry should crash? Leave your comments below and check out this blogs recommended music below.