The Great Video Game Crash and how it could Be Stopped

Carl Williams writes, "The video game industry had a crash in 1983/1984 that nearly ended our favorite pastime for good. During this period there were many gaming consoles available, lots of games and many developers that were popping up out of nowhere and just as quickly disappearing. It was a horrific time for fans of gaming that lived through it, I personally was really young and only noticed that games simply disappeared from stores like Safeway, Harvest Market and Thrifty and other discount stores like Payless (before they were strictly shoes). There was a time when you couldn’t shake a stick without hitting three or four stores in a small area that carried games, even many gas stations carried Atari 2600 and Colecovision games. Games were everywhere and stores were more than happy to put them out for sale. The problem was, there were just so many available that it was hard for stores to keep good games in stock due to the bad ones they got suckered into buying by an unscrupulous sales rep. This overabundance finally took its toll when gaming was viewed as heading into the mainstream and EVERYONE wanted a piece of it."

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uth112145d ago

There's a few factors back then that don't exist now though.

1. Pac-man created a huge fad. It made videogames super-cool. But all fads end, and when it did, videogames became uncool for awhile. The fad ending was a big factor in the crash

2. There was a big push to buy a home computer instead of consoles, it didn't make much sense to buy the brand-new Atari 5200 when you could get an Atari 600XL/800XL computer for around the same price that could play mostly the same games, and more. That's what we did. And of course Commodore 64's sold like crazy, that's where the gamers went after the console crash. Today most people aren't faced with the either or choice of computer or console, they're likely to own both.

3. Retailers didn't know how to handle the young videogame market. At first it seemed like it had endless growth potential, but then they suddenly couldn't sell their stock and videogames became toxic to them. This isn't likely to happen again.

These things are not likely to repeat. Yes, there are too many game platforms, but what will most likely happen is the weak ones die off leaving the strong ones unscathed. Now crashes could happen in pockets of the industry, like mobile gaming that grew rapidly. Wii is another example, it launched a motion game craze, and now nobody wants it.

Another area with crash potential is VR- assuming it takes off like crazy. That's really a key factor in any crash, rapid, unsustainable growth.

_-EDMIX-_2144d ago

Agreed. All great points.

miyamoto2144d ago (Edited 2144d ago )

It was already stopped last generation.

Thanks to indie games.

The obsession with big budget AAA games almost led to a video game crash last gen. It has lead to the death of so so many medium sized developers.

Look at how it almost killed Capcom and Square Enix. Look at what happened to many Japanese developers.

Japan can not really compete with western military shooter games with big US military backing & funding!

FPS games has become a recruitment tool for the US armed forces!

The rampant obsession with money hatting for exclusivity, DLCs, stealing exclusivity really corrupted the natural progress of game development last gen.

It was either "Go Big or Go Broke".

Thank goodness small budget games focused on creativity, originality and experimentation has found a way to become profitable nowadays.

Naughty Dog and Bungie were small but few indie game devs before. Now there are far more indie devs that could become great like them.

warczar2144d ago

You way overestimate indie development. For every good indie game there is a hundred crap ones. I mean, what do we argue about here on n4g on a daily basis? That's right, AAA games. The only indie games that I see getting played are free. While I agree with you we're all getting screwed with dlc and the like, I don't think indie games saved anything.

iceman062144d ago

I think that what indie games are doing is lowering the barrier of entry for developers while also lessening the financial burden on retailers. In truth, the indies are replacing the middle-ware games (those that might not have had AAA budgets, but were abundant in the PSOne and PS2 era and came from offshoots of major developers) Sure, there are bound to be various clones of popular games. But, they don't really steal away from the industry at large like the crap releases in the 80's. Due to lack of consumer knowledge at the time AND the growth of gaming to the masses, people were just anxious to get ANY game to play at home. That's just not the case with indies. These are relatively low risk-high reward scenarios that offer an alternative to entry aside from the bloated, AAA budgets that can kill potentially a studio with one bad outing.
Also, though the idea of arguing on N4G over AAA games is true, the entire truth is that the argument is more about console exclusives than AAA games themselves. (unless one happens to have more FPS or higher resolution)

uth112144d ago

Sure there's a pile of mediocre Indies that are almost indistinguishable from each other.

But there's a number of high quality, highly anticipated ones too.

2144d ago
traumadisaster2144d ago

Poorly written, little supporting thoughts on ideas, but good topic.

I think the quick drop in prices are worrisome. Since the ps1 I don't remember a time when game prices dropped as fast as they have in the last couple years.

I rarely buy a new $60 game since I can buy 5 games for the same 60 at the next steam sale.