Has the gaming industry gotten too BIG? - Pizza Koopa Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Has the gaming industry gotten too BIG?

I have played video games for all my life.  I did not start gaming avidly until the SNES days and now being an adult with some money for once, I am actually able to game on whatever I want.  When I was younger however I always wished for games to become more accepted and mainstream.  It always bummed me out that so many people saw gaming as a total waste of time and how games were not taken seriously as forms of entertainment.  But we gamers knew differently of course.  Games could be fun, happy, sad, epic, thought provoking, gratifying, competitive, the works.  Then something began to happen that initially excited me, games caught on and the so called "nerds" won their way into coolness.  However, this paradigm shift had massive repercussions, now games are bigger than ever.  Yet they provide arguably the same level of entertainment, they come with terms of service, pre-order bonuses, and non-returnable DLC's.  This and other business tactics that do nothing but hurt games leaves the impression that this industry has gotten too big.

 

Believe it or not, some games have shipped with content already on the disc that cannot be accessed.  Why?  Because it hasn't been"paid" for.  But the game was purchased at full price, a genuine copy of the game.  Also these "online passes" that companies are so fond of now do nothing except make an already profitable business model more profitable at the detriment of the gamer.  People are defending this saying that "it pays the developers more" when usually the developers just get paid a flat salary and the publisher gets all the plunder, and was never an issue years ago when these online passes did not exist.  As evidence, look at how much money MW2 made just from the vanilla game alone.  It has little DRM, no online passes, and a decent amount of content.  Its evidence that games are doing just fine financially without these business ploys to make more money, place additional DRM, and restrict the gamer from content.

 Another depressing development is the addition of day 1 DLC's which probably should have just come with the game itself.  Some may argue such complaints are off base and that it is truly new additional content that one should pay for to experience.  This is simply not true.  Content like this could have easily have shipped with the game and is likely part of the original build.  This is not so much "new" content these companies created as much as it is content that they realized can be left out of the game to nickel and dime the consumer.  While all DLC is optional, it represents content you could be paying for but not getting in the packaged game, as well as a continually worse trend in the industry.

Cloud gaming and services like EA's Origin service are more damaging to the industry than it first seems.  (Steam somewhat gets a pass)  While the games inevitably are playable over such services they create unnecessary barriers and hoops the consumer must jump through.  Also gamers now have to put up with intense legal binding contracts just by installing a game or putting it inside their console.  Again none of these business strategies makes the games themselves better and not all of them are to combat piracy.  They are in place to make already lucrative companies more money.  Any type of contract stating that the consumer has no legal grounds to sue a company on is an assault on any consumer's rights.  As well as more DRM strategies such as Ubisoft's always online policies towards single player games are ridiculous.  Especially when such strategies punish the gamers who bought the game by having them unable to play on launch day because the servers were down.  Yet those who pirated got to play the game unhindered.

 

While there are many more instances of these trends (and new ones starting all the time) they are not completely crippling evil strategies to suck a gamers pockets dry, they do however represent a possible horrid future.  

Imagine:

The day when a paid xbox live subscription is not optional to play games purchased at a store (single player too).  

Buying an incredibly disappointing game and being totally unable to resell it because its a digital ghost that does not exist, or has a $60 online pass code to purchase.  

Having to pre-order a game to experience half the content (or all of it).  

Having to be connected to a service to which you are completely liable and have no rights to your purchased software because you agreed to their terms of service.

Your personal information stolen and have the parent company be not liable for literally anything even if it was from their own negligence. 

 

Obviously this is an extreme future and an exaggeration of the present.  But its a completely possible future given how many gamers are willing to defend such decisions as "good business" and even support them.

There is a point where DRM is necessary, where services can be helpful, and game makers deserve to get paid.  But we need to be wary and careful of the monster we are feeding.  Someday it may be no fun to play with, and we will wish for the glory days where we just picked a game and enjoyed it.  Often times many gamers will tell you their favorite game is an old retro classic.  These did not need: 500 man development teams, DRM, milking, and expensive hardware to run, it was just fun to play, and thats all that matters.

 

We are the core gamers, the most stable, reliable, dependable, consumer for the gaming market, we can make a game series last 25 years as opposed to a casual game like guitar hero that dies in a few.  We may not realize how much say in how we steer this colossal ship, (and honestly neither do many companies), but we will eventually determine what direction that ship does go in.  Lets make sure its a fun one, and not one where we have to put up with crap from companies because "they say so" or "thats what their rules say, we have to do it".

I personally am able to put up with a lot of the crap companies do today, but it does not mean I have to like it.  Neither do you.

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