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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The end of the gaming industry?

As some of you may or may not know, I am a game developer. I don't work for Activision or anything but I develop games nonetheless. It is because of people like me that the gaming industry is changing. Now, there was a time when if someone wanted a game to be made, they went to Activision and said "hey, I've got this great idea for a game. It'll cost $x. Will you help me?" and Activision would, then they would make the game, and sell it to Walmart and BestBuy. However, this was back when Activision was making 40 games a year. How many do they make now? 4? 5? Yeah pretty much. Why is this? Well, with the rise of things like Steam, and smartphone markets, developers don't need WalMart to get their games to the players. Shelf space is no longer an issue. There is an unlimited amount of shelf space on the internet. If someone wants to sell a game all they have to do is make it.

Does this mean the end of console gaming? Maybe. Now I can already hear your screams of agony and I understand. I love my consoles. But think about the great games that can be made without the need of Activision. Look at the industry. Really look at it. How many Call of Duty games are there? Guitar Hero? How many times do we have to make the same game until we get sick of it? The industry has become about franchises. I'm not saying I don't love me some Super Mario but there needs to be more variety. Activision can't afford variety. They spend millions on advertising to try to make you buy their games. They have to because what else is going to make you drive to BestBuy and pick up a copy of it rather than stay at home and download it. If they don't spend all that money on ads, they lose all of it on all the hard copies they've made.

What the industry needs now is innovators. We need people with fresh ideas that won't be held back by a big company saying "no, thats too risky." The only way that is going to work is if people embrace the changing times. Look at Amnesia: The Dark Descent. That was an indie game. Its huge now. Same with minecraft. We need more people like the developers of these games to say "fuck Activision, I'll make my own damn game."



Keep a look out for any new blogs. I think I'm going to continue this video game theme and see where it goes. I've got a bit of knowledge in UDK and some in Zbrush I might share. If anyone wants any specific tutorials, leave a comment and I'll see what I can do.

Also, I'm not saying the industry is ending. I'm saying its changing and definitely for the better.

20 comments:

  1. the way i see it, we're just getting started

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  2. I think we can go on a lot of indie developers are doing amazing things.

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  3. well its shaping up to be a slow year for gaming...nothing good comes out for the next 5 months or so

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  4. your right. It even has come to a point where flash games are better/more original/even longer gameplay than a 'real' game...

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  5. tell me what kind of university have you completed? I'm into this kind of job.

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  6. I don't want to see this fall apart

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  7. How long have you been in the industry?

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  8. They should revisit old and forgotten games. Classics. G-NOME? Vigilante 8 (Activision game)? Those two were my childhood favorites.

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  9. I remember the old flash games from newgrounds way back. Fun times at the library lol.

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  10. It's looking like game and music industry are losing feather to independent project. It's a good things if you ask me

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  11. I have to agree with Bunny Hill, there are a lot of independent producers coming out now. That in my opinion, are putting out BETTER games than these big head producers. We should be thankful.

    But like anything... If making a COD makes the money, they'll make another. Why? Because it's more money. Money is all it's about now, in my opinion. I think they've lost their edge they had, that gamers want GOOD games.

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  12. Freeware games are a big part of gaming now too, which is mostly only possible through the internet. Its awesome to discover games that are made by one or a handful of people for free!

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  13. gaming will grow if anything i know it is very much becomming a two tier industry and it is difficult to complete with the massive developers technology

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  14. Looking at minecraft, Cave Story, and terraria, it looks like see indie games are starting to take over :P. You don't see me complaining, free, cheap, and amazing games.

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  15. I think the age of the Gaming Industry just started.

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  16. I see it becoming more of a smartphone market for a few years yet. There is still a lot of room to grow in that area to developers are either losing coders/designers to this part, or actually putting more resources there themselves. Maybe in 2-3 years it will switch back to the lounge room again.

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  17. It's cool to hear this from someone inside the gaming industry. I've felt this way for a while... I get tired of playing the same games over and over again, disguised as different games. Yes, there's some franchises that change immensely from game to game, and I like those... but then there's games like Call of Duty and Madden (or any sports game for that matter) where it feels like I'm playing the same game. I don't play those.

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  18. I would like to see a standard for multiplayer across different games, which is of course inherently difficult.

    On the other hand, multiplayer between different games made by the same company might not be such a bad idea. Then when the gamer wants to pick up an older title the multiplayer servers are still packed (awesome!) I have COD in mind.

    Also, one effective design decision I have seen (mainly in Bioware's games) is a separate utility for changing game settings--if you don't know why this is useful you aren't using a TV that doesn't support many resolutions as a monitor (most modern games revert back to original display settings after a timeout, but not always).

    Often times it seems games don't really have the storyline in mind when marketing a PC game--it's all about the graphics or the multiplayer. I'm a big fan of single-player mode, and a lot of Bioware's titles like Mass Effect 1 & 2. One feature that is absolutely missing from modern PC games is co-op mode. It's almost mind-bogglingly difficult to find a modern PC game with good cooperative gameplay (if you don't believe me, try finding one--Halo 2 for the PC doesn't even have it).

    One last complaint I have is that many PC games have a "console-like" interface, which means all the details you may want to know or mess with are abstracted from the user--I hate these interfaces, but only when there is no option to show advanced details. Take a multiplayer gaming mode for example, if one were to wish to start a server many games are likely to automatically choose port numbers for them. This can cause problems (specifically in my case) because I have ONE port available for serving games with. It took me five years to get ONE port for game hosting from my ISP and it's very likely there are others with an ISP that terrible as well, it also doesn't scale well--what if a person wished to host two or more servers?

    On an unrelated note, I would be most interested in any internship opportunities you may be aware of.

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  19. Not to mention I've been missing a good flight simulator, but then if it doesn't look realistic it kind of breaks the "simulation" aspect.

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