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The Videogame Industry is Broken 232

Posted by Zonk
from the busted-up dept.
GameDaily is running an interesting opinion piece running down the ways in which the gaming industry is just broken. The author cites soaring costs, huge risks, a reduction in creativity, and a stagnation in market growth as just some of the signs of this crisis. From the article: "The next-gen systems require publishers to place very large bets with each title. This will mean decreased risk taking and just regurgitated sequels of big brand franchises. How many publishers will take risks with multiplatform original IP? This is clearly not good news for the consumer as innovation has driven our industry from the beginning. The irony is that the amazing tools, capabilities and quality of the new systems may very well doom what is most important, which is the game itself. Reconciling what a creative team wants and what the executive suite needs in terms of profits will be a growing challenge for many companies."
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The Videogame Industry is Broken

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  • Simple fix (Score:3, Funny)

    by WileyK (988408) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:33PM (#15729374)
    Set up EA the bomb.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, 2006 @06:32PM (#15729584)
      ...by putting out more interesting, fun games than the big shops. Currently my favorite game is Mount&Blade [taleworlds.com], which was begun by a husband and wife team.
    • We Get Signal! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cloricus (691063)
      Mmm here is a message for EA and other huge gaming houses. At the large LAN we run locally we let users play the games they want for the thirty hours gaming or so it goes for. This LAN followed a trend we've been noticing for awhile: people are jack of rubbish no content games with flashy graphics. All of the users this time mostly played aoe2 and tremulous (tremulous.net - open source) and a small amount of call of duty.

      How damn pathetic that after years these games still get play time (not that I'm
  • by mccalli (323026) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:35PM (#15729382) Homepage
    Whether it 'wins' is one thing, but it does look as if the Wii is going to get Nintendo a lot more attention this time. And Nintendo game platforms have always been places where new ideas get tried it. From the doomed Virtual Boy through bongos-as-controllers to dual-screen touch-sensitive handhelds, a Nintendo machine has always given things a bit of a go.

    Maybe the new creativity might start showing through that?

    Cheers,
    Ian

    • and dont forget that is cheaper to develop for Wii than X-box 360 and PS3 as you dont need to do really high resolution texture and super detailed models,or use rocket science programmers to deal with Cell :3
    • Well, depends on what the developers can do. It allows different types of inputs, true enough. But so did eyetoy and the DS.

      Most games making extensive use of either one looked more like tech demos to me (mostly I looked at eyetoy). The rest of the time, they used the technology very sparingly, relying on more traditional control scemes. In fact, most of the "eyetoy" functionality in games is reserved for scanning your face into the game you're playing, not some innovative gameplay feature. The only

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Great post, but let's not assign credit in the wrong places. Bongos-as-controllers is a great idea, yes, but it's not innovative -- unless you think maracas-as-controllers is completely different. Sega hit on that idea with the fantastic "Samba de Amigo." (Which probably should have sold a million Dreamcasts if Sega's marketing division had noticed it and ramped up the hype machine a little more.)
      This is not to belittle Nintendo, though -- but they've got plenty of legitimate innovation going on wit
    • by timeOday (582209) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @06:33PM (#15729588)
      Whether it 'wins' is one thing, but it does look as if the Wii is going to get Nintendo a lot more attention this time.
      It seems like the article - and your comment - are focused exclusively on consoles. If you want a game industry with lower costs, lower risks, and more creativity, why not just look elsewhere within the industry? Even though we own a PS2, my 7 year old spends more time on Flash and Java games, simply because there's an endless stream of new games coming out - and they're certainly not million-dollar titles. Even PC gaming, I think, has a more vibrant "indie" development scene than consoles. Don't get me wrong, consoles have largely taken over gaming and now occupy center stage. And like Hollywood movies, they're likely to remain targets for criticism about "the industry." But if those things really worry you, there are other options.
      • And now with downloadable games, anyone can make an Xbox 360 game for less than 50k.

        There will always be ridiculously expensive games made. But you don't have to spend 20 million dollars to have a big hit. And you certainly don't have to spend 20 million dollars to have a creative title.

        Next gen makes a lot of things easier. If you choose to use that power to hit new highs in terms of expensive graphics capabilities and content generation, then more power to you. But some studios will use that power to
    • by SteveXE (641833) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @06:54PM (#15729665)
      You forget Sega, although they dont make consoles anymore they had alot of inovative ideas. The motion sensing controller, almost identical to the one Nintendo has made was done first on Dreamcast but never released. Samba Di Amigo was a game that used Maracas in the same way Donkey Konga uses drums. Sega was the first to use the microphone as a gameplay device First fishing rod controller First Analog triggers First console online (Genesis) First Online console RPG. The Wii is full of concepts dreamt up by Sega and hopefully perfected by Nintendo...best of both worlds if you ask me.
      • The motion sensing controller, almost identical to the one Nintendo has made was done first on Dreamcast but never released.

        Save for the uforce and power glove attempts for the NES.

        Sega was the first to use the microphone as a gameplay device

        You might want to back this up. Some of the original nintendo game and watch devices I believe used it, but the Japanese Famicom actually had a built in microphone. The point in Legend of Zelda (the original) where it refers to an enemy not liking noise, was a r
      • Sega was the first to use the microphone as a gameplay device

        Egad... I'm gonna show my age here. I remember "Echelon" for the C-64... it came with a headset that activated the fire button with any "significant sound."

        Still, your point is well stated in that being an innovator doesn't always lead one to rousing success and can, in fact, cause a company to falter.

        There's a reason why "stick to the knitting" is more likely to keep a company afloat (even as it stagnates) is a common truism.
    • It's totally false to assume that the industry is broken. You have to compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges. The PS3 will, yes, require a tremendous amount of money to get your job done but for the Wii it's the opposite size, with a technology that is similar to the Gamecube. Nintendo has made their console perfect for the newcomer in the console industry.

      Don't forget that a DS devkit is only 2,000$, which mean that a small company can start on this console with primitive 3D graphics (2k polyg
  • by dufachi (973647) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:38PM (#15729390) Homepage Journal
    It's not so much that it's broken; it's that game developers keep hashing the same games out over and over with different themes and newer graphic engines. I haven't bought a new game in almost 2 years because everything is the same.
    • by Simon Garlick (104721) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @06:18PM (#15729544)
      Game industry = Music industry
      Developers = Bands
      Publishers = Record companies

      In each industry, which entity do you think is to blame for the generic corporate schlock that's on the store shelves?
      • to finish the analogy:

        games that look the same = songs that sound the same
        managers that care about revenue instead of game quality = managers that care about revenue instead of song quality

        The list can be finished easily. What it boils down to is that the creativity has been sucked out of both industries by the predominance of the publishers instead of the artists.
      • Exactly the same thing can be said of movies and Broadway shows.

        In all of these cases, production costs have risen faster than the incomes of the target consumers. As that happens, investors are loathe to have a failure on their hands, so they take fewer risks. For a perfect example, after the successes of Lion King and The Producers, look at how many films turned into Broadway musicals. Do we really need a musical theater adaptation of The Wedding Singer? Innovation has moved off-off-Broadway, where cos
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Having worked in the game industry for a few years, I'll sum up the problem with the following real example:

        Doom sold 3 million copies for the PC last year.
        My Little Pony Sold 1.5 million PC copies last year.

        I know that your team has an excellent concept for a new title which will reawaken a sleeping portion of the market. However, if you make a game which mixes Doom and My Little Pony, we estimate it will sell 2-2.5 million copies next year.

        As crazy as it sounds, it happens, and is the real problem. Lawy
      • In each industry, which entity do you think is to blame for the generic corporate schlock that's on the store shelves?

        The video game 'snob' articles are getting redundant. So is comparing Video Games to movies or music when it comes to sequals. Most movie sequals don't live up to the originals. Games however *do* tend to get better as more sequals are made. For example, compare the original Unreal to Unreal Tournament. I'm not just talking about graphics here either, the gameplay of video game sequa
    • Something looks appealing to you at the time, and you spring for it in the hopes that you're picking out a winner. You know you'll at least get a few hours of mindless entertainment. If you're lucky, you'll get some good replay value out of it too. Just cross your fingers and hope that you don't pick up a virus.

      File Under: [gaming], [dating], [public toilets]
    • I really don't know if things have ever really changed all that much. I honestly feel that things have always been largely the same. Consider for example the Nintendo (NES) era. There were a lot of 2D platformers that were essentially side-scrollers with the same basic principle. The only difference being the sprites and a few animations.
      Everything has largely been the same throughout history. Someone finds something that resonates with consumers and everyone else seeks to cash in on it be creating simple
    • while what you say is true... (i work in the game industry)

      Yes developers keep making the same games over and over because they're affraid to create new ideas.

      Risk... Are they affraid to take risks? Yes and no. Game developement has plenty of risk. Do you try to invent something new or bet on something with previous success. Its something the movie industry has been battling for years.

      Look at the Wiensteins. They have produced and brought many movies to markets over the years. They generally are known for
  • What are the odds (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 9x320 (987156)
    that another video game will ever be produced for a console with graphics on the same level as that experienced by NES games, and that people will buy it?

    Also, I find it odd how many video games based on movies are coming out at the sacrifice of both gameplay and plot in order to cash in on the franchise. You'd think they'd have learned from the E.T. video game, but apparently the better graphics have changed that? Why must a book usually be made into a movie before a video game is based on it?
    • They have learned. They learned that as long as the game and movie come out at the same time it will sell fast enough that the word of mouth on how bad it it won't kill sales before a profit is made.
    • The E.T. video game? Jesus christ man venture outside! It's 2006!

      Seriously though, is there any games that lived up to the movie? I would cite James Bond: Golden Eye, but I'd have to say that games was actually _better_ than the movie, because the movie just plain sucked. The game was pretty damn good though.
  • wah wah wah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iocat (572367) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:38PM (#15729394) Homepage Journal
    The only thing that's broken in the game industry is that magazines seem to have no other story list to draw from other than "videogames are broken."

    Right now, at this very minute, Nintendo and the DS are demonstrating that it's innovation, not licenses or technology, that is selling software, and first and thrid parties on DS are benefitting. The same thing is happening on PSP -- look at Loco Roco's appeal and sales overseas.

    The next-gen systems face some challenges, but no more than they ever have. As games move into a more mature phase of their existance, we have positives -- almost everyone under 30 has played games, and most continue to play games -- and negatives -- the percentage of people who buy new games just becuase their new isn't growing; instead most people are looking at the quality of the game itself before they plop down their sheckels.

    The actual article is more reasoned than the Slashdot recap, but honestly, games don't face any more challenges than movies, TV, or any other media. Innovation is alive and well. Innovation doesn't have to mean better graphics or experimental gameplay. Look at Xbox Live Arcade, and Sony's and Nintendo's forthcoming online services. That's a HUGE innovation in the console space, and it enables new types of games on consoles that we simply wouldn't have seen otherwise.

    Bottom line, the biggest problem with the game industry today, to me, are the jaded pundits, not anything else.

    • agreed. I wish rather than posting articles on how the industry has no innovation, these same sites would instead feature smaller budget games that ARE innovative.
      I have two of them on my website they could start with right now.
      • Kudos - Why Live A Real Life When You Can Simulate One?

        Oh yeah, actually living one would probably be a better idea. Sorry, don't like it.

        The democracy one looks boring too. Sorry.
        • Ahh but that's the thing about making new and innovative games.

          Not everyone likes everything.

          If everyone made innovative games There would be heaps of games you don't like, There'd also be a few that you really, really, like that others don't.

          When you are not going for the lowest common demominator it's unavoidable that you lose the common, but A game shouldn't be everything to every person.

    • Re:wah wah wah (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gilroy (155262)
      Blockquoth the poster:

      but honestly, games don't face any more challenges than movies, TV, or any other media.

      Yes, and clearly, in TV and movies, we don't suffer from the regurgitation [imdb.com] of proven material [imdb.com] over [imdb.com] and over [imdb.com] and over [imdb.com] again, with a focus on blockbusters [imdb.com] in a vain pursuit of mega-profit....

      • Sure we do. But there are also plenty of inspired (and inspiring) movies and TV shows around. The point is they're not exclusive, whilst we might all groan at another American Idol season I can't wait for the next "outside the box" classic like The Matrix, Napoleon Dynamite, or Sin City.
      • Yes, and clearly, in TV and movies, we don't suffer from the regurgitation of proven material over and over and over again, with a focus on blockbusters in a vain pursuit of mega-profit....

        And this is why we have seen the growth of gaming as an industry, namely because it offers an alternative to the same mindless entertainment that's been shoved down our throats.

        Unfortunately, if videogames move toward a system where only big-name sequels and licensed pablum comes trickling out, then the entertainment expe

    • Re:wah wah wah (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AK__64 (740022)

      Bottom line, the biggest problem with the game industry today, to me, are the jaded pundits, not anything else.

      So my question is, why are the pundits so jaded? Seems to me if everything is so rosy than the pundits would agree with your analysis.

      I think there IS something broken about the gaming industry, I'm not sure what it is, but I don't think video games will be able to entertain the same number of people in the same way that they have been. I don't think the depth of experience is there to keep

  • it's good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:41PM (#15729406) Journal
    Hey, there's a mistake in the summary - this is good for the consumeres.

    Finally the industry is discovering that making a sequel of a sequel of some old game is not a receipe for success. Of course Fallout N will sell good like hell. But at the end some companies will die. But most importantly a few other companies will succesfully create a new franchise, that will be good. And will have not only graphics, but the storyline. It's competition guys. Competition is always good for consumers, and bad for companies that fail to innovate.

    That makes me think that they do not compete with themselves but with the hardware. Kinda funny if you asked me.
    • Why is storyline important? Let me list some games which are pretty widely accepted to be "great":

      Pacman
      Super Mario Bros
      Tetris
      Lumines
      The various Burnout titles
      Sonic (the original ones)
      Gran Turismo
      Crazy Taxi
      Nintendogs
      Mario Party
      Guitar Hero
      DDR ... I could go on ...

      Now, how important is storyline to any of the above? Sure a good story is vital to certain genres - obviously RPGs, also FPSs to a lesser extent. But there are plenty of great games out there, even many absolute classics, which have no story whatsoe
    • Finally the industry is discovering that making a sequel of a sequel of some old game is not a receipe for success.

      Actually it was a sequel, to a sequel, of a clone, of an expansion, to a sequel, of a derivative, of a 1996 original. The whole game is usually built on a five year old engine from the company that made the product, that inspired the competitor of the expansion. Not the clone of course! That would just be silly. The clone came out three years after the original expansion and competitor had fini

  • Ultimately, the video game industry will correct itself through market selection.

    If newer systems with fancier graphics and capabilities require more development time and cost, development houses will take fewer risks and innovation will suffer. Those systems will eventually die out in the market as people lose interest.

    But if other newer systems come along and don't require more development time or cost due to smart development tools and SDK/platform, the development houses won't have to avoid taking risk
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:42PM (#15729412) Homepage

    The industry is trying to move to a higher price point. And that's just not going to happen.

    It's quite possible that the Xbox 360 and PS3, and their games, will sell slowly at their higher price points, and won't go mainstream until the prices come down, which could take years. The PS2 is still outselling the XBox 360. Microsoft caught up with demand, and nobody cared.

  • by gasmonso (929871) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:43PM (#15729416) Homepage

    What I find facinating is how companies change the way they do things when they get popular. They forget what made them popular in the first place. My company is a prime example. We we extremely successful and thus bought by a huge company. The first thing they did is change the way we did things... not realizing that the reason they bought us in the first place is that we were already doing things right. Very strange indeed.

    As for the video game industry, I see a trend of going back to the basics with respects to gameplay. All this push to make super realistic movie like games is just not working yet.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
    • by IANAAC (692242) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @06:37PM (#15729607)
      We we extremely successful and thus bought by a huge company. The first thing they did is change the way we did things... not realizing that the reason they bought us in the first place is that we were already doing things right. Very strange indeed.

      You don't mention what industry you're in, but buyouts rarely happen solely on the success of the company being purchased. Most likely it's simply your product that the parent company wants. Could be for IP purposes or to remove a competing product from the market.

      Either way, and having been through a couple buyouts myself, the reason they changed the way you did things was to match their corporate culture, not the other way around.

  • multiplatform original IP

    The real risk and reward comes from SINGLE-platform ventures. This way you get to make the absolute best game for the platform you've chosen. You use its performance hardware, user interface, network connections, etc to the best of your ability.

    With all this multiplatform crap going around, we're stuck with the lowest common denominator in all our games.

    Basically this was an anti-console rant by a PC gamer who's sick of shallow PC ports of console games that suck because they were
  • Wasn't this thing same they were saying when the video game industry was making the transition to the PlayStation 2, XBox, GameCube and GameBoy Advance? (BTW, the PC is dead, dead, and dead!) When I was working at Infogrames (now Atari), the fad back then was for the publishers to release versions of the same title for all the platforms. Talk about crapware flooding the market. I don't think that will work this time around as Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony are going in such different directions that the publi
  • by MrNash (907751) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:52PM (#15729464) Homepage

    It's funny that these opinion pieces continue to crop up, where all they do is criticize what is wrong with the industry. Sure there are tons of sequels, certain games are going to cost more in the future, and there are plenty of other far from pleasant possibilities on the horizon, but there can be plenty of positives too. However, most magazines would rather A) focus on Big Game Franchise X cover stories, and B) complain instead of showcasing things that are interesting.

    At the end of the day, magazines and web sites are conduits to much of the game info that is out there, thusly helping to shape a lot of its readers' tastes, as well as often indirectly instilling interest in new areas of gaming. On the rare occasion, there'll be an interesting bit in a mag or on a site that focuses on aspects of the industry that could rejuvenate, or at least provide an acceptable alternative to, what this op-ed chastizes, but often times these mags simply don't go that route.

    One could argue that they do this because they are just giving their readers what they want, but if readers aren't exposed to obscure game / trend X, how do they know if they want it or not in the first place?

  • The specs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The specs are what really are going to kill the gaming industry. A one and half year old computer is no longer good if you want to play some of the newer games. And the major nuissance is when the package says Windows XP only. I might have become a senile old fart, but what exactly is it that you can do on Windows XP and can't do on Windows 2000 when it comes to gaming (well, obviously play Windows XP only games, but that's not the answer I'm looking for)?
  • Sigh... (Score:3, Informative)

    by CaseM (746707) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:53PM (#15729470)
    Yes, the industry is "broken" because games get larger and larger and require huge budgets and thousands of man hours to complete...so the little guys are shut out because they can't compete or lack said budgets and the pubs don't want to take a risk...blah blah blah...

    With the next generation development costs are increasing rapidly

    So go develop a DS game or something for the XBox Live Arcade that's fun and original, and then you can get your funding, FFS. If you really have something insanely fun and interesting then you'll have no problem getting backing for it. Do it on a smaller scale and watch the doors open for the bigger deals. What the hell is an unproven "independent" trying to accomplish by making a $20 million game, anyway? Prove that you're worth the money and publishers will make sure your game gets to market...it's not like they don't fund all sorts of crap that sells anyway (see any of the Matrix franchise games for examples of this).

    Growing the market - Where will the growth come from? Will the size of the hardcore audience suddenly double and triple or do we need the broad base of the mainstream to grow the business? The answer is obvious and so far the winners seem to be Microsoft with Xbox Live Arcade and possibly Nintendo with its easy to use and enjoy Wii games.

    Again, sigh....this guys has answered his own damn question.
    • And the funny thing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @07:13PM (#15729716)
      Is smaller companies CAN compete. Nobody said it was easy, but then nobody said it was supposed to be. On the PC market we see a small but thriving indy games scene. As the most successful receant example see Galactic Civilizations 2. It is the game Master of Orion 3 should have been, and because of that it's sold quite well (if you don't have it, get a copy, it's well worht it). You also discover, when you persue these Stardock people, that they've got a little system set up where you can buy a bunch of other indy games easily, you just pay and downlaod through their little tool. More research will show they aren't the only place doing this. Ok so you don't tend to see them on Walmart shelves (other than Gciv2) but that doesn't mean they aren't out there making money.

      Consoles are harder, but even then, it happens. See Marble Blast Ultra for the X-box 360. Marble Blast is just a little "roll the ball through mazes" 3D game for the PC/Mac from Garage Games (another site you can get multiple indy games off of). However it is enough fun that MS decided it would make a good game for X-box Arcade and thus we now have Marble Blast Ultra.

      Are people becomming mega-millionaires off of this? No, but then I don't think that's the only measure of success. I think if you can make a game that people like to play, and make money doing it, you've succeded. Apparantly that can be done indy, despite the current game market.
  • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aphrika (756248) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:53PM (#15729473)
    ...it's heading the way of the movie industry and the music industry then? Lack of imagination, repatitive themes, form over function, soaring production costs and focus on brand rather than content... sounds familiar?

    If you look at it that way, then it's not surprising. Although that said, the recent bedroom musician/indie film producer model means that we'll hopefully see a more gung-ho type of do-it-yourself game writing in the future.
  • by MindPrison (864299) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @06:05PM (#15729507) Journal
    ...much closer!

    Graphics cards are faster, stronger and more powerful than ever. Some years ago when Virtual Reality
    where introduced - it lagged BIG time, it was however revolutionary - all the rage...and only
    the worlds hottest shopping-malls got it back then, but it quickly died because the games where simple
    and very boring except for the virtual reality immersion.

    The technology for virtual reality just wasn't there yet, but behold...we're THERE NOW!

    Just take a look at your own pc's gfx cards with their 1680 x 1050 resolution for your widescreen that
    you can't see the pixels on more (from a meters distance) anyway... imagine two of these cards
    and two seriously high-res mini OLED displays in your glasses and we're in business.

    Virtual reality online gaming also needed the bandwith - and it's only recently we've
    gotten this.

    The technology is dirt cheap too! Mobile cell phones already come with high-res Oled displays
    and you could create higher-res oled displays fit for "VR-Glasses" already...heck...they even
    exist today in 800 x 600...even higher if I'm not entirely mistaken. And they're NOT expensive.

    So get cracking! Take a chance - make the VR games right now!
    • Some of us are... :)
    • If you think that graphics power is the limiting factor in VR, think again. VR has never required more than double the power (typically using two video cards) of a desktop machine to achieve equally good graphics. The major costs are in:

      1) Head mounted displays: Two small, high-res displays attached to your head requiring full video bandwidth.
      2) Tracking systems. VR isn't much fun unless the HMD and some sort of glove or stylus is accurately tracked in real time.

      Besides these systems being expensive, they'r
    • So get cracking! Take a chance - make the VR games right now!

      I think that it'll take atleast 2 more console generations before it hits consoles. PCs could do it, but it would cost an arm & a leg. VR head sets aren't as cheap as you think. I've looked into them at they are $600-800 min. I wanted something like a VR headset just for a normal computer monitor and watching videos listening to audio on. From what I've read, the tech isn't there to do daily computer work. You develop eye strain after just a f
  • This will mean decreased risk taking and just regurgitated sequels of big brand franchises

    Just like Disney does with movies? *
    (Once video games became big business, the "big players" have tried running operations like a generic entertainment industry offering)

    * Disney just announced [dailynews.com] it slashes new releases to 8 per year.

  • Correct. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by goltrpoat (944891)
    As far as gamedev articles posted to Slashdot go, this one is the first one in years where the author actually has a clue what they're talking about. Many people in the industry have been making similar points for a couple of years now, myself included. One of the points ("increased risk means decreased creativity") has been valid much longer, and is the primary reason for the current consolidation trend -- big companies trying to hedge their bets and spread the risk amongst as many projects and studios a
  • by Ingolfke (515826)
    This is self correcting. Either small companies or enterprising product managers in large companies will take advantage of the high cost low play quality games and will offer a lower cost option that plays great or people will quit upgrading, some companies will go out of business, and the games will correct towards playability. All of this assumes that playability is what everyone wants... although it seems that the Wii, X-Box 360, PS3, etc. aren't actually emphasizing the playability of the games that m
  • The game industry is not all that broken. It's simply stratifying, and if anything, there are wonderful new opportunities that game developers never had before. To be a console developer on the PS/2, for example, you had to ship a retail title. This is a huge investment, because there is a cost of goods, a large licensing fee to Sony, there is a cost to rent shelf space, and there is a cost to marketing to let people to know to go to the tsore. However, on the Xbox 360, you can download games, and if th
  • First of all, the game industry is trying to sell essentially the same games over and over, with a new twist here or a new gadget there (to use a fitting Simpsons quote: "But with a new hat"), but the game stays the same. What's the big difference between Quake III and IV? What's the selling statement to convince me to buy NHL 2006 when I have NHL 2005?

    Earlier "sequels" were different games. Not only new graphics. Diablo II was a completely different beast than its prequel. Yes, both had the hack-n-slash el
  • runs on the quake4 engine... basically no character development - all one liners which are not funny - let duke nukem handle the one liners please.

    and lets not even go talking about EA and their current state of unaffairs.... but personally, I think delivering lots of bugs into BF2 is a great way to make people want to switch to BF 2145 when that comes out.

    • Doom 3 engine, actually. I'll bet you ten bucks that Prey's design didn't change much since they started working on it in 1995, and that's why it is so horrible by today's standards. They got an updated engine for it, but it's still basically a 1995 game. And we all know how far we've come since then. Of course you're going to think a 1995 game is kinda bad now.

      I'm afraid I don't follow your logic concerning Battlefield 2, though. It shipped with tons of bugs, and that fact is going to make people want
  • and we want our story back. Then at least we would have one story to turn into a movie.
  • Nintendos' Wii (Score:2, Insightful)

    This is why the Wii will take the lead in sales with the coming generation of consoles. The development kit is cheap and rather than companies spending millions on pushing graphics to the max they are more focused on game design. The console is also signifficantly cheaper than Sony and Micosofts offerings so game companies could sell more.
    • I have to agree with you on this one. I haven't bought a new console since the SNES and I'm seriously considering picking up the Wii. I just looks like fun and I won't need a DVD/HD-DVD/BluRay Player for another year or two anyway.
  • There will always be some games that have a crappy story but what I think is really killing the game industry is the poor programming job that many of the game companies do. I just got Half-Life 2: Episode I and for some reason if I want to load any saved game auto or quick save the game will refuse to load it and crash. This really sux since the game crashes all the time during normal game play. I cannt get through an hour of game play without it crashing im giving up on the game no more value games for me
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @06:58PM (#15729676)
    I really cannot remember the last time I actually bought a newly released game at full price within days or even weeks of its release. Why should I?


    For starters, I don't read many reviews any more because I don't buy computer magazines any more. In the UK, most computer magazines seem to "magically" have the same cover price of around £6.00 - on the basis of mounting a cover CD or DVD that holds demos & patches that I can download myself; not that I ever play demos anyway because otherwise I'd be deinstalling as quickly as I'm installing and screwing up Windows XP in the process. I regularly read Gamespot reviews for PC and Gamecube games but when I look through their "All Time Best Games" tables for both formats, modern games rarely appear in those tables.


    Going on from that, because I care more about gameplay than graphics, I buy PC budget games and visit eBay or the local games shop to buy used Gamecube titles - simply because I am not paying full price for a game that throws pretty in game animations at me but little gameplay. Now I can pick up more than enough good games for either format for around £5 apiece, I'm happy waiting for a year or two - especially with PC games where they've been patched enough after that time to actually be playable.


    Furthermore, the games industry is obsessed with 3D graphics to the point where some excellent titles have become unplayable dross when transferred from sprites to 3D graphics. Heroes Of Might & Magic is an excellent example of this - a superb strategy game up until HOMM3, then came 3D graphics in HOMM4 and the interface started to feel slow and cumbersome, now in HOMM5 the 3D graphics are fully in there (yes, you can even step into each battle you fight) but it's appalingly bloated. The same has been true for C&C /Red Alert and whilst I love Warcraft II & Starcraft, I've never been near Warcraft III.


    As for FPS games, Half-Life is probably the best game I've ever played but I've never touched Half-Life 2 because I'm not giving Valve the honour of installing their Steam spyware on my PC - I don't care how good the game is. Besides, Counterstrike & Unreal Tournament 2004 have given me hundreds of hours of fun and still continue to do so.


    So, all-in-all, I've a large *totally legal* games collection that I'm still working my way through on the PC and Gamecube plus I can also emulate Amigas, Megadrives & N64s on my PC so I can also have fun with retrogaming and mess around with a whole heap of free games in Windows or Linux also - so why would I *want* to go back into the endless hardware upgrade loop just to play a few new games that each cost £30-£40?

    • As for FPS games, Half-Life is probably the best game I've ever played but I've never touched Half-Life 2 because I'm not giving Valve the honour of installing their Steam spyware on my PC - I don't care how good the game is.

      Half-Life 2 is the best game I've ever played. You're missing out.

    • Sad bit of work there.

      Just because the graphics have updated you won't allow yourself to move up the gaming ladder? Warcraft III is a great game regardless of it's 3D nature. In fact it gains a bit through that since the MOD scene on it has much more leeway in what goes on in design, looks, and gameplay. Just look at some of the mods at battle.net, or even just the most popular one, DotA. These mods are well worth the money paid for the game, and learning to play the regular game itself is a good part too.
    • I don't buy computer magazines any more. In the UK, most computer magazines seem to "magically" have the same cover price of around £6.00 - on the basis of mounting a cover CD or DVD


      Actually, no. They 'magically' have the same price because most of them are owned by the same publisher (Ziff Davis). There is very little competition in the UK computer-related magazine market these days - ZD have bought most of it.
    • Edge is £4 and has far better reviews than Gamespot.
    • you should check out sites like www.gametunnel.com plenty of small indie games without whizz bang 3D, and with demos, that you might enjoy.
  • There's obviously going to be good games and not so good games, but the biggest problem is the increasing demand of super graphics. My impressions tell me that previous reviews focused a lot more on the story, playability and addictiveness of a game. Now it seems like reviewers take on the graphics more and more, as if it was a necessity. I find it sad that it's - as far as I can tell - impossible to get a top score with mediocre graphics. I'm not saying that graphics aren't important, but I do think that t
  • There are some simple things to do that can fix the industry

    Voices: First get rid of all the actors and actresses doing voice work, nobody else cares if Alec Balwin is doing the voice of bobo the clown in Flaming Death Racer 2k6, so why should the publisher.

    Visuals: Get rid of the lame ass cinematics that delay the games for a year. Most everyone skips after the first time and many dont watch at all. If you really need a cinematic intro or cut scene render it in game and show off your ai skills rather tha
  • It will all change (Score:4, Informative)

    by RyoShin (610051) <[tukaro] [at] [gmail.com]> on Sunday July 16, 2006 @07:20PM (#15729737) Homepage Journal
    The availability of online services for all three next-gen titles will help ramp up creativity. If the companies are smart, they can release "mini" dev kits, and liscense content for cheap (or free!) online distribution. It would be great to see would-be developers crank out a level for a potential game (probably with dumbed-down graphics and no voice acting/SFX) and let people play it and see if they would be interested in playing more. If so, then they have more of a reason to continue with this original idea and put out a full fledged game. Or, for smaller developers, make a longer, better game, stick it on the online portion of a console(s), and if it sells well then they can go on to make a full game with industry backing.

    The Wii itself is going to be helping the little guy. While we can expect a plethora of FPS and Lightsaber games (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease), the dev kit for the Wii is a mere $2000! This means that a group of friends (or another small, interested party) who really want to get into this can pool their money and get some capitol from a rich uncle to start creating something.
  • Once a market becomes dominated by a few big players, it stops being innovative. Look at the kind of services we would have gotten if AOL and Compuserve had continued to dominate on-line services. Or look at what Microsoft has done to the PC industry.

    Fortunately, the gaming industry won't stay this way: with graphics hardware and tool prices coming down, more and more people will be able to enter the industry again, and there is little reason why a single company should be able to dominate it, like Micros
  • A crisis is brewing in the middle east as lebanon and Israel renew hostilities. A crisis is what's happening in darfur. A crisis is the shit that's going on in our own federal government that's screwing over the common man and giving the wealth more and more money.

    The computer gaming industry collapsing because of it's own inability to innovate? I hardly call that a crisis.
    • So, video games aren't allowed to have a crisis until [insert-unrelated-but-more-important-subjects] finish theirs? Read the tag line for this website again, we aren't here to talk about world events or, except in very specific senses, the US government. Yes, the video game industry is having a crisis; if you feel it is not important enough to discuss in the face of other topics then why the fuck are you here wasting your time complaining about it?
  • Yes it is broken. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stumbles (602007) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @07:49PM (#15729813)
    Which is why I have not played a video game for 3 years or more. There are only so many ways you can kill an alien, make gobs of tanks and over run your enemy, lurk under the waves looking for fat cargo carriers to sink, fly bombing/raid/dogfight missions, steal a car and shag a hooker, kill a cop, kill your enemies/mate over the Internet and on and on. If it wasn't for the huge advances in eye candy, there would be very very little to distinguish game play of all video games over the past 10 years.

    Making me pay to join an on line gaming sever is not the answer when the game is no better than off-line. While playing against a real person on the other end can be entertaining, it for sure is not worth the fees charged.

    And then there is the sequel because they haven't yet sucked out enough money on some hit game is not the answer.

    What the gaming industry is experiencing is no more and no less the same as that of the video media. There is so much drivel and mind bogglingly inane stuff on the tube you can tell it was only created just to fill time. But then, that always happens when big business get involved.

  • I'm calling bull-. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quaunaut (970199) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @08:08PM (#15729860)
    Biggest sack of crap I've heard of. Innovation happens quite often in games, and the only people who dare say that the industry only pumps out 'the same titles over and over' are those who don't understand how the entertainment system works. A music analogy was made before, about this article: The music industry is the current entertainment giant moneymaker. The main places to make cash in it pump out the same crap over and over- Gangsta Rap that focuses on the glamour, not the reality, pop stars who strip to sell records, and rock bands that use gimmicky riffs and lots of macho yelling, will always be a great place to make money. Does that mean its the best? No, of course not. Hence why there is a large indie scene, and why salsa music is still seen in Tower Records- people do buy it, just not in the large quantities of the other stuff. Sure, back in the day every developer tried to do something new...oh, wait. No, they never did. Developers have copied and copied to make money since the inception of the medium, its just that their getting better at it now to the point that at least when they copy, its still entertaining- and who is to say thats bad? Digressing, also note that much like the music industry, the games industry houses a very resourceful and powerful indie scene, that grows more every year- large independant works making it onto Steam is particularly encouraging thing(as they will all be seen by the millions amassed who play CS and CS:S until the sun arises the next day), and many of the larger development studios seem to be taking risks in places that they usually wouldn't. The large commercial success of more artistic titles, like Shadow of the Collossus, is occuring more often. And in the future, games like Assassin's Creed, Bioshock, and the entire existence of the Wii console(which people keep forgetting about, despite the fact that the average American has even been alerted to this new type of gaming system soon coming out on the market) almost ensure that innovation is not something that will be forgotten just because there is money to be made. Game Developers still make games- I don't know any suits just yet who know how to program, or know anything about art. I'm pretty sure were working just fine. :P
  • by mgabrys_sf (951552) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @08:18PM (#15729884) Journal
    Every summer the same tired shit is rolled out by the press which has little to cover, and much to harp about. It's called "writer earning a paycheck time" again. This time it's particularly accute because it's a platform swapping year (or two) and transitions mean developers in the middle of a 2 year cycle. The video game industry was broken just before GTA3, just before Quake III, just before Doom (really broken before Doom because the Jaguar was on the skids, the 3do was a flop, and NEC's offering was going down in flames etc), just before Zelda & Mario 64 - anyone noticing a trend here?

    Just like console cycles, the industry has it's creative cycles as well. Then some dev group or a new band of kids throws something on a new hardware platform and it's OMG "they're turning our kids into zombies" and "evercrack is taking over the world". And for those lamenting sequals, um - that's what Nintendo's been banking on for the last 26 years as far as Mario and Link are concerned. For every Nintendogs there's also a new metroid pinball. Surprise surprise. News flash! Dirt is brown! Water is Wet! - put that baby in 50pt Helvetica and slap it on the cover of the June issue.

    My next prediction? Watch this November when the same salaried press-fuckers will be touting gaming's new "renaissance". NOW whose being jaded?

    ME! You don't have to be a former member of a press-club to spew this rant - but it HELPS.

    (it also helps to try to imagine the writer quitting smoking while typing this)
  • I looked to much forward to the XBox 360 but it simply failed to impress me. Same old same old. Just better graphics apperently but that is lost on me. What is not lost on me are the increased game proces and even worse the huge game load times making me long for the good old Nintendo game cartidges.

    As long as companies insist to create artificial business plans they will suffer the consequences. Game consoles are sold below cost just so they can start making money on the games. Therefore you need to be aut
  • One way to kill the Hollywood mindset of regurgitating sequels for a safe bet because of compromise of innovation to hedge bets against huge development costs, is to open console games up to user modification. This is going to HAVE to happen for consoles; it has been propping up the PC game market a considerable more than some developers might be willing to admit.

    Mods and Cheats need to be built in to console games.

    The difficult thing, is to convince financiers wanting to 'own' a franchise, that this is
  • by crhylove (205956)
    How many craptastic sequels to games that sucked initially did it take to realize this?

    The cool thing is, companies still come out with anything good at all:

    SAN ANDREAS!

    And more importantly:
    http://www.sa-mp.com/ [sa-mp.com]

    rhY

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