As an avid gamer I have a lot of mixed feelings about the trajectory and future of the gaming industry. On the one hand, games are breaking many barriers within the realm of technological advancement and size of player base. They are setting records with respect to sales and logged hours of playtime. Games are becoming more engaging with expansive worlds, new genres, characters, and grander more epic stories. Some have said that video games are the truest art form because music, storytelling, acting, creativity, and technology all converge for a brilliant mixture and representation of human achievement and expression. So video games are becoming and have become one of the greatest expressions of human ingenuity, innovation, and discovery. But on the other hand, certain black eyes that would be considered unforgivable and even un-survivable in other industries have become commonplace. From broken and buggy launches, to the “over-monetization” of mobile games, to the pre-order hype machine that lures players to commit to extra content prior to playing a game, and the new strange practice of review embargoes, the industry has some serious problems.
What I would like to do is talk about some of these problems in two categories. First, I would like to talk about the problems inside the games themselves. This could range from content, innovation, storytelling, all the way to how games incentivize player behavior within the worlds they create. Second, I want to talk about the problems outside of the games. What I mean by “outside of the games” is the gaming industry and the gaming community. This could range from corporate deadlines, strained creativity, lack of adequate product testing, hateful player behavior, all the way to the deliberate misleading of the community with hype and dishonest sales tactics. I am going to break this into separate pieces with the following titles:
“Inside Video Games: Where did the fun go?” – I will discuss how many games are focusing primarily on addictive behavior rather than on innovation and fun.
“Inside Video Games: Incentivizing Behavior Pt 1 and Pt 2 ” – I will talk about how big titles like Call of Duty and Destiny are creating their own problems and fractured communities by incentivizing the wrong behavior.
“Inside Video Games: Where is my content?” – I will look at the now accepted standards of DLC used to disguise what amounts to game subscription costs and why more content is vitally important.
“Outside Video Games: Creativity Killers” – We will think through how certain corporate structures and habits are killing creativity and thus diluting giant successful titles that may soon fade away.
“Outside Video Games: Play Your Own Games” – I will charge gaming companies with more robust and transparent product testing by launching Betas and Alphas to the community ensuring games launch more smoothly.
“Outside Video Games: Agile vs Waterfall Development” – As a software development laymen I will attempt to put forth what I see as the way forward for more stable, versatile, expandable, and player-loyal games.
Agree, disagree, or have thoughts of your own? Share in the comments below.