Game Industry Future?

7 07 2012

I wanted to make a short blog on the future of our beloved game industry (or at least my thoughts and opinions). I hope to start some dialogue with this posting, as this topic is usually at the forefront of my mind most of the time and I would like to hear other peoples opinions. That being said, I feel we are on the cusp of a massive and dramatic change. I feel conflicted by this, because as I see it physical video game media as we know it is probably about to die (or at least become a lot less common).

I feel both sad/happy about the apparent future of our industry. Any child of the 80’s will tell you about their passionate memories of their first Atari 2600, or playing Mario on their Nintendo until it was broken (except for the magic trick of blowing into the cartridge). Then the ungodly hours lost playing RPG’s and fighting games on an SNES or Sega. Unfortunately, as it appears the direction our medium is going, the physical game product in your home is headed towards extinction. I believe it will be similar to what Netflix did to Blockbuster. With skyrocketing development/production costs, developers/publishers have to change their business models. Its been happening for some time now, but this is the first that by and large the industry is really addressing it.

As I stated I’m also excited, mainly because I see the home consoles following the PC business model. Can you imagine? a home console where you purchase games with the efficiency of something akin to Steam? Most recently, Sony purchased Gaikai a cloud based video game streaming company. Naturally people are predicting the future is just streaming all of your video games to any device from some remote location. While nice in a futuristic utopian sense, I still feel that is a long time from now. Can you imagine every user on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network simultaneously trying to stream HD video games through the internet? I would bet a fair amount of money it would be a catastrophic failure.

In closing, there is a lot of conjecture out there on what Sony and Microsoft will do next. Personally, I’m ready for change…. sorry Gamestop, you had a good run but it’s time to move on (next blockbuster). Given the volatile nature of how quickly our industry changes, I hope we as an industry majority are ready for it. I would hate to personally witness a recreation of the infamous 80’s crash. Time to think outside the box and be flexible for the next big thing as an industry. It’s always as it has been, a sink or swim scenario.




4 responses

9 07 2012

My fear is for Nintendo and it’s future. If they don’t start stepping up to the plate with their technology, they may end up like SEGA: no more consoles, just games. Which in turn wouldn’t be horrible, but that would be a massive blow to the bottom line.

The WiiU’s giant controller is an interesting concept: having a map, HUD etc with easier access is an interesting idea, but trying to piggy back off the the success of already released games (*cough*Batman*cough*) gives me the willies. Does Virtual Boy ring a bell to anyone? I get that vibe for the WiiU.

Plus, I’m not about to drop another 300 bucks for a system I’ll use for 6 months just because there’s two new features for a game I already own on another console. Kind of reminds me when DLC’s started out, this character is exclusive DLC to this platform only so buy all of them! Ah, I wish.

At least they’ll keep the very casual gamer happy, maybe.

9 07 2012
Randen Dunlap

Yes those are some of my concerns as well. However, if there is one company in our industry that can ‘go against the grain’ so to speak, it’s definitely Nintendo. Now first let me start off by saying that I don’t exactly have a lot of faith for the WiiU as it stands, but keep in mind a good portion of the industry all predicted the Wii would fail. Turned out to be the best selling console of this console generation. However, it completely bottomed out later because there was practically no good 3rd party support, almost all 1st party games.

Honestly I hope Nintendo is successful in marketing an HD console, mainly because I’d like to see them get back into the game of appealing to their old hardcore loyal fan base (aka me). I do have my reservations about their new console however, mainly because I think that the market doesn’t need or want just another HD machine (even if it has some weird gimmicky controller screen). It almost feels like a desperate attempt to put something out that is HD before Sony and Microsoft release their next consoles (If they even turn out to be the consoles we are assuming they will be). All in all, I feel Nintendo is a victim of their own success, and that is why they have a stagnant IP line. They have over-saturated the market with Mario, Zelda, and all of their similar products that have been around for generations. They have almost literally fostered almost no new IP!

In closing, as I stated previously Nintendo has always cut their own path. This time though I think the industry is changing in such a way that I don’t know if it will be enough.

12 07 2012

God, I hope Steam crushes the life out of GameStop. GameStop games are NEVER on sale, and even their used games are freaking expensive compared to the incredible discounts Steam offers at a fairly reliable rate. While I think we’re still some time away from an all-digital future, it’s nice to see some companies starting to offer incentives to buy digital downloads. SEGA, for example, sold the Steam version of Sonic Generations for $20 less than the Xbox and PS3 versions from day one. We need more of this.

13 07 2012
Randen Dunlap

I think it is inevitable, I also cannot wait for Gamestop to perish. They are literally a parasite on the industry, finagling hard earned dollars from publishers and developers. All the while pointing blame at the industry and not themselves. They will be the new blockbuster.

While it is hard to say when the “digital” future will arrive, I think it is quickly approaching. Time will tell, and it will mostly depend on what Sony and Microsoft decide to do.

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