What’s ailing the gaming industry?

This article got me thinking. In a well-thought out piece GamerSushi writer Eddy points out five aspects in the gaming industry he feels are tearing the gaming community apart.

These five points are reviews, prices, hype, copycat games and fanboys.

Reviews:

It has been said before, and it is worth repeating: the review system for video games is currently broken. When did a 7 or an 8 become a mediocre score? At what point did this become the “fail” point for most gamers?

When a new game cost $60 plus tax reviews are going to play a major role in consumer purchase decisions. Reviews are a major leg in my game-buying stool (the others being demos, developer reputation and gameplay videos). I can’t afford to spend my game budget on a sub-par game.

But games have to be difficult to review since the experience depends on player interaction. You get what you put in. To those who fret over a particular score your favorite game received: are you so insecure that other people have to like what you like in order for you to feel validated?

Too much emphasis is placed on that little number beside the game’s title when the body of the review is what’s really important. I’m sure many reviewers just hate settling on a score, knowing they will get lambasted by fanboys no matter what how they mark a game.

And reviewers bring some of this pressure on themselves by rating games on a 1-10 scale. Some even dell out decimal points, in practice stretching out the scale from 1 to 100. That is ridiculous. How is it that movie critics are able to convey more meaning with only five stars?

Prices:

I understand that you want to make your money back, EA, but you should not ask gamers to pay $60 bucks (plus $10-$20 for DLC) for a game like Mirror’s Edge that can be easily bested in about 4 or 5 hours.

Spot on! Games are WAY too expensive. Developers put undue pressure on themselves because we can’t afford to take chances on lesser-known  and games, thus fueling our reliance on  reviews and their reliance on massive marketing budgets.

And game prices seem to NEVER go down. A new game is always $60 no matter how popular it is. I don’t know how much profit publishers make off of each disc, but you would imagine that if a game was not selling well at $60 they might lower the price and make up the difference with volume. I wont buy Quantum of Solace for $60, but I might think about it for $40.

Hype:

Is it just me, or has gaming journalism gotten out of hand? The thing that people don’t seem to realize is that pageviews equal dollars for these bigger sites with big advertising deals. The nastier or more provocative the headline (even if it is misleading), the more pageviews, the more money in the site’s pockets.

That’s how this Internet business works until someone can come up with a better way to monetize it. But this is more of an indictment of the mainstream game media than of hype itself. Hype may raise expectations, but doesn’t lessen my enjoyment when I actually get to play a game.

I don’t really buy into the pre-release hype or the post-release bickering. Before a game comes out the hype is just the chatter of hopeful gamers and eager-to-please designers. After the game comes out it is promptly destroyed by people who gain a sense of superiority by tearing something else down.

It is an example of game media stumbling over themselves in an effort to scoop each other, more comical than detrimental to the industry (if anything it sells games).

Copycat Games:

The name of the game in the industry this gen has been playing it safe. Because games cost so much money to make, the investments are that much bigger, and the risks are that much smaller. A lack of risk-taking leaves you with, unfortunately, more of the same cookie-cutter games we’ve always seen.

Too true. But it’s not a problem if you just don’t buy the copycat games. But there are really only so many different types of games. FPS, RPG, strategy, platformer, etc. The best they can hope to do is add a new mechanic that somehow makes an old concept seem fresh again.

Fanboys:

Prodding fanboys with sensational headlines is an easy tool for sites to gather pageviews. Trying to land the next big hit has developers afraid to take risks, which leads to gamers viciously clinging to the few original IPs that they have in vehement defense of their console. Heightening game prices makes people desperate for their console choice to be “right” (see Sony fanboys’ blind defense of Killzone 2… before it has even been released), and dishing out high scores to console exclusives (see inflated scores for any game in the Halo franchise) gets the discussion rolling all over again, which brings us full circle to pageviews.

I don’t understand the need for people to be so loyal to billion dollar corporations. What have they done for you lately besides take your money? Just be happy with your purchase, and play the games you love. And most of all… Chill. The. Hell. Out.

Can’t really add much to this. I agree wholeheartedly.

So what do you guys think? Are these unfavorable elements part of gaming to stay? Are they blown out of proportion by bloggers like me? Is there any way to mitigate them?

5 Things Hurting the Video Game Industry | GamerSushi.


GameGrep

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