Gaming throughout the years has been evolving drastically, and in the last few years the market saw a growth unlike anything we’ve seen before. Ever since the release of the Wii Console by Nintendo, gaming has penetrated the entertainment market and targeted it as a whole segment, rather than try to attract the casual gaming segment within the market. What Nintendo managed to do in a short time span was to bring to light the gaming industry as being for everyone. Nowadays Microsoft and Sony followed the trails left behind by Nintendo, learned from some of their mistakes, and even went out of their way to lay their own cards on the table, and these three giants collectively generate as much impact on the economy as the Movie Industry. Game Publishers are the ones to enjoy the success from blockbuster titles, whilst the talents behind the games have to settle for a mediocre low percentage royalty from the games’ profits. The problem nowadays is the sense of urgency publishers give developers (being small, medium, or large). The tendency that publishers have, so as to release a title just in time for the holidays or during peak gaming season, so they can squeeze every last penny from the title, regardless the quality of the final product. Games feel rushed at times, and feel ‘incomplete’, and this does not happen only with titles created by small developers, but also those created by the big names. The only difference, in this instance, is that small and medium sized development teams will have a great idea backed up by a small budget and little time frame to work with, and the end product will eventually bust the team, because the majority of the profits is going to the publisher, who ran the title to the ground in the first place. In fact greed from publishers has stirred up a lot of media attention ever since the ‘Infinity ward vs Activision’ falling took place, and it’s a prime example of how development teams are pressured and taken advantage of, and good titles are milked dry to an extent that soul and feel of the game is literally non existent in the sequels. Publishers nowadays have full creative control over the gaming market, and tend to invest in the same repetitive nonsense rather than opt for a lucrative idea (which might just catch on). Take Guitar Hero for example, Activision pushed the series to the limit, right until it met its demise. This might be the reason why sometimes I opt for the underdog, that title that no one talks about, without any flashy logos upfront and not much media hype behind them.
I might sound a bit too harsh at times in judging the big names, but to be brutally honest we came to a point were all new releases, aren’t in fact NEW releases, but simply a bastard child of something once innovative and awesome. But the big greedy publishers aren’t the only ones at fault here, the gaming community (excluding hard core gamers) tend to prioritize titles with a name behind them, even if it might be a heaping pile of garbage, as long as the title is big, consumers don’t care. Look at what EA did two years ago, they ventured in the unknown with Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge, and all they got in return was mediocre sales and loss in credibility. So I have a message to everyone out there reading this article, give indie games and underdogs a chance, try something new for once, before the only games available on the shelves are three different shades of boring.
Written By, Matthew C.