I often think to myself about the “state of the industry” and where it is heading without all of the veil over the eye bullshit. With every single state of the industry blog post from someone within the industry, or by a journalist it all seems to say the same thing: “it is headed in the right direction”. The question I want to raise is it ACTUALLY heading where they say it is? Gartner Group figures that by 2015 the gaming industry as a whole will have $100 BILLION in revenue, which is not that bad considering most years it is a somewhat incline upwards.
However, there is one thing that worries me most about our industry, and that is the seemingly consistent closures of companies: Zipper Interactive, Rockstar Vancouver, Big Huge Games and the recent closures at EA plus MANY more. As a Game Designer myself, this worries me more than any of this bullshit that people are writing; as our beloved industry does not look like one that is growing, it looks like it is in peril. There is a ton of evidence that supports that it is, not just the fact that some of the best studios are closing.
One of the major things to take into consideration is the lack of original IP’s; yes we do have a good flow of them, but not as many as we should. I am a firm believer that if something is not broke then do not fix it, but when we have a constant influx of games that are in a year round cycle it becomes boring. I am not sure what worries me more in this case; the fact that gamers are often redundant or they are more afraid to try new things.
Another example is that games are trying too damn hard; do you know what the last game with an actual HARD difficulty I played was? It just so happened to be Call of Duty: World at War on Veteran; I have not felt THAT much anger (albeit good anger) towards a game since the Sega Genesis Shinobi. I have even played Dark Souls, and while it was difficult it did not offer any sense of urgency that I felt with arguably the best Call of Duty game. Now, the date I beat CoD:WaW on Veteran was back in 2009. Four very long years of feeling a great despair and a huge lack of challenge in my gaming world; what the hell happened? I must be the only one who feels games are just getting way too damn easy, and reward for doing nothing. Shortly after beating World at War I went onto beat Modern Warfare in roughly 5 hours of gaming straight; and every subsequent Call of Duty game, I have beaten around the same time frame. It took me over 4 weeks to fully beat World at War on Veteran, and the closest one to that was ODST. This is also another growing concern of mine, as our games are becoming shorter and less of a challenge; what worries me about this specifically is that games will just become some sort of novelty item, and revert to “toy” status.
While there is a bunch to worry about, I ask YOU, the players on what your state of the industry is? Do you think we are heading in the right direction or are we all in for a slow painful demise?