Discussion: Current and future trends in the video game industry.

#1Pac12345Posted 3/12/2013 8:51:00 AM
My message is directed towards older players and people who know their gaming history or are somewhat knowledgeable about past game consoles. I want to share my analysis of the current trends in the industry and see if anyone wants to give their input. No fanboy wars or stupid things like that.

1- The PC "Renaissance": Recently, PC gaming has been gaining more notoriety than ever before. In the past, PC gaming was one of the main pillars of gaming. However, with the coming of newer consoles and more focus from game developers, console gaming took over the PC spotlight, and for a while, PC gaming became a niche thing. Today, PC gaming has gained so much notoriety that even some game developers "main" PC gaming.

I ask, is this renaissance, a permanent thing, or will it eventually fade? I know PC enthusiasts will (obviously) defend their preferred platform, but before we jump to conclusions, consider this

- The current trend, generally speaking, is to move away from the PC and instead adopt new "all-purpose" devices. This is what they call "The Post PC Era"; the one we're in right now. To put it simply: What hardware manufacturers (Of all kinds, not just gaming)is for you to keep buying tablets, smartphones, consoles, iPods, e-readers, Smart TVs, and basically everything else that isn't a computer. According to a wide variety of hardware manufacturers, this is not just a fad, but an entirely new shift in the way people consume their electronics. Also, consider that there is this thing that most average people want: Mobility (Using technology while on the go). 3G/4G platforms

Given this premise, I believe that PC gaming will eventually start to decline again, and instead, it will be all replaced by either phones or more likely tablets.

Also, please keep in mind that the average consumer considers things such as building gaming rigs, or rooting their phones as something "complex" or "difficult". I know it isn't. I know that you don't need an engineering degree to do it, but keep in mind that we (as people who are familiar with "gadgets") are actually the exception to the average because we have been familiarized with this type of experiences from earlier in our lives. Most people do not.

2- The hardcore and the Casual: We all know the definitions (Or at least have a vague idea), or at least know what people mean when they throw around these terms (I personally find these terms stupid to say the least). We know what each is supposed to be or supposed to represent. However, I find that the so called hardcore gamer has become more of a belligerent type of gamer, rather than a focused type of gamer. I believe this to be because of the marketing campaigns and media influence that literally bombard these people every day.

In my opinion, Gaming has changed. We're no longer in the 90's/early 2000's. Companies's main focus is now to sell their products to the largest amount of people, not to the largest amount of dedicated gamers. The days where companies competed against each other by offering more exclusive titles and better graphics are now behind us all. Granted, companies still use these marketing "gimmicks" to lure in the hardcore, but really, this type of features are now secondary to what they advertise as the main appeal of their consoles.

I think that the days of "deep and meaningful" game experiences are now being relegated. The industry is instead moving towards a more mainstream appeal. More focus on attracting players, rather than pleasing gamers (See the difference there?) Just look at how games seem to share more similarities with each other, rather than differences.

Just to put a brief examples:
Tomb Raider and Uncharted
Call of Duty and Battlefield

^These games share more similarities than differences.

Compare to things in the past such as:
Mario and Sonic
Mega Man and EarthWorm Jim
---To be continued---
#2GwendalPosted 3/12/2013 9:00:56 AM(edited)
I'm having a hard time seeing tablets and phones replacing PC gaming any time soon, personally. There's still such a vast gulf between those devices and PCs in terms of raw power that they can't provide anything near the same gaming experience. The touch screen-only interface also puts a lot of limitations on what you can do, gaming-wise.

Maybe in 10-15 years or so, when/if you can get tablets that are as powerful as a desktop. In any case, I think they'd replace consoles and (more importantly) handhelds first, rather than dedicated gaming PCs.

As for point 2, yeah, you're probably right, unfortunately. That's why I'm so excited about the Kickstarter phenomenon, since those games really seem to be about "pleasing gamers" rather than "attracting the most players". Of course they'll never replace big publisher-backed AAA titles, but at least we have a decent alternative between tiny indy games and huge blockbusters now.
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Currently playing:
Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim (PC), New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U), Grey Matter (PC)
#3Petey_MeanisPosted 3/12/2013 8:59:48 AM
inb4 tl;dr
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#4Pac12345(Topic Creator)Posted 3/12/2013 9:23:10 AM
---Continued--- (From above)

3- Gaming as a service, rather than products.

I believe that gaming is headed towards a more service oriented industry, rather than a product oriented one. The difference is that if you consider your games to be a service, they lose value after a while. When games are products they tend to keep that same value, and in some cases, it goes up.

A good example of this is Modern Warfare 1 and 2.

Modern warfare 1 was conceived as a product. As such, not only did it revolutionized the FPS genre at the time, but it is still considered (Yes, even after all these years) a classic in gaming history for what it did and it represented back in 2007.

Modern Warfare 2 was conceived as a service. As such, it focused more on the online multiplayer experience, rather than in the game itself. This title not only has it lost value over time, but it will become almost useless when Activision decides to shut down the servers for it.

While the online multiplayer was an accessory to the first Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2 made it its main appeal. There lies the "issue" so to speak. When you make a visual medium (Such as a video game) with the assets as the main focus, and not the essence (Story, gameplay, characters), you have a product that devalues over time, rather than appreciate because once the novelty wears off, it loses all appeal (or almost all appeal) over time.

We're seeing this shift from a product oriented industry to a service industry more and more. What I believe this will lead to is to more of a homogenized hobby, and less of a varied and rich in diversity hobby.

4- The rise in developing costs.

By now, we all know that developers have been complaining about the rise in development costs. Also, we know that some companies have been forced out of the gaming industry because of the massive amounts of debt they got into.

I believe that this is because of points 2 and 3, but also because the video game industry is borrowing more and more from the movie industry: Blockbuster titles and recognizable franchises. This has lead to developers to take less risks and instead invest more in known franchises.

I don't think I need to point examples as these are widely known by now (The most famous example being the Call of Duty franchise).

I do find this to be the saddest of all trends. If you read about some of the most famous franchises (and consoles) development history of the past, you will find out that the creators and publishers and developers actually risked it all (sometimes even their personal money) to create those. Back then a group of less than 50 people could start their own gaming company and fund at least one game. Granted, it was a dangerous investment, but these brave attempts ended up paying off handsomely for many developers out there.

What happened? Why did gamers start to lose interest in creativity? Why are gamers more interested in say graphical capabilities, or say ratings than the gameplay itself? When and why did it all start changing? Personally, I haven't found the answer to this and I hope someone can give me some input on this one.

Today's gaming's biggest names are sequels, prequels or reboots. Which, if you think about it, is somewhat worrying, because instead of bringing something new, something different (In the past, this was one of the main advantages video games had over TV or movies), we will start to see more and more of the same.

Anyway, that's the end of it. If you read through, I appreciate it. I hope you can give some input.
#5thundercat2600Posted 3/12/2013 9:30:14 AM
I hear "HD graficks" and "online gaming" are the two biggest trends. Nintendo is truly the industry leader.
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they have the PC version of Darksiders 2 running on WiiU in 1080 native at 60 fps and full graphics options on. Neither 360 or PS3 can come close
-darkjedilink
#6TerotrousPosted 3/12/2013 9:31:37 AM
Wow, this topic isn't totally stupid. I'm surprised Wii U board.


I ask, is this renaissance, a permanent thing, or will it eventually fade? I know PC enthusiasts will (obviously) defend their preferred platform, but before we jump to conclusions, consider this

- The current trend, generally speaking, is to move away from the PC and instead adopt new "all-purpose" devices.

Except that it's really not, as you already mentioned, PC has seen a big resurgence in support. Also, consoles and handhelds are still selling well despite this, the 3DS is the fastest-selling handheld ever despite supposedly increased competition from smartphones.


The reason for this is the principle of specialization. If you have a device that can do two things, it will always be possible to make a cheaper device that only does one of those two things (or a device that costs the same but is significantly better at that one thing), and for the person who only cares about the one task, this device is superior. It's even often the case that you can even buy a device to do each of the tasks separately for less money than the combined device.

This is why PCs have never replaced consoles. PCs are great tools for surfing the internet and doing work, so everyone wants at least a cheap one. You can opt to buy a super powerful PC that can play the latest games as well, but a console can play these games much more cheaply than a PC and they usually have a better library of games as well. So many people would rather buy a cheap PC and a console than a super powerful PC that can do both.

Similarly, smartphones will not replace handhelds for the same reason. For the price that you could buy a smartphone that's really awesome at playing games, you could instead get a basic smartphone that can do everything else (including play many mobile games) and a handheld device, and you'll have access to more and better games.


In my opinion, Gaming has changed. We're no longer in the 90's/early 2000's. Companies's main focus is now to sell their products to the largest amount of people, not to the largest amount of dedicated gamers.

I don't think the company's focus has changed. They always wanted to sell their games to a lot of people. Their strategy for doing this has just changed. A long time ago, companies thought (incorrectly) that the quality of the game was a major factor in how well it sold. That's why you had games like DuckTales, which are based on a license but are actually really good games. However, it turns out that marketing and a recognizable IP are actually WAY more important for selling games than quality, so quality is now given a lesser focus.


I think that the days of "deep and meaningful" game experiences are now being relegated. The industry is instead moving towards a more mainstream appeal.

It's really more like the advertising has been shifted. Those deeper games are still out there, but they're no longer the ones getting the multi-million dollar ad campaigns, because they realize the people who want to play these games will find them anyway and the people who want stuff to blow up would have no interest in them regardless of how well advertised they were.
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#7TheBonfiniPosted 3/12/2013 9:41:24 AM
Historically, whatever Nintendo has said gamers don't want of care about has been a trend.

This happened with gaming and online.

Now Nintendo is resisting cloud gaming.

The future of gaming is probably cloud gaming if Nintendo says it isn't. Years later they can act like they never made all those obviously wrong statements and back peddle. For a good laugh you should read their current comments about online. Acting like people have t been connected to the Internet for over a decade.
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#8TerotrousPosted 3/12/2013 9:42:09 AM
Pac12345 posted...
While the online multiplayer was an accessory to the first Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2 made it its main appeal. There lies the "issue" so to speak. When you make a visual medium (Such as a video game) with the assets as the main focus, and not the essence (Story, gameplay, characters), you have a product that devalues over time, rather than appreciate because once the novelty wears off, it loses all appeal (or almost all appeal) over time.

This comparison is completely flawed because standalone games don't hold value. Virtually all single-player games are selling for half price within 6 months. If anything, it's the games with a strong online community that preserve their value. The monthly fee to play World of Warcraft, for example, has not dropped at all in 7 years.


What happened? Why did gamers start to lose interest in creativity? Why are gamers more interested in say graphical capabilities, or say ratings than the gameplay itself? When and why did it all start changing? Personally, I haven't found the answer to this and I hope someone can give me some input on this one.

They didn't. Creative games actually never sold that well. That's why they're usually rare. The industry has always had a very "follow-the-leader" kind of mentality, that's why NES was like 50% 2d Platformers, PS1 was mostly JRPGs, there have been a ton of FPS games since Goldeneye, etc.


The main problem is most companies are run by idiots who don't understand what makes the leader successful and they often attempt to follow the leader even when they're not in a position to do it. For example, Call of Duty is popular enough that they can spend $50 million on a game and make it back. Most other franchises are not, and have no chance whatsoever of recouping a budget much higher than say, $15 million. Unfortunately, they just look at the success of Call of Duty and think "we could do that too! All we have to do is spend a lot of money!" and end up going bankrupt by the dozens.
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http://terosclassicgaming.blogspot.com/ - Watch me beat "GBA Summon Night Swordcraft Story"
http://www.backloggery.com/tero - My backloggery
#9TerotrousPosted 3/12/2013 9:44:27 AM
TheBonfini posted...
Historically, whatever Nintendo has said gamers don't want of care about has been a trend.

That's pretty meaningless, typically all negative tech predictions turn out to be false because tech is always moving forward. Remember "64k of RAM ought to be enough for anybody"?


However, Nintendo has sometimes been right in prediction "this technology will not be widely accepted for X years". For example, they bet against HDTV adoption rates and were largely vindicated when the SD Wii significantly outsold its HD-compatible rivals.
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#10thundercat2600Posted 3/12/2013 10:02:14 AM(edited)
Terotrous posted...
TheBonfini posted...
Historically, whatever Nintendo has said gamers don't want of care about has been a trend.

That's pretty meaningless, typically all negative tech predictions turn out to be false because tech is always moving forward. Remember "64k of RAM ought to be enough for anybody"?


1. It was 640K.

2. That quote was taken completely out of context. He meant 640k was enough to run DOS well.
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they have the PC version of Darksiders 2 running on WiiU in 1080 native at 60 fps and full graphics options on. Neither 360 or PS3 can come close
-darkjedilink