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What (if anything) is wrong with the gaming industry?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Dekker, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Dekker

    Dekker Chieftain

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    There seems to be a lot of distaste towards the gaming industry as a while, especially AAA publishers, and from across all aisles, like the gaming community, many who share this distaste on Reddit, YouTube, often described as toxic by game journalism, who themselves often publish distaste in other areas (and are largely ridiculed by gamers).

    Either way, both have harsh words for the industry. From games being soulless rehashes, pay to win, paywalls, microtransactions, censorship, crunch, exclusivity, and on and on it seems the criticism is endless. We all love games and all fans, gamers, journalists, want this to change for the better. So what do you fellow gamers think are the root cause of the biggest problems and what would some solutions be?

    Publishers like EA seem to get a lot of bad rep, for swallowing up and shutting down small studios, developer drain and of course the gambling, but realistically what other way could things be done?
     
  2. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    It's not just the industry, I guess is the first thing to say. The issue is also ideological, and a compounding problem of how social media (particularly YouTube) incentivises drama for clicks. It isn't just headlines doing clickbait anymore, and people more than happy to ridicule games journalism for sensationalist headlines are often happy with YouTubers doing similar things.

    This is, of course, because nothing is apolitical as some folks would like it to be. Even the claim that something isn't political (usually because the politics are not visible to the observer) is in itself a political stance. The problem is games are meant to be escapism, and unfortunately the increasingly precarious and divided world we're currently living in makes this escapism more difficult. You have people that for years clamoured for "realism" and similar such things in video games, only to be turned away because the developers put something like climate change in (see: Civ 6). Another example would be Cyberpunk 2077 and how the recent changes to their character creation model have lead consumers to complain about more creation options (because they did away with something relating to gender that doesn't make a huge amount of sense in a cyberpunk setting).

    And this is before we get onto the industry itself. I'm going to focus on AA / AAA (whatever that actually means; I tend to assign this based on general money-to-spend, i.e. games that cost literal millions to make), because otherwise this post would become an essay that could wrap around the Earth itself. As if my posts don't typically approach that anyway ;)

    The AAA industry definitely has a bunch of problems, and basically, the core issue is the need to be profitable. Nomatter how good the game is, nomatter how idealistic its creators, we live in an age where companies of this size are beholden to shareholders before any amount of creative input. Games need to make a certain return on investment, and this factors into their design from the earliest stages. Games are designed to be marketable, to sell well, instead of just being games. This is also why official statements are very cagey on anything relating to politics, leading to some very funny (and recently reported-on) situations where people making a game about a near-future dystopian America the events of which cover an actual civil war was insisted to not be political in its content. Uh.

    Anyway.

    In purely mechanical terms, this leads to games being designed to maximise profit. This has lead to the rise of things like loot boxes and other randomised factors that keep people interested in the games-as-a-service model (as supposed to a game as an individual product, to be consumed once and not a huge amount more). However, this is compounded by consumer expectations. Gamers want post-release support (without caring about the costs). Gamers want both single-player and multi-player to be as supported as the other, excepting rarer cases where the game is explicitly one or the other. Games that include both but focus on one don't always get that well-received, even if the game is advertised primarily as SP or MP. This is where the social media (particularly, again, YouTube) angle factors into it, because it's the easiest delivery vector to deliver impassioned screeds against developers who are viewed as being bad for failing any of these customer needs. However, a game's development timeline isn't infinite, and the requirement to boost quarterly earnings for the owning company mean that you can't keep delaying a release window. At some point, nomatter how hard the developers fight for a game, the publishers will push it out. This isn't entirely nonsensical - a publisher needs that earnings boost to stay profitable, which in the current business culture we have equates to staying in business.

    tl;dr: it's complicated.

    There aren't many solutions in my opinion, except to champion games that try something new (even if they ultimately fail). Show publishers that non-cookie cutter titles can succeed, or at least have the interest to. Push back against misinformation, against any attacks on developers, journalists, or consumers. Criticism is not an attack, but blaming consumers for buying loot boxes is as useless and self-defeating as blaming the developers coding the game for the same thing. More information, better information, and less weaponisation of fanbases (which companies are guilty of as much as incendiary YouTubers can be).
     
  3. Akka

    Akka Moody old mage.

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    To answer the title : greed, like with anything where art and industry collide.
     
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  4. Commodore

    Commodore Technology of Peace

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    I just want to note that a climate change mechanic was present in the Civ series as far back as Civ 3.
     
  5. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    If you mean global warming due to nukes, iirc that was there at least since civ2.
     
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  6. Commodore

    Commodore Technology of Peace

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    Oh yeah, forgot about that. Civ 3 went a little more in-depth with it by having pollution from factories and population affect it as well.

    I don't remember if you could lose the game in Civ 2 if you let it get too bad, but I remember you could lose in Civ 3 from it.
     
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  7. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I'm noting it with regards to Civ 6 because of the ideological reaction it created. I'd love to explore how it was received in earlier games, but probably in a different thread!
     
  8. Dekker

    Dekker Chieftain

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    Should the price be raised to, $80-100 to eliminate in game purchases?
    How can developers retain more control for the big AA-AAA's or even Indies where they are forced to sign to exclusive stores?

    And for the Civ example, clearly the politics moreso than the mechanics changed in that, they are now being brought into the conversation about the games as yet another place to flame these silly divisions. Is there a way to overcome that?
     
  9. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    Civ 1 and 2 iirc if you used enough nukes.

    The main problem is spirialing game costs. Developers need to have subscription services and microtransactions.

    The games aren't selling any more generally than 15 or 20 years ago. Assassin's Creed is costing $100 million dollars, Grand Theft Auto V wasver $200 million.

    This puts a lot if pressure on developers to rush games out the door and get money streams up and running ASAP.

    I'm old enough to remember when EA made fun original titles. Started gaming around 83 or 84. Still remember father bring home Atari 2600. Didn't know what it was.
     
  10. Commodore

    Commodore Technology of Peace

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    Did it cause an uproar? I haven't paid much attention to Civ 6. The Civ series has kinda fallen to the wayside for me as other 4x games have caught my attention over the years.
     
  11. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Eh, I wouldn't say an uproar (I picked it as a safer example to discuss based on that), but there was definitely enough threads that involved criticism of it here on CFC alone (nevermind elsewhere).
     
  12. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    It's more like raising costs by a factor of 20.

    Atari games could be done with one or two people, a dozen or so for 16 bit.

    $4 million for a PS2 game.
    HD graphics and blue ray/large hard drives.
     
  13. Senethro

    Senethro Overlord

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    the problem is capitalism, op
     
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  14. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Civ I, actually. I remember the first time global warming happened and my lovely grassland turned into a hideous swamp and I had to redo everything.

    Yes, you could. Civ II has pollution from factories, which is why I tried to get more environmentally friendly ways of increasing production that wouldn't cause as much pollution.

    Civ IV is available on iWin, which operates via monthly subscription. I finally opted for that when Big Fish Games took far too long to get some of the games I wanted.
     
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  15. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    Couldn't get into civ IV, used to do strategy guides for civ III.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  16. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    I haven't even tried it yet, though I downloaded it. I'm still in the mood for Pixel Art, which is basically paint-by-number with squares, rather than irregular spaces. It's not a challenge (the only way to lose is if you give up), but it is relaxing. They have some surprisingly good pictures - some very famous ones, done with just 30 colors. Someone suggested that I copy the black and white grid and make cross-stitch patterns from them. It's something to think about for when I can see properly again.
     
  17. MaryKB

    MaryKB Vice Princess Supporter

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    Gamergate, sexism, and lack of diverse representation in development and decision making.
     
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  18. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    Mind me asking what type of games you like?

    Gamings getting less diverse at least large scale games. The smaller developers have been priced out so you have Indy type games and AAA games not muchi between compared with PS2 days.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  19. Cvv

    Cvv Chieftain

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    Games are made by managers instead of skilled, educated people.
    Instead of building historically, logically, common sense complete games they prioritize on hype, sex, 3-year-old fun and feminist (or any other religion pollute\polite) full games.
     
  20. PhroX

    PhroX Chieftain

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    It's an industry.
     
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