DRM, or no DRM? Used games are killing the industry, or no used games will kill all gaming retailers? It doesn’t matter if you are an Xbox apologist, a Sony fanboy, or a member of the PC gaming master race, can we all just admit the gaming industry is trying to screw us?
Now, I used to be a member of the “hardcore gaming elite” who wanted those dirty, filthy, peasant casuals to stay out of my sandbox. The problem with this was the rise of the Wii, and the cheap prices and accessibility of mobile games.
Ever since the Wii got Grandma into gaming the big wigs in the gaming industry have looked at these people as a new form of revenue. How many memorable titles were there for the Wii for the core gaming crowd? Exactly. That’s not where the Wii made its money. It was off of young children and people who played casual games.
On the smartphone end of things, you have games like Angry Birds and Cut The Rope that bring in tons of money and this allowed many variants to be made.
That’s not to say that all of these games were bad. Granted a lot of them are, but in anything be that books, movies, TV or any form of entertainment, you’re bound to have to sift through a mountain of crap to find a few good jems.
Also on this point; in listening through the archives of Jim Sterling’s “Jimquisition” show on escapistmagazine.com, he brought to my attention that many of the games that we consider classics as core gamers, would be akin to a current day Temple Run or something of that nature. They were simple games that you could spend hours on.
Now, that’s not to say that I hate the Wii or iOS and Android platforms. The rise of mobile gaming has given new developers an outlet for their fresh and new ideas in a rapidly stagnating landscape of the AAA gaming scene.
And mobile and indie gaming is likely where we’re going to have to go in this new generation of game consoles.
With the absolutely disastrous reveal of the Xbox One, and Sony remaining tight lipped about their DRM and used game plans for their upcoming PlayStation 4, it is very obvious to me that the gaming industry wants to take the power out of the hands of you, the gamer, and put it into the hands of the corporations and the publishers.
Sony is being looked at as somewhat of a hero right now on the DRM and used game issues that gamers are concerned about right now. But they really haven’t given any answers to us at all aside from the fact that the PS4 will not be an always online console.
Many PC gamers already have Steam, GOG, or some other form of digital distribution for many of the PC games they enjoy.
This could all change on a dime if Valve decided to pull a fast one on us and decided they wanted to make more money as well. I don’t see that happening since most of the people that I know that use Steam are very pleased with the service coupled with Valve’s outstanding business ethics and good-will of their fans and I personally have used GOG and downloaded old PC games and quite reasonable prices.
This is what most gamers anymore are concerned about above all else in the troubling economic times that we currently face. Everyone wants to get the most bang for their buck.
Quite frankly, this is part of the reason why mobile gaming and PC gaming are so popular. When you can get a new copy of a AAA title for $20 off, who isn’t going to jump on that deal? When you can get hours of entertainment out of a simple puzzler that you paid $4 for, why bother even spending the unchanged $60 price point on a AAA title that might turn out to be shit?
Aside from that, developers like Gamevil (makers of Zenonia) have built an entire franchise complete with merchandise you can find at the mall around a Zelda-esque game that costs right around $5.
Games like Infinity Blade on iOS have proven that a console quality game to a device that fits on your pocket.
You can draw many parallels in the current gaming landscape to what was happening in the music industry about a decade ago. Artists weren’t putting out music that was worth a damn, so people started pirating it. This in turn, was taking money out of the executives already gold-lined pockets, and since they wanted to keep this revenue stream going, they started suing 10 year old kids and their parents because little Susan illegally downloaded the ONE Destiny’s Child song she liked on the radio.
This is the exact attitude that game publishers have now. With the bloated production costs, and money that they spend on marketing, games that sell upwards of 6 million copies are considered financial failures. All because the publisher, in order to make the amount of money that they WANTED to produce a wide enough profit, NEEDED the game to sell 10 million copies.
This coupled with the rushed work schedules leads to a general lack of quality despite the astronomical production costs, and they can’t see why games like Wii Sports, Angry Birds, and Cut the Rope make so much money.
Because people have fun with them.
So since people aren’t buying the shit that they shill, they want to destroy retailers, and consumers to encrust diamonds on their already gold-lined pockets.
I am pensively waiting on more information on the PS4, and I hope that Sony takes the initiative on used game DRM. They have Microsoft over a barrel right now, and have a HUGE opportunity to capitalize and keep the core gaming market.
Microsoft needs to reconnect with the gaming community. Try as they might, they are not going to be able to wrestle the casual gaming crowd away from their smartphones, and WiiUs. Gamers aren’t looking for a multimedia machine, they want a GAME CONSOLE.
Thus will end my first edition of Incoming Rant. Stay tuned for more opinions in the coming weeks as I discuss these topics with others, as well as look over other tech blogs in anticipation of E3. Thanks for reading!
(Archived rant, original post from Tumblr on May 30th, 2013)