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The Battle For the Game Industry's Soul

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the no-i-don't-want-to-buy-a-stupid-hat-for-my-character dept.

PC Games (Games) 272

An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times has a story about the imminent release of Battlefield 4 on 29 October, as it's one of the most highly-anticipated video games of the year. The most interesting part of the article is where it highlights what a mammoth undertaking such 'AAA' games have become. There are hundreds upon hundreds of people working full time on it, and hundreds of millions of dollars tied up in its development. These number have been rising and rising over the years; how big do they get before it becomes completely unfeasible to top your last game? The article also points out that the PC platform is beginning to wane in popularity. Nobody's quite sure yet whether it'll level out or go into serious decline, but you can bet development studios are watching closely. With bigger and bigger stakes, how long before they decide it's not worth the risk? Even consoles aren't safe: 'Electronic Arts is nevertheless trying to extend franchises like Battlefield to devices, because it must. But at the same time, it has to grapple with the threats undermining traditional gaming. Though the classic consoles are getting reboots this fall, there is no guarantee that new models will permanently revive the format's fortunes.' And of course, the question must be asked: do we even want the 'AAA' games to stick around?"

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THE DEATH OF PC GAMING (4, Interesting)

nicolastheadept (930317) | about a year ago | (#45179927)

Since 1898

Re:THE DEATH OF PC GAMING (1)

nicolastheadept (930317) | about a year ago | (#45179935)

Also, here is the only bit about it: "PC sales are dropping as users migrate to tablets"

Re:THE DEATH OF PC GAMING (2)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year ago | (#45180013)

PC sales are dropping as users migrate to tablets...

While I am in agreement that PC sales are dropping, I am not too sure users are migrating to tablets "to play games."

Reason: Battery life is a PITA on these gadgets. The CPU intensive graphics these games have doesn't help either. Users in my own [small] circle are migrating to tablets to "cunsume other media."

Film Industry (5, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | about a year ago | (#45179939)

" There are hundreds upon hundreds of people working full time on it, and hundreds of millions of dollars tied up in its development. "

How many people do you think it took to make The Avengers? How many millions?

The video game industry is starting to mirror the film industry, with studio houses having one or two giant blockbusters every month, and using profits from those to fund the smaller "filler" films. And then, you have the even smaller, independant type films, such as what ends up at Sundance or TIFF.

Re:Film Industry (5, Interesting)

jnmontario (865369) | about a year ago | (#45180039)

My major beef with your ?defense?commentary? of the game industry is that I hear it constantly and it becomes a self-serving bias for execs. The more we accept "Hollywood-model" games and buy the next "$380B in development Rock'emSock'em XVII", or whatever, the more industry types that didn't come from a game-dev background feel like they should not innovate and make new games, but rather pour good money after bad with blockbuster prequel/sequel games. I guess what I'm trying to say is that MBA's sniffing after money appear to have transitioned from the film business to the game business and I think that's REALLY bad for the future of gaming.

Re:Film Industry (5, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | about a year ago | (#45180075)

Well and now you point to the big difference between the industries. See, in the film industry, a RDJ or a Wheadon can make $30 million in 6 months on a blockbuster, and then spend the next 6 months working on smaller pictures, and even an indie or two, because they have money to do it with. Look at films like "Much Ado About Nothing" - an Amazing film, filled with A-list talent, received rave reviews at TIFF - yet, that movie is not going to make any money at all and I expect most of the actors were paid very little for their time. Which is fine, because no one who worked on it expected a giant payday. They did it because of the love of the craft.

  The game industry does not work like this because "the talent" does not get a big enough share of the profit - when was the last time you heard of a head creative or a head developer making 20 million on a game - it doesn't happen. If it did, then they would probably be financing more side projects, again for the love of the craft, and because it keeps them "fresh" as actors and directors.

This is what really needs to be solved. It is not about changing the industry, it is about changing the compensation model. When people work 60+ hour weeks for a month or two to get BattleField 4 out on time, they should be getting a bigger piece of the pie than just their salary. There should be profit sharing involved. And key people - like the lead developers and lead creatives - should get a big enough share of that profit to motivate them and entice them to use it on other projects to keep them fresh.

Re:Film Industry (4, Funny)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#45180229)

Posting to remove incorrect mod. Effing touchscreen.

How idealistic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180465)

So long as capable developers are willing to work crazy hours for what amounts to minimum wage, the compensation model will not change.

So long are there are enough such developers graduating every year, the talent-churn due to burnout will not impact this, either.

The way things "should" be often has little to do with the way things are.

Watch (the games industry) around this Christmas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180861)

@"When people work 60+ hour weeks for a month or two to get BattleField 4 out on time, they should be getting a bigger piece of the pie"

Profit share... I wish. Watch (the games industry) around this Christmas time, because what usually happens after projects are finished, is that many of the staff making the games get made redundant. They don't share, they get thrown out. Then the next year the cycle repeats again as they work like a dog to get the next project done in their new company, and when its done, another redundancy notice.

I was in the games industry for over 20 years. I heard time and time again about "burnout". What I came to realize is its not burnout at all. That's a lie from the money people. ... Its really "wise up", as in wise up to the Game of Thrones the money people play against the programmers and artists who are their pawns.

Re:Film Industry (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181253)

The example you point out - Whedon's Much Ado about Nothing - highlights the problem with your argument: it's self-defeating.

One guy gets paid 30 million dollars to make the Avengers, and then goes and funds his own little side project of love. Great, so that'd be some game studio exec or manager type - "I got 30 million bitcoins for building Halo 7! Now I can fund a little labor of love of my own, something I feel passionately about, but which isn't commercially viable."

Awesome, sounds like fun.

The problem? Your post pointed it out:

I expect most of the actors were paid very little for their time. Which is fine, because no one who worked on it expected a giant payday. They did it because of the love of the craft.

In the case of a game... who are the low-/un-paid actors? Riiiiiight... the engineers, graphic designers, voice talent, etc. etc. that actually MAKE the game under the direction of the "well-heeled exec" who's got a boatload of money.

Except for an actor in a 2 hour film, it requires a couple days of their time to show up, learn their lines, and shoot their scenes. For an "intensive" project, maybe a couple weeks. This sort of thing schedules nicely for actors - and let's be honest, much of Whedon's go-to crew, while talented, isn't pulling down "fuck you" money for the most part from their tv & film roles. They're probably doing nicely, but not exactly Brangelina territory.

For an engineer working on a game, it can requires months or years of their time to develop the finished product, and that's months or years of "14 hours a day, head down, slogging through code."

So. Even if you give lead devs and designers a boatload of money as profit sharing, they STILL will struggle to turn that into a 'professional' project, because the help they need to realize their vision is TIME and TALENT intensive, which means it is *MONEY* intensive.

There's a reason why open source does poorly in games: it often costs a lot of time, talent, and money to build a good one, and the "show up and contribute what you can & want to contribute, when you want," model of development fares poorly in this sort of an environment.

Re:Film Industry (4, Insightful)

dinfinity (2300094) | about a year ago | (#45180411)

The more we accept "Hollywood-model" games ...

Sorry, but that is about the same as saying 'The more we accept McDonalds-type food ...'

We need to accept - on all terrains - that as a collective, we are a bunch of naked monkeys. Our biological makeup (or evolutionary history, if you will) makes us vulnerable to having our primitive behavior elicited by marketing techniques and other forms of manipulation. For an individual that may not be a problem, but for a collective, it is. Especially when the collective is a source of resources for for-profit organizations. Yes, I am talking about the free market.

The problem in your reasoning, imho, is that the current state of the (Hollywood-)system is somehow mainly due to the evilness of MBA's and 'industry types', where in reality the nature of the free market is thus that it eventually finds the most profitable way to make a profit. That includes (ab)using our (most) common vulnerabilities and treating us all like naked apes. Every sufficiently mature free market does this, simply because it is profitable, not because it is run by a bunch of malicious bastards.

See also, Cow Clicker, for a remarkable example of (ab)using vulnerabilities:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_Clicker [wikipedia.org]
http://www.bogost.com/blog/cow_clicker_1.shtml [bogost.com]

Console reboots (0)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#45179957)

Though the classic consoles are getting reboots this fall, there is no guarantee that new models will permanently revive the format's fortunes.'

No, they probably won't. The main "feature" of these reboots is to tie the consoles to Internet-based DRM and add always-on spy cameras whose official use is turning precise and effortless button-pushing to spastic, inaccurate and space-demanding motion controls. They're far worse than the previous generation, so why switch?

Re:Console reboots (-1, Flamebait)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#45180025)

Though the classic consoles are getting reboots this fall, there is no guarantee that new models will permanently revive the format's fortunes.'

No, they probably won't. The main "feature" of these reboots is to tie the consoles to Internet-based DRM and add always-on spy cameras whose official use is turning precise and effortless button-pushing to spastic, inaccurate and space-demanding motion controls. They're far worse than the previous generation, so why switch?

You're right. Progress is always negative, new features are always bad, and we should have stayed with our 2600s (or Dreamcasts).

Re:Console reboots (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about a year ago | (#45180053)

Progress is always negative

After reading his post, that sounds like a straw man. He said he believes that the technology is not progress at all, not that all progress is negative.

Re:Console reboots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180111)

Progress is always negative

After reading his post, that sounds like a straw man. He said he believes that the technology is not progress at all, not that all progress is negative.

After reading your post it sounds like you're a tin man with no heart. A straw man, conflating hyperbole and truth. And a pig with lipstick, mixing metaphors and pearls.

PC Games waning death spiral (1)

gigne (990887) | about a year ago | (#45179959)

PC is now the second (or third) class citizen behind consoles and mobile.

When a game comes out months and months after console releases (I'm looking at you GTA5) where is the incentive to wait? If you really want to play a game, you have to buy the console, but only because the game studios think that they know better.

Release on all platforms at the same time!

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45179987)

the rate of the 'decline' in pc gaming is directly related to the speed at which game developers and publishers realize that casual gamers are willing to spend even more (than the outrageous $60+ price tag of a new pc game) on in-game micro-transactions (mainly because they won't realize they've spent so much until it's too late) and how quickly they move to capitalize on that 'new-found' knowledge.

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a year ago | (#45180155)

People don't 'not realize' how much money they're spending. Don't be so condescending of players just so you can take a perceived jab at game developers. People want to play and buy little things. It's a successful technique for expanding the game after release.

By the way, I play on a PC. My favorite game involves extensions and micro-transactions. The platform in no way affects that.

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (3, Interesting)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about a year ago | (#45180467)

I think he's right. People don't add up the $2 charges to a grand total. It isn't just these games, it's convenience stores, Starbucks, etc. People don't realize that the $2 Candy Bar after work costs them ~$500 a year or that the Starbucks in the morning costs them ~$150 a month.

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year ago | (#45180885)

(than the outrageous $60+ price tag of a new pc game)

I agree that $60 is more than I'm willing to pay for most games, but let's put things into perspective. $60 is about what games have cost since the beginning, even before you take inflation into account. Here's [digitpress.com] a thread about it. No sources, but it falls in line with my memory, too.

Back in the day, some larger games cost even more than $60 (think RPGs and even Street Fighter 2). N64 games often went for more than that, too. Take inflation into account, and games are cheaper now than they were in the NES days ($50 in 1985 is $108 now). What's happened, IMO, is that there are a lot of cheaper games out now that make $60 look awful.

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180007)

No... Because the game studios know all too well, that a not insignificant handfull of PC players have a console or two and will buy it for the PC as well.

And of course the fact that pirating is significantly more widespread on PC's than Consoles.

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180275)

PC Games are doing just fine. PCs themselves are going down in popularity due to white collar workers switching from cumbersome laptops to tablets. But games have nothing to do with this. Steam is running strong and with Valve soon releasing a dedicated gaming OS for PCs (yes, Steambox is a PC too) things are only going to get better. What's quickly becoming a third class citizen is the publishing industry, putting their faith in the gaming toys (consoles and mobiles) instead of a one, true, open, stable gaming platform.

But things will work out. What media will soon call "a re-emergence" of PC gaming will in practice be just another day for PC gamers, and a catastrophe for other platforms. But that's how the industry works - it follows the loudest one, not the smartest one.

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (2)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#45180917)

Plus, PC gaming is being described as "dying" each and every console cycle. It never has. It may not have the size and scope of consoles, but unlike them, it endures beyond any overlord's whims.

Try playing your PS2 games on your PS4, or your NES games on your Wii U. If you're lucky, you'll be allowed generously to pay for them again so that you can play them on your new machine... and pay again come the next console since the games never carry over. Isn't it amazing? Meanwhile, I'm playing games from 20 years ago just fine on my PC.

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181073)

And the mose hilarious thing is the PC HAS WON.
Both the PS4 and XboxOne are PCs for the living room with cusom DRM'd to death OSes.

I did 17 years in the games industry. The mental makeup of the people making big games is to make the next one better than the last one. All the tech people have the 'I can do it better' attitude. All of the artists want more detail and better lighting. The animators want finer grained control.

If they think they can make a bigger profit the suits will continue to increase budgets.

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45180549)

...funny I was just playing a game that's not available on consoles.

just wait for 6 months. back in 1990 do you know how long it took for most games to come from console? well most games didn't get ports at all.

but that didn't matter because the console ports of the good pc games were shit back then. they pretty much are now too.

death spiral, second class citizen blabla yet there's moar money in the business and moar games every year... and AAA titles tend to get released at least eventually on all platforms.

but the whole title of AAA is a joke now already. you can't know if the game is shit or not if it is labeled as AAA, only thing you know is that someone at least said that ten+ million dollars went into it's development. it's a marketing gimmick. it doesn't mean that people rated it AAA.

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year ago | (#45181265)

just wait for 6 months. back in 1990 do you know how long it took for most games to come from console? well most games didn't get ports at all.

Back in 1990, I don't think most people cared. Computer games were a different genre. If a game wa ported from he PC to the console, it was laughably simplified Of course, we on the Mac side often pined for decent PC ports, but that's different.

"Four save slots? Was this written for a machine with no operating system? How hard is it to display a standard "Save As" dialog?

Re:PC Games waning death spiral (2)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year ago | (#45180899)

The reason to wait is price discounts. You can find significant sales all the time for PC games, which isn't really the case with console games.

Soul? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45179971)

The Game Industry doesn't have a soul. After all the failed DRM, the way they treat their developers and abandoning older game servers that many still use, it's clear they don't have a conscience or a soul.

Let them their respective deities sort them out.

The question (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45179973)

And of course, the question must be asked: do we even want the 'AAA' games to stick around?"

I've been thinking a lot about this in the wake of the release of Grand Theft Auto V. I've been an aficionado of the series all along, and have played all of the titles but Chinatown Wars. And clearly, Rockstar's ability matched their goals best with GTA: San Andreas. This game, on the other hand, has been fairly pathetic by comparison. It's far, far buggier. Once you beat the single player campaign there's nothing to do in single player any more, so you are forced to play online in order to continue to do heists and so on. The online component is horribly buggy; some days I'll have to re-join an online session after every attempt to join one. And since there's no function for "start this job for your crew only", and most players are too stupid to change who a job is open to, you often get to join a job and then get kicked to make room for crew members. Still no iFruit app for Android, which is still being advertised within the game, because Android app development is apparently too hard for Rockstar. Probably they hired a good iOS developer and a crap Android developer.

Thing is, I still like sandbox games. And there's no third-party engine.

However, it's clearly possible to displace the competition. I haven't bought a flightsim or racing sim in ages. Maybe someone will crank out a Sandbox engine.

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180031)

I've been thinking a lot about this in the wake of the release of Grand Theft Auto V. I've been an aficionado of the series all along, and have played all of the titles but Chinatown Wars.

Seriously?

The word aficionado shouldn't ever apply to GTA (unless you're 16 and don't have access to a dictionary).

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180363)

The word aficionado shouldn't ever apply to GTA (unless you're 16 and don't have access to a dictionary).

What are you even talking about? That was a completely fine and valid thing to say.

And they're all shit (3, Interesting)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#45179979)

The creativity which went into Monkey Island, The Longest Journey or Grim Fandango, or even Curses and Zork Zero, leave me bored when I confront what is merely a technical exercise. I haven't enjoyed an FPS since Thief.

I remember watching Titanic when it first came out. It was a watershed: after this, films would not be defined by art, but by geekery. And everyone can apply an engineering technique, really.

Re:And they're all shit (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180121)

They're NOT all shit. But the ones that aren't shit, are almost totally from small indie studios. Sometimes 1, 2, maybe 5 people working on their game.

AAA gaming is shit, yes. Big-budget games. But the scene is in indie gaming now, and that's where most of the people who value actual gameplay over shiny graphics are. As a bonus, they are almost entirely DRM free, and the authors are truly appreciative for your 20 or 40 bucks that you send their way.

PC indie games is where the fun is.

Re:And they're all shit (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#45180517)

Try out Don't Starve. Nice Indie Game. Steam or Chrome App. Like a crossover between Legend of Zelda and Minecraft.

Re:And they're all shit (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year ago | (#45180925)

If you want creative stuff, check out The Stanley Parable.

Re:And they're all shit (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#45180951)

Honestly, the games are only shit if you don't bother looking. There's plenty of good games, and not just in the indie scene as some would let you believe. You just gotta go a little further than the games Gamestop pushes and TV ads.

Re:And they're all shit (1)

Dunge (922521) | about a year ago | (#45181333)

You just a nostalgia guy who don't try new stuff and think everything was better back then. Hint: it's not. Games today are much much better, you just closed your mind.

Do we want AAA titles to stay around? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45179991)

AAA titles, yes

Craptastic DRM'ed to hell sequels? kill them with fire

(easier option: just burn EA down)

Re:Do we want AAA titles to stay around? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year ago | (#45180957)

See, as crappy as EA is, I thought they were actually pretty cool with the new IPs they introduced this generation. Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Mass Effect, Crysis, Spore, etc were all new. The problem is that EA only really releases new IPs during the beginning of a console's life cycle.

Re:Do we want AAA titles to stay around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181093)

EA only releases new IP when corporate profits are large.

Hundreds of People Working Full Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180003)

And not one of them can add a "Disable Lens Effects" setting.

I'm not buying another EA lens flare, dirty lens, bloom fest.

Same memes again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180009)

"PC dead" is a meme that we see again and again. Mostly because theres economical interest on the console platform, but not on the PC.
"Mobile computing take over gaming" is another failed meme. It adjust after a few years, since PC gamers continue buying PC games and Mobile gamers continue buying mobile games. Big companies continue making AAA games, and indies continue making indie games. The status quo suffer no change.

I hope BF4 is better than Battlefield 3 (2, Interesting)

dryriver (1010635) | about a year ago | (#45180011)

Battlefield 3 was no fun to play. It was a real system hog, had unacceptably long map load times, had an external HTML-based server browser that sucked, and the gameplay pretty much consisted of you entering the game, and being mowed down by a higher ranking player with more unlocked gadgets in the first 20 seconds. Battlefield 2 was a lot of fun. Battlefield 2142 was also great (Scifi-themed) fun. Battlefield 3 sucked bad in terms of simple things like "overall enjoyment" and "fun gameplay". As for Battlefield 4, I personally have little hope that EA has learned anything from Battlefield 3's gameplay problems. I'm guessing that it will suck on the gameplay side like BF3 did, but that it will have prettier graphics (which of course will require a bang-up-to-date PC or laptop to enjoy properly). My 2 Cents...ü

Re:I hope BF4 is better than Battlefield 3 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180105)

Battlefield 2142 was a fucking travesty what are you TALKING about?????? You immediately invalidated your opinion.

Re:I hope BF4 is better than Battlefield 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180373)

BF3 was one of the most optimized AAA PC games released in quite some time. The rest of your points are accurate, but for a game with that level of graphical prowess, it ran fantastically.

Paradigm Shift (4, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | about a year ago | (#45180017)

I booted up a few of my fairly recent FPS purchases last night for PC just to get a sense of where the community is at. CS:S, BF2, BF3, BFBC2, TF2, Q3A, CoD (x), L4D(1-2), etc all still strong. The thing about it is, there are so many decade old shooters that just wont die. I can still play CS 1.6 and will prefer it to any new Call of Duty. But why? Is it a comfort thing? Nostalgia for a past era? Simplicity? Muscle memory? Surely some of that.

The new games are still fun, but they feel 'tinny' [youtube.com] , or less substantive than I'd come to expect for millions of ducats dumped in to a piece of software. With many modern shooters, I feel like they are evolving into a caricature of what a decent shooter would be.

Also, I think as the PC gaming generation gets older fewer newbies (In all due respect of course!) back-fill our ranks. I hope I'm wrong. Anybody got stats on our rate of attrition? LMGTFY yada yada ..

Re:Paradigm Shift (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180043)

The new games are still fun, but they feel 'tinny' [youtube.com] , or less substantive than I'd come to expect for millions of ducats dumped in to a piece of software. With many modern shooters, I feel like they are evolving into a caricature of what a decent shooter would be.

Yeah.... new games like XCom and Borderlands 2 are terrible. We should have stuck with Quake.

Re:Paradigm Shift (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180173)

The new games are still fun, but they feel 'tinny' [youtube.com] , or less substantive than I'd come to expect for millions of ducats dumped in to a piece of software. With many modern shooters, I feel like they are evolving into a caricature of what a decent shooter would be.

I'd have to agree with this.

The major change seems to be the death of creative-vision. Older games from 1990-2000 were basically cool ideas hammered into the shape of a game, there were quite a few crappy and derivative games but even some of the bad games at least had a glint of something new and interesting whether it was the setting, story or mechanics.

Modern games seem to be frustratingly "safe" for want of a better description. It's as though every games needs to consciously make an effort to capture as wide an audience as possible. The phrase "niche game" or "niche appeal" is seen as some sort of horrific curse word. Everything needs to appeal to a general audience, including people who do not like the type of game in question (See Plants vs Zombies as a Shooter for this sort of nonsensical garbage cranked to 11).

Really, when people say "indie developers make better games" it is not literally true. Big studio games are always better in the general sense, but they are also always an unfocused mess that does their absolute best not to alienate anyone. [This is also why modern games are "easier" than they used to be, actually challenging the player with a difficult puzzle or a competent AI is too alienating to be allowed] Ultimately, what you end up with is mediocrity; not bad per se, but not noteworthy, special or memorable either.

The "death" is their own making (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45180019)

There are various reasons why gamers start to turn away from those so precious "triple-A" titles.

1. Boring old game in a new cloth
I think I'm not the only one who is fed up with buying the same game over and over. Battlefield is no exception to that. Lemme guess, new weapons and a few new scenarios with a few new graphics and some shiny... else, same shit as last year. Still the same game modes, still the same problems with cheaters, still the same interface, still the same options; It is simply still the same game. Yes, people will buy it because it's the new one, it's the shiny one, and some of the killer bugs that bothered you the most in the previous games are finally fixed, which only begs the question why they existed in the first place and whether it would not have been much more feasible to simply fix them instead of ... oh silly me, how could you SELL the same game again?

2. DLC
Riiight, that way you can. The new magic of the gaming industry: DLC. Or, as I prefer to call it, "buying the last few chapters of the book extra". Because that's what DLC more and more turns into. You pay full price for a game only to find out that not only its addon, sorry, DLC was already planned, but it is actually an important part of the story which is not concluded before you bought at least 2 addons, turning a 50 bucks game into one that costed closer to 100, just to see the friggin' story of it, we're not talking about some additional storyline or actual addon content in the traditional sense, where a game is sold and if it's a success a "mission disc" gets released. These "addons", or rather, second part of the game, are already planned and developed before the game hits the stores. Your only hope is that the game bombs enough that you don't care about the end of the story.

And don't even hope that you could play multiplayer anywhere without the DLC, even if it's not part of the multiplayer game. Which leads us to

3. Planned obsolescence
With multiplayer servers being held firmly in the grasp of the game developers, and you having no chance to even play a local game, they dictate when and for how long you may play it, at least its multiplayer part, which happens to be the interesting part of those games. Rest assured, the moment the next version of the game comes out they'll turn off the old servers to force you to buy the next one (which is essentially the old one, but you can actually play multiplayer again...).

So if you wonder why people turn away from AAA titles, here is your reason. Indie games are cheaper, they offer more variety (because indies can actually dare producing anything but "tried" concepts), they usually offer complete games and they're by no means inferior to those AAA titles. They may lack a bit in graphics, but screw that, I take gameplay over shiny anytime!

Re:The "death" is their own making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180093)

Actually I think part of the reason "PC gaming is dying" has to do with the way we count sales. If you look at retail purchases, yes it is quite clear that sales have been decreasing. Now if you include subscriptions to PC only games like WoW, you realize probably that money has just been funneled outside of what they are including in "PC Gaming." Also worth noting that typical sales figures do not include DLC which would also boost the numbers.

Re:The "death" is their own making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181189)

PC Gaming must be making the publishers significant money or they wouldn't bother doing Steam sales of stuff (That is available used dirt cheap on consoles usually). They put in the effort to Strip Games for Windows Live from the first 2 Batman games just recently for example.

Re:The "death" is their own making (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180137)

We've seen what will happen to games in movies for a while now, specifically with the increased expenditure comes an aversion to taking any sort of risk.

The trouble is that it's a process that still makes developers enormous amounts of money. We might think the AAA games (or movies) are stilted, bland and narrow minded in scope, but people still buy them.

Until they stop making money, it'll only get worse.

Re:The "death" is their own making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181305)

Here is the thing Microsoft at some point will decide the party is over we want more of this money. (It is one thing that has been a constant with them.) Sony will copy them a little bit later (As they always do).

Once Microsoft decides on a course of action it doesn't take that long. (Look at the Nokia situation for example). They will destroy EA at some point. (Probably starting by some arrangement that seems like it gives EA special privileges in exchange for something like short delay (3 months or so) on the sports stuff for Sony).

It will happen the only question is when.

Re:The "death" is their own making (0)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a year ago | (#45180209)

DLC is more like buying the next books in a series. If one were to wait for all the DLCs to be implemented, one would never get the game as it would take far too long to hit the market and simply cost too much. Every map, wireframe, movement script, (etc, etc) costs for someone to construct. .

If you were unaware the DLCs existed, you really didn't look into the game did you?

Re:The "death" is their own making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180521)

If one were to wait for all the DLCs to be implemented

You mean like day 1 of the release? Quite a few DLCs tend to be available early. Which makes only sense since that is the time most who bought the main game are still interested in playing it and paying for extras.

Every map, wireframe, movement script, (etc, etc) costs for someone to construct.

That depends completely on the DLC however most of these resources are already in the main game, most DLC can be reduced to a few small custom maps, few quest scripts and maybe one or two custom models. Visible even better when the main game has locations that hint at a quest (messages lying around, NPCs, locked doors, ...) and you just can't find out what - so you spend two hours tracking down a key, check online where you can find it only to see a price tag attached (thank you fallout 3). All these things you mention (or rather the few things unique to the DLC) where already paid with the original game and torn out into DLCs to get extra money out of it.

Re:The "death" is their own making (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45180687)

ahahahahahahah

that's sort of true, in some games. but even then, if it's already in pipeline you could include it in the price.

however the EA style is that the DLC is already GOLD when the game launches - so the dlc becomes an extra perk to buy when you buy the game.

now it used to be that expansions were expansions... or extra campaigns. secret missions and what have you of the old days. those were truly produced only after it was apparent that the game sold enough for the expansion to make sense to publish. but now the expansion is a moneymaker taken into consideration when just sketching the game for the first time on their whiteboard. this means that if they come up with some good idea or another, chances are that they'll put it in the dlc or buyable perk.

Re:The "death" is their own making (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180273)

These "addons", or rather, second part of the game, are already planned and developed before the game hits the stores.

OR, included on the fucking retail disc you just paid $60 for.. but you have to pay extra to unlock.

Your only hope is that the game bombs enough that you don't care about the end of the story.

mass effect 3. i found out about the plot going to shit before i had a chance to even buy it. thank you, internet.

3. Planned obsolescence

not "planned", but rather "forced". and this is hardly limited to the gaming industry, or even computers....

Re:The "death" is their own making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180317)

Well planned and executed AAA titles are well-worth the money and the $50 investment of gamers. I'm sure those types of titles will not go away. I'm thinking titles like Heavy Rain (which is way different than most AAA titles now) and Metal Gear series.

The problem is most of the "AAA" titles are coming from the same sources that can bankroll it: EA, UBI Soft, Blizzard, Nintendo, SquareSoft, Rockstar, etc. The problem is EA has the reputation of always rehashing the same games in a series. OTOH, Assassin's Creed has been somewhat satisfying but the game length has been too low in the more recent titles and the gameplay too repetitive. Now there's talk AC series won't end 'till 2020 or something. Ouch! this is really going to drag.

Keeping the PC alive (1)

mseeger (40923) | about a year ago | (#45180035)

Actually i think, gaming is what currently keeps the PC industry alive (in the sense of innovation happening). From the enterprise perspective, the development mostly happens in the software. The would still use the PC from 2008 if they had more RAM. In fact, i know several companies where the average age of the PC infrastructure is 4+ years old and they are not unhappy with it.

Re:Keeping the PC alive (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45180803)

Keyboards are keeping the PC industry alive. Nobody has yet combined the keyboard with the television in a way that really compels people to want that combination in their house in any significant numbers. Of course, if someone came up with the right HTPC interface, then that might be a factor which could help the PC industry. Oddly, this might be a valid use for the Windows 8 interface. The problem is, it only really works if I can use gesture and voice control, and I don't trust a Microsoft solution with enough sensors to do those things in my house.

Hey (5, Insightful)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#45180049)

The people telling you the PC is obsolete and on the way out are trying to sell you its "replacement."

The only problem is tablets and phones can't replace the PC for the same reason motorcycles and skateboards can't replace your car.

Nobody wants to do real work on a mobile device. Stop pretending they do.

Re:Hey (1, Offtopic)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a year ago | (#45180193)

Can't speak to Skateboards, but I could probably replace my car (truck) with my motorcycle. I ride it 95% of the time and only take the truck when there's ice on the road (I could work from home when there's ice) or when I have to get something a bit bigger, which doesn't happen all that often (for $20 I can rent Home Depot's truck for an hour if necessary).

I have a truck because it's more convenient than dealing with renting a Home Depot truck, more convenient than making a couple of trips on the bike when shopping (although with a little planning, I could just make one trip).

But that's just me which is the only person I can speak for :)

[John]

Re:Hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180719)

Some people surf the web, watch movies, chat, read books, listen to music just fine with their tablet/phone, so it's a useful replacement for *them*. But I suspect that “The Cat” meant “replace market-wide” (displace?), which makes your analogy even more illustrative of his point: families, small business owners and even your occasional convenience ensure that four-wheel vehicles are nowhere near going out; spreadsheets, graphics editing and publishing *need* PCs, and some gaming needs have yet to be served adequately by consoles (sims and “pro” gamers come to mind) .

Re:Hey (1, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45180779)

The only problem is tablets and phones can't replace the PC for the same reason motorcycles and skateboards can't replace your car.

People keep saying stuff like this, but there is no car analogy to be made here because the phones of today have more cargo area-equivalent than the PCs of not so many yesterdays ago. It's truly not that long since my desktop PC was less powerful than the phone I'm carrying around now. It doesn't have video out, so it's not suitable as a desktop replacement by any stretch, but many modern phones do.

Mobiles are fast-approaching the speeds of the prevalent game consoles and people's existing desktop PCs, and the next generation of those is here right on time to make you feel like the older level wasn't pretty great. But this time, it's not true. People's existing desktop PCs fulfill all their needs, and the prevalent game consoles are capable of some pretty jaw-dropping visuals. Most users are not feeling any kind of lack not related to advertising or a crappy ISP. No more "my PC isn't fast enough for flash video" or what have you.

Nobody wants to do real work on a mobile device. Stop pretending they do.

Nobody wants a device to be bigger than it has to be. Stop pretending they do.

Gaming as a whole... (4, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | about a year ago | (#45180057)

... is sucking because the industry is obsessed with creating movies, not games.

Re:Gaming as a whole... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180211)

Can't say for sure, I haven't played a videogame since the 1980s. Then again, I haven't been in a movie theater in the last 15 years. Maybe they both suck. From what I hear, both videogames and movies are geared towards Asian audiences now. That is probably where the money is for these studios.

Re:Gaming as a whole... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180219)

no no no,

not movies - "interactive entertainment"

Yeeech!

Re:Gaming as a whole... (2)

umafuckit (2980809) | about a year ago | (#45180399)

... is sucking because the industry is obsessed with creating movies, not games.

This is a real issue, for sure (at least on Playstation and XBox). The Uncharted games, which are often hailed as being amongst the better titles for the PS3, only really work because the story is somewhat interesting and and they have a charm about them. The actual gameplay is nothing special and isn't challenging: in the third game it regularly tells you what buttons to press; the puzzles are painfully obvious even before the NPCs drop hints as to what to do (you can't turn off the hints and they're dropped almost immediately). Even more extreme is Beyond Two Souls (I played the demo) which really is like a movie where you have to press buttons at the right times in order find out what happens next. In the demo there seemed to be no real game play to speak of, which is a pity considering how good the graphics are for a PS3 title.

Bitching aside, there are good titles even on consoles. The indie studios are churning them out and there are creative platformers. It's just that a lot of the big-name titles on consoles are over-rated. Of course the situation is better on PC, where there are more strategy games and some quality FPS titles (which work better on a PC anyway).

Do we even want the 'AAA' games to stick around? (1)

tramp (68773) | about a year ago | (#45180059)

Apparently not! The masses are moving to casual gaming on tablets (p.e. Angry birds as best known casual game) and indeed consoles. But consoles have to do it for a longer period of time with the same hardware and are not reaily well suited for the next AAA game to be released in 3 or 4 years from now.

Re:Do we even want the 'AAA' games to stick around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180271)

"The bigger problem was that the game [Medal of Honor Warfighter] failed, signaling that authenticity was a dead end. It might have been something the fans said they wanted, but who can trust the fans? One of Mr. Bach’s rules is this: Don’t use data to decide what to do."

Authenticity was NOT a dead end; Warfighter failed because it was a miserable piece of button mashing quick timed event trash with zero replay value . No amount of eye candy can save that.

No possible modding was also a big downer. Can you trust the fans? Yes. Can you trust the publisher? Hell No!

I had high hopes for it but did not go thru half of it.

The same game, requiring a tougher graphics card (4, Insightful)

hooiberg (1789158) | about a year ago | (#45180079)

To be honest, that what is marketed as 'AAA'-games is all like Wolfenstein. Walk through a maze and shoot bad guys. The humble bundle games feature original gameplay. This is so much more fun than 'the same game, requiring an even tougher graphics card' I am having a lot more fun with Cookie Clicker than I have with all the battlefield AAA-nonsense together.

Re:The same game, requiring a tougher graphics car (4, Insightful)

Pop69 (700500) | about a year ago | (#45180117)

You've hit the nail on the head.

The gameplay element of what the press tout as AAA titles hasn't really advanced any since Wolfenstein 3d was released in 1992.

Think about that, no original gameplay in 21 years !

Certainly the graphics are shinier and the weapons are different but the essential gameplay of run around a maze, pick up power ups and ammo, shoot enemies, rinse and repeat hasn't changed....

Re:The same game, requiring a tougher graphics car (4, Insightful)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about a year ago | (#45180895)

The gameplay element of what the press tout as AAA titles hasn't really advanced any since Wolfenstein 3d was released in 1992.

Yeah, no real advances beyond multiplayer, team-based multiplayer, destructible scenery, dynamic maps (as in L4D2), new weapons mechanics (such as Unreal Tournament's bio rifle), emphasis on stealth (such as Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex), dynamic AI that sends swarms based on player progress and performance (the L4D Director), modding support that allows anything from minor skinning to complete remakes, RPG elements blending in to the FPS, and the aqueducts. Aside from those things, what have the Romans done for us?

And what about dungeon crawlers? They haven't advanced since Nethack. Diablo was better graphics and nothing more.

Re:The same game, requiring a tougher graphics car (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180151)

This should get modded up. The big-studio games all have shit gameplay. They're about the bling. The FUN games are all from the small indie studios these days. That scene is as alive as ever.

They aren't "better" than the previous iteration.. (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#45180101)

...they're just "more".

Like Hollywood, the top tier of the gaming industry has - when hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake - become rather naturally tremendously conservative. Look at the "AAA titles" out there - Cod 13, GTA 5, Madden 25....it's much like Hollywood in that they rarely risk anything on new ideas, new creations, new stories...they just re-iterate, add more polys to the models, and re-arrange the deck chairs. Even outside of these mind-numbingly similar games, other fields like MMOs are similarly afflicted: since WoW's stunning success, every putative "WoW-killer" is the SAME FUCKING GAME wrapped in different art, with a few different button-pressing methods but about as different as expansions of the same game.

But hey, the swarming masses keep buying them, so I guess it's a reasonable strategy. My answer would be no, I don't want these AAA titles to even continue, but that's a laughably feeble cry in the face of - again - hundreds of millions in (nearly) risk-free revenue.

hopefully the underground can save gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180127)

There are too many cooks in the pot right now for making popular video games. The worst thing about it is that they don't focus on gameplay at all. Not to be a complete pariah about it, but modern adventure games are some of the worst offenders. Obviously the Call of Duty franchise has personified itself in its disingenuousness, but there are other terrible problems with games like Walking Dead. If there are only about 10 puzzles using items in Walking Dead vs. massive amount of combinations that you needed for Zork, then we've got a serious problem about what is being passed off as a game these days. Not to say that Walking Dead isn't a great piece of art, but it really isn't much of a game compared to advanced text adventures, adventure games with an evolved text-phrase system, or game like Maniac Mansion. Of course, these things require hard work so game publishers and companies shy away from such endeavors. They'd rather spend the money on advertising or making the game look pretty, instead of tackling more difficult issues of game mechanics and gameplay. Just look at new SimCity, the original SimCity is far superior as a game compared to the modern version. The truly tragic part about all of this is that Windows and Mac are united in their absolute hatred of old games. If I can't even play Balance of Power on my Windows 7 machine then what are the priorities here? It's not like the word processing, emails, or calendars have had much innovation either. Linux would be able to crush the market if it supports a large library of quality classic games. Heck, why not transform awesome board games into computer games on Linux? Imagine if Race for the Galaxy or Catan could be a reliable game you could play on Ubuntu? That's a winning strategy right there. That'd be a winning strategy for Microsoft and Apple but they'd rather just slothfully accept new games as the only relevant medium for entertainment. It's going to take some time, but if enough people who understand the value of patience and accessibility get into software innovation then we're all set. Just keep fighting the good fight!

Breaking the illusion (2)

Leo Sasquatch (977162) | about a year ago | (#45180213)

I remember the first time I found I was able to shoot glass out of a window - Counter-Strike. I spent ages doing just that, because of the novelty value - here was a substance in game that reacted the way it would in real life. I recognised it as a limitation of the medium, way back in the day, but it always used to annoy me when I couldn't shoot out a window in Half-Life. Or any game where a locked door impeded progress because I didn't have the key, although I was toting 6 lbs of explosives at the time.

Try shooting the farmer at the start of Halo Reach. Your gun goes bang, and there's a damage splatter appears on the other side of his head, but he won't stop talking. If you keep shooting him, after 10 shots, you die, not because your squadmates have realised that you're shooting civilians and gun you down, but a vengeful god just smites you down.

It'll be interesting to see how far the new engines go in terms of world design. Obviously there won't be civilians, or women, or children, but it'd be nice to be able to shoot out the legs of a water tower and have it collapse, because that's what the objects would do under real-world-conditions, and not just because it's a pre-programmed set-piece and the only way to complete the level. It's be nice to see enemies who weren't Terminators - combat robots who have to be completely destroyed to kill them, that can take all but 1 HP of damage and still be at 100% combat effectiveness. Maybe sometimes some of them could realise that you've just killed everyone else in their squad, and simply decide to run away.

It's also interesting to see how narrow their definitions of 'realism' are - they'll model stubble, sweat, and the texture of equipment webbing, but nobody ever bleeds, or screams, or goes mad. They'll model the correct serial number on an 21st century assault rifle, yet it'll deliver a target grouping that would shame a musket.

And I think Just Cause 2 was the last game I played where you really seemed to have a huge amount of freedom over the order you did the missions in, and there was a whole lot to do if you didn't want to do a mission. I hate purely linear games, where you have to do one thing, and until you do that to the game's satisfaction, you're not getting to do anything else. As soon as you reach a situation where you *have* to do something, rather than *want* to do something, that's work, not play; and if I'm working, I expect to be getting paid, not paying for the privilege.

The game industry's soul? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180235)

Dick Cheney's heart ... the game industry's soul ....

Come on Slashdot, enough spoof articles already today!

The question has already been answered (4, Insightful)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about a year ago | (#45180251)

And of course, the question must be asked: do we even want the 'AAA' games to stick around?"

No, we don't have to ask that question. We already have the answer. GTA V sold over eleven million copies in the first day of sales. It's grossed over a billion dollars. Only a complete fucking idiot would doubt that there's a market for good, high-quality AAA games.

And of course Slashdot seems determined to put those complete fucking idiots' thoughts on the front page.

Re:The question has already been answered (0)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about a year ago | (#45180339)

You can't get AAA games on Linux. The editors are bitter children, angry on the inside because they're left out time and time again. So yes, the question must be asked.

Re:The question has already been answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180463)

I agree with this 1000x over. As a lurker, while I enjoy a little political banter and the occasional poke at Microsoft/Apple, /. has been trolling the gutters lately. Stick to science and geeky stuff guys, please!

Re:The question has already been answered (2)

umafuckit (2980809) | about a year ago | (#45180421)

No, we don't have to ask that question. We already have the answer. GTA V sold over eleven million copies in the first day of sales. It's grossed over a billion dollars. Only a complete fucking idiot would doubt that there's a market for good, high-quality AAA games.

Yes, the article is badly thought-through. It's also silly to flag the dropping sales of current gen consoles as a concern, given that they're nearing the end of their life cycle and most people who want one have bought one. However, it is fair to ask which way the industry is going to go next given that phones and tablets are sucking up a lot of game time. e.g. will smaller indie games on consoles and PCs take a hit? So we'll be left with only the AAA. That would be a pity.

Re:The question has already been answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180531)

It sold over eleven million copies ON the first day of sales, not 'in' the first day of sales - you AMERICAN cretin.

How did I know?

Re:The question has already been answered (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45180729)

I bought GTA V. I have bought every GTA game so far (DOS games, even) except Chinatown Wars. Based on my experience with GTA V so far, I will not be buying another GTA game.

Re:The question has already been answered (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#45180969)

Good for you! Most people seem to be enjoying GTA V a lot.

Re:The question has already been answered (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45181005)

Good for you! Most people seem to be enjoying GTA V a lot.

This is the buggiest and slowest-loading title so far. The online experience is the opposite of polished. The single player is cool, but when it's done there's less to do than with the prior title, unless you really want to go submarining very slowly. If you go very fast through populated areas you still wind up with texture load failures, and big ones that actually affect being able to see where you're going, not just stuff like "no road texture in the tunnel entrance." It's a shame, because the game is polished in a lot of very nice ways — driving is much nicer, for example. Maybe they will get it together better, keep the cloud servers up, fix some of the broken missions.

Re:The question has already been answered (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#45180907)

No, we don't have to ask that question. We already have the answer. GTA V sold over eleven million copies in the first day of sales. It's grossed over a billion dollars. Only a complete fucking idiot would doubt that there's a market for good, high-quality AAA games.

The Humble Origin Bundle raised $10.5 million for charity. 2.1 million in sales.

As a big a story in PC gaming as we have seen this year, and not a word, not a whisper of it, made the front pages of Slashdot. You couldn't have asked for a much better sampling of what the AAA title has to offer.

SW:TOR was a good game with good tech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180255)

He actually came out and said that the only reason SW:TOR was a failure was because they picked the wrong business model. These guys have no fucking clue.

Star Citizen (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180287)

Cloud Imperium's opus-in-progress broke $23 million in crowdfunding this week: AAA independent production and PC-focused development. Works like this are injecting a renaissance of fresh air into the stale industry dominated by bug-dollar myopic publishers.

Games in the nineties were innovative because the creative developers were calling the shots; garage operations flourished. Crowdfunding is making that model viable again with modern production values and PC gamers are in for a hell of a ride over the next decade.

Long live disintermediation!

tut, tut. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180333)

We here at the Glorious PC-Gaming Master-Race disagree.

Where is the automation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45180337)

I am not directly in the industry but it would seem they put a lot of effort into hand crafting things. I would ask why there is a lot of hand crafting in a computer industry.

Should we not be able to do
- automated environment creation - even balanceing and simulation to find balance
- automated setting music creation
- automated detaiing -> high resolution rendering then cut back for a texture

Just don't take use our credit card to unlock stuf (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#45180485)

Just don't take use our credit card to unlock stuff in games and Eran discounts / other store credits based on spend on any credit card purchase*.

* high apr and other hidden fees may apply

The good ol' days (1)

chr1st1anSoldier (2598085) | about a year ago | (#45180499)

Many of the games that come out now have really amazing visuals/graphics/etc, but they all lack something the old classics had. What that something is, I'm not sure. I miss Sierra games with things like Police Quest, Kings Quest, The Island of Dr. Brain. Then you had other games like Hugo: House of horrors and Hugo 2: Who done it? Dune and Dune 2. Their graphics where horrid, but those games were a blast to play. I don't know why, but those older games just seem to have more character and spirit then the games that come out now. Don't get me wrong, there are good games that come out every year, but it seems like a majority of the games coming out now are just the same things rehashed over and over with better graphics and slight variations in the story line. It's almost like the gaming industry has homogenized somewhat. Want to make a FPS, just remake Halo or CoD. Want to make an open world game, just remake GTA,. What to make an RPG, remake Final Fantasy, Kings Quest or Elder Scrolls. Again, don't misunderstand, there are games that come out that do not follow this form such as Dear Esther or Portals and are awesome. I am simply talking the gaming industry as a whole, it way different then what it used to be. The indie game scene, however, seems to be pumping out some pretty awesome stuff these days.

Re:The good ol' days (1)

basscomm (122302) | about a year ago | (#45180745)

Many of the games that come out now have really amazing visuals/graphics/etc, but they all lack something the old classics had. What that something is, I'm not sure. I miss Sierra games with things like Police Quest, Kings Quest, The Island of Dr. Brain. Then you had other games like Hugo: House of horrors and Hugo 2: Who done it? Dune and Dune 2. Their graphics where horrid, but those games were a blast to play. I don't know why, but those older games just seem to have more character and spirit then the games that come out now. Don't get me wrong, there are good games that come out every year, but it seems like a majority of the games coming out now are just the same things rehashed over and over with better graphics and slight variations in the story line. It's almost like the gaming industry has homogenized somewhat. Want to make a FPS, just remake Halo or CoD. Want to make an open world game, just remake GTA,. What to make an RPG, remake Final Fantasy, Kings Quest or Elder Scrolls. Again, don't misunderstand, there are games that come out that do not follow this form such as Dear Esther or Portals and are awesome. I am simply talking the gaming industry as a whole, it way different then what it used to be. The indie game scene, however, seems to be pumping out some pretty awesome stuff these days.

A lot of modern games (especially the so-called 'AAA' games) are missing a soul. They're paint-by-numbers rehashes of what's worked before (shameless plug [crummysocks.com] ).

Traditional video games? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#45180575)

Traditional video games will not disappear tomorrow. It is a multibillion-dollar business, with shooters like Battlefield its most enduring category.

The funny thing is that the "AAA" games they refer to as traditional video games are much less traditional than the mobile games they think are usurping. Games from the Atari 2600 era to the SNES era resemble mobile games much more than they do "AAA" games.

Publishers are killing gaming on the PC (3, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#45180579)

Publishers are killing gaming on the PC through ever escalating levels of DRM. The PC has pretty well always been the better platform for gaming from a technical sense for hardware capability. You had the ability to upgrade your system, patch it and customize it at levels that a console could never match. A console is only updated every so many years, patching is a logistical pain if is even possible and the only customizations you can do are typically to the outside of the case.

The problem is that publishers have been cranking up the DRM to higher and higher levels of entitlement. What originally started as nothing more than deprivation of the product quickly became deprivation of your computer. Games would do things like replace hardware drivers and interfere with your ability to burn CD's or DVD's. The DRM measures were typically not disclosed and worse not uninstalled upon removing the game.

Gamers could spend hours upon hours trying to figure out why their computer wasn't working correctly only to discover that SecureROM or another product had done something like replacing drivers for their hardware. Nobody appreciates having a product sabotage their computer and the DRM companies refused to cooperate with disclosing anything about what they were doing to peoples computers. The result often required hours of troubleshooting at best to a complete rebuild to restore a computer. You also had the loss of the original software that caused the problem to begin with and were typically out at least $50.

Add in stunts like mandatory activation, registration and serial numbers and you end up with something that cannot be used anonymously and forced the disclosure of marketing information. Even when activation worked many companies would then self destruct the ability to use software if you made certain undisclosed changes. Things escalated to the point where simply changing a piece of hardware in your computer would be enough to ruin your game as it then refused to play.

Self entitlement furthered to the point where you had to be online to check in your serial number just to start a game. Publishers were oblivious to the fact that that most of the world does not live in Silicon Valley and for many people this was not reasonable. Once publishers started requiring players to be online in order to play at all they really burned the last of the bridges.

For a regular user, even one who has purchased the software it has become a situation that simply isn't worth it anymore. Countless millions of people have purchased a piece of software only to turn around and then download the pirated version just to get something that worked and didn't break their computer.

Are computers technically superior in just about every way? Absolutely, but the computer gaming industry is imploding from self entitlement and the publishers will have a future of paying higher and higher royalties to Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft.

I don't think Steam agrees (2)

hibiki_r (649814) | about a year ago | (#45180791)

It's not that PC game sales are dropping: Heck, no we can find Japanese companies releasing their games on PC, which is something that would have never happened 10 years ago. Valve is not having any trouble selling games, and neither do indies.

Now, It'd not surprise me if EA sales on PC were dropping. They decided to build their own ecosystem, one that is not just separate from anything else you can buy on PC, bun one that is drastically overpriced. EA sales can't compete with the sales you can get on anything else. Their console-oriented shooters can't compete with PC-centric ones. Sim City was an unmitigated disaster. They are failing on PC because they've been working very hard at it, and all that work is finally bearing fruit.

Crowd funding. Star Citizen (1)

grmoc (57943) | about a year ago | (#45181149)

'nuff said

ok maybe not.

Star Citizen: 23 million in funding and going up roughly ~100k/ day.

Crowd funding looks to be working these days. Who cares if the AAA titles and studios die when we have made it easy for creative people with good ideas to get funded!

Binding of Isaac (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181155)

Cost me $2.50. I've spent about 400 hours on it.

PC wane in popularity??? (1)

Dunge (922521) | about a year ago | (#45181317)

This year PC market increased tenfold, Steam is more popular than ever.
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