Is The Video Games Industry On The Verge Of A Crash?

I'm going to leave this here without too much comment, because while part of me thinks this is pretty out there, I sure there are plenty of folks out there who agree with what he's saying. It's a video that attempts to compare the video game crash of the early 80s with the current situation we're in now and, while I think it has some interesting things to say, I think it's loaded with a fair amount of hyperbole.

It starts out well. In fact, the opening 10 minutes or so work as a pretty concise history lesson, and I enjoyed it! My only concern, I suppose, is that comparing the terrible amount of practically broken games released for the Atari in the 80s to our current situation is a pretty long bow. Whether or not you like games such as Mass Effect 3 or Assassin's Creed III is your call, but in no way shape or form are they fundamentally terrible games like the games being released on Atari in the 80s. There is simply no comparison.

In fact you could argue the Android and iOS stores are more like that — a bewildering amount of choice, no real guarantee of quality. I would argue that the console/PC market isn't anywhere near that situation.

Also — regardless of what you think of EA, with Origin, Sim City, and Mass Effect — I don't think EA is quite the all consuming black hole of quality its being described as in this video. Again, just too much hyperbole, too many long bows being drawn.

But still, AAA console gaming is in a weird situation at the moment. But I'd argue its for different reasons. Simply put — games are too expensive to make, taking risks is difficult. That makes it less attractive for the EAs and Activisions of the world to create new, innovative IP. This makes it safer to develop safe bets and sequels. I think that'll be more of a problem in the long term, but I don't think we're quite on the precipice yet.

Still, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the video, and the situation.


Comments

    Hear?

    This is the worst article on the Internet. You misspelled that word. You should look at a dictionary sometime. Unprofessional. No research. Why I hate Kotaku. Never coming back. *grumble grumble*

    Serious response: A small part of me secretly hopes it does. Yes games are more polished with higher production values then ever but it's been a long time since I haven't found a game boring. Even with all the new games I have I keep abandoning them a few hours in to play Dark Souls more. If a crash is what it takes to make games start afresh than maybe its not a bad thing?

    Last edited 14/03/13 10:28 am

      and the metaphors! Dear god, the metaphors!

      You leave our Serrels alone!

        He's got a thick accent, he'll be right :P

    Man, wish I could watch this. All that hyperbole seems pretty common these days. Everyone is predicting the end of this and that and claiming that so&socompany's next game will ruin them when we all know they don't keep all their eggs in one basket.

    Too many ET cartridges from Atari = too many Udraw tablets from THQ.

      I heard that the uDraw actually did quite well on the Wii. But then they screwed it up by going "hey, let's sink all that money into bringing it to the other two guys!" and then it flopped. Hard.

      Seemed like a total bonehead move to make.

        bonehead move by a boneheaded person.

    Time to get my "The End Is Nigh" sandwich board out again, and wander around the city streets.

    I actually think describing EA has an all consuming black hole of quality is shockingly accurate. There is a definite quality drop in franchises after their acquisition by EA, which seems to only buy IP rather than actually developing it.

    I'm going to say why I believe game quality is going down compared to the golden age of gaming where I would just be completely engrossed with a games story or game play. My wife has a much younger brother whose 11 years old and watching him play games, I don't know how to describe it. He could sit down and play a game from start to finish in one day and barely tell me little more about the game then a few characters names and whether its a shooter or a hack and slash. And him and his mates just want the best looking game, "what did you think of far cry 3?" "It looks really good............................" and that's it. I don't know if its my experience but kids don't game like my friends and I used too. We used to play games like sonic over and over for high scores not for 4 achievements for naming your character and watching the intro movie and picking up your first gun and mastering the jump button. Anyways that's about all I have to say about that.

      I've always thought that games seem to have this self loathing built into them where they hate being games and want to be more like movies, forgetting that people are playing them because they like games. There is an entire industry out there that does pretty well with the whole making movies thing. Leave it to them.

        Have to agree, both tell stories but the delivery is so different.

    EA have a stable of very good development studios. Maxis, Bioware, Dice and Visceral all make very beautiful games. The problem however isn't normally the core aspects of the games produced, but either the sudden sheer drop in quality during a game's story or the delivery system used for the game. And personally, both of those things are a direct result of EA's ownership.

    The video author definitely tries to sink some subjective claws into EA, but I still believe his points are valid.

    I haven't purchased Sim City, Dead Space 3 or any of the ME DLC because they still haven't learnt their lesson. I will buy Sim City when I find them at a good sale price, maybe at retail. But I'll wait, because EA doesn't deserve my money.

      Ok finally finished the video (at work haha). By the end of it, I'd realised the author is being a tad narrow-minded about the industry and the idea its about to crash, because he's not considering the possible changes the industry will experience soon... predominantly: affordable lounge room PC/Console hybrids (like the Steam Box).

      Most of his point are about the "console gaming industry", not the industry as a whole.

      Valve has already said there will be different types of Steam Boxes on the market. I believe one of these will be an affordable "console" that streams games from our PC's via our home network to our lounge rooms. The console will be nothing more than monitor extension peripheral with HDMI/Optical outs and controller inputs.

      Putting a console like this on the market means gamers who prefer the lounge room to the desk and office chair, will be able to utilise the benefits of the Steam service; one of the only services that allows small development companies the ability to get their games played and make their money.

      If this is the future, then the major distributors will be forced to pick up their game or close shop, just to compete (much like the music industry and failed major labels.)

        And Oculus Rift! It will be big, as soon as everyone gets' to experience it :D

    I actually believe that if we ARE on the verge of a crash, it's because there are TOO many great games.

    Honestly, there are SO many great games this generation vying for dollars, that people simply can't afford to buy them all.

    Look at the Saboteur. FANTASTIC game. But look at it's competition? GTA, Saints Row etc. It's in a genre that's crowded by bigger names. The game didn't stand a chance despite it's quality. For me personally, it was vastly better than BOTH GTA and SR.

    As such, studio shut down.

    I actually think, not that it's possible, but there needs to be LESS games. I think, as much shit as Nintendo cops, they do it right. Produce less game, but make the ones you DO produce fucking awesome. Give people a chance to play what they have before throwing another 10 awesome games at them.

    I still stand on my side of the fence and claim that EA are no worse than activision. EA tried something new with Shadows of the Damned, Mirrors Edge , Dante's inferno and Dead Space. My bet is that the next generation of consoles will bring new IPs.

    Urrrhhhh not this guy again

    This is the same guy who made 3 quote unquote "Documentaries" that the Indoctrination Theory in Mass Effect 3 was real and cited glitches and standard game tropes as his sources.

    Furthermore in his 3rd video covering the Extended Cut he even went further and insulted any fans who liked the Extended Cut calling them "Babies who were repeatedly thrown down the stairs"

      "Babies who were repeatedly thrown down the stairs"
      Am I a terrible person for laughing at this?

      Yes, yes I am.

    Did the C64 have something to do with the flight from console gaming from 83-85?

      Hell yes, that and the Amegia! bloody amazing time to be a gamer.

    I'd be down for a second crash :P

    Would help clear house of all the people involved in games for the wrong reasons.

    There wont be a crash like in 1983 because there are too many people who grew up playing video games and they aren't just going to suddenly stop playing games. However there a lot of warning signs and similarities with the crash, and industry could be headed for a major shake up:

    1. Market Saturation – Xbox 360, PS3, Wii/Wii U, PC, 3DS/DS, Vita, and every smart phone and tablet ever made. There are just too many gaming platforms around, consumers and developers can't support them all. So its not really surprising the Vita is struggling to find a market. There also way too many games being released, beyond just the console space. This problem will be compounded by the next generation of consoles who will have to compete with their own previous iterations for some time into the future.

    2. Cost of Development – its costs somewhere around 15-30 million dollars to make a major title, meaning a game has to sell over a million or more copies to make money. This is why publishers are adverse to creating new IP. Also with every new generation the cost of development goes up, so the number of units sold or the retail price also has to go up. When the asking price is already $80+, the situation is not sustainable.

    3. Gameplay Quality – this is very subjective but in my opinion the average quality of the gameplay (ie the things you actually do as player) of major AAA titles is mediocre. When I think back to the golden age of PC gaming in the late 90s when it seemed like every other game did something new, today's games pale in comparison. Everybody just does the same things, again and again; where's the innovation in gameplay? Case in point: the FPS genre has devolved over time. Duke Nukem 3D, a 15 year old game, has more sophisticated gameplay than Call of Duty. And how many games today are almost completely linear? Just run forward in a straight line. They dont require any thought or real skill to play.

    4. Technical Quality – how many games today are broken on release? Diablo 3, Simcity, Aliens Colonial Marines. When even major/respected companies are burning their customers, it doesn't bode well for the gaming industry.

    5. Preorders – when a company can make it's money back (or most of it) before a game is even released, where's the incentive to release a quality product? Games aren't a rare commodity so there's no good reason to preorder them. People are risking their money on something of unknown quality for next to no reward. A exclusive preorder gun or whatever isn't a worthwhile reward. It's something that should have been in the game in the first place.

    6. Franchise Loyalists – people who are welded at the hip to franchises, and buy the next installment of a game even when all advice says it's crap. Again there's no incentive for companies to make a good game, because a lot of people are to going to buy it anyway. How many times must Final Fantasy fans be kicked in the gut before they stop buying it? Just blindly buying whatever isn't going to encourage anyone to learn from past mistakes and do better next time.

    So IMHO the major players in the gaming industry need to improve the quality of their games and reduce development costs, otherwise they're just shooting themselves in the foot by burning consumers.

    I have found more games enjoyable of late than ever.

    1. Farcry 3
    2. Tomb Raider
    3. StarCraft Zerg expansion (absolutely enjoying it at the moment)

    Very happy of late.

    However my hate list:
    1. Diablo 3 (for so many reasons)
    2. SimCity (may change once stabilised, enjoyable game, terrible experience)
    3. BLOPS and co (should be $40 expansion packs, not $100 games)

    Point is games are more than the graphics these days, we need story and a complete experience. After all, it is an entertainment industry.

    Video-game industry going to crash?
    Not when Nintendo's Mario games regularly sell 25-30 million and Call Of Duty's sell 15 million plus every instalment, even Assassins Creed 3 sold 13 million.
    Sure some publishers may fall by the wayside but considering the world has been in an economic decline in recent years I think the industry is doing rather well and with a new generation just around the corner things are looking up.

    idk, I haven't tried tomb raider or starcraft yet, but I have been sick to death of the latest games.

    And it's not IP that's to blame, it's laziness and an inability of companies to do what they should be doing.

    Sins of a Solar empire - no new engine. This is a huge issue now, because of the sheer amount of units you can have. Your computer slows down and it becomes laborious to play - why?
    It's single core. IT is actually dual core but the 2nd core is only used for sound.

    That means your 12 carriers and 9 other players over 300 planets are going to make your computer crap itself.

    Carrier command - need I say more?
    Impire - could it be more linear/awful ?
    Yes it can - Dungeons.

    The list goes on. I have MANY other games I simply wasted my money on. Mass effect 3 ending is a great example.

    I'm not buying another EA Game EVER. So dodged a bullet on Sim City last week ;)

    Last edited 14/03/13 2:30 pm

    People have been predicting the end of one thing or another since the invention of predictions.

    But I'd like to a shitload more innovation, and maybe a crash will help that along.

    I haven't watched the video because I'm currently at work but gaming these days is too mainstream for there to be a crash.

    lolnope

    sure, there doesn't appear to be as many games that hit that sweet spot as there were, but that would be because gaming is far, far more diverse than the days where basically only one type of person liked games. There's this whole other audience that has grown up around the audience still playing Dark Souls.

    What people, mostly Americans, forget about the crash is that it only affected North America. Europe never crashed. Australia never crashed. In markets where the vast majority of manufacturers are not fly-by-night operators trying to cash in on the video game fad, everything was fine.

    The Second Video Game Crash will never happen.

    So I guess I'll see you all in a month for humble pie when the Second Video Game Crash happens.

    The problem I see is that big corps. make great triple AAA games, but also try to make money on the side with skinnerbox trash! It's hard to have Positive Brand loyalty when half of your companies outcome is excellent and the other half crap - makes you feel lukewarm about a company, instead of f*ck yeah enthusiastic.

    Also, milking a game series after it has done all it can do...

    That was a pretty great watch.
    I love the schadenfreude of looking at all those stock markets. Mmmm, yes.

    DRM seems to be the biggest threat to the industry, the treatment of paying customers by these publishers will drive everyone away eventually.

    Thankfully Steam know how to do DRM right and they may be the next Nintendo in saving the gaming industry. It's not just the cloud-saves- Steam Workshop, good-value sales, etc that they do right, it's their obvious understanding of what gamers want: the game they paid for.

    It all comes down to what a company is aiming for, greed is easily identifiable. Nintendo are still the good guys, even when they stuff up you can tell they care about their customers, just like Steam.

    As much as waking publishers up with a market crash does seem appealing there is one key difference this time: online. What will happen to all those games you bought online if your hard drive packs it in? What if I really feel like playing Simcity and The Old Republic (ignore this guy, they are very good games) in a few years time and the servers are gone because EA went bust?

    The market is mature, people will always buy games like Simcity in the future, but these publishers will never thrive if they alienate the hardcore gamer. Nintendo did and are in a position I could never have imagined in the early to mid-90s.

    Not a fan of this video - as you mentioned it's got some problems and on the whole it comes across as a naive view of the cause of the current game industry slump.

    Generally gamers are wanting more and more for less and less.

    The industry is trying to cope with this and are trying to reduce the costs of development.

    Game development is very, very expensive. Not to mention the costs required to do adequate marketing. It's a gross over simplification to say that the industry will get better if only developers would take longer making games. This is not the case, extending the length development only increases the costs while adding marginal consumer value to the overall game. However if a game isn't finished/working it shouldn't be released (i.e. SimCity)

    The quality of the products produced by a publisher/development team have an effect on the brand-loyalty but it would take a lot more than a few perceived bad endings to end the industry.

    Where as I feel the issue isn't so much about the quality of the tent pole products (Mass Effect, COD, Madden etc) but rather the saturation and reduced perceived value of games in general. This slump and loss of value also applies to all other creative mediums, Music, TV, Movies, Books, Websites etc.

    To say that all these industries are suffering because of the quality isn't really accurate. The drop in quality is typically a symptom of an industry trying to reduce costs to compete in a saturated and ruthless market.

    Also the video also barely mentions the mobile game industry and almost dismisses it as something that's basically a distracting influence. Rather than something that's specifically driving down the value and cost of games. For Hardcore gamers, console/PC I'm sure are in their view the 'real' games but to discredit this effect is also naive.

      what this person says is true.even eith ps4 the industry is suffering. its how things r run.

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