Sid Meier Worries That Monetisation In Gaming Will Threaten Game Quality

Sid Meier Worries That Monetisation In Gaming Will Threaten Game Quality

The creator of Civilisation has questioned the longevity of monetisation in the gaming world.

Sid Meier’s Civilisation is one of those game series where almost every game has always been a hit with critics and fans alike. The simple turn-based strategy games are iconic in their own right, with the first game being considered ‘one of the most important strategy games of all time’. It would be plain silly to deny its influence on the many, many turn-based strategy games that have come out since its release in 1991.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Civilisation game, game designer Sid Meier spoke to the BBC to discuss the direction that the video games industry is heading. He urges the industry to focus on why people play games, which is for the gameplay.

“That is what is unique, special and appealing about games as a form of entertainment,” Meier says. “When we forget that, and decide it’s monetisation or other things that are not gameplay-focused, when we start to forget about making great games and start thinking about games as a vehicle or an opportunity for something else, that’s when we stray a little bit further from the path.”

Considering just how much money the video games industry makes off of in-game purchases and microtransactions, it’s understandable why somebody like Meier, who’s been in the industry for so long, is concerned with the trajectory of the industry. Many games released nowadays are making the majority of their profits from microtransactions, with other games companies exploring NFTs as another way to boost profits.

Meier worries that the industry’s strong focus on monetisation could not only result in a loss of audience, but also a loss of quality in the games being released, saying that due to the financial success of games due to microtransactions, he can see why it’s “easy to overlook how important the investment in game design and gameplay is.”

While the video game industry continues to grow financially, Meier believes that the continuation of this growth ‘isn’t guaranteed’ if companies continue to ignore what gamers want: good games.

“I think we need to be sure that our games continue to be high quality and fun to play – there are so many forms of entertainment out there now. We’re in a good position… but we need to be sure we realise how critical gameplay is – and how that is the engine that really keeps players happy, engaged and having fun.”

The video games industry, like any industry, will only survive as long as it is profitable. That’s unfortunately just the way the system works. Is there a happy medium where video games can thrive without jamming microtransactions into games where they don’t feel necessary? Can the industry still survive without implementing systems that require gamers to empty their pockets in order to enjoy themselves? Are we heading towards a reality where game quality isn’t a priority if the potential to monetise out the ass is easier and more rewarding to companies?

Much to think about.

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