At the moment, I see the game industry in somewhat of a recovery state on the AAA side, having to learn to leave behind some of it’s worse aspects in favor of better ones. From toxic and exploitative work conditions to the controversy about lootboxes to Free-To-Play elements in sixty dollar games, it seems the AAA industry has a major issue with greed. Psychological manipulation is favored over actual design. All of that said, Indies are doing very good. Creative, unique, popular games are being made by Indies, and they have as a whole avoided a lot of the issues AAA developers have not.
In the next five to ten years, I can see a lot of problems being solved. With discussions about unions starting, much like how Hollywood has unions aplenty for the various jobs, bad work conditions could be seeing some trouble. More generally, although greedy AAA developers are still making lots of money, I feel that as lootbox law is considered, and as consumers become more aware of what’s going on, the AAA industry will slowly be forced to either let up on the greed or be overshadowed by Indie developers who do not let greed guide them. Indie developers will of course see a whole lot of success, with better reputation and creative games that can afford to take a risk leading the way. Many consumers complain about AAA games feeling very similar to each other, while Indie games tend to not get that same complaint. Indies make games that take a risk, and finance them in such a way that one failure cannot sink them, allowing them to take a risk, because the cost of a failure is one they are able to bear if they have to.
In twenty-five years, I can see a priority shift. AAA developers will have long since weeded out most of the greed, but will still have a few issues, one being seeking graphical fidelity over aesthetics and design. Around this time, I can see them finally beginning to get what the Indies knew for some time. Indies might have a harder time due to AAA competition improving, but will still have the advantage of having more relative margin for error, as AAA will be very reluctant still to take any gambles. AAA developers will still be stuffing games full of cash, instead of making parallel projects that can as a whole still profit even if one or even two manage to fail. We will consume media mostly the same, if only because consumers will be reluctant to change, but Virtual Reality will have gained some more ground at least.
In five years, I want to have graduated from Fullsail and be working on a project slowly. In ten, I want to have released a game or two. Nothing major, just some small works to get the ball rolling. Fifteen is actually an early point in my mind. In fifteen years, perhaps I will be ready to make a game that’s slightly more ambitious. I doubt I will be able to become famous in a measly fifteen years, but if I can start making some money from my games, that would be nice. The only awards I would want would be to have more positive reviews than negative on something I released. I would probably continue living where I am now, also.
My plan to reach my goals for fifteen years is to start with minor projects to get my name out there. Small but quality works. Over time, I would get more ambitious, but slowly so. Quality is priority, especially since digital distribution makes it so I can easily release my games, leaving more time for making my games good. I would find what works and what fails. I would learn what audiences I unexpectedly attract, which I should cater to, and how I would do so. As fast as the game industry can go, many games still take years to make form both Indies and AAA. My first few products can afford to take some time, in exchange for a much better first impression.
Statt, N. (2018, March 23). Game developers look to unions to fix
the industry's exploitative workplace culture. Retrieved May 10,
2018, from https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/23/17156472/game-developers-unionization-exploitative-toxic-workplace-culture-gdc-2018
Sterling, Jim [Jim Sterling] (2017, November 13). The Year Of The Loot Box (The Jimquisition) Retrieved May 10, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLDid1UNyg8
I am Eric Kyle Sedor, currently learning Game Design! My overall plan is to take my time, and get my name out there gradually. Better to take a long time to give a great impression than to quickly make a poor one.