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Game Industry Growing?

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I was not sure where to post this thread because I didn't see any category related to what I wanted to post. Anyway, I wanted to ask you the gamedev community what you think about the growth or decline of the game industry. I mean games are still coming out and people are buying them and in some way or another the industry will always be around but is there just as big of a hype for upcoming games as there was a few years ago or is the industry now leveling off, becoming saturated with all of these new smaller companies trying to break in. I find myself not playing as many games as I use too simply because I have to focus more on work and things like that so perhaps I don't notice the hype as much as I did when I was completely engulfed in gaming. Is it more difficult than ever now to break into the game industry with so much competition trying to fight for a new spot on the gaming throne? Simply, where is the game industry headed?

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in my area (Montreal and Quebec) all the major players are firing on all cilinders.

Major corp. like Beenox (Kung-Fu Panda, Bee movie game, latest James Bond game, some spider man, Myst end of ages, X men games, etc), EA and Ubisoft are ALL hiring, and not just one or two employees.

So it's definitely a growing industry.


As far as quality goes, I agree with KodeNerd.

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Original post by ECorELSE
in my area (Montreal and Quebec) all the major players are firing on all cilinders.


Totally misread that, I thought you meant they were firing employees for a second.

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Original post by KodeNerd
In my opinion the game industry is declining in general quality.


Define quality.

At some point, a watch was something passed through generations. There were only a handful of craftsman capable of building one.

Today, watches are not only dime-a-dozen, but ubiquitous.

Did their quality go down? Were the old watches really of such "high quality"?

Has the number of bugs per line of code increased? Has the number of spelling errors increased? Are they delivered on inferior media?

The problem with personal opinion is that you're probably 5,10,15,20 years older than you were. A 12 year old and a 32 year old see world quite differently (hopefully). For a toddler, a box can be perfect toy, but hopefully in their teens, they won't feel nostalgic that "they don't make boxes like they used to".

Game industry is blending into general entertainment industry. Panem et circenses says it's here to stay.

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It's growing, it could always explode or implode at any time :)

I think something of note, is that previously PC only developers have now been focusing on consoles, it is a no-brainer when you consider the greater revenue and rise in costs , team sizes etc.

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Quote:
Original post by Antheus
Quote:
Original post by KodeNerd
In my opinion the game industry is declining in general quality.


Define quality.


I define quality as a game which is actually worth playing. There are many these days that aren't, and the hype train and epic marketing schemes are causing AAA releases to be made out to be better than they actually are. CoD4 had me thinking "Wow", but I played it and I thought someone had slipped me a mod for CoD2, nothing had changed besides the weapons and environments. The demo and adverts suggested much more than this.

GTA IV was a letdown, as was Haze. These games, by marketing and in GTA's case past reputation, had you thinking they were bigger and better than Jesus but both ended up sucking horribly and being shunned by actual gamers for differing reasons. It's the reviewers who tell us games are amazing, go out and buy them now etc. but the opinions of everyday gamers count for bugger all, plus the industry is just driven by suits looking for $$$ and not by a love of the games themselves. The same doesn't always hold true for the casual market, but there's less money in that so people are less inclined to do it.

I've noticed plenty of nice shiny graphics effects and perfect physics, but the games themselves are often buggy, glitchy, repetitive and dull. I can't remember the last time I played an actual game as opposed to an overhyped tech demo. I know people here are now going to start on about Crysis but get halfway through that and you're back in bland-FPS land again. Going back to the theme of glitches and bugs, I remember the good old days where console games were actually tested properly and released in excellent condition, instead of shoving them out the door and relying on the Internet to push patches out as is the norm now with the current gen systems. Another point I'll add is, despite what people say, console ports are always gimped and trimmed down. I don't have an epic gaming rig but even I can see why people would prefer PC as a gaming platform, try playing The Orange Box on the 360 then try playing it on the PC. You've got a much bigger online population, better graphics options, user created content and mods, as well as controls that don't feel like you've been dropped in a bath of wet concrete.

I don't enjoy looking at games in shops anymore, and I'm beginning to get tired of gaming in general and am now seeking another hobby. The money I had set aside for a PS3 will now probably go towards savings instead (much better place for it). My feeling is that games these days are all overrated and nearly identical; everyone just licenses the Unreal Engine and you get an army of clone games sitting in stores, it's pathetic.

For the above reasons and more, the industry is expanding sideways but not up the way. There isn't a huge amount of originality any more in my opinion and it's more of the same, the market is oversaturated with the same damned stuff repeated time and time again. The quality isn't increasing at all, it's all £34.99 tech demos we're getting these days.

How to solve the problems?:


  • Put industry veterans in charge of companies instead of fatcats

  • Stop making your game out to be better than it actually is, rein in your PR and marketing teams

  • Make games longer than about 5 hours

  • Focus on core gameplay, future expansion and replay value.

  • Don't go swaggering around about how good your games are (Bungie, I'm looking at you; stop putting pretentious crap about ninjas and world domination on your website and actually make a decent game besides Halo; Marathon and Oni were complete and utter goatshit even at the time they were originally released)

  • Don't produce the damn same game all over again and slag anyone who tries to do something different (CoD4 was identical to CoD2 yet laughed at CoD3 during the end credits)

  • Stop taking the piss out of other games in your own games. It's just arrogant, stupid and not terribly big, funny or clever. GTA IV has references to Apple, Saint's Row, BioShock, Assassin's Creed and apparently Halo although I don't see that one myself.
  • Oh really, is your game that much better than the others that you have to start taking the piss? Who do you think you are? Have some decorum and humility, idiots, many bets are in saying that Saint's Row 2 will wipe GTA IV off the map anyway.
  • MAKE GAMES, NOT TECH DEMOS. I couldn't care less if the G-Man has perfect lipsynch speaking in ancient Phoenician if the rest of the game is 3 hours long and has more bugs than all the rainforests of the world combined. The Source Engine is just a showcase, the actual game surrounding it still, after Episode Two, is still having more than its share of problems. Don't get me started on Portal either, what's original about it? Did Valve ever play Prey?



I, as a gamer, don't like the way the industry is heading. So I might just cut my losses and stop gaming TBH. The cost of gaming is going through the roof and for the developers and publishers the production costs are going up. It still takes time, effort and money to produce total turd so why bother?

I might dust off my N64. I have some genuinely fun, proper "games" for it unlike playing £40 worth of identical tripe on my 360.

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I think UK dev is right.

Games are such a big business now that most developers don't have the balls to go out on a limb and make something new. So we see Fifa N being the same as Fifa N-1, and New First Person Shooter being a Halo clone, cause god forbid that anyone innovates. And why should they? The games industry isn't ran by the innovators any more, it has been taken over by the business men. Out went quirky ideas and novel concepts, in came profit margins and target audiences.


There are still great ideas being tried and boundaries being pushed, but go down to your local games store today and look at the shelves. There will be a mass of sports sims and movie tie-ins (which, almost religiously, lack any substance). Only a handful of developers have the authority to do what they want on the merit of their reputation.

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Quote:
Original post by Winegums
The games industry isn't ran by the innovators any more, it has been taken over by the business men. Out went quirky ideas and novel concepts, in came profit margins and target audiences.


The problem is that it IS a business; with all the time and effort it takes to make the damned things they need to get the costs back somewhere.

Novel concepts and ideas do come out, the problem is they then fail to sell enough to break even never mind make a profit. Maybe X years ago you could throw out a novel product and say 'oh well...' if it didn't sell well however these days if something fails to see investors want to know why and peoples heads roll.

And even noval concepts aren't the answer because as soon as a novel concept comes out and does well 1001 other companies go 'hey! good idea!' and release basically the same thing with only a little change here and there to cash in.

In a way the games industry has become a victim of it's own success.

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Quote:
Original post by GamerzEdge
Is it more difficult than ever now to break into the game industry with so much competition trying to fight for a new spot on the gaming throne?

Your question was all over the place and covered broad territory. Is this (what I quoted) the heart of your question? "Is it more difficult to break in?" Is that it? And why do you ask?

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Not this crap again...

Have you played Puzzle Pirates? Katamari? Drawffort? Starscape? DDR? the Wii? (a half dozen other games I'm forgetting?)
Spore is not innovative because it's being bankrolled by the worst of the 'soulless fatcats'?

What exactly do you think is innovative?


Personally, I'm thrilled at the generally increasing production values (GTA4 and Team Fortress for example are exceptionally well polished) caused by developers emulating Blizzard's success. A welcome change to the dogfights of smaller dev houses a few years ago where the publishers would skimp on QA/finishing.


[edit: for the OP]
Generally bigger, with room for more big publishers and more small publishers. It's perhaps more difficult to break into the industry as a dev house now because things have moved increasingly off of the PC and onto consoles. It's perhaps more difficult to break into the industry as a individual because of the general labor downturn. The industry itself isn't going to do much beyond shift towards 'party' style games with the success of the Wii.

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@Ukdev

That is exactly what I was trying to say in my original post. The market is saturdated with copycat games and fluff from all of these smaller companies trying to profit off of the wave of another developer. It turns out that in doing so they release shit and we have so many games on the shelf's that nothing is unique and it ends up in a lot of gamers wasting time on fluff games and they will be disappointed and they will stop playing as much and so forth.

I couldn't have put it better when you explained that the industry is growing yes, but sideways not up. Well it is growing faster sideways to be more literate.



We have hit a dead end in gaming. The Wii is trying to be innovative but that is more innovation in the console, and not enough in the actual game play. We swing a club instead of using the buttons to control the power of the shot. I enjoy that and it feels better for those games, but what about the 360 and the PS3 where most gamers are focused because they believe that is the more hardcore side of gaming.

In the 360 and the PS3 they are focusing on giving games more of a theatrical experience. This has to be because we have hit a point now where graphics and gameplay are maxed. New graphics and physics in games are always being released and it is at a point where the next improvement looks almost as good as the last and I find it not a big enough difference to focus on.

I hate to ramble but I don't know how else to explain it. Perhaps the movie and game industry are just destined to become one eventually. They cost the same to produce, and are both headed for similar goals and it seems that the fatcats as ukdev put them, are creating game movies to capitalize now and because of that we have very little good game movies.

I am disappointed in the turn the industry has taken and I will be watching closely for a game company to uncover the core values of gaming and focus on what gamers want and what the industry needs rather than there pockets.

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Original post by GamerzEdge
I am disappointed in the turn the industry has taken and I will be watching closely for a game company to uncover the core values of gaming and focus on what gamers want and what the industry needs rather than there pockets.


Wait.. what?
So the fact that games sell MILLIONS of copies means the companies HAVENT found what gamers want?

The reason these games keep getting re-made is because it's what people buy, thus what people want.

Therefore, given that people buy games the games industry has found the values gamers want.

QED.

You can't apply your personal views of games to the masses; apprently the masses don't agree.

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Just because a company sells millions of copies these days doesn't mean its what gamers want, its what the marketing executives make the gamers think they want. What was truly so much different between Halo 1/2/3? Graphics? Levels? Weapons? Nothing innovative or creative was added but the game got hyped to all hell so gamer's bought it. Take a look at the GTA series, whats new between the original 2d GTAI and the new GTA4? Aside from graphics, not much. Ideas dont sell games any more, your companies marketing rep does.

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Original post by phear-
Just because a company sells millions of copies these days doesn't mean its what gamers want


You're completely right. Of the millions of copies of Halo3/GTA4/whatever that sold, no one actually wanted any of them [rolleyes].

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I find it insanely annoying that you guys just throw around the word "innovative" to back up all your gripes against the game industry without saying what you would have done differently. I completely agree with Antheus and Telastyn and can't say it better than what either of them said.

I'd love to hear about some of the amazing innovations of the past that you're comparing current games to, where today's games new features don't even come close .

It's too bad that it's so easy to complain, and for some reason so hard to praise.

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Ideas dont sell games any more, your companies marketing rep does.


True, but only if you look at the hyped up games. Look at the DS if you want great gameplay instead of tech demos. Sure it has a lot of terrible cookie cutter crap but it still has plenty of gems. The World Ends With You wasn't hyped up at all and flew off the shelves.

The industry is bigger than GTA4 and Halo.

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The "industry" is so much more complex then alot of the posts here seem to make them out to be. The terms "success" and "quality" and the like are so incrediably objective thats its really hard to apply specific examples to more then just bunchs of companies.

These bunchs might be like, dozens of multi-bajillion dollar corperations, but although the richest, they are far from simply "the most successful". They are the most successful in terms of capital produced, but not all companies out there are driven by capital alone. Those fancy "tech demo" games are successful too, in advances in hard/software engineering or innovation.

Hell Id kill to have a game server of a personal-project of mine reach 10 people (well, people I dont know that is), or have my take on Tower Defence getting any amounts of play.

Sometimes a massive success is just timing, like doom and quake at the head of the fps wave. The string of quake games has fueled many a bank account on fps alone. Some companies do a little of everything, some have more "success" with other stuff.

There is just to much objection on the topic, IMHO, the state of the industy can only be really summed up as such =

Its definately growing in size, and that its likely going to stick around as long at there is pre-teens, teens, and adults to play games.

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For me I see the industry growing greatly however, I see the quality of games dropping dramatically. I am seeing more and more companies pushing for top notch graphics and forgeting the most important part the gameplay/fun factor.

Yes the game look great but they just don't really bring the fun to the table. Games are releasing with lots of bugs and graphical glitches as well. Alot of time retail games feel like a unfinished beta.

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Quote:
Original post by Driv3MeFar
Quote:
Original post by phear-
Just because a company sells millions of copies these days doesn't mean its what gamers want


You're completely right. Of the millions of copies of Halo3/GTA4/whatever that sold, no one actually wanted any of them [rolleyes].


You took what I said out of context. Gamers "want" Halo3/GTA4/whatever because thats all they have come to expect(another GTA or Halo or WoW or whatever) + the marketing machine makes it seem amazing when really its the same package with new wrapping.

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Is the industry growing?
Yes.

Is this good?
Subjective.

Atari helped boost the industry and they were friken hippies! Now Atari sucks and it's run by capitalists. Same with EA--whom I have a grudge against that is just too large to contain. So, in a sense, the industry is growing, but only in a financial sense. Maturity, longevity, depth? The industry is a child with no parent. Unadulterated greed. In-game advertisements that work to subconsciously promote a society of slave-consumers; 1984-The Game will be produced by Big Brother himself, as Orwell predicted.

The true growth--non-monetary growth--is in the indy side of the industry. People who make artistic and innovative games on a regular basis and aren't afraid to make something that only appeals to themselves. Even in the indy biz, there's greed, falseness, and capitalism, but you'll have an easier time finding the game makers who make games FOR games. People who don't even get payed. But they're not the ones who will make Final Fantasy XXV.

BTW: Actually, I DO want GTA4. They really DO add things to each game that make it worth while. But still, I'd actually rather wait till GTA5 because GTA4 is probably still a little close to GTA:SA.

But in terms of Halo, yeah. Each sequel neither innovates from the previous nor fixes the problems that were inherent in the first game!

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well as for me...i think the game industry is going up and i think the new games today are fun to play and im satisfied with them...so up for the game industry =)

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@ Tom Sloper

Sorry Tom, I missed your quote. My question did kinda beat off the trail a bit at the end of the post. I was just asking if the difficulty of getting a stable and paying job has increased with the industries growth because I have always considered changing careers. Starting a game company for me is a taboo dream, and is kinda the source of the entire thread in the first place. I enjoy working in business and playing games on my own time, seemed natural to combine the two but making it big in the game industry it seems is no easy feat and requires a large startup cost to really get things moving.

But I enjoy talking about the business side of the industry whether I am in it or not and that is why we are talking about it right now ^_^.

@ Phantom

It is a complicated question to debate, what do gamers want from our point of view or the companies. It is a little like how the government works, what do the people want and what actually gets implemented :P.

I would say that neither side would win in that debate, it is not fair for me to say that they are not giving us what they want and at the same time what we want and expect is usually a let down especially in their sequels.

On the same note, you could argue perhaps what we want is what they have marketed to us, planting a seed leading us to believe this is the next big game everyone has been waiting for. I don't know about you but most of the anticipated games that have came out have usually been seriously lacking in one area, probably because the team focused to much on another like graphics.

Anyways, debates like the quality of the games is not what I intended to debate about in this thread. It plays a role in how we are anticipating the direction of the industry.

Here is a question more related to what I wanted to talk about in the first place. If you were to start a new company now, working on project x what kind of obstacles are there to face now getting into the industry compared to 5 years ago?

What determines a companies growth in the industry based on our industries standards today?

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Two key elements that I believe have been missed (or at least not mentioned) are that:

1: Yes, gamers buy games because the marketing tells them it's better than sex, but...

2: Gamers keep playing the games that are FUN (while getting their friends to buy them too) and ditch/rant the ones that are not fun.


A good marketing team could sell ice cubes to an eskimo in Alaska at least once, but probably not many times after that, maybe change the color of the ice cube, change the shape, but eventually the eskimo will figure it out.

That's the problem with the marketing/PR companies that are selling these copycat games, one after another. We are still, as a gaming community, at the beginning few steps of the tall staircase to gaming greatness, but eventually people will figure it out; "company X keeps marketing crap games and we are bored with their flashy, boring titles" ....."while company Z is new to the market, so it HAS to have something great to sell us, right?"

The game players are maturing and thanks to consoles like the Wii they are also expanding. Do you want to guess at what the median age of game players is currently? I bet you'd be surprised. It's not age 10 or less...it's not age 20 or less...last I checked it was around 30 years old and probably rising thanks to the aforementioned Wii.


The reason the game series GTA and Halo are so crazy popular (for instance) is because these games are FUN. No, they don't offer any great innovative ideas over their previous versions (for the most part), but they are fun to play. And what matters besides the fun factor? You do all remember that the gaming industry is a part of the ENTERTAINMENT industry. What's the purpose of the entertainment industry? It's to entertain us. What do Fun games do? Entertain us.

See the pattern now?

Combine FUN with Good Marketing and whammo, you have games like the Halo series and then GTA which as outsold Halo by quite a bit.

/semirant off


Back to the original topic/original post.

My speculation is the game industry is growing and growing fast, but there's plenty of room for everyone involved. Innovative ideas, expansions, mods, unoriginal, etc...everything is selling right now, yes some more than others.

But remember that these large developer companies for the games like Halo and GTAIV have huge production costs to cover, while on the otherhand games like Puzzle Pirates, Runescape, Katamari (awesome game, my gf loves it..haha), etc have much smaller production costs so they don't need the huge publicity and marketing techniques of the large titles in order to gain a profit.

Here's where there's quite a twist. Those independent game studios that actually have unique, innovative, and fun ideas are the ones who are going to make the most profit off the least amount of costs. You don't need a complex game in order for it to be fun or innovative; remember Tetris? Pong? Space Invaders? Hell, even Runescape and Katamari aren't really that complex, yet there are hundreds of examples, if not more and I know if you are reading this you are already listing off other games that come to mind in your head that are simple games, yet surprisingly popular.

In order to "win" in this scenario you just have to figure out how to balance "fun" (fun = fun, creative, innovative, expanded, etc) vs marketing (marketing = hype, flash, feedback, etc).

Add enough "fun" on one side and you need less marketing.

Add enough "Marketing" on one side and you need less "Fun"

Add lots of Fun + Marketing and you get the best of both worlds.

Crappy analogy, but I think I get the point across at least a little bit.



Ok, I'm done for now. Please tear my post apart.

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