15 May 2009

Is the Gaming Boom Going Bust

For the past 3 years or so games and gamers have been high profile. Yet this year it seems that some of that is falling off. I have some theories as to why.

First and foremost is oversaturation. Everyone and their brother has gaming blog, podcast, or whatever. Non gamers have stopped being curious about the sub culture and started being annoyed.

No diversity in L&F. Bartle said it when he said he had played Warhammer, it was called World of Warcraft. The games are starting to all look alike. Many years ago the trend was to look like EOB then it moved to the Diablo look, now it is Warcraft look. Very little in the design or the functionalty makes a game stand out within its genre.

Economy. Yes it is hitting the gaming market. People are starting to think about what game they are going play next and count their pennies. People are returning to titles and online games that are safe or at least that they know they like.

The morph of the craft into a business. Game coders used to be the renegades of the programming world. They were the true geeks, they did not work for deadlines. They worked to make it good. This was not always the utopia some make it out to be. Games did not work or worked only on some systems or with some co processors, games went way over cost and were outdated when they came out. Or they never came out. Many companies went under, suffered from hostile takeovers or were flat out bought out. The pendulem has swung too far in the opposite direction now. It has become big business and markleting rules all. Game companies announce release dates and are held to them. Too much structure stifles creativity.

More in a day or two.