Wednesday, March 20, 2024


Several factors, including studio closures, layoffs and underperforming AAA games, have contributed to the industry’s missteps



WE’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE, folks. Gamers have had their share of rides on the video game hype train, numerous video game studio acquisitions and Day 1 patches for AAA games. It’s par the course for young gamers, who grew up with microtransactions, multiplayer matches and broken games at release.

However, the video game industry woes feel different this time.

The latest series of troubles are very similar to the epic video game crash of 1983.

Yes, you’d think an event so tragic for video games would give everyone connected to the industry pause. Those near-fatal mistakes should be feared and never repeated.

Yet, here we are. Again.

These are a few contributing factors that have caused the industry’s series of setbacks

  1. Mergers / acquisitions: The negative effect of mergers is that it reduces competition and will lead to continued job losses. The high price of acquisitions will most definitely lead to further layoffs.

  2. What’s trending?! The industry chased trends and fell flat. The Nintendo Wii motion controls were chased by Sony’s PS Move, Microsoft had the Kinect. Nintendo’s Gameboy had several portable imitators including Atari’s Lynx, Sega’s Game Gear and Nomad, Sony’s PSP and the PS Vita. Instead of learning from their wounds, Sony recently released the PlayStation Portal, a portable controller attached to a small LED screen. The device requires the Internet, but can’t use cellular data. It can’t access WiFi and hotspots, because it doesn’t have a browser.
  3. Industry lacked vision: The industry  earned billions with their games, micro transactions and digital content, but did not invest back into new IPs and games that were struggling in development. They should have used their profits on adding more staff to polish titles before release, and help teams in need of support.
  4. Poor quality-control issues: Half-baked games at release, Day 1 patches on certain games. Years ago, before the evolution of the Internet, titles were released ready to go. Devs and publishers knew they had to have their games ready to go, no matter what. Now? Many games, even AAA titles that are glorified betas, are sold at full sticker prices.
  5. Live-service mirage: Video games devs, publishers are leaning too heavily on live-service games. Not every studio, developer and publisher can be Rockstar Games or Epic Games. The industry shouldn’t  follow trends. If the industry wants to have live-service games, hire/assign a small team focused on developing and maintaining that game(s).
  6. The customer is ALWAYS RIGHT: The video game industry has been inconsistent on giving fans what they want. Fans beg for epic sequels, only to get truckloads of "shovelware". Sadly, it’s not for consumers, but to meet stakeholders' expectations and market-watchers projections. Great games take time. Even then, it’s a gamble. It is possible to crank out great games on low budgets - Ghost of Tsushima for the Sony PlayStation 4 and 5 - and make catalogs diverse. Give gamers a reason to stay in your console’s ecosystem, game franchises.

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