Generally, as someone who truly loves writing about games, I approach everything with a sense of hope. I find everything about gaming refreshing, innovative and expressive. I honestly believe we are going to see it grow to become one of the major consumer-based artforms within the next few decades.
However, in the here and now, I have some issues. As an industry, we have always struggled to handle videogames from the developers, publishers and critics. Not knowing exactly the right direction to go in, we often ‘nuke’ out ‘molehill’ problems. For a medium that prides itself on being new and exciting, we really hate change and when we do try new things, it often comes at the restrictions of our audience.
Getting a better understanding of our problems is important if we hope to move past them. I have correlated seven major problems in this article that explain some of the industry’s teething problems as we try and understand how to sell ourselves in a corporate world. I hope that none of this comes off as unfair or judgemental because it is not my intention. I have a great amount of respect for the people I criticise (yes, even EA…) in this article and understand that I am coming from a friendly place.
So we understand each other? Good, now let me tell you what I think are some of the biggest malpractices in the industry…
8. Dodgy Business Practices
I do think that publishers can be given a bit of a hard time, quite often used as the scapegoat for issues when in fact there is generally a deeper discussion to be had. Look no further than any argument about a game EA put out. It is often met with “Screw EA” and left at that, when in fact there is a larger issue at play.
That said, publishers really have some iffy business practices.
Misuse of good ideas like season passes, microtransactions, limited editions, DRM, day one-DLC and patches have lead to consumers slowly becoming weary of publishers. For example, microtransactions themselves are a great idea, allowing us the ability to choose how much of the game we want to support is great and allows smaller games to survive. However, putting microtransactions into a AAA title that you have already paid £40 for is absurd.
Games are already sold are massively expensive, there is no reason to charge more on top of that for content that should be in the game anyways. Luckily the most popular game of discussion around the idea, Dead Space 3, wasn’t too heavy handed or obtuse, but the industry has a way of taking ideas and slowly perverting them over time.
So far it hasn’t been anything offensive but we have to be careful that the corporate side of the industry doesn’t kill the art and entertainment side by draining an audience for every penny it has got.
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This article was first posted on April 5, 2013