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Where Do You See Gaming Going? Supersaturation

The final entry into my on-going series, "Where Do You See Gaming Going?" ends with more questions than answers. Is the gaming industry growing too fast? A thousand games are released a year, but fewer and fewer games are reaching the average consumers.
Totillo's Going To Wish He Could Use That 'Go Back In Time Potion'

In the fifth and final chapter of this series, I wanted to muse over the successes and failures of the games industry. How is it possible to support an industry that releases over a thousand games a year? The closing of under-performing studios has become the norm in an already crowded games industry, but a recent development has seen layoffs effect studios like Pandemic, and even Infinity Ward. The sales of print continue to drop and online game journalism outfits like IGN and 1UP appear to be enduring a fight to keep talent. The games journalism industry shares a similar fight with game publishing companies. Both entities have to churn out content and keep consumers consuming their product, but when is enough, enough?

I've been playing games since the mid-to-late 80's and I am no smarter now than I was then. Toys 'R Us' game section then looks exactly how Gamestop's shelves look now. As a gamer, seeing a shelf stocked wall-to-wall with guides, game accessories and vacant game cases are both welcomed and daunting. How did it get this big? This can be seen as a good problem to have, right? I go to a neighboring Barnes & Noble, darting to their magazine section. I see a broad swath of gaming publications with glossy covers -- all with similar cover stories and varying art styles. If print is suffering you better believe Borders and Barnes are hiding that obvious fact.

I Know What You're Thinking. Who Wears A Pink Argyle Sweater To A Gaming Tourney?


I log on to my computer and venture to my Joystiq's and Kotaku gaming sites. I notice a healthy amount of hits going to boob and gun related articles. I notice a lot of boob and gun related articles. There are other articles that are well written, but have little to no hits. I see staff layoffs and I see journalists grabbing opportunities on the 'other side'. Leaving a low-paying competitive field for a high-paying and highly competitive career. I read articles on game studio closing and mass layoffs from websites that have or will suffer similar fates if they don't meet circulation...or, sorry, article hits.

I venture back to Gamestop and see the variety pushed to the bottom and to the back of the store. I see the many stories and experiences that gaming has to offer be homogenized and made broader. RPGs are now adventures with RPG-elements. Triple-A titles are kept in eye range of the average person's height. Being a gamer is a social norm that I have no problem accepting. But maybe I'm getting too old for this.

Creativity Vs. Corporate Machine? Or Millionairs Vs. Billionaires


I play the games. I notice the short cuts. "Maybe the ending was rushed in order to work on the multi-player?" I read the game reviews on the sites that have that very game's ad smothering its borders. I read the gossip articles and twitters and am always surprised when a game succeeds when a studio and publisher have a fallout after the game's release. The dedicated keep writing and making quality games. I play my old games and realize, that I too was young and susceptible. Companies are just doing what has always worked. I play betas that aren't really betas -- they're just tests to see if I and others will get hooked.

How Did Both Wii Owners And Nintendo Get So Lucky?


I read articles about the games industry in Japan. I worry about pure Japanese games, then I realize Nintendo, Capcom and Square-Enix are products of Japan. I worry about mature rated games and if they will actually mature. I buy a couple games online through my console store. The console has a bug and as a result I can't play any of my games -- even the single player. I switch consoles and play another game only I can't play it online because they just shut down the server for that particular game. I play older, lighter games with my little sister; these games work. I'm not even sure the games I buy now, I actually own. Maybe I just own the license to the game, but when does that license expire? I appreciate the Wii's success, but I wonder what happens when that marketing well runs dry.

I have hope. I am part of the problem. I complain without presenting a solution. I don't know what the solution could be. I am not sure if there is a definable problem. I would like all games to get a fairer shake than they've been getting. I think digital distribution will determine how well or how horrible great games thrive in an already crowded market. I would like all articles to get the views they deserve. I have been a fan of video games since a small child. I am no smarter now than I was then.

***compliments of The Brog***

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