With so much controversy encircling the gaming industry, with shady business practices at the forefront of the conversation, a lot of people are calling this some of the worst time to be a gamer. The times of companies who make games for the love of the art, for the most part, has passed. The industry has become extremely corporate and somewhat toxic, all because developers and publishers want to nickel and dime their consumers. Now don’t get what I’m saying twisted, I’m not about to say that it is a terrible thing that developers are making money from their games and not doing it just for the love. I understand that it’s a job for these devs and putting food on the table for their families is their first priority. But things have to change, or else we could be looking at a revolt from gamers and ultimately another video game crash.
Let’s talk about where this prediction is coming from and the reasons why it could be so detrimental.
In recent history, we’ve already seen the introduction of things like DLC available on day one, some of which is already on the disc. It is content that has been made ready for launch, and then just locked behind a paywall in the interest of making the developers more money. We also have games coming out just plain broken at launch. It’s still unacceptable, in the case of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, that this game came out broken, and is still not working properly over 6 months later! It’s becoming more and more accepted by gamers that developers stick to a release date given by the higher ups, and patch anything that doesn’t work later down the line! Disgraceful.
Then we have more recent issues coming out such as the paid mods controversy Valve and Steam have suffered over the past few weeks. Valve thought they could get away with charging for user made content for Skyrim, while only cutting the developer of the mod an abysmal 25% of the profits. I’ll lump the banning of single player mods into this paragraph too. Clearly another move to corner the market for paid mods. This has since been resolved and all payments have been refunded, leaving the mod market open and free once more, but for how long?
Then we have the big issues that could ultimately lead to the crash, prices of games, DLC and season passes being jacked up, seemingly all the time. This is a real issue especially in places outside of the US, with games in Australia costing the equivalent of $90 and games where I am, here in the UK, at an equivalent of a whopping $100 (Or $110 if you buy from the Xbox store). This ultimately leads to less sales as people stick to games they are sure they will enjoy and get their moneys worth from. If a game costs £35-40, I am so much more likely to buy it that if it’s £45-£55. Furthermore, I’m more likely to buy more than one game if the price is lower, meaning more money being pumped into the industry. To add to that point, the fact that Xbox can get away with the ridiculous pricing structure they currently have, even with it being so much cheaper to digitally distribute is further evidence pointing to how some companies just don’t care.
There are smaller things too, such as the issue with online passes which was heavily debated at E3 2013, with the overwhelming majority opinion being that these would not make it onto the next gen consoles. We are yet to see anything like this hit the major news, but developers are really keen to keep the profits flowing with second sale revenue.
In closing, these business practices are a terrible thing for the gaming industry. Things like day one DLC and on disc locked content have been points of contention for a while, but we are continuing to see things like paid mods and the releasing of broken games plaguing the industry. This could be the straw that breaks the camels back and pushes the gaming industry, like many industries in this current economical climate, to crash.
It does make you think what is going to be the next controversy in video gaming?
What do you guys think? Is a crash coming, or is it just an over reaction? Let us know your thoughts below!