December 8, 2023

Gameology News

Know Your Games

Once Upon A Time

3 min read

For clarification purposes, this is meant to address the so-called “Triple-A developers”. The independent developers continue to innovate and put out some unique, quality work. To be fair, the indies have their fair share of rubbish, but, unlike their AAA counterparts, they don’t have the resources to shove their failures down our throats.

Once upon a time game developers made games. They made games that were fun to play and allowed us to escape the cares of the world for a little while. Those that put out a quality product were rewarded with big sales of their game. It was understood that if you wanted people to buy your game you had to give them a game worth buying.

The bigger developers grew largely due to the quality of their output. They put out good games that people wanted to buy. Some of the larger developers started absorbing the more successful independents. Eventually, the industry grew to the point that it was outselling Hollywood. New people started joining the gaming community. The audience was growing at a break-neck pace. Investors started to take notice. They approached the developers with offers of cash infusions. A financial safety net, if you will. Gaming had finally gone mainstream and there was much rejoicing.

Today we are starting to see the blow-back. The developers are no longer accountable to their customers. They now answer to shareholders. They have stopped producing games and have started slapping together marketing tools based on formulas and market trends. Innovation is dead. Rather than come up with new concepts, the big developers are simply copying each other with their endless stream of Battle Royale titles. Sure, some add their own unique touches with construction or snow storms or gender identities, but they are all, at their core, the same games. All in a desperate attempt to appease the shareholders with a “working business model”.

I don’t want to lay the blame squarely in the laps of the developers, however. Part of our contract with these companies is that we, the consumer, hold them accountable. In that regard we have failed. We continue to buy the crap that the developers are shoveling. Fallout 76 should have never made it to launch, yet enough people have been lulled into complacency that it somehow managed to survive. When a game launches with only the cash-shop working properly, yet even the most basic game components being riddled with bugs, that should raise a huge red flag. For some, it did, yet the game continues to survive.

How many times in recent months have we, the gamer, been openly insulted and ridiculed by the developers? EA smugly stating, “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.” Blizzard, I am starting to believe, has set up an entire department with this goal in mind. Bethesda has set aside more money recently for damage control than it has for development.

Simply put, if this is how you want the future of gaming to proceed, then, by all means, carry on. Get yourself a copy of Diablo Mobile. You do have a cell phone, don’t you? However, if you would like to see quality content then you should speak with your dollars. It may mean making some sacrifices in the short term, but after a few of these Triple-A developers are forced to close up shop maybe, just maybe, they’ll begin to remember who it is they actually work for.