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View Full Version : Talking about the game industry losing its marbles


Dart Zaidyer
10-16-2010, 08:26 PM
I dunno, guys. Is it just me, or has it not been looking so good lately for the videogame industry?

It seems like things are starting to stagnate and ferment. This is the longest console generation we've had yet, and it's starting to show. On one end we have software developers and publishers making one questionable decision after another, with the quality of the games themselves suffering as a result.
On the other end we have Kinect and Move on the way, with titles hoping to tap the market from three years ago when Wii was new. Meanwhile, Nintendo is not only plotting to extend the 3D fad with the next DS, but also still plugging their ears and screaming LA LA LA LA LA at online features as simple as fixing glitched savegames by any other method than the postal service.

What do you guys think?

fanboymaster
10-16-2010, 08:28 PM
Option 3, you're being overly pessimestic and I'm quite happy with the game industry as a whole right now.

nunix
10-16-2010, 08:30 PM
Every "industry" is terrible always, forever, with exceptions, and all the good stuff happens on the edges. </blanket statement meant to incite passionate nerdrage>

ArugulaZ
10-16-2010, 08:43 PM
Like I said before, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Things haven't been perfect, but this generation has brought with it a lot of cool features that wouldn't have been possible in previous generations.

Sprite
10-16-2010, 08:48 PM
So Sony and Microsoft suck at doing what Nintendo does well, and Nintendo sucks at doing what Sony and Microsoft do well. Got it.

Didn't we do this thread a couple months ago? Oh yeah...
Let's see...

Super Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Street Fighter IV, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Etrian Odyssey, Mega Man 9, Mass Effect, Bioshock, Fallout 3, Oblivion, LittleBigPlanet, TWEWY, Demon's Souls, Puzzle Quest, Braid...

Coming up we have Dragon Quest IX, Metroid: Other M, The Last Guardian, Strange Journey, Civ V, Rocket Knight...

This is the first generation with mainstream downloadable games and, as a result, the first generation to see Indie recognition on consoles. That alone is groundbreaking enough to justify the generation. As much as people complain about high-budget games ruining the industry, PSN, XBLA and Wii Ware have provided a way to get low budget titles in the spotlight. Braid would not be the huge cult hit it is in any other generation.

No other console generation has been as extensive with online capabilities as this one. You can message, voice chat and invite someone to play a 360 game with you while they're playing a different game.

People complain that there's too much focus on HD graphics then complain that all the fantastic games they've been playing don't have HD graphics. I don't get it. We are having our cake and eating it too, you guys. We have so much cake
I've been happy. There are still far more good games coming out than I'll ever be able to buy. Oh, and since when has a long console generation been a bad thing?

Magus
10-16-2010, 08:52 PM
Once Ace Combat starts looking like your typical brown-and-bloom FPS war game with QTE events, we're in trouble.

...

Ohh. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSfB1RErwj8)

taidan
10-16-2010, 09:22 PM
From a quality perspective, I think the industry is in fine shape.

From a financial standpoint, I am a little worried. The current model is messed up in a lot of ways, and I think a lot of it being due to our hobby emulating the film industry half assedly, without any regard as to how games might need to be treated differently. The whole idea of tentpole games holding up the lower selling releases doesn't seem to be working, and there's all the squabbling about used games (as well as more and more attempts to curb those sales). There always seems to be a general feeling of "we need these many copies to move out if we want to stay alive", at the same time that it gets harder and harder for those sales to become a reality.

Winter
10-16-2010, 09:29 PM
Yeah, not really seeing any problems the industry hasn't had before. Companies are still reactive rather than forward looking, large companies go with what they think their customers want rather than what the customers are screaming at them, and sequels are always the biggest games. Most of the major problems they have now, they've been having since at least '95.

Any increase new consoles would bring would just be marginal, and wouldn't inject any new life into games. What we need is creativity, not technology. We need new types of games, not more powerful games. There are still plenty of good games being made, and one of the good things about a long generation is that it makes much more economic sense to get all the major consoles than in generations past.

If you're feeling the industry's grown stagnant, maybe you should try some new types of games. Or maybe videogames just aren't for you anymore.

Dart Zaidyer
10-16-2010, 10:14 PM
From a quality perspective, I think the industry is in fine shape.

From a financial standpoint, I am a little worried. The current model is messed up in a lot of ways, and I think a lot of it being due to our hobby emulating the film industry half assedly, without any regard as to how games might need to be treated differently. The whole idea of tentpole games holding up the lower selling releases doesn't seem to be working, and there's all the squabbling about used games (as well as more and more attempts to curb those sales). There always seems to be a general feeling of "we need these many copies to move out if we want to stay alive", at the same time that it gets harder and harder for those sales to become a reality.

I think this better says what I was thinking when I posted this thread. I wasn't talking about hardware, more about software and how they're handling it these days.

Elements
10-16-2010, 10:43 PM
If there's an issue, I think it's more in the hardware and support areas. When it comes to software, I don't really see issues. The major big-budget releases do tend to reek of sameness and stagnation, due to not wanting to be risky with such large budgets. But there's plenty of interesting things and diversity if you just shove your way past that stuff to the smaller releases and downloadables.

Warg
10-16-2010, 10:51 PM
... yyyeahhh, bit of a shame this thread isn't about Marble Madness or somesuch. :B

Merus
10-16-2010, 11:09 PM
It's affecting everyone. (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/10/14/the-truth-about-rock-paper-shotgun/)

No but seriously this is what happens when you sacrifice quality of life: all the grown-ups leave the industry, and the only people left are the dipshits and the kids who are willing to sign their lives away and work 80 hour weeks so they can maek gamez!!!1!! Quality suffers.

MCBanjoMike
10-17-2010, 10:18 AM
I'll be willing to say that the game industry is in trouble just as soon as I don't have a pile of 20 unplayed games that I really want to get to. They're doing fine.

Rexman64
10-17-2010, 11:00 AM
I feel the one big problem with the industry is the marketing. AAA games are essentially treated as disposable commodities, to be enjoyed only until "the next big thing" comes out. And then publishers wonder how to keep people from trading in their games. It's not like the constant train of generic dull-grey shooters are any worse than yesteryear's constant train of generic hop-n-bop platformers (in fact, the baseline of quality is probably a good deal higher), but the exponential increase in the size of the marketing machine has left a lot of us kinda jaded.

That aside, though, this generation has given us some of the greatest games ever. Publishers just need to realize that it's okay for old games to be relevant, and that even the current dual-price point system isn't quite wide enough. Steam, for example, has done a fantastic job of keeping older and more obscure games relevant with their constant sales and highlights on these titles. On consoles there's room for a lot of games outside of $15 downloadables and $60 retail releases.

Eusis
10-17-2010, 11:45 AM
I kind of wonder if the insistence on $60 is unnecessarily hurting things anyway. Not that games can't or shouldn't cost $60 but more that... well, why not introduce more flexibility? PS1 game sranged from $40 to $50 frequently, and it wasn't too uncommon on the PS2 (particularly near the end). Is it that impractical to make games to sell for $40 and $50 on a more frequent basis than we're seeing?

onimaruxlr
10-17-2010, 11:58 AM
What do you guys think?

I think you got a case of the Mondays

The industry is diversifying. Stuff like Limbo or fancy online-enabled versions of classic games or rare classic games PERIOD wouldn't exist last gen. Indie stuff and online stuff are there to compensate for every idiot developer trying to take on Wii, WOW, or Modern Warfare and failing spectacullarrrrrly.

As much as I hate the de-stablization, as a dyed-in-the-wool consolite, the industry being influenced by all these ex-PC fools who are making all those boring ass shooting games and shitty ass loot games has had some upsides.

And I don't like the notion of the 3DS being a part of "extending the 3D fad." That's like saying that the creation of cooking fires was an extension of the tradition of lighting yourself on fire like an idiot. I know some fools consider it a "visual gimmick that doesn't have a big influence on the gameplay" but I don't consider waggle or touch screens to be game changers either, to be honest. That probably has a lot to do with my preference in game types, though.

abasm
10-17-2010, 04:27 PM
I don't consider waggle or touch screens to be game changers either, to be honest. That probably has a lot to do with my preference in game types, though.

The large issue with motion control and touch screens (that is not really an issue at all, if you know where to look) is that developers have been given a HUGE new set of tools, and are largely trying to find ways to make the same games they've always been making with those tools.

These are opportunities to create new GENRES, and yet many big-name developers and publishers seem content to rest on their laurels.

mugenkokoro
10-17-2010, 04:35 PM
I'm not worried about the quality of games, there seems to be a lot of great stuff out there. I'd say the only thing I'm even slightly worried about is games making a profit. I just get the sense that if a game doesn't sell a bajillion copies, especially if it's a wannabe triple-A game that didn't turn out that great or didn't have a big franchise name on it, it's a massive financial disaster. That's not really a sustainable business model, even if we're getting great games out of it.

nimling
10-17-2010, 05:17 PM
I don't follow the mainstream gaming industry, and haven't bought a new game for quite some time - prolly around 2005 if we're talking about only fresh new console games, last used game was late last year. I'm ill qualified to judge the quality of new games, but the reasons I don't but the new consoles explain some drop - if you don't have the money to keep up, the gaming habit falls out of reach.

Personally, I could be happy with the collection I have, and freeware PC games.

boot101
10-17-2010, 06:50 PM
There are enough games released now that we could deal with some capitalism-driven culling. There are too many games released in one year for any one person to play them all! If the garbage games and the garbage companies that make them go away I will not be sad.

On the other hand, truly great games that get ignored by the mainstream and thus do not make a profit are a shame, but there is usually a reason why they fail. Either the publisher fails to promote them (most Sega games), or they are too niche for their own good (vertical shooters), or they just don't appeal to the masses (Valkyria Chronicles, etc.). I'm not saying that these games can't find success, in fact a lot of them do, but eventually it becomes a case of diminishing returns. You can only sell to your base for so long before it stagnates and you fade away.

I think the game industry still has a lot of maturing to do, but for the most part I think we are taking steps in the right direction. I hope we see a future full of gameplay and systems evolutions, instead of an emphasis on improved graphics. As much as I love eye candy, it is not what keeps me playing a game. I just lost the last month of my gaming time to Dwarf Fortress for God's sake. That game is not pretty. It is extremely good though. I want meat on my games, not filler.

Brickroad
10-17-2010, 07:12 PM
It's just you.

ShakeWell
10-17-2010, 08:28 PM
No but seriously this is what happens when you sacrifice quality of life: all the grown-ups leave the industry, and the only people left are the dipshits and the kids who are willing to sign their lives away and work 80 hour weeks so they can maek gamez!!!1!! Quality suffers.

You do realize that other forms of media/art have similar schedules, right? Having worked on both indie and studio films, I can say that during filming you almost certainly work 80+ hour weeks. And all the "grown ups" haven't left the film industry. There are always people willing to suffer for their art.

Merus
10-17-2010, 08:56 PM
You do realize that other forms of media/art have similar schedules, right? Having worked on both indie and studio films, I can say that during filming you almost certainly work 80+ hour weeks. And all the "grown ups" haven't left the film industry. There are always people willing to suffer for their art.
Certainly, but it seems more analogous to traditional crunch time in development - for a short period, everyone works long, hard hours, and then it's done and you go to sleep for three days. I'm talking more about the culture of perpetual crunch, which is dangerous for a job that requires concentration for large parts of it.

I've seen a lot of game developers burn out, when that doesn't seem to happen nearly as much in the movie business.

Refa
10-17-2010, 09:46 PM
In a world where we can get Cave games that actually get released over here in special editions, 999 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, the first Chunsoft adventure game to come over here, the Monster Hunter phenomenon, the first sequel to a DQ game on the handheld, an 8 bit Mega Man 9, something which would never have been possible before, and Mega Man Legends 3, NO, this generation is pretty awesome.

mablem8
10-18-2010, 07:09 AM
Well, the console generations used to be much shorter, and the distinction between them was much more sharp. Now, with things like the DSi, the 3DS, and Kinect, the separation between generations is more blurred.The refresh cycle is longer than it has ever been, and the differences between systems has become less of a focus.

But the longer cycles have given developers more of a chance to explore aspects of the medium other than the back-end technology. And incremental upgrades have allowed companies to try new ideas with less risk. It's less expensive for gamers, too, because those who don't want or need certain bells and whistles don't have to buy in just to keep up.

It's true that the industry hasn't had the benefit of the massive shake-up that results from a new generation of consoles. The introduction of the Wii and PS3 highlighted a very interesting time in the games industry. There were a lot of new options, and no one knew for sure how the dust would settle. Those kind of times can help a business, but it doesn't need to happen all of the time.

I wouldn't say that the industry is losing its marbles.

These are his happy thoughts.

Flint Ironstag
10-18-2010, 08:04 AM
As someone who prefers quirky, niche Japanese games to Hollywood, dudebro Western games, this genre is still trailing last gen for me. Etrian Odyssey, Rune Factory, MadWorld, No More Heroes (1), and Demons Souls give me great joy, though.

There's too much emphasis on "Hollywood Blockbuster" this generation, and not as much emphasis on "amazing video game."

Tanto
10-18-2010, 09:41 AM
As someone who prefers quirky, niche Japanese games to Hollywood, dudebro Western games, this genre is still trailing last gen for me.

Likewise. I don't like either the new wave of casual games or the "mature" games that the enthusiast press tells me I should be liking -- and the industry seems to be clustering around these two poles more and more. I feel like I'm on the fringes this generation. Maybe this was always the case and I'm just imagining things, I dunno...

ASandoval
10-18-2010, 09:55 AM
Likewise. I don't like either the new wave of casual games or the "mature" games that the enthusiast press tells me I should be liking -- and the industry seems to be clustering around these two poles more and more. I feel like I'm on the fringes this generation. Maybe this was always the case and I'm just imagining things, I dunno...

Oni already pointed this out, but I feel like there are many more niche games than there have been, though it's mostly on the handheld and downloadable side. It's this reason I'm quite happy with this generation, but I do think we're probably headed for another crash just because of how big and stretched out the market is starting to get.

Captain Keene
10-18-2010, 09:57 AM
While agreeing with both Flitn and Tanto's sentiments to an extent, I think these views are more than a little myopic. The advent of digital distribution is a huge deal for the games industry and helps to eliminate so many overhead costs that would be affiliated with the brick and mortar approach that we are all so familiar with. Digital Distribution has given us a new Shantae, Cave Story on the Wii, and Recettear, among others. While it is true that we're seeing a draw down of niche and quirky available in stores, we are starting to see many crop up on Steam and the like. We will probably start seeing a resurgence in creative but risky games in the future, and at much more reasonable prices to boot.

Wheels
10-18-2010, 10:17 AM
As someone who prefers quirky, niche Japanese games to Hollywood, dudebro Western games, this genre is still trailing last gen for me.

http://tvlowcostquebec.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/image001.jpg

Traumadore
10-18-2010, 10:28 AM
Hey Wheels are there any good niche japanese games coming out in the near future?

Wheels
10-18-2010, 10:30 AM
Hey Wheels are there any good niche japanese games coming out in the near future?

Why yes there are, I'm glad you asked. The only one that matters is:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511A28dwamL.jpg

So yeah, my previous post wasn't suggesting niche Japanese games are bad, but painting western games with a giant brush is just silly. Mass Effect 2 is amazing guys (for example).

blinkpen
10-18-2010, 11:36 AM
I'm extremely pleased with the western gaming content, I might even consider this period a golden age for western console gaming. It may collapse at some point for financial reasons but the content produced has been excellent.

Daikaiju
10-18-2010, 11:41 AM
Sshh shhhh, there there Dart. It'll be okay. Gamespite will shoo away the mean ol' gaming blues. You want a blanky (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?t=10290)?

DemoWeasel
10-18-2010, 12:02 PM
This gen gave us Red Dead Redemption, so it gets an A+ in my book!

Flint Ironstag
10-18-2010, 12:51 PM
So yeah, my previous post wasn't suggesting niche Japanese games are bad, but painting western games with a giant brush is just silly. Mass Effect 2 is amazing guys (for example).
As much as I love Bioware and space operas... I am fed the fuck up with shooters and space marines. :(

Also, portables have a lot of quirky titles; but they're almost non-existent on the consoles. That's more what I'm citing--the HD business model is annexing all these things to handhelds. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm tired of my console being the "blockbuster/multiplayer machine."

I also think it's very fair to paint console games with a broad stroke, considering how much of a "me-too" gen this is because of the minimal margin for error.

Wheels
10-18-2010, 02:30 PM
As much as I love Bioware and space operas... I am fed the fuck up with shooters and space marines. :(

Also, portables have a lot of quirky titles; but they're almost non-existent on the consoles. That's more what I'm citing--the HD business model is annexing all these things to handhelds. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm tired of my console being the "blockbuster/multiplayer machine."

I also think it's very fair to paint console games with a broad stroke, considering how much of a "me-too" gen this is because of the minimal margin for error.

I think you should take a look back at last-gen from Western developers. I think the stuff coming out from them this gen is just so much better it's not even funny.

Eusis
10-18-2010, 02:34 PM
I think you should take a look back at last-gen from Western developers. I think the stuff coming out from them this gen is just so much better it's not even funny.
Funny thing is THAT was infinitely better than what came out for the PS1 or N64 in that regard. Only a handful of games of games are really worth mentioning there.

... Well, I guess Saturn too, but what the hell did that have developed outside of Japan? Bug? We can ignore that.

Flint Ironstag
10-18-2010, 02:44 PM
I think you should take a look back at last-gen from Western developers. I think the stuff coming out from them this gen is just so much better it's not even funny.
As Eusis said though, Western games weren't exactly the shizzle last generation. There were definitely some greats, but it's hard to not improve when the consoles basically go straight into your regional power (aka, focus on spec-pushing graphic engines and "manly" games).

I'd still argue that Japan's best from last gen still wipes the floor with the West's best from this generation (in both the core gameplay and impact to the gaming meta). That's what I'm sorta trying to articulate.

Wheels
10-18-2010, 02:50 PM
I'd still argue that Japan's best from last gen still wipes the floor with the West's best from this generation (in both the core gameplay and impact to the gaming meta). That's what I'm sorta trying to articulate.

And you'd probably have good arguments, but I don't think it's an argument worth having. I just had an issue with mass generalization give the many stand out Western titles this generation.

Flint Ironstag
10-18-2010, 03:22 PM
And you'd probably have good arguments, but I don't think it's an argument worth having. I just had an issue with mass generalization give the many stand out Western titles this generation.
Meh, fair point. Play what you like, and I wish I like Western titles more like you do. I'd just rather see flawed but creative games like Heavy Rain rather than so many safe, boring, copycats.

Wheels
10-18-2010, 04:40 PM
than so many safe, boring, copycats.

That line makes me think of all those Monster Hunter Clones! :P

I really don't want to argue with you though because I probably play quirky Japanese stuff as much you :).

Flint Ironstag
10-18-2010, 04:45 PM
That line makes me think of all those Monster Hunter Clones! :P

I really don't want to argue with you though because I probably play quirky Japanese stuff as much you :).
There isn't an argument to be had, really. I also enjoy Western games... I'm just disappointed at the lack of choice in the games I particularly like, compared to last gen.

Merus
10-18-2010, 04:49 PM
I do think we're probably headed for another crash just because of how big and stretched out the market is starting to get.

So you think it's likely that everyone will decide that video games are a short-lived fad?

The industry didn't crash in 1985. The home console market in America crashed. Europeans and Japanese made games all through that period.

I'd just rather see flawed but creative games like Heavy Rain rather than so many safe, boring, copycats.

Oh lordy the Japanese industry is not immune to copycats.

My feeling is that the industry is better than ever - 2007 and 2008 were banner years, with so many great games coming out that pushed the medium forward. 2009 and 2010 less so, but then there's still been great games. Certainly, if you're myopically focused on 'what you like' you're going to be disappointed because the standards are changing. The social games market, much like the casual PC market of a few years ago, is getting increasingly sophisticated, and in a few years we'll be wondering what we were all worried about. Japanese game development is in decline, because they can no longer make up for project management failings by just encouraging everyone to work hard (seriously, FFXIII didn't even have a prototype - the first playable version of the game was the demo) and Western developers are way ahead of them on that score, thanks in part to the insanity of the PC platform. I wouldn't have expected FPSs to still have life, but here we are in 2010 and people are still doing interesting things with the genre, though there's a lot of uninspiring shooters as well.

But anyway, I'm very optimistic.

Egarwaen
10-18-2010, 05:24 PM
Japanese game development is in decline, because they can no longer make up for project management failings by just encouraging everyone to work hard (seriously, FFXIII didn't even have a prototype - the first playable version of the game was the demo) and Western developers are way ahead of them on that score, thanks in part to the insanity of the PC platform.

Further, I remember reading a story from early on in FFXIII development where the Square team was touting their reusable engine as a massive, industry-changing innovation.

I think that explains a lot about the shortcomings of most of the modern crop of Japanese "blockbuster" titles.

Wheels
10-18-2010, 05:42 PM
Further, I remember reading a story from early on in FFXIII development where the Square team was touting their reusable engine as a massive, industry-changing innovation.

I think that explains a lot about the shortcomings of most of the modern crop of Japanese "blockbuster" titles.

Say what you will about it, but it's a damn fine engine as far as can tell.

Kishi
10-18-2010, 07:01 PM
Further, I remember reading a story from early on in FFXIII development where the Square team was touting their reusable engine as a massive, industry-changing innovation.

They just said it was a big deal for them. Which it was.

Brickroad
10-18-2010, 07:04 PM
The strongest evidence that the Sky Is Not Falling is this:

Small indie developers are selling their games for $15.

On consoles.

How anyone can declare this generation a failure in the face of that is completely beyond me. This console generation is a solid gold success because it's the very first time ever that you can buy a brand new totally satisfying console game for less than $20.

I declare this argument officially pwned.

Kishi
10-18-2010, 07:05 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511A28dwamL.jpg


Ys: Ys: The Oath in Felghana: Ys (Ys)

taidan
10-18-2010, 07:16 PM
Meh, fair point. Play what you like, and I wish I like Western titles more like you do. I'd just rather see flawed but creative games like Heavy Rain that people accept as being flawed, rather than loose their shit over them as if it actually accomplished its goal

This would probably help.

Dart Zaidyer
10-18-2010, 08:34 PM
The strongest evidence that the Sky Is Not Falling is this:

Small indie developers are selling their games for $15.

On consoles.

How anyone can declare this generation a failure in the face of that is completely beyond me. This console generation is a solid gold success because it's the very first time ever that you can buy a brand new totally satisfying console game for less than $20.

I declare this argument officially pwned.

You win.

Wheels
10-18-2010, 08:53 PM
Ys: Ys: The Oath in Felghana: Ys (Ys)

Would you likes some Ys with your Ys sir?

Nodal
10-18-2010, 08:59 PM
Would you likes some Ys with your Ys sir?

Ys.

Posaune
10-18-2010, 10:15 PM
Would you likes some Ys with your Ys sir?

Why not?

Except it isn't said like that.. THANKS FALCOM.

Kishi
10-18-2010, 10:16 PM
Not their fault (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ys), to be fair.

nunix
10-18-2010, 10:21 PM
I don't understand. The TG-CD release, at least, pronounces it correctly. When did that change?

Kishi
10-18-2010, 10:38 PM
It didn't.

ASandoval
10-19-2010, 08:47 AM
So you think it's likely that everyone will decide that video games are a short-lived fad?

The industry didn't crash in 1985. The home console market in America crashed. Europeans and Japanese made games all through that period.

Couple things:

1. When talking about the industry, I'm mostly talking about the US Market, because that's what I know most about.

2. I am in no way an economist, which means anything I say is acknowledged to be somewhat ignorant and can be scrutinized.

That out of the way, I don't think video games will instantly be categorized as a short lived fad. I think that the market is beginning to stretch itself out too thin again, with a billion and one clones of the most popular thing, 'required' peripherals (motion gaming etc.) that increase cost and scare off casual buyers (IE: Where the money comes from)... which is more or less what happened in the early 80s as well. Video games were written off as a short lived fad AFTER the fact.

Egarwaen
10-19-2010, 12:23 PM
Say what you will about it, but it's a damn fine engine as far as can tell.

They just said it was a big deal for them. Which it was.

That's my point, though. Half the reason Japanese developers are struggling right now is because their development process is a decade or so behind the curve, and complexity has now increased to the point where that really matters. They don't need to import burly space marines to make their games sell, they need to import software architects and project managers.

ZRofel
10-19-2010, 12:31 PM
While I don't agree 100% with the original poster's argument, I can somewhat sympathize with his sentiment. This console generation has been a pretty decent one software-wise, especially on hand-helds, but I feel like on a personal level the industry is heading in a direction I don't care for. The emphasis on consoles does increasingly seem to be on grim, gritty, M-Rated shooters or slashers, and while those are okay, I miss the degree of diversity from generations past. There also seems to be an increasingly polarization between big-budget, blockbuster epics and tiny, indie games with very little middle ground. Did anyone else notice how most of the B-list JRPGs pretty much died this generation? Maybe some would say that's not much of a loss, but I miss Suikoden, Breath of Fire, Wild ARMs, Shadow Hearts, and the rest. Tales of... pretty much the only game in town anymore. The Wii gets quirky games now and again, but many developers still seem unsure what to do with it other than making cheap party game compilations or motion-control-filled abominations. As Brick said, there are tons of decent downloadable games being made, but I just don't like the concept of paying for downloadable games, since you're not getting the same rights you do with a hard-copy. I still sometimes play my copy of Link to the Past on my SNES, but I seriously doubt fifteen years from now I'll still be able to play the copies of Castle Crashers or Scott Pilgrim that I downloaded on my 360. It ends up making games feel very disposable.

Hand-helds, at least, are still going fairly strong and don't seem to be in any danger of flagging, so I guess that's something.

nunix
10-19-2010, 12:35 PM
It didn't.

You're going to have to walk me through this.

* Here's the TGCD opening (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2NRRWmxcnE#t=1m24s).

* Wikipedia's pronunciation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ys) is " Ys (pronounced /ˈiːs/, EES) "

So.. what's pronouncing it incorrectly, and what is the correct pronunciation, and where is that cited?

Not being snarky, genuinely curious here.

Kishi
10-19-2010, 12:58 PM
The TGCD pronunciation, Japanese pronunciation, and IPA pronunciation are all consistent, as far as I can tell.

Posaune, if I read him correctly, was making a pun on Ys being pronounced like a plural "Y." Then he noted that it doesn't work because that's not the correct pronunciation. Then I noted that Falcom isn't to blame for the pronunciation since they didn't invent Ys. That's all.

nunix
10-19-2010, 01:08 PM
Ohhh! I understand now. I also read "it didn't" to mean "the TGCD pronunciation wasn't correct", not re: change. I'm stupid, nevermind!

We return you to your talk about game industries or whatever.

Merus
10-19-2010, 05:55 PM
Did anyone else notice how most of the B-list JRPGs pretty much died this generation?

Yeah, that's because the Japanese industry is a poorly-managed basketcase that managed to compete because they just encouraged everyone to work reeeeeeeeally hard. These days, you simply can't do that - you've surely noticed that nearly every Western developer uses a third-party engine, like Unreal Engine or Unity or Renderware, unless they have graphics development staff on board, as Valve and iD do. Very few Japanese developers do, and they've been caught by how complex it is. Square Enix threw a ton of money at the problem but most B-tier developers can't afford to do that.

Refa
10-19-2010, 07:30 PM
Hey Wheels are there any good niche japanese games coming out in the near future?

I know you didn't ask me, but, well, Wheels didn't mention it and I feel obligated to mention that Oath In Felghana isn't the only good niche Japanese game coming out in the near future. There's also this;

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/615TUJ3mI1L.jpg

Adventure game by Chunsoft, who's apparently good at making them, but they've all been Japanese only till this point.

As much as I love Bioware and space operas... I am fed the fuck up with shooters and space marines. :(

Wow, you must be in a state of chaos deciding whether you actually like Mass Effect. On one hand, Bioware love, on the other, space marines... :)


How anyone can declare this generation a failure in the face of that is completely beyond me. This console generation is a solid gold success because it's the very first time ever that you can buy a brand new totally satisfying console game for less than $20.


What you didn't like Blaster Master Blasting Again? ;) And that was only like $10 at launch, what a steal!

ZRofel
10-19-2010, 08:30 PM
Yeah, that's because the Japanese industry is a poorly-managed basketcase that managed to compete because they just encouraged everyone to work reeeeeeeeally hard. These days, you simply can't do that - you've surely noticed that nearly every Western developer uses a third-party engine, like Unreal Engine or Unity or Renderware, unless they have graphics development staff on board, as Valve and iD do. Very few Japanese developers do, and they've been caught by how complex it is. Square Enix threw a ton of money at the problem but most B-tier developers can't afford to do that.

I understand why, I just still think it's disappointing that those type of games have disappeared. We've essentially lost an entire tier out of the system.

Traumadore
10-20-2010, 09:24 AM
I understand why, I just still think it's disappointing that those type of games have disappeared. We've essentially lost an entire tier out of the system.

I know they aren't JRPGs, but small-time developers are going to be moving into that space very soon. Recently we've had Torchlight, Deathspank, and now Costume Quest, and I think these kinds of low budget RPGs are just going to get more ambitious. They aren't going to be sold in stores anymore, but I think the near future is going to be exciting.

ZRofel
10-20-2010, 09:44 AM
I know they aren't JRPGs, but small-time developers are going to be moving into that space very soon. Recently we've had Torchlight, Deathspank, and now Costume Quest, and I think these kinds of low budget RPGs are just going to get more ambitious. They aren't going to be sold in stores anymore, but I think the near future is going to be exciting.

All three of those games seem really cool, and I'm all for small and independent developers stepping up and doing cool stuff, but as long as they stay download-only, and I have to pay for them, I'm going to be very reluctant to get on board. You just aren't getting the same product you get when you buy a hard copy. A hard copy lasts essentially indefinitely (barring a few issues like dead batteries, bit rot, or damage), I can use it on any system it was designed for, and if I don't want it anymore I can sell it or give it away. Those are all aspects of games that I find very important, so if a version lacks those I'm much less likely to make a purchase, regardless of the price. I completely understand why smaller developers go the download-only route, as the costs of physically producing games and bringing them to retail would often negate any profits they'd hoped to make on smaller, more niche ventures, and I don't fault them for this. It still doesn't change my feelings on the matter, though. If the gaming industry continues to go in the direction where big budget, epic blockbusters get physical releases but everything else is download-only, I can see myself gradually drifting away from modern gaming.

Traumadore
10-20-2010, 10:04 AM
Fair enough. But consider this, Shadow Hearts came out at the same time Final Fantasy X did, and it was pretty much the same price (maybe $10 cheaper?) Shadow Hearts, though charming, was kind of a rip off in comparison with dated cinemas, almost no voice acting, PS1 era pre-rendered backgrounds, and 16-bit era length with no optional content. Don't get me wrong, it was the game that I chose and loved when all my friends were playing FFX. Since I finally got around to playing FFX last year I can say that they aren't even in the same league, and it would make perfect sense for a game like Shadow Hearts to have been a downloadable game if such a thing were done back then.

Fact is, even though I can't sell or trade my DL game (and I have about 30 of them between my PS3 and PSP) they typically cost 1/2 to 1/3 (often less!) as much as a retail release, which generously covers any perceived resale value you might be getting from the vast majority of games. Oh, and with Media Go I can back them up on any PC too. So I have most of my DL games with three digital backups, so I feel pretty secure about them. And then there's that full foot or more of shelf space I have freed up.

The evolution of DL games is going to be a really healthy move for this hobby, if you can let go of the object. The fun and the experience is really the point isn't it?

nadia
10-20-2010, 10:30 AM
1) You know, western developers are capable of a lot more than grey-and-brown "dudebro" games. Generalising against them is as lazy and incorrect as saying Japan is capable of producing nothing but RPGs staffed by spiky-haired androgynous boys.

2) I like the fact nobody's in a rush to end this console generation. To me, it felt like the Playstation 2 and the GameCube and Xbox in particular never reached the height of their potential. It's not as if the games we play today look shitty and lag all to hell.

Nodal
10-20-2010, 10:30 AM
But Shadow Hearts is way better than FFX. Your argument falls apart.

Traumadore
10-20-2010, 10:35 AM
But Shadow Hearts is way better than FFX. Your argument falls apart.

Yeah, I like it a lot more for sure. It still would have been better if the cost to the consumer reflected the budget of the game. DL games make that possible, is all.

Rosewood
10-20-2010, 11:27 AM
Adventure game by Chunsoft, who's apparently good at making them, but they've all been Japanese only till this point.

Nine Hours: You only have 9 hours before Junpei and the other 8 kidnapped drown. Numerology, music composition and logic puzzles are just a few of the 32 plus obstacles that stand in the way of their freedom

"This reminds me of a puzz.... aaaaggggggh"

All three of those games seem really cool, and I'm all for small and independent developers stepping up and doing cool stuff, but as long as they stay download-only, and I have to pay for them, I'm going to be very reluctant to get on board. You just aren't getting the same product you get when you buy a hard copy.

Generally speaking, I spend a lion's share of my gaming time on handhelds (where the Japanese have had a good presence) and my console time is spent on these mayfly-life downloadable games that cost 10-15 bucks. I just don't have time for 100-hour console monoliths anymore, so this generation's fitting my lifestyle pretty well.

Edit: woo, post 1500.

ZRofel
10-20-2010, 11:31 AM
Fair enough. But consider this, Shadow Hearts came out at the same time Final Fantasy X did, and it was pretty much the same price (maybe $10 cheaper?) Shadow Hearts, though charming, was kind of a rip off in comparison with dated cinemas, almost no voice acting, PS1 era pre-rendered backgrounds, and 16-bit era length with no optional content. Don't get me wrong, it was the game that I chose and loved when all my friends were playing FFX. Since I finally got around to playing FFX last year I can say that they aren't even in the same league, and it would make perfect sense for a game like Shadow Hearts to have been a downloadable game if such a thing were done back then.

Fact is, even though I can't sell or trade my DL game (and I have about 30 of them between my PS3 and PSP) they typically cost 1/2 to 1/3 (often less!) as much as a retail release, which generously covers any perceived resale value you might be getting from the vast majority of games. Oh, and with Media Go I can back them up on any PC too. So I have most of my DL games with three digital backups, so I feel pretty secure about them. And then there's that full foot or more of shelf space I have freed up.

The evolution of DL games is going to be a really healthy move for this hobby, if you can let go of the object. The fun and the experience is really the point isn't it?

Well, yes and no. Obviously getting to experience the game is the whole point, but I also really like the idea that when I purchase something, I can go back and experience it again whenever I choose without having to pay an additional fee. You're paying for the experience, but you're also paying for a degree of control over the experience. The way the industry is going, and I think the way most media industries are going, is that they want to transition it to a model where you pay again every time you want the experience, like when you go to an amusement park or see a movie in the theater. That's fine when that's the understood agreement at the time money is changing hands, but I don't like how downloads are treated like they're purchases, when really you're only leasing them. When I'm purchasing something I expect to have a greater degree of control.

I don't know anything about Media Go, but I will say that a consistent, reliable means of backing up downloadable games would go a long way towards making me more open to the idea. I download free games on my computer all the time because, being free, it doesn't matter if I burn them on a CD, move them to a different computer, give them to a friend, etc. If I got those same rights with the games I downloaded for my consoles I would have much less of a problem paying for them.

Generally speaking, I spend a lion's share of my gaming time on handhelds (where the Japanese have had a good presence) and my console time is spent on these mayfly-life downloadable games that cost 10-15 bucks. I just don't have time for 100-hour console monoliths anymore, so this generation's fitting my lifestyle pretty well.

Oh, and just to make it clear, I'm not saying I expect downloadable games to be identical to the type of games we get on discs. Quite the opposite, in fact. I would actually say the type of games that are download-only are more the type of games I like to play. I'm just saying you get different rights when you pay to download a game in most cases than you do if you buy it on a disc. I would totally pay $60 to buy Mega Man 9 on a disc, but I would not pay $20 to download it.

Googleshng
10-20-2010, 03:33 PM
But Shadow Hearts is way better than FFX. Your argument falls apart.

More importantly, you two know that Shadow Hearts was a last minute bump-up from the PSX, right? Really makes this an unfair comparison. Especially since the only real gain in the transition was loading up a whole DVD full of pre-rendered cutscenes and significantly higher quality audio. That doesn't really fly with a downloadable game.

Flint Ironstag
10-20-2010, 09:09 PM
1) You know, western developers are capable of a lot more than grey-and-brown "dudebro" games.
They are, but there's a reason generalizations and stereotypes exist (aka, there's a fair amount of truth).
2) I like the fact nobody's in a rush to end this console generation. To me, it felt like the Playstation 2 and the GameCube and Xbox in particular never reached the height of their potential. It's not as if the games we play today look shitty and lag all to hell.
This I agree with wholeheartedly; if there's one thing I love about this gen it's that the console players seem to be in the long run. Of course, with how expensive gaming has become, they'd be suicidal not to do so.

Spuuky
10-20-2010, 10:40 PM
I desperately want B-grade JRPGs. They define my gaming experience.

Oh well. I'm not enough of the market to matter, so I understand. It just makes me sad.

Traumadore
10-21-2010, 09:17 AM
I would totally pay $60 to buy Mega Man 9 on a disc, but I would not pay $20 to download it.

That's insane.

Brickroad
10-21-2010, 10:02 AM
I would totally pay $60 to buy Mega Man 9 on a disc, but I would not pay $20 to download it.

wut

ZRofel
10-21-2010, 10:07 AM
That's insane.

*shrug* Maybe. But if I had a Wii disc copy of Mega Man 9 I would know, or at least be reasonably confident, that I could play that disc on any Wii or future Nintendo system that featured Wii backwards compatibility. I could also lend that disc to friends who were curious about the game but didn't know if they wanted to buy it. Hell, I could even put it on a shelf for decades, then in my late seventies suddenly start playing it again. With digital downloads I'm not likely to get any of that, and that's worth an awful lot more to me. The handful of games I have paid to download (for the record, Castle Crashers, Scott Pilgrim, Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10, and Cave Story) I certainly would have paid two or three times as much to have purchased a hard copy.

Wolfgang
10-21-2010, 10:54 AM
The evolution of DL games is going to be a really healthy move for this hobby, if you can let go of the object. The fun and the experience is really the point isn't it?

Ahahahahahahahahaha ohhh mercy.

Sarcasmorator
10-21-2010, 11:20 AM
1) You know, western developers are capable of a lot more than grey-and-brown "dudebro" games. Generalising against them is as lazy and incorrect as saying Japan is capable of producing nothing but RPGs staffed by spiky-haired androgynous boys.

2) I like the fact nobody's in a rush to end this console generation. To me, it felt like the Playstation 2 and the GameCube and Xbox in particular never reached the height of their potential. It's not as if the games we play today look shitty and lag all to hell.

Let's be friends, you and me.

Spuuky
10-21-2010, 09:26 PM
*shrug* Maybe. But if I had a Wii disc copy of Mega Man 9 I would know, or at least be reasonably confident, that I could play that disc on any Wii or future Nintendo system that featured Wii backwards compatibility. I could also lend that disc to friends who were curious about the game but didn't know if they wanted to buy it. Hell, I could even put it on a shelf for decades, then in my late seventies suddenly start playing it again. With digital downloads I'm not likely to get any of that, and that's worth an awful lot more to me. The handful of games I have paid to download (for the record, Castle Crashers, Scott Pilgrim, Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10, and Cave Story) I certainly would have paid two or three times as much to have purchased a hard copy.But with some (maybe even many) downloadable games, you can simply burn them onto a disk. Then they are "yours" forever. But I guess I'm too much of a PC gamer and not enough of a console gamer.

And for reference, to counterbalance you, I have a friend who would pay $60 to own a game on a platform like Steam, but would be unwilling to pay $20 for the hassle of maintaining, storing, and plugging in physical media for the same game.

Traumadore
10-21-2010, 09:36 PM
Ahahahahahahahahaha ohhh mercy.

Man, you could at least take the time to make a meaningful response to this. I don't know what Ahahahahahahahaha ohhh mercy means. I actually believe that fun is the point of games. I don't see how that's so far fetched.

Merus
10-22-2010, 01:45 AM
You know, CDs don't necessarily have a very long shelf-life. That permanence of the physical object is only an illusion - if it breaks, or the plastics decay, it's gone. Digital copies can be restored, the storefronts allow redownloads, and even without support from the vendors people will be able to get their stuff back, as there will be a bunch of people motivated to break the DRM and no-one motivated enough to fix it. And that's unlikely - most vendors have indicated that they'll work out a way around DRM verification when their storefronts close, and in other industries stores that have closed have been sued if their DRM systems have stayed up.

ZRofel
10-22-2010, 08:35 AM
But with some (maybe even many) downloadable games, you can simply burn them onto a disk. Then they are "yours" forever. But I guess I'm too much of a PC gamer and not enough of a console gamer.

And for reference, to counterbalance you, I have a friend who would pay $60 to own a game on a platform like Steam, but would be unwilling to pay $20 for the hassle of maintaining, storing, and plugging in physical media for the same game.

Well, I did say in one of my posts that I do download DRM-free games on my computer with some regularity, because I'm given a reasonable assurance that I can preserve them in the manner of my choosing. As much as I am a collector and do like having physical objects, as long as I'm relatively sure my game will still be there whenever I want to play it, whether that's several days or several years later, I don't necessarily need the case, manual, discs, etc.

As far as your friend, that's certainly a valid stance. As much as I don't use them, I'm glad services like Steam and GOG exist, since it gives consumers more choices and gives smaller developers the option of getting their games out in some manner as opposed to not at all. All I was saying way back in my first post was that, for me, I don't like the industry proceeding in a direction where all hard-copy games are big-budget, M-rated epics, and everything else is only available as a download. I can understand and respect people who'd be just as glad to see physical media disappear, though.

You know, CDs don't necessarily have a very long shelf-life. That permanence of the physical object is only an illusion - if it breaks, or the plastics decay, it's gone. Digital copies can be restored, the storefronts allow redownloads, and even without support from the vendors people will be able to get their stuff back, as there will be a bunch of people motivated to break the DRM and no-one motivated enough to fix it. And that's unlikely - most vendors have indicated that they'll work out a way around DRM verification when their storefronts close, and in other industries stores that have closed have been sued if their DRM systems have stayed up.

I understand that, in the grand, cosmic sense all physical things are ultimately temporary, but I still think physical media breaking down is the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of my NES, Genesis, Gameboy, and SNES games all still work flawlessly, and all the music CDs I bought as a kid still play fine. Obviously things wear out, but if you take good care of them, most CDs, cartridges, and DVDs will last a pretty long time. As I've said a few times already, though, I don't necessarily have a problem with things transitioning away from physical media providing the consumer is given the same degree of control over his or her digital objects that he or she is given over his or her physical objects.

Maybe it's because my job revolves around copyright, but I have a very bleak view of copyright/DRM in the coming years. I actually feel the exact opposite of you, as I think companies have significant incentives to ruthlessly protect their copyrights with DRM and no reasons to let their copyrights lapse. I don't know how it is in other countries, but in the U.S. copyright law has swung drastically in favor of rights holders in the last few decades, and it's gotten incredibly easy for large companies to maintain a stranglehold on their copyrighted works. I mean, when you think about it, if you lose access to a game you purchased, that's great for the company because now you have to purchase it again if you want to play it again. Meanwhile, if they make an effort to ensure you get perpetual access to games you've bought from them it's more work on their part and they don't see any additional money from you. Yes, there could eventually be some kind of consumer backlash, but I think most commercial entities are fairly shortsighted in that regard. I honestly feel that the eventual goal of most media companies that are going digital is to transition from a purchasing model where you pay once to a leasing model where you pay over, and over again for something you never really own.

But, hey, if things do eventually go the way you predict, where vendors and rights holders make a concerted effort to ensure that customers are able to continue using their games they've downloaded, I'll be more than happy to embrace it. I just think it's too early to say that for sure, since this whole phenomenon is still very young. And if going by past corporate performance is any indication, I think we're in for a bumpy ride.