305: What They Say

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What They Say

We wanted to know how the videogame industry was doing, so we asked the people who make the games themselves.

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When I saw the tags in this I was terrified. Mainly because I saw "3D" and "Motion Controls" combined with something that has to do with the future of the game industry.

However, this was an interesting read. They bring up some good points, as well as some that make me want go to a corner and cry.

It's a real nerdgasm to sit here, read this and know that your beloved industry is (largely) in the hands of people who know their beans, know what needs to be done, don't take success for granted but analyse it when it happens and are doing their upmost to bring the industry forward.

IndianaJonny:
It's a real nerdgasm to sit here, read this and know that your beloved industry is (largely) in the hands of people who know their beans, know what needs to be done, don't take success for granted but analyse it when it happens and are doing their upmost to bring the industry forward.

I thourght it was "fucked" ...aparently

Vault101:

IndianaJonny:
It's a real nerdgasm to sit here, read this and know that your beloved industry is (largely) in the hands of people who know their beans, know what needs to be done, don't take success for granted but analyse it when it happens and are doing their upmost to bring the industry forward.

I thourght it was "fucked" ...aparently

"Leave the worrying to doom prophets, and the hating to Yahtzee"
Sorry, I couldn't resist it. :)

IndianaJonny:

Vault101:

IndianaJonny:
It's a real nerdgasm to sit here, read this and know that your beloved industry is (largely) in the hands of people who know their beans, know what needs to be done, don't take success for granted but analyse it when it happens and are doing their upmost to bring the industry forward.

I thourght it was "fucked" ...aparently

"Leave the worrying to doom prophets, and the hating to Yahtzee"
Sorry, I couldn't resist it. :)

hahaha yes very true.....I should also spend less time on the internet

Vault101:
hahaha yes very true.....I should also spend less time on the internet

Touché.

Robert Ludwick (Senior Game Engineer for Meteor Games, LLC): Not allowing cross-platform online gaming. Forcing 360 owners to only game online with other 360 owners bolsters Microsoft's case to get more gamers on their platform, but as a whole the industry needs cross-platform gaming.

No. This is a very good thing. Online play with consoles and PC's belong in two seperate areas. the advantage the PC would have over the consoles would completely break the balance scales in half.

And no this is not a PC fanboy rant, this is just pure and simple fact.

I dunno, reading this didn't really give me a whole lot of joy. A lot of what they had to say was true, but a lot of it I didn't agree with. Overall it seems everyone wants to move away from the type of game experience that I love and in to some new realm.
Almost every response felt like "blah blah blah Facebook, blah blah blah Indie revolution! Blah blah blah online interaction blah."

Those things have their places, but for me, the best gaming experience has always been a lengthy, deep, story & exploration-driven single player experience.

My favorite quote though:

Greg Kasavian:
Want to play that exciting new PS3 title? Then better get ready for a 15-minute system update, a 10-minute day-one patch, five different unskippable splash screens before you get to the main menu, long loading times, and so on. It's little wonder some people are flocking to the relative ease-of-use afforded by browser games or mobile games.

So sadly true. I just wanna play my game!!!!

Joel Windels' example of Angry Birds being a gateway to CoD felt especially stupid though. I'm pretty sure more people play CoD than Angry Birds. CoD is more of a casual-gamer game than anything else out there.

ActionDan:

No. This is a very good thing. Online play with consoles and PC's belong in two seperate areas. the advantage the PC would have over the consoles would completely break the balance scales in half.

And no this is not a PC fanboy rant, this is just pure and simple fact.

Judging by the example he made after that, I think he was more referring to play between Xbox and PS3.

Although I don't see why there couldn't be more co-op based cross PC/console play, as with Portal 2.
Competitive play might suffer from the problems you speak of, but co-op not so much.

Carl Dungca:
I'm going to say games are more fun. Why? In large, they are more accessible, less obtuse/frustrating, and there are more people playing them. In other words, more people are having fun. Though there will always be the vocal minority that still yearns for the challenge of an intricate PC-style RPG or simulator or the punishing "NES-hard" masochism, that sort of gameplay is a turn-off for the larger audience. Just look at how popular the simplified Street Fighter IV is compared to the hyper-complex systems of the niche-ified fighting genre.

this. this. oh GOD this!
i'm tired of PC elitists and classic RPG hipsters going about saying "GAMEZ IZ TOO EZ!!!" because, overall, if they are then that's nothing but an amazing thing for the industry as a whole. because it brings in more people and makes our hobby look less like a niche nerd thing that just prevents you from getting laid.

i only see good things coming from accessibility, as i am one of those people who needs to have things be made accessible to him.

they talked a lot about "breaking down the barrier of entry" in the article, and that is something i preach all the time (to no avail, however...)

ActionDan:

Robert Ludwick (Senior Game Engineer for Meteor Games, LLC): Not allowing cross-platform online gaming. Forcing 360 owners to only game online with other 360 owners bolsters Microsoft's case to get more gamers on their platform, but as a whole the industry needs cross-platform gaming.

No. This is a very good thing. Online play with consoles and PC's belong in two seperate areas. the advantage the PC would have over the consoles would completely break the balance scales in half.

And no this is not a PC fanboy rant, this is just pure and simple fact.

Well, MS did try doing that, and it didn't work out too well. ^_-

Though co-op might work out nicely, as someone already said.

OT: Awesome article, especially glad to hear from the guys from Stardock.

In reply to Jon Shafer wondering if 3D could actually have any utility at all in strategy games of it would just be a cheap selling point, imagine if in Homeworld you could actually see what was going on without tons of overlays and moving the camera around for perspective. When the 3DS was announced I was playing Sword of the Stars and thought how useful and convenient it would be if the galaxy map was displayed in 3D. For a more traditional flat board game it would be more of a gimmick but sometimes I forget that board games might be about squares and hexes but computer games are more naturally about circles and spheres. I'm playing Shogun 2 at the moment and would it be strategically useful to quickly see that my Matchlocks don't have a clear line of sight to the enemy? You bet it would.

ActionDan:

No. This is a very good thing. Online play with consoles and PC's belong in two seperate areas. the advantage the PC would have over the consoles would completely break the balance scales in half.

And no this is not a PC fanboy rant, this is just pure and simple fact.

That's not necessarily the case. If cross- platform gaming was implemented, there would be a great deal of work done on governing balance. Plus, you're assuming that cross platform is limited to console versus PC as opposed to console versus console. The main limitation to overcome with cross platform is hooking up the Xbox server to the rest of the internet. It used to be said that PCs and Macs would never game together but now both WoW and TF2 now cater for both PC and Mac on the same servers.

I have to say, I really like the idea of Biometrics being used in game. That might give the Horror genre a well needed boost.

Mike Wilson: "People don't want the plastic, and they don't want to pay $60 for more than a few huge games each year."
Indeed. I'm probably holding out on Alice: Madness Returns and Duke Nukem Forever just because of the price. On the other hand, Portal 2 was relatively an impulse buy when I saw it offered with a free copy of Portal on Steam (which another developer respected). Steam's "high-low" pricing strategy is similar to that of most stores, and I love the fact that playing Portal or something is just a double-click away instead of disc-swapping and wire-checking.

Edit: I really hope Nintendo realizes that its Mario "expansion packs" that they call "ca-CHING!" will go down in price to follow cost. I'd love to play Mario Galaxy 3 or 4 online and with DLC every few months.

I thought this was a great set of questions, in that they allowed the interviewees to take them where they wanted. V interesting to see how some people immediately drilled down into detail, while others took a more strategic industry view. There's a third group that just repeats things they've heard elsewhere, but that always happens. My own two cents would be that the interviewees were skewed heavily towards North America-based developers, and the possibilities of emerging markets outside of developed countries didn't seem to be on the radar much.

Cheers

Colin

Good read, but a bit long in parts

I'm actually going to disagree when it comes to augmented reality as a gaming gimmick. There's two reasons why I'm going to disagree.

1. AR will not be limited to gaming
2. AR will be very easy to implement, but not for home consoles.

Augmented Reality is an interesting feature for the 3DS, and while it might appear to be simply a gimmick on the system(because it is), the practical applications for AR alone will actually remove the gimmick, and gaming, features.

Personal advertisements, special directions, plus other neat functions will make AR somewhat interesting, if not actually unique and fun for the future. Think about being able to have a small HUD that shows you addresses for businesses, without having to turn your head, look, slow down, or any of that other stuff. It's actually brilliant, if you know what you're looking for.

Disclaimer:Maybe I just read too much Shadowrun 4th edition.

I have to say I feel a bit ignorant not knowing many of the names in the article. Very interesting read indeed.

maantren:
I thought this was a great set of questions, in that they allowed the interviewees to take them where they wanted. V interesting to see how some people immediately drilled down into detail, while others took a more strategic industry view. There's a third group that just repeats things they've heard elsewhere, but that always happens. My own two cents would be that the interviewees were skewed heavily towards North America-based developers, and the possibilities of emerging markets outside of developed countries didn't seem to be on the radar much.

Cheers

Colin

We can't print the answers of people who didn't respond when we asked them to, now can we?

You know what I want to see more of? Local split-screen. From what I can see, the number of local mulitplayer games is on the down...

Yeah, online gaming is fun 10 vs 10 on some server, but I doubt there will ever be anything, gaming wise, like sitting down with some mates, with a couple of local split-screen games and enough Red Bull to kick-start a guy in a coma. In fact, when I go game hunting, one thing I look for games with local multiplayer. It's also pretty much the reason why I almost always buy second hand PS2 games; the vast majority of really good PS2 games have a split screen available to them. Want proof? Dig out your old titles and see how many of them had split-screen as opposed to today's titles.

In fact, imagine this situation: Need for Speed most wanted, where you and a buddy have a local split-screen and a maximum of 250m between you. Now imagine having to outrun cops doing anything and everything to stop you.

But yeh, I also gotta agree with Ian Cummings here: £50 is way too much for a brand-new console game. Budget companies can release games with similar contents in terms of physical packaging BUT do it for half the price. Given bulk is cheaper, these major game companies print out a whole lot more copies, so in theory, they should be able to sell it for less than what currently charge. I will openly admit that I would be buying a lot more games if the big games were nearer budget prices.

ActionDan:

Robert Ludwick (Senior Game Engineer for Meteor Games, LLC): Not allowing cross-platform online gaming. Forcing 360 owners to only game online with other 360 owners bolsters Microsoft's case to get more gamers on their platform, but as a whole the industry needs cross-platform gaming.

No. This is a very good thing. Online play with consoles and PC's belong in two seperate areas. the advantage the PC would have over the consoles would completely break the balance scales in half.

And no this is not a PC fanboy rant, this is just pure and simple fact.

Would it really break the balance? I'm assuming you're referring to the difference in controls, because I dunno where else there's a real difference, yes? (Except for I suppose really nice PC's can have way better graphics?)
I can't believe that the PC has that much of an advantage over consoles considering there are people who like to buy controllers that they can plug into their computer. When I talk to my friends who use consoles, they love the controllers and laugh that they would kick my ass if I was using a mouse and keyboard and they had an xbox or ps3 controller.

But I could have a completely different idea of what you're talking about. If I do, please let me know. Otherwise, any response'd be nice. But so yeah personally I think it'd be a great idea to introduce cross-platform gaming so I can play with my friends and we don't have to buy 2 versions of a game.

Something else, I like the idea of slightly cheaper games. It lets me try more games that I'm not so sure about, and games that are kinda old, but still expensive and I would like to play. Otherwise I have to hope Steam makes a sale happen soon.
(Wow wall of text ftw much?)

"Greg Kasavian (Creative Director, Supergiant Games): The single biggest mistake the industry has made in the last five years is the institution of mass-firings of skilled laborers as a business practice upon the completion of a big project."

This truly is the biggest problem right here. The industry is brain-draining itself with the way it's mistreating its employees. Layoffs are pretty much the norm, which is a major setback when there's no union or guild for the talent to fall back on. It's not like the movie industry where Actors work for SAG and Directors work for the director's guild and crew works for their guild and nobody's concerned that their finishing a movie means ending employment with a releasing company, because they've got a safety net. There's no safety net in the games industry, but devs and publishers treat it like there is, and it's going to be their undoing.

Great read, so much to like about all of this. I'd like to know what these guys think about the role modding plays in the industry.

The Escapist Staff:
What They Say

We wanted to know how the videogame industry was doing, so we asked the people who make the games themselves.

Read Full Article

Do more of these! Features like Extra Consideration work well to let us see discussion between some of our favorite "personalities," but that means the breadth of views represented tends to max out at three. If this were to become a more regular thing, we could really hear a lot more!

It doesn't have to be industry personalities, either. It could actually be the views of the Escapist staff. It might be interesting to hear how different people working in the same virtual office disagree, without necessarily having to read through the exchanges (which we can get from Consideration, if you continue that).

Rienimportant:
Would it really break the balance? I'm assuming you're referring to the difference in controls, because I dunno where else there's a real difference, yes? (Except for I suppose really nice PC's can have way better graphics?)
I can't believe that the PC has that much of an advantage over consoles considering there are people who like to buy controllers that they can plug into their computer. When I talk to my friends who use consoles, they love the controllers and laugh that they would kick my ass if I was using a mouse and keyboard and they had an xbox or ps3 controller.

But I could have a completely different idea of what you're talking about. If I do, please let me know. Otherwise, any response'd be nice. But so yeah personally I think it'd be a great idea to introduce cross-platform gaming so I can play with my friends and we don't have to buy 2 versions of a game.

Something else, I like the idea of slightly cheaper games. It lets me try more games that I'm not so sure about, and games that are kinda old, but still expensive and I would like to play. Otherwise I have to hope Steam makes a sale happen soon.
(Wow wall of text ftw much?)

I think the difference between consoles and PCs is often the level of control the player has over the game outside of the game. Macros, scripting, hacks, cheats, various performance "enhancers" like these--they're far more available to the PC crowd. But on an even simpler level, PC gamers just tend to have more buttons available. Unless consoles want to start pushing people toward the use of a full keyboard, there are plenty of people who can advantageously customize a keyboard layout to have quicker access to a lot of the game's functions.

Or it could mean that a lot of those functions (to which PC gamers are accustomed) would be removed to make it more "console-friendly." That leads us down the "they're dumbing down games" road.

It's a harder balancing act than it might appear on the surface.

much worse than not having crossplatform MP is not have all 3 major platforms. I consider every game that doesn't come out on PC a failuire or at least their creators for being afraid of existence on the eternal platform.

Xandre:
You know what I want to see more of? Local split-screen. From what I can see, the number of local mulitplayer games is on the down...

Yeah, online gaming is fun 10 vs 10 on some server, but I doubt there will ever be anything, gaming wise, like sitting down with some mates, with a couple of local split-screen games and enough Red Bull to kick-start a guy in a coma. In fact, when I go game hunting, one thing I look for games with local multiplayer. It's also pretty much the reason why I almost always buy second hand PS2 games; the vast majority of really good PS2 games have a split screen available to them. Want proof? Dig out your old titles and see how many of them had split-screen as opposed to today's titles.

In fact, imagine this situation: Need for Speed most wanted, where you and a buddy have a local split-screen and a maximum of 250m between you. Now imagine having to outrun cops doing anything and everything to stop you.

This is something that has started to really annoy me in recent years. Even racing games are removing split screen. Where's the fun in that? Do they think gamers never share a console now?

its great to see stuff like this on the escapist and once again reminds me why i come back time and time again to this website.
as for the article, it was really great to know that the bigwigs in the gaming industry really understand gaming and love it as much as i do. its clear that they love all the stuff gaming can offer from AAA titles down to the tiny indies.

thank god this industry has people that care about it so strongly!

beema:

ActionDan:

No. This is a very good thing. Online play with consoles and PC's belong in two seperate areas. the advantage the PC would have over the consoles would completely break the balance scales in half.

And no this is not a PC fanboy rant, this is just pure and simple fact.

Judging by the example he made after that, I think he was more referring to play between Xbox and PS3.

Although I don't see why there couldn't be more co-op based cross PC/console play, as with Portal 2.
Competitive play might suffer from the problems you speak of, but co-op not so much.

Yes. I think there's a lot more room for cross platform multiplayer that we think.
Hopefully this would also lead to some standardization of the formats. If games were built the same way for all the platforms they would be much cheaper to produce. We would also have a lot less substandard ports. What might happen with that which could greatly benefit the consumer are third party platforms: I would much rather get a console made by panasonic than MS or Sony.

This is amazing, hope to see more Escapist :D

"Robert Ludwick: Lower price points and more piecemeal gameplay. Games like WoW are lengthy to play and many people don't want to spend forever playing one single game. Movies are consumed in smaller chunks and are cheaper to consume. A larger selection of shorter, more affordable games will help."

This quote represents everything I have been saying for the past year. Just saying!

Robert Ludwick: Lower price points and more piecemeal gameplay. Games like WoW are lengthy to play and many people don't want to spend forever playing one single game. Movies are consumed in smaller chunks and are cheaper to consume. A larger selection of shorter, more affordable games will help

Pure propaganda - or a push for the casual consumer, not gamers. Many titles are getting shorter and shorter, piecemealing the games into nickle-and-dime DLC, and remain just as expensive. Sorry, but I'm not buying this attempt at spin.

Yes, lower prices would be nice, but, really, I can afford an occasional $50 or even $60 dollar game. What irritates me is I'm getting far less for my purchase, either in terms of the game's resources and depth, or gameplay and replayability.

This is an argument for the shovelware that's been hitting all platforms - oh, wait, most of those were expensive, too, weren't they (?)

ls

More Fun To Compute:
In reply to Jon Shafer wondering if 3D could actually have any utility at all in strategy games of it would just be a cheap selling point, imagine if in Homeworld you could actually see what was going on without tons of overlays and moving the camera around for perspective. When the 3DS was announced I was playing Sword of the Stars and thought how useful and convenient it would be if the galaxy map was displayed in 3D. For a more traditional flat board game it would be more of a gimmick but sometimes I forget that board games might be about squares and hexes but computer games are more naturally about circles and spheres. I'm playing Shogun 2 at the moment and would it be strategically useful to quickly see that my Matchlocks don't have a clear line of sight to the enemy? You bet it would.

I have wondered what Homeworld would be like on the DS - one screen for the big radar map, one for the normal screen. Also, *cough*

OT: This was a great read. I didn't know you were doing this, but I like the idea of asking a load of games developers important questions like these - now if only we could put them in a forum together and have them all talk to each other... maybe we could throw Yahtzee into the mix too. :p

I'm still waiting for the day the industry as a whole comes round to the idea of merchandising as something other than a few "collectables" thrown into "limited" edition boxsets as an excuse to charge extra for the game.

Robert Ludwick: Modern games can scale back on gameplay thanks to all of the added features, which evens things out.

sooo modern games can scale back on gameplay? funny the reason I buy games is explicity because of the GAMEPLAY.

forgive me for wanting gameplay IN MY GAMES!!!!

(yes that comment realy anoyed me lol)

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