8: Death to the Games Industry, Part I

Death to the Games Industry, Part I

Two years ago Warren Spector said "The publishers have to die, or we are all doomed" - to cheers. At GDC, Greg Costikyan ranted on the problem - and received a standing ovation. What is the problem? And is there any way to address it?

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Wow, you suck at economics. There is no need to worry, so don't. Of course, the videogame industry is unlikely to ever conform to exactly what you would like it to be, but why should anyone but you and those who share your vision care? Cry me a f*ckin' river.

he rants about how small developers are getting elbowed out of the industry cuz of high prices. Thats why there is Virual Console, Playstations Network, and Xbox live, venues for developers to create games with low budget. Games like Geometry wars and Superstar dust HD we some of the most popular games on the online market but he doesnt seem to mention those. WTF

Wow, this is some thread necromancy right here. I think this was one of the first Escapist articles I ever read. One of my favorites too.

intplee, I lol'd when I read the "you suck at economics" part. That's a pretty stupid thing to say if you ask me. Greg's argument seemed pretty good, maybe you could provide some actual arguments against his points? That is of course if you've actually read the article, which I doubt. Also, how does he suck at economics? What does that even mean?

moyai, first of all the article was written a couple of years ago, so I don't think all the things you mentioned were even out yet. Second, online "venues" like the ones you mentioned represent a small portion of the market (and they aren't independent, which is Greg's point). How many small publisher games do you see in the stores? None.

So basically what I'm saying is that I think Greg is right, and you two punks should GB2 gamespot

intplee:
Wow, you suck at economics. There is no need to worry, so don't. Of course, the videogame industry is unlikely to ever conform to exactly what you would like it to be, but why should anyone but you and those who share your vision care? Cry me a f*ckin' river.

30 August 2005.
At best, there was the Live system for Microsoft's former console. That's the only noticeable system which existed on consoles, by the time he released his article. The 360 wasn't even out.
So that means:

No Live Arcade.
No Playstation Network.
No Virtual Console.

Then the PC. Many download sites existed, but were made for very small games. Valve's Steam wasn't a platform for downloading other third party games yet.

So that pretty much restricted the field of study he had access to.

Ignore.

intplee:
Wow, you suck at economics. There is no need to worry, so don't. Of course, the videogame industry is unlikely to ever conform to exactly what you would like it to be, but why should anyone but you and those who share your vision care? Cry me a f*ckin' river.

Did you read the article, at all? Your comment is so irrelevant that it's pretty obvious you didn't.

And I agree with rawlight.. what does "Wow, you suck at economics." mean, anyway?

Anyway, very interesting article. Thanks for posting it. I'm moving on to part 2.

He's quite right. Mediocre games with beautiful graphics like Crysis sell much better than innovative games with interesting story and gameplay mechanics like Penumbra (Portal is the exception, but hey - does anybody really know Narbacular Drop?).

Hey Greg, stop writing for The Escapist and get some more books out in that "Another Day, Another Dungeon" and "One Quest, Hold The Dragons" series. I actually enjoyed those.

Otherwise I think your right about a lot of things, but unfortunatly identifying problems doesn't help solve them. What's more encouraging any kind of community action from gamers, especially some of the guys we have out there now, would be like herding cats. :)

That said I have heard a lot of ideas for developers getting away from publishers and such, and a lot of possible solutions over the years, but sadly I don't think any of them are viable.

For example, I'm kind of a fan of the whole idea of "Disk In Hand". Thus the idea of developers making a game and going totally through downloadable publishing is unlikely to suck me in.

What's more I see very little mentioned on the whole problem of paranoia in the industry. I mean heck, I think half the problem (and some of the cost) is related to a lot of those heroic developers (more than the publishers in many cases) assuming everyone in the world is a bloody thief of some kind. Then they blame their woes on piracy and run around tilting with windmills.

How much money and effort goes into things like "Stargard" and trying to hide spyware on my computer that could otherwise be spent on the development of the games themselves?

This thread deserves reviving everyone once and a while. People should be reminded of this damn article.

@ Therumancer (who I imagine has since left us)

Good thing he started an entire online network for user rating, download, and purchase of indie games so your point is now utterly moot.

Although unfortunately Manifesto Games isn't really being updated anymore and is basically dead due to lack of traffic.

Anyway, I agree, this is a very important article series (the original manifesto and these two articles about it), they're worth re-reading every year or so.

It's good to see the market becoming more amenable to indie games, but many of the problems mentioned in the manifesto/articles are still common. For instance, book stores and record stores still have 10,000+ items, and game stores still have <200 items, even though probably 10,000+ games are released every year.

This was assigned reading for my game development course.

 

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