To the editor: I thought your article "Death to the Games Industry" (Issue 8) summarized well what has long been discussed around the industry. Basically, stuff is getting more expensive in the wrong ways. There are many, even the venerable Will Wright himself, who have noted this and are actively pursuing solutions (his being Spore, a procedurally-generated environment with much more programming than asset requirements).
However, while you mentioned the almost-$1bln collected each month for U.S.-based MMORPGs, I feel you missed an opportunity to highlight this as an emerging trend.
Having players pay for a game once is what has turned this into a hit-driven industry. However, online gaming (not just massive online) enables companies to ship less initially and built the game as players pay for it. Even Guild Wars, which lacks the fee, still plans their finances around the eventual cyclic release of new content. Further, services like Steam and GameSpy are being used to release new content to extend the life of what were traditionally one-time purchased that got supported through player-created mods.
Finally, most MMORPGs don't quickly die off after their initial launch. In fact, to date, only City of Heroes seems to have succumbed to the early hit/steady falloff reality that affects most movies nowadays. Meanwhile, most games either grow, or plateau into a long series of periodic subscription spikes when new expansions or major content is released, all along collecting their fees.
Some publishers are convinced that front-loading is the only way to go. I feel this is because it's the easiest way to sell a game. Build it, sell it, move on to building the next one. Conversely, building a game, selling it, and then supporting it with periodically-released new content is just too complex for some traditionalists to want to become a part of. I can understand that of course. Basically, an MMORPG stops becoming a game the moment it launches, turning into a Service that requires the same level of commitment to maintenance any sort of subscription service account would.
Some just don't want to bite that much of a bullet.
To the editor: My bro sent me a link to your site. I read the gaming industry article and the Scratchware Manifesto for the first time. I'd say I'm sheltered to news in the sense that unless someone tells me, I'd never know. So this was fortunate.
While reading the SWM I polished up my old feelings about the subject. A few years back I noticed all the things wrong with games (and still wrong today). It's the same crap over and over, nothing innovative. And where an improvement is blatantly obvious or explicitly asked for by the gaming community, it's always being saved for the next release, or there is just not enough time before the deadline.
The SWM did clear one thing for sure, who is responsible. I used to think it was the game developers who are holding things back. As if they are afraid releasing a game with new innovative concepts would be the end. But I know now it's the Publishers who force this incremental linear regime. And it makes sense, that's how a Corporate Machine lives.
Quicksilver doesn't mention Master of Orion 2 at all on their site. It's like they just want people to forget about it. Did MoO3 suck so bad that QS had to wipe all traces of the predecessor, just to make it seem less pathetic? Quicksilver doesn't respect the MoO2, I can't respect Quicksilver. What a shameful way to continue Microprose's legacy.
How did things get so out of hand? Why did Developers give up the keys?
Thank you for existing so that I may be less ignorant
To the editor: Regarding "Death to the Game Industry," I really like the writer's take on the industry. It's very true what he is saying but just like all other magazines it seems that he has forgotten to mention Nintendo. Oh sure, he mentions them but only to say that the "Revolution could go the way of the Dreamcast."