I recently read an article regarding the business side of the gaming industry and the prediction of a subsequent crash. The author claimed he knew exactly what he was talking about and as F95zone I read further along I started to think maybe he could be right. Could we be facing another video game industry crash?
If you are like me, you think of video games as entertainment, and when I think of entertainment I am kind of naive to the fact that it could potentially crash and the impact that it would have on my gaming experience. Would a crash mean I would have to stop playing? This is not about entertainment stopping this is about the business side of the gaming industry losing money. It happened once in 1983, the revenue was somewhere around 3.2 billion dollars until it dropped to an estimated 100 million dollars over two years. That is a 97 percent drop in two years.
The more and more I think about it, I see it as a good thing. I don’t mean the people losing their jobs, or the idea of video games being not being sold anymore, I am thinking about a reset button. Think about what the video games we play today have become. Usually when someone thought of a video game they had one of two thoughts, a waste of time, or a fun hobby to pass the time. Today it seems we have been over run with a plethora of new players, although these players that are not drawn to video games because they are a hobbyist, but because it is a product they are coerced into purchasing. I have heard lots of people talk about the sheer number of video games produced in recent years, and the fact that the market is being over run by big corporations trying to squeeze every cent they can from such a huge industry. If you were a small developer and you decided one day to make a video game, it would be hard for you the ever get anyone to play it. This is due mostly to the amounts of video games on the market and the advertising other games receive because of what corporation they belong too.
So what would a crash do? Well a crash would force most of these big names to go away, which in turn would make people lose their jobs and eventually spawn small game developer companies everywhere. Honestly that really sounds awful when you say it like that. Thinking about people losing their jobs is just horrible. But if you look at it from a gamers point of view it could revive a dying hobby. You see most of these big gaming companies are trying to make money, and the best way to make money is to get as many people to buy your product as you can. Video games were never meant to be like that, like any hobby they are to help someone with their boredom and to fill the void of spare time. Yes they do still have that, but the problem is now most games are disposable quicker. So instead of games having a really long story lines and many, many hours of gameplay, we have video games that can be completed in a day and we are stuck waiting for the sequel to come out. Which means we pay more money for less entertainment.
Some people do not realize that the people creating our games are also players themselves. Think about the ideas they must come up with, and now imagine yourself in the seat and you don’t want anything but money. If I came up to you and said ‘Hey I have an idea that will allow the player to spend 30 hours on a particular aspect of our game.’ What do you think you would say? Sure some of us might say ‘great what do you have’, but if you are a business person and your game produces 12 games a year, why would you want your players to spend 60 hours on a campaign when they could buy 4 of your video games that are 5x shorter and you make 4x the money. The fact is if you are entertained you are not going to be buy any more of their products. So unfortunately that idea is most likely going to get shot down. But if you have a small company, with limited resources, developers are going to be able to add whatever they would like, which is entertainment for themselves and the other players.