Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The current games industry

*Rant about how I really want to spend a large part of my student loan on about six videogames all released within a month of each other but really, really shouldn't*.

Whilst the cost of making games has continued to rise dramatically (up to $40 million), I still find it hard to realise that purchasing a £40-£50 game is actually good value for money. A short exerpt of an article about the current state of economy claimed computer games to be recession-proof and I found myself agreeing.

What have I been doing for the past couple of weeks?
Sitting at home playing videogames and drinking beer (also recession proof)
Erm, I mean working on all of my course projects, obviously....
I found myself asking, why go to the cinema when I've got my immersive games? Why pay so much to get into a club that'll make me deaf, deform my feet from wearing heels and probably end up falling down some stairs when I'd rather do that at home when no ones watching...

It's all about money, it always has been.
It's old news that game companies have finally realised the potential to make more money by appealing to other areas of the market. The next generation of family gaming has welcomed Nintendos Wii console with open arms. Whilst the graphics certainly can't rival microsofts Xbox360 or Sonys Playstation3, Nintendo has realised this and skipped off in a whole different, more innovative direction of its own, making good use out of more interactive technologies of accelorators and motion sensors in the wii remote and touch screen in the Nintendo DS, with both still incorporating the familiar D-Pad.

I'm more of a casual gamer than anything but both of these left me wanting. Quite obviously the Wii is a slightly cheaper but more "fun" investment for parents to buy for their kids. Although I love my DS, I only have one game that I consistently play (Animal crossing). This is because when I go into a game store wondering whether to buy an Xbox game or a Wii/DS game, it's like choosing between going to Butlins or Center Parcs. I know where I'd rather go.

Back to the point though. Games cost increasing amounts of money and the only people losing out are the companies. Which is why we have seen an increase of film based games and sequels. It's a lot harder to start making a game from scratch; there's more of everything involved - more time, money, research etc needed. Using a film franchise or a popular game for a sequel ensures a consumer market already exists therefore is less of a risk to produce.

The more dedicated gamer, however, is always wanting more - new gameplay, even more realistic graphics, the best story ever known to man, the depth of the ocean, smellivision! No matter how brilliant and awesome we think a game is, there's always something newer and ever so slightly better around the corner as the companies continue to strive towards perfection in a critical, competitive & expensive industry.