Way to go…

Business in any media has always been a difficult matter to deal with. In video games, purists normally allege for concepts, ideas and the innovation that comes with them. In the last 10 years, however, we have seen our media pass from a nerdy and lonesome pastime to a social experience, shared by more than those that “match the profile”.

 

Innovation is something we (the gamer audience) often shout at when a new game comes about or when a new scheme to control it appears as “outrageous”, and this has set the position for big companies such as Activision to prey on its customers repeating known formulas. Many games fall for the need of popularity and good market performance adapting formulas that could otherwise work in different genres far better than, for example, an FPS. This is the case of the new Syndicate that is being developed by Starbreeze or the new XCOM by Irrational; these 2 particularly painful for old followers of these 2 series. Through different interviews about the new Syndicate, a question was thrown at the developers: “Why an FPS?” , “Because we want it to sell well”. Many will be disillusioned… but it is something that should not surprise…

 

The indy scene is proving to be were the innovation is at: games like Limbo, Braid, World of Goo, Bastion, Super Meat Boy and many many more are demonstrating that there is no need for large amount of fireworks if the idea and the concept are good. If you want new ideas, this is where to look.

 

Video games are business: Call of Duty: Black Ops sold over 25 million copies worldwide. This is a massive amount of revenue for any company and this phenomenon is partly created by gaming trends. Many will complain about the FPS conversion of 2 classic series of games like XCOM or Syndicate, but the truth is that this allows the developers to reach a larger audience and not only nurture themselves of the old fans (which admittedly, are much less). There have been a big deal of XCOM games after the famous XCOM 3, they just didn´t work for a large audience… Why? Because they did not live up to the original in their attempts to make them better and because they were targeting a small audience.

 

Social games are the new zealot in the business. The Wii had a bad reputation in the gaming community as long time Nintendo fans felt themselves left aside by the company´s shift of strategy. This move has made the Wii the most successful console ever, despite the gamer community reluctance towards the console. FB and IOS games operate on a similar level.

 

This new social/casual game phenomenon is greatly looked at as unbelievable by gamers. It is difficult for an “old style gamer” to understand this success of the Wii or FB games since they just don´t appeal to them, and that´s the point. If you have played one, you know what I´m talking about: they are plain gripping. You can´t deem them as fun or great experiences (at best, entertaining) but they manage to get a grip on all those people who never did pay any attention to games and never will be bothered by whichever is the new big title.

 

Games have always pledged for acceptance; and now we not only have that, we are the industry that creates the largest revenue of them all. Social games and fitness games is just the price we have to pay for global acceptance. As long as I still get Skyrim, I can´t say I care.

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