Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Videogame History Part 4: 2000 ~ Now

The games industry and market today is now spilt into the three big companies: Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, all of which have solidified themselves as the cornerstones of gaming today. The costs of making videogames in today’s market are at an all-time high, with the cost of most high profile titles being in their millions. Today each company strives to compete with each other on every level, as has been seen with both Sony and Microsoft’s attempts at tackling the motion control market that the Nintendo Wii has had since day one. As more and more ways at creating games are being explored so is the platforms, so not only do we have console, pc and handheld consoles but also now most major smart phones are having games produced for them, fully developed games that are a long way from ‘Snake’ seen on the mobile phones I had when I was in school.

The issues of big business and mainstream company management means that today, even though the creative folk that actually make the games we know and love still do so, the people at the top are those that ultimately make the final decisions on the end product because they make sure that a game is going to make them money; at the end of the day they don’t care whether the game they make is the same as so many of its previous releases or those of the competitor, so long as it makes them money that’s all that matters. And yes, this is of course important, but it’s not the whole reason games are made, and I think the way the economy is being hit in today’s modern world, means that a lot of developers are too scared to take the chance on more original ideas in favour of choosing the safe option that they know their target audience already likes.

A popular example of how some companies like to play it safe to guarantee their success, the Modern Warfare series had such an impact on the games industry that instead of evolving from it, the series has remained near enough the same up to the latest release 

I think that as someone who wants to be a part of the industry in the future, it’s necessary to understand what skills that I will need to make my way in such a fickle business. The ability to not only have the passion for doing it, but also being able to adapt to the ever changing landscape that seems to be the case in modern gaming are also vital. It would be awesome to see some of the risks that used to be taken, by giving some of the power back to the game creators themselves, but unless the landscape of the current market takes a change for the better (which is unlikely to happen anytime soon) unless those producers are responsible for IP’s, then the power will continue to lie in the hands of those without the creative vision.

It’s intimidating to look at the future of gaming especially with where it is now, but I think from my perspective of someone with the passion to want to be a part of it, and the potential to develop my talents to industry level, then it’s more of an exciting prospect than anything else.

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