A Specter is Haunting Gaming

“The mood at the Game Designers Conference this year was, fundamentally, one of despair. To even the blindest apologist for the silly, if monstrous, construct the game industry has become, the handwriting on the wall was clear. Ten years ago, you could find a dozen publishers to pitch to; today, perhaps five. And of the remaining, half are on their last legs… The only companies with evident strength are the manufacturers–Sony and Nintendo and Microsoft (included on this list not because they make any money in games, but because they have deep pockets)–and EA, despite the fact that it has utterly failed to make a go of online gaming which, two scant years ago, they claimed was the future.” Greg Costikyan

A Specter is Haunting GamingGames * Design * Art * Culture)

The games industry is becoming more and more like Hollywood. Costikyan laments that new games take 3 years and a 3 million dollar investment, and that the publishing companies involved are only willing to support sequels or unimaginative adaptations of movies. He points to a growing “indie” game developer movement. Recently, my son has enjoyed a “Rainbow Fish” game, and we are both playing “Syberia”. Grrr… I’ve spent the last 10 minutes trying to find out where these games were developed, but my Google searches are all freezing. The credits had lots of French surnames, so I’m guessing both were developed in Europe (possibly Quebec?). “Rainbow Fish” is based on the books by Marcus Pfister, but Syberia seems competely original. Anyway, both are more creative and… well, just more moody and beautiful than the other game I am playing, “Neverwinter,” which with its “camera following along behind a running hero” console-style gameplay, feels like it wants to be an action game, rather than the RPG I expected.