The Video Game Industry is Dying/My Favorite Genre is Disappearing…

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… and you might be part of the problem.

I see it said once in a while on video game message boards. “The industry is dying!” Microsoft/Nintendo/Sony are killing it (usually 2 of the 3 named, and the two named are usually Microsoft and Nintendo)! <console maker x> is our only hope! My favorite genre is gone!

It gets amusing when you confront one of these guys. I have asked “What games have you bought? What games are you playing?” It turns out that the person, a lot of the times, are buying everything but the genre/type of game they like! While some game publishers may not understand your favorite genre, they would understand the money they could be making if those people bought those games!

I also am not talking just about niche titles that explode in popularity like Braid, Castle Crashers, and No More Heroes. I mean games that are even more niche. There’s the Tales series, lots of Nippon-Ichi-published titles, and a lot of Nintendo DS games. My goodness I’m grateful for CAPCOM for putting forth a great effort.

If you haven’t noticed CAPCOM’s attempts, you definitely are a problem. I’m not saying you must buy their games, just recognize them, and try them! They have made a variety of games that are both old-school and new-school. Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 look like they are running on an NES, and I freaking love it! Tatsunoko vs CAPCOM? I recognized some of the Tatsunoko characters, but not the others.

However, I don’t care if there’s Tatsunoko characters that I don’t recognize. I actually like that there are there! I get to learn about the stories about some characters I would have never learned about otherwise. Street Fighter IV? Okay, it’s not sprite-based, which would have been better, but it’s a great attempt! They are even building upon it and are making Super Street Fighter IV. So yeah, CAPCOM is trying.

Some of those genres are living on, maybe as niche titles, but they do live on. Those game creators making those niche titles need your money. Those publishing the titles need to know that it’s a good idea to publish more titles by those niche makers. As it turns out, if that niche game maker becomes successful enough, that company/game series starts becoming less niche! How many people now recognize Disgaea?

Even if it’s just a niche market, it can expand. Indie game development is being promoted a lot more thanks to the Internet and services like XBox LIVE. Guess what? Indie game developers start out from playing the games of 20 years ago! They have fond memories of those games, and want to make them. The casual game market? A lot of those games are like games I played on the ATARI 2600!

Microsoft… a company that gets blamed a lot. However, I feel that an American company making a console was going to happen eventually. I also feel that a European company could also emerge as a console maker. There’s a lot of great talent in Europe that can be tapped, and some really innovative games come from there. Also, there’s quite a few Europeans that feel shafted by all console makers when features come out first in Japan and America.

Is it good or bad that Microsoft came into the console market? There’s definitely both good and bad points to Microsoft’s involvement. Remember when Microsoft first released the XBox? When they started, the console got heavy ties with Western game makers. The XBox is still doing a terrible job in Japan. So, when the XBox 360 came out, I actually expected it to be heavy with Western games. I got the XBox 360 because enough Japanese games coming out on it, like Eternal Sonata and Tales of Vesperia. Microsoft definitely did a good job courting the Japanese game companies.

The XBox definitely, as the Game Overthinker states, is an arm of a multinational corporation that isn’t completely gaming-based. However, a large, integral part of Microsoft is their developer tools division. This is forcing other console makers to make better tools, thus increasing game quality. Microsoft also pioneered what a console’s online service can be.

The indie game part of XBox LIVE is one of the best thing to happen to gaming. Low-cost, affordable-to-develop games are spreading thanks to online. Okay, there’s a sea of bad titles, but there’s also a way for those gems of gaming to emerge. I’m not just talking about the Indie Game channel, but also the new XBox LIVE original games as well.

We get a lot of people that have these fantasy visions of their favorite game company. Microsoft has its good and bad, but so does the other two console makers. People gripe that Microsoft “buys exclusives”, but in reality, exclusive agreements started to disappear thanks to the first XBox. The whole exclusive agreement bit was going on since the ATARI 2600! It’s a good thing that console exclusives are disappearing!

If Microsoft really is buying those exclusives/ports, then why don’t they use their massive coffers to keep it only on the XBox 360? Nintendo, Sony, and ATARI all have done that, though I can’t say whether or not money was involved. It could have been as simple as “either you release only on our console, or we won’t let you release it on the #1 console at all”. This attitude is definitely a scary thought since it could make or break a video game, and even some game companies.

You can’t do that without money if you are the 2nd- or 3rd-place console. You can do that if you are the dominating first-place, which ATARI, Nintendo, and Sony were all once were. That permanent “exclusive-buying” could have catapulted the XBox 360 into first place. Of course, then Microsoft could have been sued for it by a lot of world governments for anti-trust violations, so it might be better in the long-term for them to keep the agreements temporary.

If you are complaining about missing all of those old-school-style games and don’t have a Nintendo DS, you lose a lot of credibility if you don’t have a good reason. I found quite a few games on the DS that play old-school. Sonic Rush, Gunstar Super Heroes, and Megaman ZX. At least one of those titles should have caught your attention. The DS is a wonderful platform because it doesn’t take itself too serious. If you want more old-school games, get a DS, and start looking around.

Check out games. Who is more savvy? Someone that has to rely on review sites for their games, or the dude that hands you a game nobody else heard of and says “check this out, dude. This game rocks.” You don’t have to pay full price, either, if you are on the edge about something. If you see a game that you are interested in and it’s $60, then wait and buy it at $10, $20, or $30. I did that with Eternal Sonata, and am glad I did. I’m a budget gamer, anyways, and do wait until prices drop.

You might have to search a little for that genre you used to like. They want to be found. The Internet is helping. I didn’t take No More Heroes seriously until Yahtzee described it. I was blown away by the description. It wasn’t that I actively ignored it, it was that I never heard of it and the cover title didn’t grab my attention. So, I absolutely love it when people point out that gem in a basket of rocks.

If you find one of those gems, promote it. Mention it on websites you visit. Slip in a little gameplay footage on popular blogs like Kotaku when you reply. Be classy about it. Gameplay footage especially is powerful. If it’s already mainstream, not needed, unless it was a game that got absolutely thrashed and you yourself was hesitant to get it, but ended up enjoying it anyways. Example: Brutal Legend.

And my promotion: Earth Defense Force 2017. The game is so awesome because it’s incredibly corny. You are taken right into a B-movie. You get awesome weapons and most of the enemies are giant bugs. The gameplay is just amazing. You have got to try it, especially co-op. One of the best games in my XBox 360 library.

Earth Defense Force 2017 Gameplay

Posted on March 28th 2010 in Uncategorized

One Response to “The Video Game Industry is Dying/My Favorite Genre is Disappearing…”

  1. Israel Says:

    Good Points… Sometimes though I think we all can’t help but be part of the problem… The FPS genre is covered so well… it’s really hard not to ignore it.

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