A reader is upset by the information from Microsoft and Ubisoft and argues that massive funds online game improvement has by no means been in a worse place.
So, it’s been fairly the week for faceless firms this week, eh? Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and extra all making 10,000 or extra folks redundant for no good motive. None of those firms are in monetary bother, in reality they’re in main revenue, however as a result of that revenue is barely lower than the earlier 12 months they need to be seen to be doing one thing about it. Naturally that doesn’t contain a change of management or wage cuts within the board room however as a substitute the victimisation of extraordinary employees that don’t have any say in how the businesses are run.
There’s nothing new or uncommon in any of that, sadly, however it does underline simply what a soulless manufacturing line fashionable AAA online game manufacturing is. There are exceptions, in fact. Most of what Nintendo makes appears to have loads of creative spark in it, as do video games from different firms, just like the wonderful Elden Ring and a number of what Sony does. Video games may be massive funds, mass market, and financially profitable however the massive Western publishers don’t even appear to attempt.
You understand we’re in a foul spot when EA appears essentially the most dynamic of the massive publishers in the mean time, whereas Activision simply trundle on with their one single sport that’s been the identical for the final 20 years. Or 2K, who simply tread water for the 5 years between every new Rockstar launch. However it’s Ubisoft and Microsoft which were within the information essentially the most this week and for good motive.
Not solely has Microsoft removed 10,000 employees however they appear to have decimated 343 Industries’ single-player group, whereas ex-team members name them out for unhealthy administration. For those who comply with the video games trade you’ll know folks have been accusing Microsoft of that for years and but it’s taken all this time for them to grasp the issue and begin to do one thing about – and that’s provided that the rumours are true.
For my cash Ubisoft is even worse although. I’m certain the mass redundancies are only a matter of time however they’ve been making more and more samey video games for years now, with the pandemic that means that point lastly caught up with them they usually’ve been pressured to confront the truth that all the pieces they make is only a gray sludge of regurgitated concepts.
Simply have a look at the record of 2023 releases that acquired leaked. Crammed with cellular video games and reside service rubbish that they know doesn’t promote however they’re going to hold on with anyway. In the meantime, precise good and authentic video video games – which have a confirmed monitor report of making a living – are nowhere to be seen, until you’re enthusiastic about Murderer’s Creed 14 and The Crew 3.
What struck me most was the phrase from one Ubisoft developer, complaining that Ubisoft’s present video games had been ‘not what avid gamers needed’. They clearly perceive. However no, the issue is that every one the execs see is one profitable sport and the one factor they’ll assume to do is copy it and replica it till it’s run into floor.
By no means does it happen to them that the unique was well-liked as a result of it was one thing new and so the most effective factor to do subsequent can be make one thing new. No, essentially the most artistic they get is copying another person’s concept, till all the pieces finally ends up trying and enjoying like all the pieces else. Gray sludge once more.
The dearer making a sport will get the much less threat you may take, and but on the identical time it takes longer to develop. So we find yourself within the state of affairs we are actually, the place you wait 5 years simply to play precisely the identical sport that already exists.
There’s something essentially mistaken with the trendy AAA video video games trade. If publishers can’t afford to take a threat then they need to discover a method to make video games extra cheaply in order that they’ll, or in any other case they’re doomed.
And that’s not hyperbole, simply have a look at Ubisoft – it’s taking place to them proper now.
There by no means was a golden age of gaming, it’s solely ever been the highest 5% that’s any good, however the hazard now could be that share is falling as a result of video games actually can’t afford to innovate. It’s not rose-tinted glasses that makes older video games appear extra creative, it’s chilly onerous economics.
I’m certain all Ubisoft’s cellular and free-to-play video games will fail after which what? They’ll in all probability be purchased by Microsoft or Google after which a couple of months later they’ll sack a couple of thousand builders and we’ll be in an excellent worse place, and down one writer.
Gaming is in a horrible state of affairs in the mean time: gross sales are down, creativity is down, the variety of releases is down, and folks don’t have any cash. If firms aren’t cautious their short-sightedness goes to trigger one other trade crash and to be sincere, so long as indie builders survive, I’m undecided how a lot sympathy I’m actually going to have.
By reader Allogoriant
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