Editorial – Videogame industry is an art form unto itself

Mac Olsen

Video games and gaming consoles have evolved dramatically in the last 40 years, from the low resolution standalone, arcade and play-at-home games to the online multi-player, franchise-driven 4K UHD games of today.

According to an article by Emma McDonald at http://newzoo.com, the value of the online videogame industry was pegged at $109 billion in 2017.

That’s a staggering figure but not surprising, especially as there are two power houses involved, Microsoft with Xbox and Sony with Play Station. Nintendo is also a competitor with the Switch, but I consider the other two companies as the dominant players in the gaming industry.

You can also play your favourite games on your smartphone or tablet and some predict that this will be the future of gaming, with the industry moving out of gaming consoles entirely. However, I will have to be convinced of the merits before I make that jump.

The videogame industry is an art form unto itself, especially considering the talent all game developers have acquired, the videogame industry is an art form unto itself. Microsoft’s 343 Industries, Activision and Electronic Arts are among the most renowned companies.

But there are also the independents, such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. In the last year, this game has been catching on with gamers worldwide, without having any affiliation with the big players in the industry.

Yet, the big entities are allowing access to Battlegrounds, which I think is a strategic decision to keep gamers buying from them.

Nonetheless, Microsoft and Sony have made certain games “exclusive” to their consoles, to hype them up and maximize profits.

Watching the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018 – or E3 – online last week, you could see the polished infomercials that the two companies provided about the games coming out soon on their consoles.

It’s all a scripted, feel-good exercise to get gamers enthused about those products. This may sound cynical, but if you watch other videos from gaming bloggers on YouTube, their analyses of E3 and what the companies are promising or not promising, it seems like a valid criticism.

One game that has come under criticism is ‘Star Wars: Battlefront II’, created by Electronic Arts. Released in November 2017.

Criticism came early on because of the game’s “progression system” and how long it can take to “unlock” a character. Electronic Arts had to address this issue, and their response can be found at www.reddit.com under the ‘StarWarsBattlefront’ thread.

True, gamers can be fickle when it comes to their expectations of a game like this one.

On the other hand, EA and other companies have to learn lessons as with Battlefront II, which leads to improvements in the game playing experience, through updates and new product development.

The bottom line for the video gaming industry is to watch the trends, especially whether the video game console has a future. Keep up-to-date by watching E3 and bloggers’ analyses on YouTube.


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