So, I've noticed a lot of negativity about the video games industry in general, especially here on Destructoid. A lot of commenters enthusiastically responding to news of falling sales figures, cynical views of developers and publishers, that sort of thing. I've read countless articles and opinion pieces all over the internet about how console gaming is going away because people are switching to mobile games and browser games (take the NY Times' write-up on the Playstation 4 announcement for example).
I'm not refuting the fact that the industry is in decline in terms of money made. Figures and statistics are figures and statistics, and to argue with them is to argue with mathematics. I'm also not saying that I am pleased with publishers like EA and Activision/Blizzard. Some corporations in gaming have simply become cartoonishly evil caricatures, and when I picture their CEOs in my mind they look like male versions of Mom from Futurama.
Pictured: Bobby Kotick
However, there are some things I feel like I need to put out there. Screaming out my window about it would probably not be very productive, or appreciated by my neighbors, so I've opted to write a blog about them.
If you read the article I linked from NY Times, granted not exactly the first place I go to for any kind of tech news, you probably got the feeling that its writers weren't exactly gamers. Two passages in particular nauseate and confuse me, including this one:
[i]"...These and other new features cannot hide the fact that PlayStation 4 is still a console, a way of playing games on compact discs that was cool when cellphones were not smart.
Much of the excitement in video games has shifted to the Web and mobile devices, which are cheap, easy and fast."[/i]
I don't know anyone who thinks that there is really any comparison to be made between mobile games like "Angry Birds: Basically the Same Game as Before but with New Cute Sprites" and browser games like "BoringVille: Sending Annoying Invites to Your Friends is Now a Gameplay Mechanic" with full PC/console titles, or even games on dedicated mobile platforms like the 3DS or Vita. Yes, they're cheap, but I get more entertainment for the same price from eating a sandwich. I've installed a number of games to my phone, only to delete them to make room for music after noticing just how badly phone games still suck.
Who thought this was a good idea? Who?
With all that said, I think one of the reasons the industry as a whole is selling less games and less units is simply because the Wii fad is over. I mean no offense to Wii owners, but most casual gamers were only drawn to the Wii because of the novelty of motion control. Now the novelty has worn off, they don't really care anymore. Eventually, the novelty of smartphone time-wasters will wear off, too, at least for the most part.
People are still going to want to play real games, with stories, depth of gameplay, decent graphics, and actual content. Just because YouTube exists doesn't mean people won't still pay to watch TV shows and movies.
Looking at a recent decline in sales of console games and an increase in mobile game sales is not necessarily representative of what gaming will be like in a year or two. Statistics cannot always be extrapolated.
From XKCD, my favorite webcomic
On a slightly unrelated note, I don't think I've ever seen an actual hands-on kiosk of the WiiU in any store. One where you can actually play demos of actual games, instead of watching trailers and looking at screenshots. I work at Target, and I know we don't have one. A hands-on demo kiosk for the PlayStation Vita got me to buy one when I was just curious about it. It seems silly, but the WiiU's sales would probably be less crappy if they actually tried selling them.