Disclaimer: No images for this blog due to the ranting nature.
Casuals. Oh yes, casuals. Jim Sterling recently covered casuals in his recent Jimquisition and i'm here to bring in another argument into the mix of things because while the whole difficulty curve argument works a little bit, there's much worse consequences out of letting the everyday gamer choose what will succeed and what will fail. This is why my main point isn't about the difficulty curve that most developers are leaning towards but the fact that most developers are not changing the formula of their trademark series which is in the end giving us the same bland game year after year.
Why am I fearing the lack of change in a games formula? It means creative games go to the wayside and bland boring rehashes get tons of sequels. There's a certain dilemma in the industry which has allowed Indie devs to pick up where the AAA developers are only developing to get most of the casuals and not trying their best to change the experience up. That effects everyone because i'm sure alot of different series can change up alot if the developers really tried to do that without trying to make it overly accessible.
My prime example of this most definitely has to be the wide array of SpunkGargleWeeWee games or First Person Shooters which is a genre which is heavily saturated with more or less the same thing. This excludes Metro 2033 and Borderlands due to their unique gameplay nature and the fact that it doesn't follow the few billion dollar franchises like Call of Duty which has become the best example of something that should never continue to keep selling or we risk a stagnation in creativity.
Why is a stagnation in new ideas bad? This means that developers will not try to reinvent something which is old to become new. The Indie scene has definitely gotten the AAA devs to really try a tiny bit more but it's not enough to make a major impact on the game development scene as a whole. The stagnation will eventually rot up the industry to the point where one or two games will definitely dominate said genre for a majority of people and those few who play an odd game will become rare and harder to find than a casual.
The worst part of all of this is that the best companies are starting to fall. The ones with the most creative dev teams is falling and my best example of that is THQ. Without THQ, we wouldn't have some of the best gaming series which are not typical than any other game in said genre. They are a company which while trying to do something new, is also failing to make a profit. Casuals have effected the market so much that it's risking handing over our favorite IPs to the worst companies in existence such as EA, Ubisoft, or Activision-Blizzard. If we start to lose the good games for the bland then we all deserve what is coming if we don't question if the developers are really going for something new or not.
My question to the readers is what can be done to keep developers on their feet who contribute more to the industry than let the least creative ones thrive? Is there a way we can fix our problem or is another crash inevitable where even more of the gaming market could potentially be eaten up by foreign competitors? Would it eventually give a monopoly to one or two companies? Those are my questions. I ask you to answer them.