The game for players

There was some feeling in me when I saw the Dutch NOS article. Nothing negative mind you, but the piece was lacking, lacking in several ways. This I not due to the reporter. The reporter had a valid scope, a niche they were looking into. Yet the stage is larger. The article (at https://nos.nl/l/2415646) gives us ‘The game industry cannot ignore the ‘Netflix model’ either’ it is one direction, but it is a dangerous that could cost the gamer dearly. You see, apart from the internet issues. Issues like Congestion, these issues will do more than rear its ugly head. It will drive internet prices up. In addition to this, on my simple mobile phone I had congestion for most of December 2021. So what happens when that network gets 150,000 people gaming and upgrading 30-120GB? I can tell you right now that in many places they will experience unimaginable levels of congestion. And it will get worse in rural areas of the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, the US and Canada. Consider that in Europe over a third lives in a rural area. Do you think that they will accept congestion?

The article also gives us “Something that I find immensely interesting as a consumer, but which I am concerned about as a producer.” She mainly fears that it could lead to a devaluation of games. “If you can spend a few euros a month, millions of hours of content then why pay 35 euros for those 2 hours of film on such a classic disc?”” This is a fair point, the article is all about Microsoft, but Microsoft does not care about gamers, it cares about its own bottom line. After the Xbox has become a failure, it is now concentrating on Xbox Cloud gaming. It needs a win anyway it can and for some it is a solution, there is no denying that, but for a lot it is stepping back to an era before the Xbox 360. Yes, the math works for them, but the technical issues do not. Microsoft is throwing its support towards an outdated consumerism, have ALL THESE GAMES for only $10 a month. The point is that it sounds good, it really does, but overall the quality of games is stagnating, I will make a massive exception for the Flight Simulator 2020. Beyond that the games they have, the good games were bought, and they spend $80,000,000,000 for the good games. Blizzard, Bethesda and Mojang. Three houses at that amount. Yes, Microsoft is buying what it can and diversifying by not making games available (or delayed and limited) on other platforms. Sony hit back buy buying Bungie. It becomes a weird gaming field. But when we see the article giving us ““In the longer term it will be even more difficult to make games independently,” says Joost van Dongen, co-founder of Ronimo (Awesomenauts). “Companies like Microsoft are becoming gatekeepers to the game industry. They determine which games they like and invest in and which they don’t.” He also fears that consumers will soon no longer be used to paying separately for a game.” It is in part true. Some will see the benefit (the next 2 years) to buy physical copies. That is until there is a proper deployed and supported 5G stage. After that all bets are off. In the stage of gatekeeper there is support against that stage, but it is the show Microsoft will be running. Sony has a different setting (for now) but the appeal of Netflix approach is there, there is no denying it. Only when we see that the creators give us a massive quality of gaming, that is when the story changes and the Netflix minded approach falls over. Yet that is also a problem. Consider going to the supermarket. A isle full of pasta. So who buys brand A, Brand B, Brand C or its Home-brand? Look at your groceries, make the list for yourself. Who buys Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and who buys the Supermarket label? I get it, it is often about budget, but when YOUR budget decides the quality of games, that is when you have truly lost. Consider Ubisoft, personally I see that they created 2 decent AC games. 2 out of 7. AC Black Flag (not really an AC game, but a nice Pirate game), AC Origins which was pretty spectacular. Every year another AC game was worse than a flop, it was burning an IP in public. And when streaming offers ‘early access’ games released at 80% whilst the games is getting ‘fixed’ is the way things will go. The stage of streaming also means that short cuts can be introduced, no gold master trajectory. 

In the article we see that stage (not mentioned as such) as “Lucia de Visser of Total Mayhem Games fears that it will become more difficult for her game studio to choose what kind of games are made. “For us, this is a very large asset, more important than big bags of money from publishers. It becomes increasingly difficult to determine that yourself, of course, if a one-sided market arises in which the revenue model, the distribution channel and the target group are already determined.”” But here we see something a lot more disturbing. “more difficult for her game studio to choose what kind of games are made”, it is business model over quality of gaming and the art of the game, business decides the art. It is the most dangerous of concepts as it will decide what people will have to accept, just like the home brand and there my case is made the clearest of all. In that model there would never be a Horizon forbidden west. No Ghost of Tsushima, optionally no Spiderman Miles Morales. The art on these (as well as Ratchet and Clank) are beyond anything Microsoft has created for years and the games that has this were bought. Even I (over the last few months) handed over IP for a game for Amazon Luna and Sony free of charge, I set up the concept in days, with at least 4 unique never seen before approaches to games. And these two players do not need to pay $80,000,000,000 They got it for free showing you all that art can win over business sense. The sense of business that Microsoft shows seems appealing until you realise that this is all your world will be. There is a bit of Karel Appel, H.R. Giger and/or Maud Lewis in all of us, we merely need to find it and tap into that and through that we get the option to end the short sightedness of players like Microsoft. As I see it you can always  get a gamer to play, but you can never play the gamer. It is a sure thing to end your investments, gaming comes from a core of art, never from a heart of business.

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