Lack of competition is killing gaming

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  • #306694
    Vknid
    Moderator

      Clearly modern gaming, in general, is just horrible.  Sure we get some good things now and then but overall it seems to me any advancement or technical evolution in gaming has nearly ceased.   If you look at how things accelerated from the dawn of gaming  (1958) there were leaps and jumps every so often.  Sooooo many good games came out from the 80s/90s with Nintendo and Sega duking it out.  Throw in the wild wild west that was PC gaming and there was new cool stuff all the time.

      Bring us to present day and there are only a few major conglomerates running the show and things have stagnated.  The big gaming companies are doing what music did post the CD era.  They figured out that they did not have to put out a popular product that took time and effort so much as releasing low effort junk on a regular schedule.  It’s not as successful but it also costs less and takes less time.  This makes profit more regular which I think company boards like.

      We need competition in the market.  Normally such a vacuum would invite new blood but the big corps are allowed to have monopiles that push out or devour competition.

      EDIT – I know the way game companies treat devs/employees has been often been discussed as an issue.  This too is a competition situation.  They abuse folks because they can as you have few places to go.

      Here is a salient comment from the below video that is dead on.

      “Crazy how in twelve years(2001-2013) there were like 9 gta games and in 10 years there has been only 1 gta game.”

      • This topic was modified 9 months ago by Vknid.
      #306698

      This is the problem that we’ve got with the ‘Sims 4’. With the ‘Sims 3’ there was a ‘Supernatural’ expansion pack you could get in order to have occult Sims. Now if you want occult Sims in your game you’re going to have to get at least 5 different packs in order to get 5 different occult types whereas in the ‘Sims 3’ it was all under one pack. Same with the ‘Pets’ expansion pack on ‘Sims 3’. Horses, dogs, cats and small rodents were all available in one pack but in ‘Sims 4’ you need ‘Cats and Dogs’, ‘My First Pet’, ‘Cottage Living’ and ‘Horse Ranch’ packs in order to have all the animals. We used to make jokes that the ‘My First Pet’ pack was basically a DLC for a DLC😂.

      #306705

      Or maybe too much competition killed gaming, in that it split market revenues among various titles such that only extremely well resourced developers were able to survive. And what we’re seeing now is the victors having their way with the community – milking the few remaining cows until they’re dead.

      Not a big gamer by any means, just a suggestion based on cursory observation.

       

      #306709

      I forgot to add earlier that this is why we Simmers are looking forward to ‘Life By You’ by Paradox Interactive which seems to have all the essential stuff on a life sim game IN THE BASE GAME WHICH IS WHAT THE ‘SIMS 4’ SHOULD’VE HAD!

      #306719
      Vknid
      Moderator

        “Or maybe too much competition killed gaming”

        No, that is not how markets work.  Sure there can be ferocious competition but that generally is a huge win for consumers as prices fall and there is much choice.  What is going on now is the exact opposite of that.  This happened because large conglomerates bought up all the smaller studios and are allowed to hold monopolies and or work together with the few other large companies.  So consumers get lack of choice, prices go up and game technology stagnates as no one innovates because they don’t have too.

        This same thing has happened in big tech and to the point where they actively squash competition and end up making the cost of entry so how no one come in.

        #306729

        Too much meddling in the markets and the culture of of the industry. It’s about total control, it’s not JUST that they want to make money, they have to be sure to crush superior competition, which means people who actually want to work hard and make cool sh*t.

        You used to think of monopoly as regulations or someone having so many resources that they bully outers out of the industry, as a singular big bully entity crushing their competition. But the modern industry is inundated by a cultural plague ON TOP of market monopoly, they infest every entity from all sides, consumers, employees, it’s a mass takeover hinging on the worst nature of people’s snide moral superiority and lazy hypocrisy. Just a really petulant notion that they’re the good guys despite sacrificing nothing to their cause, they reap all the benefits though.

        There’s this entirely new organism emerging where the store fronts and now the engine creators are becoming parasites on the host of the game creators. But they hold the keys to the kingdom, so what we end up with is an industry that isn’t focused on promoting and creating the best games, they foster and culture and a market where they can destroy anyone who won’t allow them to suckle at the hard work of others.

        It’s not that there aren’t people out there that would work hard to make good games, it’s that most of these hard working people won’t kiss the boot of these scumbag monopoly hoarders, and now we’re watching the fields burn as  a result.

        Shameless plug if anyone wants to check out my Indie Game. I’ve been working on it completely independent of any of these shitty companies and their underhanded tactics:

        https://illtemperedtuna.itch.io/the-seacrit-fish-game

        This is the first time I’ve linked my game in years, hope it’s kosher to post here. I’m sure this will just fade into obscurity… but you never know. I think it’s starting to be pretty good. I can’t think of any other place i’d rather link it than to this community, so figured i’d start here. Thanks in advance if you decide to give it a try! (Keep in mind this is an early demo, feedback is greatly appreciated)

        #306747
        Vknid
        Moderator

          @IllTemperedTuna
          I think it is fine for you to post your game so long as you don’t spam it.  I would suggest you might post it in the game section with it’s own post as well.

          For those whom would consider such things I ran the url through VirusTotal and scanned the game locally.  I show all clean but you do you.

          “You used to think of monopoly as regulations or someone having so many resources that they bully outers out of the industry, as a singular big bully entity crushing their competition. But the modern industry is inundated by a cultural plague ON TOP of market monopoly, they infest every entity from all sides, consumers, employees, it’s a mass takeover hinging on the worst nature of people’s snide moral superiority and lazy hypocrisy. Just a really petulant notion that they’re the good guys despite sacrificing nothing to their cause, they reap all the benefits though.”

          I agree with you here but there is an order to it.  First large companies began to consolidate and buy up all the smaller companies. Yes, there are a few large companies but I personally believe they cooperate with each other (much like big tech does) so they tend to march in lock step to shape the market as they wish.  This is because they are allowed to act this way but they also kill their competition.  This is why games don’t evolve and they cost more.

          Then along comes the wave of woke which then makes these juggernaut companies more listless and dysfunctional and of course the product tends to come out worse as the priority shifts to agenda and not quality.  And this piled on top of the monopoly just exacerbates the whole thing.

          Put that together and you get garbage games that cost more yet are media celebrated.

          #306766

          @Vknid.

          I actually had this conversation with a liberal friend of mine not too long ago and while I do think there’s a cultural plague in the gaming industry, I wouldn’t say there isn’t any competition, but rather there are fewer companies that can compete at the same level these days but with that being said, there’s still dozens of games being released almost every single week.

          At the same time, you also have indie devs who are pushing identity politics just like the AAA studios, so the lack of options comes from a cultural place.

           

          As for “big developer buying studios”  most of the studios devs buy are quite large and also very stagnant. For example: blizzard/Activision, Microsoft is finishing the purchase now, not a little developer by any means, people said they’d become a monopoly after the purchase, that is simply not the case, thankfully.

          As much as the FTC tried to paint that ugly picture, it simply could not be found under the evidence provided in any legal sense.

          Now can we say Microsoft bought mid level devs? Yes, the mid level devs who have been around got bought up, at the same time you are seeing indie devs popping up every single day making more games and they’re getting more and more ambitious.

          I found hundreds of games in the switch from indie devs I’ve never heard, they still exist.

          Do all of them seem good? No, but there are options. And you’re only looking at this from a western developer perspective.

          Let’s look at all the Asian devs making games? Nintendo, NIS, Bandai Namco (occasionally woke), Konami, Marvelous, Xseed, and then you also got Tencent of course,  but the point I’m making is that there isn’t a lack of competition overall, there’s a lack of AAA competition and I think that is only a minor issue.

          AAA games are the last thing on my mind and honestly I dont think gamers solely rely on those games for fun these days and I still haven’t played starfield or renewed my subscription with gamepass. The fact is that yes, there’s a lack of AAA competition and unfortunately that crux of being in a free market, people can buy up company after company and make the market sluggish, BUT that doesn’t mean the market won’t adjust.

          Much like every other market, once a shift occurs and quality adjusts, it takes time for consumers to look at the quality and make the judgement of the money is worth it.

          In some cases it is and other times it’s not. I have no doubt that there’s stagnancy in the mainstream industry, but that doesn’t mean all the competition is gone and it’s a “all is lost” moment.

           

          I’m a gamer through and through, I’ve probably been gaming longer many of you, but at the end of the day, money talks and bullshit walks.

          I’m not going to buy games that look and play like crap and I’m sure there are many gamers that can feel the same way, but I don’t doubt at all that’s there’s a lack of competition amongst AAA western devs, in fact I am absolutely agreeing it’s slowing down, but if things keep going, there will eventually being a breaking point, there always is.

          The parallel economy is a thing. Nintendo is part of that parallel economy. Know where your money goes and only buy games from companies that out games first and messaging in the ground.

           

          #306770

          It gets really intereseting if  you’ve worked with these engines or pay attention to the fruits of their labors. The engines are a bit of a microcosm for the culture war, or capitalism vs communism.

          Unity: Got BIG into the woke stuff. Their twitter was run by subversives for years, they’re allowed on the Apple store, Unreal is not. They went public, got TONS of outside investments and recently doubled down on wonky AI futures. Meanwhile their actual tools have been stagnating for many years,  the engine hasn’t evolved, the graphics are stale. It’s still a fantastic engine, has been for over a decade, and the best engine to port to lower end consoles, phones and touch devices. Their work force is ALL about the checkboxes. They blow hundreds of millions of dollars on employees with very little technical skill, on hair brained investments for projects that routinely fail over and over and over again. Could be money laundering, could be pure ineptness, could be a deliberate attack on huge swathes of the gaming eco system to debilitate the indie sphere. Flash is dead, Unity is the last bastion for the solo developer in the current market.

          All that craziness that came from their recent revenue plans on download fees? It all stems from them being a massively unprofitable company that is HEMORRAGING money because they went woke and took on tons of hair brained ideas. The real kicker is the sort of control their new schemes would give them. They can conjure numbers out of thin air, and simply demand companies pay them. It’s like equity on steroids, they can flip a switch and destroy entire studios, while saying others won’t have to owe them a thing. It’s a new dial, new algorithm they want control of, aside from Youtube, aside from Reddit, they want a new one that lets them print money, and destroy studios whenever they want. These are the sort of power fantasies that occupy companies when they drop the ball so hard on actually producing a product of any value, they just become evil super villains.

          Unity is following a similar trajectory as Hollywood. Relevant 10 years ago, they starfucked  all their money away on big acquisitions like WETA digital. Their current product is stagnating from years of poor management. They’re incompetent as hell, so in order to survive upper management has just inundated their company with activists and played the political game. Absolutely same shit as Disney too. All these rich old white dudes at the top of these companies are running the same play book. Once you realize these dudes care more about their own asses, as do the activists, their symbiotic parasitic relationship within these companies makes sense. The notion any of these freeloaders give a damn about the product or the customer is a fools dream.

          TLDR: Unity thinks having total control, and screwing over hard working people monetarily, is necessary to fuel the “greater good” that they think they are doing.

          Unreal: These guys are kickin’ ass. The engine is doing incredible things, they put out incredible upgrades year after year and their target user base is over the moon with how they produce their product and their future is bright as hell. If these guys can make their tools more approachable, they’d take over the entire industry, and their company head Tim Sweeney seems like a real chill dude who understands the market and is passionate about his product.

          Nintendo is just old school. And I respect that, a cuthroat game company that demands excellence and doesn’t give 2 sh*ts about your agenda. It’s good to know that whatever bull happens on this hemisphere, there are companies who don’t give a damn about our petty politics, they just want to make great games.

          It’s hard to describe how much effort goes into these engines, it takes 5 years from veterans just to get the things starting to lift off the ground. This isn’t something that can be fixed in a year or two years. If Unity wants to get their act together, and start being a relevant platform with a future again, it’s going to take YEARS before we start seeing a better product from them. Company culture isn’t something you can whip up in a month, the top tier skills it takes to move these tools in ways that doesn’t destroy other current projects by your customers is absolutely massive. You need a can do spirit to push through the pain of getting these technological gains. But that’s why they’ve given up, John Recitellio plays the party politics and manuevers in this industry as he does because it’s the easy way out. It’s the woke way. “Everything woke turns to shit”. Knowing this, they’re cashing out, and they’ll burn a huge swath of the gaming industry behind them, because in the end, they only gave a damn about the $$$, and we’re “fuckign idiots” for trying to compete on an honest playing field.

          #306830

          Now that’s a response. Thank you for letting us know. Such a deep understanding that I think gives us more on the developer engine side of things. Rarely do I ever venture into the tools.  Fantastic discussion piece. See i wouldn’t have even thought of those companies going woke either.

           

          Although funny enough, Unity stated Planned parenthood isn’t a charity and that based response alone has me in stitches. Woke AF, but will say something so bold and based ? An oxymoron in itself. 😂

          • This reply was modified 9 months ago by Salvince.
          #306840

          Yes, I heard that! I was surprised too, but you have to figure, when it comes to their bottom line, they’re not going to F around with developers just chalking up their games to charities.

          Feels like we’re at a turning point, Disney, Unity, and LOTS of other companies are going belly up. Partly because they hired a bunch of dead weight to look virtuous, but mostly because they did that in the first place because they were incompetent but power hungry, bad combo.

          Hopefully the world starts righting itself. And it kinda goes without saying that most all people in tech at most all game studios lean at least a bit left. I did too until just a few years ago when I started waking the hell up.

          It’s all pretty interesting. I’d love to see what’s going on at Valve, they were in some hot water with people a while back for not being woke enough, not hiring enough people and instead focusing on technical capabilities. I have a really strong feeling that they nipped the woke stuff a lot earlier than these other companies, but I’ll bet it still had a huge affect on them.

          We say it all the time, but it REALLY feels like people are starting to get sick of this shit. Like at some point you just see how terrible every single sector, every single big company, every movie, every video game just going to shit.

          And nothing against anyone who works hard and wants to make cool shit. Goes without saying your ideology, skin color, sexual persuasion shouldn’t matter. BUT TO SOME ASSHOLES, that’s all they friggin’ care about. And now their reaping the whirlwind.

          Other random good news. People are SO PISSED at Unity that engines like GODOT are recieving HUGE funding from big studios behind the scenes. This is the ultimate amazing scenario that we could have hoped for. It’s not just that woke companies are failing in gaming, but their competition that is open to anyone using their tools without any big corporate BS are getting bolstered big time.

          Things are actually on the up and up as of late.

          #306954

          I recently discussed this topic with a friend who has more liberal views, and while I do believe there is a prevalent issue in the gaming industry’s culture, I wouldn’t go as far as to say there’s no competition. Instead, what I’ve noticed is that there are fewer companies capable of competing at the highest level these days. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that a substantial number of games continue to be released nearly every week.

          Regarding Cataclysm Private Servers, they typically relate to the World of Warcraft expansion “Cataclysm.” These private servers offer an alternative way for players to experience the game. However, it’s crucial to recognize that using such private servers can potentially breach Blizzard Entertainment’s terms of service and may result in account consequences.

          #306955
          Vknid
          Moderator

            “I recently discussed this topic with a friend who has more liberal views, and while I do believe there is a prevalent issue in the gaming industry’s culture, I wouldn’t go as far as to say there’s no competition. Instead, what I’ve noticed is that there are fewer companies capable of competing at the highest level these days.”

            The claim was not there was no competition, just not enough of it to continue to nudge on consistent innovation and evolution.  For decades there were a number of game companies duking it out in the market which is a win for consumers in choice and price.  Now that a few big companies own most of the studios the competition is low and they don’t create new great stuff because they don’t have too.  This also creates the condition where the big few can manipulate the market and make entry into the market nearly impossible as you mentioned.

            You can look at Madden as a prime example of this.  Years ago there were a number of football games and Madden was the best one with cool features and functions added every year.  Then at some point Madden or EA got an exclusive license with the NFL.  And since there is now no NFL football games outside of Madden due to this, we get a garbage copy/paste every year with nothing new and even prior functions/features gone or left broken.

            • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Vknid.
            #307607

            I can see that, at the same time, Football games have peaked for a long time. Even if there was more competition in developing football games for the NFL (which the NFL hold the rights to) there’s a ceiling of how far you can develop those sports games until you get to the VR side of things.

            It’s not the best example, but I completely understands and agree, there does need to be a greater competition at hand. Let’s hope we can get there

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