Mainstreaming The Video Game Industry

Not only is the video game industry under constant attack from mainstream media, but it has several times lost its way and become corrupted.

By RON, Posted 11 Aug 2019

Just as the New York City skyline will always remain unfinished, the video game industry will always remain in motion, evolving, innovating. As a matter of fact, innovation is deeply rooted in the DNA of video games, as their very essence is that of pushing the limits of technology in service of entertainment.

It is no secret that video games have had several quantum leaps forward during the last 60 years. From the humble origins of a tennis game created in in 1958, 11 years prior to the Moon Landing, all the way to narratives so grand they are comparable to that of novels and cinema, games have become increasingly more immersive and complex. Nowadays, some games are not even about gameplay anymore, but rather are a collection of lysergic imagery, witty allegories and intricate criticism and metatext to the point that some might as well be part of a surrealist manifesto. Games are part of popular culture, increasingly more each time. From time to time some conservative groups look for the go to scapegoat and find in videogames a common enemy to blame, a still misunderstood medium that older generations don’t totally approve of; however, the older generation is now the generation that burnt through hundreds of quarters playing in the arcades or pushed the limits of their fingers trying to finish every game in their library.

Mainstreaming, Video Game Industry, Journalism, Gaming, Press, Gaming Media, Corruption, Media, AAA, Press, Media Outlets

Video games have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry with investments and revenues that exceed even those of the movie industry. It is, therefore, an entertainment giant unwilling to be removed from the world’s Zeitgeist. However, this power has carried severe consequences with it. Not only is the industry under constant attack from mainstream media, but it has several times lost its way and become corrupted. This is especially true of the biggest names in the industry and the most important franchises. AAA games have become sick, as companies spawned a plethora of unnecessary sequels that felt more like reskins of previous games, with nothing new to offer players, being closer tocynical cash grabs. To illustrate this point, we have to look no further than the Call of Duty franchise, the Michael Bay movies of videogames; games that rehash the same content on a yearly basis and try to charge you actual money for something as meaningless as a weapon skin, or worse, give you an actual advantage over pñayers who don’t pay extra. We can also look the polemics surrounding Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Shadow of War, games that seem to have important parts of their locked behind a wall of in-game purchases; in Battlefront’s case, progress could be made without spending actual money, but the time and effort for doing so was way off the charts to the point of being prohibitory high for most players. 

These games received heavy criticism from players and critics alike, not only because of the obvious ethical dilemma of charging players for things that are actually in the game after they have purchased a copy of it but also because games seem to have lost their way, with publishers and developers like EA and Activision not prioritizing innovation and entertainment but focusing to an extreme extent on budget, profits and rampant consumerism.

Mainstreaming, Video Game Industry, Journalism, Gaming, Press, Gaming Media, Corruption, Media, AAA, Press, Media Outlets

However, there is also great news for people living under the shadow of these colossi. An army of independent developers that still see video games as an actual art form, a way to explore narrative in different ways, to experiment with gameplay, to create levels of immersion that movies and books cannot produce have made themselves known over the last couple of years. These indie developers create art from adversity. They do not see budget limits as problems, but as opportunities to create something different and often wildly adventurous. We’ve seen indie titles seemingly come out of the blue, only to make big waves in the industry. Games like Super Meat Boy, Fez or the Binding of Isaac or Braid showed how much could be done with so little. Nowadays we can and should turn our heads to titles like Doki Doki Literature Club, Close Your Eyes, Hello Neighbor and Cuphead. These games are the result of unquiet minds and the undying wish to create something new and valuable.

Another key element in the advent of indie games is the presence of crowdfunding campaigns, which have de facto democratized the industry in levels that would’ve seemed impossible twenty years ago. While, in the past only big companies were able to amass the amount of money necessary for developing a game, now everyone with a good idea and a talented team is able to create something using the trust of potential customers as their main tool. Given, there are more than a couple examples of how this system can be corrupted as well, we are looking at Inafune, but that does not mean is not the most reliable and useful option for indie developers.

Mainstreaming, Video Game Industry, Journalism, Gaming, Press, Gaming Media, Corruption, Media, AAA, Press, Media Outlets

The only real problem is the limited communication channels these games have. While big companies have the budget, they want at their disposal for marketing and handing out free review copies, indie games face an uphill battle in terms of distribution. The difference is quite noticeable in the number of sites covering the launch or review of a AAA game versus those who cover an indie title. That’s where sites like ours plays a decisive role. Unlike other websites, we are not only focus on renowned AAA franchises, but actually acts as a place where games of all kinds are covered. That’s what makes us an alternative from mainstream sites, as they actually take notice of the effort behind the games and gives a voice to those that otherwise would go unheard. The site is, in the end, a place where there is no hierarchy among games and no game goes unsung.

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed

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Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII, 3DS, Vita, Mobile
Publisher(s): NoobFeed
Developer(s): NoobFeed Editors
Genres: Artcile
Themes: Feature, Editorial, Interviews, Opinion Pieces
Release Date: 2009-02-14

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