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game industry "crash" thoughts

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Feb 28th, 2024
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  1. i doubt the industry is going to crash in the way we think about that, bc games are too popular and entrenched overall. but there is a lot of shit being propped up that i don’t think is going to last. the production process for the biggest games becoming so insanely expensive has obviously led more to the model of subscription-based services and so many things using various gambling industry tactics to squeeze money out of people. a lot of indie games have started to adopt this too - if not directly in their money-making strategies, than at least in the design loops of games to keep people addicted.
  3. to me i think this is pretty indicative of a space where a lot of people are out of ideas about how to sustain an income and an audience and resorting to any trick in the book they can to keep people coming back. this is the sort of thing i think eventually enough people become more savvy to and exhausted by. when you add this to the delusional overspending of a lot of tech/software companies in 2020/2021 and no longer having super low interest rates, i do think that means that part of the space is hollowing out. i don’t think that this is just a brief downturn and that things will quickly bounce back - i think there’s def more rot happening there.
  5. but to me it feels less like games are entering a full industry crash than an “existential crisis” period. like, what exactly are games, and what do we want from them? what role are they playing in larger culture? we all know games are a massive industry, but this other stuff is still kind of up in the air for most things. so that’s why it’s a question that, to me, needs to be asked more. especially as generations that have more complex understanding of games as an artform grow older. and i do think this is a meaningful question to be asking in even the most, like, business-brained sense you could engage with that. could there be an emerging games culture that develops like the film culture that developed in the mid 20th century? like one that’s outside of market and brand-oriented thinking? i think it’s very possible. people might be getting more savvy about how to make interesting games that engage with current social and political issues within particular genres - without being too clumsy or heavy-handed or “games for change”-y about it. to me, i could fully imagine a post-MyHouse.wad universe being more like that lol.
  7. i’ve said before specifically with indie games that i stopped really being able to recognize the space anymore around 2021. that’s when i started to feel a narrowing of possibility space and people just pumping out glorified clones of different popular genres. a bunch of genres at once seem like they’re getting oversatured. and it makes you wonder - what’s the point? what am i playing this for? a lot of people are going to take less of a risk on playing new things if they’ve felt consistently underwhelmed or disappointed by what they have played.
  9. for indie games specifically i think the whole phenomenon of indie studious hoping for publisher or tech funds to keep them afloat which is a period i feel started around the mid-2010’s is going to mostly go away. that’s only something that can exist when publishers or companies like Microsoft have money to burn and will take a chance knowing that one thing could be a huge freak success. i imagine indie games becoming more of a space where people sink or swim based on the success of their visibility from self-marketing. which is sorta already where it’s headed.
  11. - liz ryerson
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