Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Consume or Die!

I had to just run in and post a reply to Darren of CommonSenseGamer... Darren, of course they think of us as consumers! I'm sure you've noticed the never ending conveyor of crap that companies now press on us as “essentials” which ten, five, even two years ago, were luxuries?

I'm sat right now on Holiday, in Cornwall, image below [isn't it lovely] and I have no internet. I've brought my laptop with me and I've noticed how luxury rich my life has got. I can't leave the place without my mobile, digital car key, photo-reactive glasses, debit card, credit card, contact payment visa card and cash. Look at this life style, look at the situation, and you'll see, that not only YES I AM A CONSUMER who happens to like games, as such it is no wonder companies see us all as little dollar signs with heart beats.

We will buy anything. I'm not just talking games, but I'm afraid as with everything we need to look at the most numerous and pervasive demographic (that's the 'most common type' to everyone else) in order to point out what the Romans would have called “The Bleedin' Obvious”.

Console gamers... They are the perfect example, for the most part the console gamers I've met are younger than me, they are quick to buy a title and very quick to finish it and these games cost them upwards of £35... That's a LOT of money to me and they'll pay more and more for titles offered for the platform they've bought, they'll buy them because they want to try everything offered.

The problem I have with this is trend, is that a lot of console games have quite a short duration, they last an average of what? 30 hours... When I were a lad a game had to last MONTHS! And it had to be good (okay it was on my old Commodore 16 [go look it up kids]). But I've seen modern people posting completion times on modern games as a sort of emblem of how cool they are... “Look I spent £44.99 on this, and I finished it in 7 hours!” That's £6.42 per hour [give or take]... And we gamers don't seem to be up in arms about this trend. Indeed we seem to have embraced it as another step in our every disposable approach to our possessions in this fire & forget world.

I mean, why should a publisher worry about innovation, when they can get away with slapping new textures, voice acting and a wafer thin “new” plot onto the same old engine eight months.

If we gamers stood up to the publishers once in a while, and actually said “no that's shit” and didn't buy into things are readily then there'd be far less bad games out there, far fewer forgettable titles, and far more quality. But we don't seem to want to... Maybe facebook games aren't games [they're not, honest guv'] but they do have one appeal, and that is that they're innovating.

My worries though are we are little money factories to publishers, and wherever gaming trends are going, I think common sense tells us that gaming is changing beneath our very feet. And I think my worry is the same as yours, because all the factors driving this change are all socio-economic, and no longer about “doing something cool” that the wind of change will be bringing us lucky few broad minded people very little entertainment in years to come.

Canada is approximately 4000 miles to the left.

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