Weekly Discussion Wrap-Up: Trenderific

This wrap-up is a little different this week. Sure, there was certainly a discussion that took place, but normally there’s a debate where two sides quickly emerge. This week was a little more freeform, with everyone chipping in their own opinions about where they think the gaming industry is going. Sometimes it’s nice to to just see what you guys can come up with.

One of the things I picked as a trend of the next few years was the growth of 3D TV, even if it’s something I don’t enjoy myself. The best comment I saw on this came from aerobes, which comes close to encapsulating my feelings on the matter.

3D seems to not quite be taking off the way many expected and while it might not be the future, there’s certainly room for it as a niche. I’ve experienced it a few times and it’s a lot of fun, immersive and impressive visually but it’s not something I’d want all the time and that, for me, is where it falls down because ultra crisp 1080p visuals is something I do always want.

The next trend that seemed popular, a blindingly obvious one that I missed, was the growth of multiplayer integration into games. Of course not everyone saw this as a good thing, but there seemed to be a solid consensus that it’s something we’ll be seeing more and more of. R4U Eldave0 seemed to nicely mirror my own thoughts.

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Another big trend seems to be multiplayer at the moment. Pretty much every game seems to have some tacked on multiplayer component, even games which shouldn’t have one. Uncharted2/3, Bioshock2, Condemned 2, Dead Space 2, Assassins Creed Brotherhood. All with completely pointless multiplayer additions. It would suprise me if the next God of War title (there is bound to be one) had some sort of multiplayer thrown in. On the plus side, I’m glad RockSteady have confirmed that Arkham City won’t have multiplayer thrown in.

What mildly surprised me was how many of you seemed fairly depressed about the way the industry is going. Quite a lot of you seem down about the business side of things, largely about publishers closing studios. This was a trend I picked up on, although I wasn’t quite so depressed about it as the rest of you seemed to be. For example bunimomike predicted this amongst his collection of reasonably bleak thoughts.

Big publishers will look after the franchises that make them money and cull anything that doesn’t fit their sizeable profit margin forecasts.

Finally the commenter that made me smile the most was hazelam with her comment on Zombies.

Zombies, every bleedin’ game seems to have a zombie mode now.  Wasn’t there a racing game that’s gonna have a zombie mode?

We’ll be back tomorrow with a new topic, but remember you can carry on commenting if you have any trends we’ve missed.

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9 Comments

  1. Perhaps the industry is going in the direction of all of the categories you mentioned above. It will be zombies, with Move, thats massively multiplayer online that didn’t really need to be with 1080p 3D support with added smell-o-vision…
    I dub thee ‘World of Massive Online Zombie Quest’

    • I’d buy it… ;)

    • How come no one have thought of this before? A 3D and Move compatible zombie-MMO, sounds epic!

    • Zombies Online, Massive Game or ZOMG for short. When I grow up I want to be in marketing! *spins on chair*

  2. As an industry that becomes ever-more business like, it can’t help reflect on its output. Profit margins tighten and new studios try to muscle in on the action. My biggest fear is that we lose the mid-sized innovation we saw with the PS2 as the massive companies play it safe and indie devs can only tackle PSN-sized forays into the industry.

    • What’s wrong with a PSN-sized foray?
      Double Fine have gone that route whilst they twiddle thumbs after the relative commercial failure of Brutal Legend, and have created two lovely and charming games which have garnered a lot of praise and (hopefully) a decent number of sales too.

      Much better that they take their risky business to PSN/XBLA with shorter development times, smaller dev teams and high levels of creativity, than that they try and transform these games into a full BD release and suffer another “Best Game Nobody Played”.

      With download sizes always able to expand further, the large PSN/XBLA release is very much the old mid-sized PS2 release’s replacement. Very accessible, the ability to trim the initial price point, and the ease of being able to experiment a little with the gameplay, all without the burden of having to compete directly with the latest shooter.

      • This was the point I made during the original discussion, I think we will see a surge of original PSN games to counter the difficulty of producing an IP for retail release. Companies like Telltale Games and Double Fine have made the move, and I think they will be joined by more and more companies that used to make disc based games.

      • My gripe isn’t with the PSN titles, I just want to see meatier games that rival Blu-ray efforts. Sadly, there’s also the factor of “how much for a PSN title??” which people seem to have a hang-up over sometimes. :-\

  3. True revolution & innovation only seems to happen on iOS now, the low barriers to entry (like in the days before consoles with the Speccie/Commodore/AtariST/Amiga) coupled with the new control method has forced innovation.

    This 7th gen of consoles only seems to have bought a higher resolution of the one before it, gameplay-wise it seems developers & publishers think bigger must be better, although thanks to the XBL/PSN we do see stuff like Limbo/Flower & other games like them that would have only been possible as indie releases to probably low success in the PC market.

    It was my bet in the original post that publishers will play it safer & safer & riskier project that bring something new to the table will be slapped. down with reduced budgets meaning they’ll never fulfill the vision intended.

    Motion, however, as a new input method will breed innovation, but the budget these games receive looks low meaning the final product may lack the bells & whistles people expect these days

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