Malik  (5/19//04)

I Wasn't The Only One...More On Stale Games

According to a interview on Gamespot.com what I have been saying for a while is not just on my mind...sequels and a poor thought about the quality of the average gamer is too much on the forefront of game developers.  

Michael Pachter, a senior vice president for Wedbush Morgan Securities (a fancy investment type company) seems to have the right idea.  Too bad he is not in video game development.  As he put it (and similar to how I keep putting it);

I think companies are defining the mass market as "stupid people who donít have any taste" as opposed to "people who are every bit as hardcore as the core but donít have as much money."

This, I feel, is the main problem facing video games right now.  The average developer seems to have forgotten what gamers actually want and what their audience is actually like.  We, as geek gamers, are not a bunch of stupid drones who want to give in to every franchise cookie-cutter game that can be thrown at us.  While, sadly, many sequels tend to do well in the market initially, that should not be a sign to companies that we geeks deserve so little respect.

With many movies, and games for that matter, sequels of successful products will initially do quite well.  Part of this is due to the fans of the original who become fanboys; those who must have everything that is related to their beloved original product.  One example of this is how Star Wars prequels are just getting worse and worse, yet fans still flock to the theaters to see these craptacular wastes of film.  Another great example is how many people who got caught up in Square Soft when FF7 came out had nothing to do with the original titles.  However, after FF7 attracted so many "RPG fans", these newly formed fanboys (and girls), they started to flock to the older RPGs and made their opinions known.  While this helped to boost sales of RPGs, it also influenced game makers to make a series of cheap FF7 rip-offs.  While this is good for business, it is really bad for the real RPG fans.  It is also, in the long run, bad for business for many companies.  While these developers can make a quick buck from the short term fans, many of these fans will drop off from the game scene before the hardcore fans.  What this means is that the hardcore fans, who in the end will buy more of the products (per geek) than the fanboys, will drop off from a series of crappy sequels.  I know I am one of the original Square fans who has bid that company a bitter-sweet farewell.

As Mr. Pachter discussed with Gamespot, we need some good original ideas to pick things up in the gaming world.  While the game market will continue to hold up financially with a crop of stale and crappy games, it will lose touch with the real gamers, and in turn draw less of a returning crowd.  The true answer to what ails the geek world right now is innovation...and I don't mean that type of "innovation" that gives a stale FF game a new level up system...I mean we need some truly new titles and franchises.  A sequel of a sequel of a...you get the point...is not going to show geeks the respect we all deserve.  Good graphics and a sequel will only get so much money in the short run; a truly new and fun concept in a game will open room for a franchise that can be so much more in the long run.  As it is often put in business (don't worry, this isn't stock price related crap...I promised yesterday and I meant it); low risk can get you a small gain, but a wisely taken larger risk can payoff far more.

Malik