Handheld Addict

PS VitaPSPPSPgoWii3DSDS LiteXboxGame Boy Micromp3 playersMobileGadgetsgeneral

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Die Videogame Industry, Die! Part 6 - Entitlement

Part 6 of a 10 part series about why I want the video game industry to implode, causing massive layoffs & putting most devs out of business so that the industry can come back much better than it currently is.

I'd say since 2004, a disturbing trend has emerged in the video game industry. I peg it starting around 2004 because that's when Nintendo released the DS handheld. It featured a new control scheme unseen before in video games: touch interaction (as well as the oft-forgotten microphone)

What Nintendo said to third-party developers is, "here's a new control set... now get used to it."

Sony's first handheld, the PSP may look a lot more traditional in comparison, but it too featured an altered control layout: the infamous missing 2nd analogue nub. Again, it echoed Nintendo's message to third party game developers: "here's a new control set... now get used to it."

I guess I got into video games during the Xbox/PS2/GameCube generation. All those systems had nearly identical controls & button placement.... yet games still suffered when ported from one console to another. But since then, we've been seeing even more divergent control layouts & systems.... and for the most part developers still haven't caught up-- years later now....

The first parties Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft take the attitude that "if we build it they will come"... it seems like all they do is come up with a new control-- be it Balance Board, or whatever... and expect game companies to immediately support it.

But clearly we're seeing that most game companies are NOT supporting control schemes that veer away from the "traditional" controller of the Xbox/PS2/GameCube generation. Yes, there are noteable exceptions of games that have gotten the Wii's controls just right, but those are relatively few & far between.

The problem is, with Project Natel & Playstation Move on the way... and Nintendo just announcing a new 3-D handheld.... these new control schemes are coming out of the woodwork. If companies can't implement controls properly on the Wii which has been around for over 2 years now.... how/when will they be able to handle all these new controls??

There's this major disconnect between the first-party console/hardware makers & third-party game makers. The first-party companies almost show a sense of ENTITLEMENT that third-party companies will just follow lock-in-step behind any hardware they produce-- or that they'll do the R&D *for* the first-party company by improving the understanding & programming of these new controls in their games. The DISCONNECT is third-party companies don't think that way at all (judging by what we've seen already over the past 2+ years on the Wii and PSP) .

This is a really messed up system. Sure, first-party console makers can come up with new controls & maybe develop a few games that support them really well (Wii Sports for example) but the way it is now, we consumers just have to hope that some game will come out where the devs actually understand how to program for the controls, and it's like trying to win the lottery.

Do first-party companies even talk to major third-party game makers at all? Nintendo is most guilty of seeming to release a new control peripheral leaving game companies to go "Huh? This is the first we've heard of it..." but despite the "2 dozen" or whatever number of companies supposedly developing games for Playstation Move, I seriously doubt there's much support going into it other than "we made it, here it is, now YOU figure it out"..... same goes for Natel.

This is such a major problem, and I don't really know how to solve it. I *do* like innovative control systems-- that's one of the reasons I bought a Wii in the first place. It was the promise that such a neat motion control system could bring some great, interesting games. Yes, there have been a few, but for the most part we've seen games just avoid the Wii or are ported badly to it because of the different controls.

Playstation Move & Natel may be "safe bets" in that they are accessories-- if worse comes to worst, they fail-- the PS3 & Xbox 360 still have their core functionality. But it all puts us, the consumers, in the position of being guinea pigs for the video game industry, and paying steep prices to be such.....


No comments:

Blog Archive