October 18, 2010

VIVA LA REVOLUTION! Or how I will support developers with my money.

I woke up late this morning because LAN Sunday went late last night, ate a pancake, and then decided to see what the sites I usually kept up with were doing.  I saw Game Overthinker had a new episode, and I love his rants, so I watched it.  And then I got dragged into a revolution.

Watch this (about 17 minutes long) to see what I'm talking about.

For those of you who may not have time to watch it, the Game Overthinker points out the direction that the gaming industry is going right now--in the direction where only games that they know will make bajillions of dollars will be sold.  The blame is going to one mega giant corporation--Game Stop.

I used to work at Game Stop, so I don't see it as evil.  But I can see how it's business model is threatening game developers everywhere.  If any company has a bright idea for a game, it either has to fit into an existing franchise, be so solid that publishers will know it will sell, or it will never get published.  Why?  Because the used game market prevents the previous profits that publishers knew they would get over time from happening.  

I think I stated earlier in the blog that the game companies only own the ideas and intellectual properties that they sell continuously.  Once they sell a complete game in the fancy box the first time, the person who owns that physical copy of the game is the consumer.  Since many consumers will now sell their games when they're done playing them, which then get resold at Game Stop, there is a huge consumer base that is willing to wait the week to get a resold game at a cheaper price, even if that price is only a 5 buck difference.

This is bad for developers who are up and coming and want to try something new, like the Boyfriend and his small company who will be looking for investors in the next year or two.  We want to support the little guys, not just because they are little, but because they have more incentive to promote innovate ideas that gamers will love.  If you don't want more of the same, help these guys.

You're allowed to not like the big guys like EA or Activision.  But everyone has their favorite developers--personally I have been a fan of Maxis, Valve and Bioware a lot these days, and those are just the big names.  Luckily with the PC gaming market it's easier to get the little guys in there too. But you still have to go out of your way and try to find them.  If the developers who do new and interesting things don't get support, we're never going to get new and interesting things.  

Here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to buy new games when I can.  Right now it's easy for me to do that since I use Steam for my PC gaming.  But it's going to mean saving up for stuff on my Wii.  I got my eye on Kirby's Epic Yarn.  That's going to hurt my meek pocket book.  But if I really want it and I want to support the right people, I will.  And I'm not going to buy used games.  Easier said than done, but that's what I want to do.

If you guys want to support developers, listen to the suggestions in the video above and see what you can do.  Any little step is going to help the video game industry listen, especially when it comes to where we'll be spending out money.


  1. People having been saying this sort of thing for years, about many issues, products, services and the like. They protest bad movies, bad food, bad TV shows, bad __________ (fill in the blank) and yet the protests avail little and a lower standard of mediocre becomes the new status quo.

  2. Hrmmm... that reads as angry, when it should read as bitter despair.

  3. Well I will note that it is entirely bitter despair.