No Time To Play
newsletter archive

Weekly links #10

Ten editions into my little newsletter, and I have enough links for a change. Sadly, I also have limited time to write about them. And there's a lot to comment about...

Last week was all about industry woes it seems. First, TechCrunch claims the new generation of consoles is in trouble. The causes they identify, however, strike me as missing the point somewhat. Sure, the skyrocketing cost of game development cutting down on the number of AAA titles on the market, as well as plateauing hardware performance, make new consoles ever less appealing. The point about the raise of mobile devices, which are rapidly catching up in that department as well, is interesting too. But consider who is supposed to buy all these new consoles and games.

No guesses? Allow me.

Increasingly mature gamers, with families, who therefore have less time and money to spend on entertainment, with dwindling reflexes and expectations beyond just three hours of pretty explosions. (If that's all they want, they can go to a Michael Bay movie for far less money.)

People who are already tired of staring at a screen all day long and want to socialize for a change.

People who also create, not just consume, and therefore have no use for a console -- a media consumption device by excellence.

Cue the gaming industry still targeting a market composed of horny, frustrated white male teenagers who don't have a life, or much in the way of brains. An increasingly endangered breed.

But that's not the only danger the industry is facing. Back in November, I complained that game developers don't really know what they're doing. Turns out, other people are reaching the same conclusion. No wonder that when the makers of Candy Crush announce their public valuation, the press just makes fun of them.

You'd think publishers would learn to treat developers a little better, so they can at least keep being able to put games on the market. But nooo... Just read this horror story involving Microsoft, or how Emily Short, one of the world's leading experts in interactive storytelling lost years of work and a valuable brand to Linden Labs' callousness. How many players still in Second Life, guys? What happens when you have to pull the plug, hmm?

To end on a positive note, here's a thought-provoking interview with Peter Molyneux and an instructive review of the first Might and Magic game. I'd have a few comments here too, but I'm running out of time. See you next week!