How Would You Improve The Videogame Industry?

  • I don't know about how many of you feel but the videogame industry today and the way it's been going for the last 8 or 9 years, it's been messed up big time. Sure there are loads of great games we love still, but the terrible business practices, the value of money appearing to supersede the value of making great games, the employee crunch times we hear so much about, the shady personalities, the obsession with following trends over making something unique and the narrowing of the triple A videogame scene-so much within the industry we love sucks-so give me a list of what you would change-you can be as ruthless or as absurd as you want to be. For me personally here are some of the things I'd do:

    -Get rid of predatory microtransactions including lootboxes.
    -No more pre-ordering or season passes.
    -Collector's Editions are ok but they should be reasonably priced with the game instead of costing a fortune.
    -Less emphasis on trends like the Battle Royale genre, tone down roguelikes and stop the Soulslike obsession.
    -More emphasis on games that are fun for as many people as possible, especially those that think outside the conventional box.
    -Tie David Cage to a chair and force him to watch a documentary or film on how to make effective videogame storytelling.
    -No more lies and deceit from videogame developers or publishers and their games must not be released in a trashy state.
    -The emphasis on serious storytelling will be pared back.

  • -Less Battle Royale, or at the very least more experimental with it. I love Pac-Man 99 and I kinda want to see Dig Dug and Galaga get a similar treatment, or as I suggested once Twisted Metal is perfect for a Battle Royale game.

    • no loot boxes in games you have to purchase

  • This probably sounds pretty millennial of me, but it’s my understanding that a lot of these AAA games are even capable of being made because armies of young employees are “paying their dues” by getting paid like shit and grinding out long work weeks with the hopes they they get a job after 2 years of bullshit.

    That is unsustainable and will obviously lead to people in the mid-20s or early-30s to reevaluate their career choices and choose a more lucrative one where they don’t have to give up life for no pay and the slight prospect of a job.

    Cost of living is going UP not down, so even entry level employees need to get paid enough to live in the city they work within. If the gaming companies can’t do that then they will have a revolving door of talent and we’re not likely to see any long term stability.

    I think the gaming industry should pay like the TV/film unions where there are different categories for different budgets (i.e. pay scale in a $1M game is different than a $100M game) and within each category there is a daily or monthly minimum for the role you work (i.e $4000/mo min for QA). A maximum amount of OT per week before OT pay comes into effect, and other things that mimic what’s been working in TV/film.

    They can scale it to the needs of gaming too. Like if a project goes long maybe minimum pay goes down but OT pay is still in effect.

    Basically, just need to rethink how these budgets and schedules should work in the context of fair wage and cost of living going up and up.

    FYI, I live right next to Ubisoft Toronto and rent in this area is $1900-2300 for a 1 bedroom apartment around 500-600sq ft (on the low end).

    No way a new hire is gonna have any savings if they don’t pay at least like 4500/mo which I’m doubtful based on things I hear.

  • Banned

    @dipset So basically, unionize.

  • Also, I’m not sure how the publishers feed money to the studios they hire or own (I’m sure there is a different relationship there), but it would be nice if some of that CEO or Lootbox money went to the studios to incentivize people to stay on. Like KEEP the loot boxes and other ways of gaining extra dough so long as it feeds the studios for more and better quality games.

    Imagine one projects ends and it’s a few months before the next one begins. That means majority of your non-core staff will get laid off. But what if Bobby Kotick took like 25% less pay and it actually went into bridging staff between projects? Then those armies of 20 year olds will actually have the foundation to sustain themselves for a few years, maybe start a family, and STAY in the city they work at.

    Crazy huh?

  • I think a lot of the things that are wrong in the industry (crunch culture, unreasonable deadlines, false marketing, rushed/unpolished products, and so on) would be at least be improved if companies don't put so much stake at getting massive short term profits. It's a human race problem of course, most people only pay attention to the present and very near future, but I think this kind of mindset really affects how a developer makes their game. It's one of the reasons why I'm so happy to see indie development being so popular nowadays. I feel like a lot of those devs have much more freedom, even if getting ahead in that space is getting harder as time goes on, and the inevitable need for profit looms larger.

    If we're talking about the trends in the games themselves, then:

    • I would love to see more games having intricate accessibility options, and also more freedom in customizing controls and such.
    • I also want to see the return of non-microtransaction cheat modes and unlockables (I feel like Naughty Dog is the only big dev still putting them in their games).
    • The arcade racing genre needs to make a comeback! Can't think of any big successful ones other than Mario Kart and CTR remastered in recent years.
    • Devs that are thinking about making an open world game should think about making semi-open world (or semi-linear) games instead. I feel like if there's enough things to do in the levels, and the world is well-designed, then people would vastly prefer them to open world stuff. Making a open world just exposes the game to way more possibilities for bugs and such, and I imagine it's hard to justify making such big levels to the player. You can aim for smaller, but also more focused games. I guess I would give that advice to the AAA space as a whole.

    • Less lying and/or obscuring the truth.
    • Higher game-to-presentation ratios ("game-to-story ratios"), or else make this a more conscious part of how games are discussed, evaluated, and created.

    I'm not sure how I feel about industry growth, mainstream gaming popularity, profitability, budget expansions, etc. I think in the long run (perhaps the "long, long run") more growth is good for everyone. But I sometimes think a less popular, less growing, smaller game-budget industry would make better games, and perhaps have better businesses.

    I'm not going to touch the employee stuff. If I could wave a magic wand I would, but I would also do that for so many fields where people waste their lives/are taken advantage of/etc. If I didn't have a magic wand I wouldn't want to be the one responsible for fixing it, that's for sure.

  • Better explanation about game making process for non-"industry professionals".
    Over the years I saw a lot of uninformed opinions on what developers should do, how easy it is to implement certain features, debug games, support different hardware configurations, and so on and so on. I laugh at them, but I'm sure that I also have a lot of unreasonable demands and expectations, which sometimes ruin games for me. For example, I've got very upset that in Ghost of Tsushima materials didn't react to light as good as in Read Dead Redemption 2 and I blame lazy developers for that. But maybe there is a solid reason for not being able to do here what others did there. If so, I would like to know that reasoning.