Making good games is not longer as profitable as making mediocre games and cram a bunch of micro-transactions in it.
I hate when people defend micro-transactions because resources are finite. They only have so many people and so much budget to create a game. The amount of effort required to make these systems is non-zero so their mere existence is taking away from game developer time that could be better spent fixing bugs or making features. So when people go, “Then don’t buy it.” I say, well the game is automatically worse than it could of been if they just didn’t. The exception, for me, is free to play games. Those wouldn’t exist without micro-transactions so they get a pass from me. But the fact that AAA full priced games are glorified mobile games with a very, very pretty coat of paint on them to hide that fact, disgusts me.
Video game design from these companies starts with “how do we monetize our players” and not “how do we make a fun and engaging game for our players.” That is the fundamental shift in design philosophy that I am seeing. Creative leads are leaving AAA game companies to start indie game companies by the droves. They are hemorrhaging talent because what these companies are asking these people to design are soulless cash grabs, not works of art. So people who are really talented at game design are no longer being fulfilled by work in the industry so the search elsewhere.
I have had a passion for video games for as long as I have existed. I went to school to learn game programming. I never made the jump into the industry because I would have to have move to the west coast to even have a chance of finding a job. Today though… I don’t know if I dodged a bullet. Getting into game making today sounds like absolute hell.
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