Last week I wrote an article about the rise of Indie games. I wrote an amusing statement about the big gaming companies when I said that they were like the Hollywood of the gaming industry because they produce financially successful drivel. While this statement is a true statement to some degree, I cannot help to think I have fallen into the bias view that many gamers hold, so is it cool to hate on the big companies?
The recent actions of the big players of the gaming industry has left a sour taste in the gaming community. We often feel like we are being cheated by the companies who demand paid online passes to access the full features of a game, we have the whole problem involving the abuse of the DLC system, there have been issues about DRM and of course we have the problems involving the lack of quality that some games have upon release. People hold the view that these companies have become sellouts, like Johnny Rotten from The Sex Pistols, a man who apparently hated modern society in his youth, only to end up on a reality television show when he faded into obscurity and then started advertising butter.
Gamers are a hard crowd to please, many of them have enveloped an elitist attitude due to the rise of casual gaming, thus making the relativity uncool hobby of gaming to become a social norm that is in the mainstream. This elitist attitude has meant that the big gaming companies have found themselves in the line of fire of abuse from people because they feel that their way of life is being threatened by the plague that is the mainstream. This is another reason why Indie games have become so popular, because gamers feel like they cannot trust the big boys that have been around for years. We have to realise that the gaming industry is a business, they have to make money, and of course, if they see something that will make them a ton of money, in this current economic state, companies have to ensure their survival by making doing certain business practises that would ensure them income. I can sort of understand what situation they are in, but then they go and try to compromise the second hand market by making players of a second hand game to spend an extra £10 in order to gain full access to a game.
But it isn’t fair to say that the big companies don’t make good games anymore, they do. EA whilst being nominated for the Worst Company in America award again, have we forgotten that EA is responsible for great games such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Dead Space and more recently Titanfall, and Ubisoft has given us Assassins Creed, Rayman and Splinter Cell. It seems however when these companies release a sequel for one of their big games, people are ready to bombard them with abuse when they see a flaw in the game. Mass Effect 3 is a great example of this as according to some people’s logic, the ending ruined the game entirely. While I can understand why some people were annoyed, to go as far to say that this ruined the series is a bit of an over-exaggeration, we didn’t see Halo 2 get the same amount of abuse that Mass Effect did over its ending now did we?
Yes we all have our problems with big game companies, yes they do things that are annoying as hell, but we must avoid turning into the goth kids from South Park. These companies need to change their ways, people must stop with this elitist attitude when it comes to gaming as this might ruin the gaming industry one day. Just think, the big companies used to Indie developers once upon a time, what happens if Frictional Games becomes as powerful as EA, would you still like it then? There will a cycle in the future Indie devs becoming powerful and new Indie devs emerging, and if this attitude continues, our beloved industry is going to be buried.