I like Shamus Young. He’s snarky without being bitter, and unabashedly happy to skewer sacred cows. His latest article up in the Escapist magazine is a great little piece of wordsmithing where he rightfully skewers the false priesthood of the elite gamer clique.
It’s console specific, but the principles of looking at market growth and sociology are spot-on for the industry as a whole.
I do have to wonder, though. Speaking of the PC game landscape, where is our Wii? Is it Kongregate? Is it Raph Koster’s MetaPlace or Three Rings’ Whirled? Is it the PC branch of the XNA club? Is it Armor Games? On top of that, “Casual” gaming isn’t just Bejeweled, it’s being able to play a game in small bites, remembering that family and real life are a priority over gaming. We can’t all be WoW addicts living in Mommy’s basement forever.
Speaking of MMOs, where is the WiiMMO? Is it Free Realms? Is it Wizard101? Is it Puzzle Pirates? When will MMO devs realize that they don’t have sole claim on our money or our time? Ghostcrawler seems to at least pay the idea lip service, but savvy consumers are learning (again) to pay attention to deeds, not words. Call it the fallout of the Obama election, what with more Keynesian bailouts and Tax Cheat Timothy Geitner enforcing the idea that it’s the foxes in charge of the henhouse, and the foxes are brain dead. Wrath of the Lich King is more casual friendly, but Blizard still has an unhealthy amount of grind and won’t leave the sub model.
The subscription model will always be fine for some people, and will no more need to be shelved than single player games will die out. It does, however, need to be shown as the false god that it is, and devs and money monkeys alike need to find ways to offer greater value and actually earn their keep.
Will the WoW/WAR/AoC fanboys finally grow a brain and realize that RMT and microtransactions aren’t the end of the world? It’s called market maturation. I know, there’s a whole generation of idiots that thinks “mature” means “boobs and blood”, but the industry needs to grow up, as do the gamers.