As trends in the gaming industry continue to lean towards putting profit over quality, both players and developers alike are wondering if the ship will sink, and when they should jump.
For starters, let’s take a look at mobile games. When was that last time you played a freemium game on your phone that didn’t have in-game currency and micro transactions, or that wasn’t riddled with annoying ads? Even high quality games like Blizzard’s Hearthstone use currency and in-game purchases to fuel their industry’s cash flow.
But the boring toxicity of the mobile game industry has long been creeping its way into AAA games. Microtransactions have become quite normal in most new games nowadays, and each year there seems to be more and more of them. Despite a general dislike of them, gaming companies show no sign of stopping their marketing tactics.
While we understand the importance of making a game profitable, it seems that making them fun and well designed gets put on the back burner – replaced by pretty graphics, shiny vanity purchases, and pay walls that give rich players an enormous edge and don’t really benefit the game itself… and it’s only getting worse. Even shady markets like NFTs are now buying their way into the gaming industry which makes the future of gaming look even more bleak.
Luckily the devs and players are pushing back to make their voices heard. They are even going as far as to surprise attack the industry sponsors, such as Brazil’s International Games Festival where Game developer Mark Venturelli received a standing ovation after he sprung a new video for the audience, replacing his “Future of Game Design” talk with a new title: “Why NFTs are a nightmare.”
Is there hope for the future of the gaming industry? Yes! While the big games companies have settled into their style of came creation and marketing, so has the underground indie gaming industry. Games like Valheim have had huge success in early access – this allows the devs to put all of that money into the game which they control (not some large company looming behind them).
It seems that while kids and “fanboys” are the main target of the triple-A gaming industry, the indie gamers, however, tend to trend towards older gamers who have been involved in the industry for years, played hundreds of games, and know exactly what makes a game good. These players also are happy to help invest in beta testing, crowdfunding, and community support to help the indie gaming industry stay strong. It’s essentially a grassroots movement against the establishment, and it’s going very well. Our only hope is that these indie devs don’t sell out to the bigger companies who will take their games and ruin them.
Stay strong out there, and check out this list of indie games to try out and show your support!