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July 23rd, 2007, 03:48
Originally Posted by Gallifrey View Post
This topic is definitely something I've thought about a lot (amazing what wanders through your head when bored, walking to work, at work, lying in bed and can't sleep, and so on!). I tend to think that a lot of the easing up of game difficulty is primarily driven by the market being so competetive and full of choices, compounded by, perhaps, longer work days/weeks.
In Ye Olden Days, the market wasn't so full of games, we had time to really spend on challenges and harder games, but now developers and publishers are so competetive, they want us to stick with their games, buy the sequels and so on. The industry has gone from a fairly small scale one to a multi-billion dollar industry, and few publishers are interested in potential losses due to difficulty. Add in the fact that casual gamers make up a huge portion of the buying audience, and very few are going to risk losing sales because the games are too hard.

Time is another factor I throw in, but that could be just my own perspective. I've gone from being a teenager with time to kill on challenging games, to a working adult with little more than an hour or two (if that) per day to game. And I kind of like the feeling of getting something done in that time frame. I'm assuming I'm not the only one like that. For me, games are just that, games, not a way of life or very serious business, so I suppose I don't have the attention span or dedication that I once had, and again, I'm sure I'm not the only one like that, so it's another factor to consider for the easing-up of game difficulty.

Ultimately, it does seem as though games have gone from being made by that maniacal game master that so loved to torture and challenge his players to being made by people who can see very little beyond a steady income or profits.

All that being said, I'd still love to see an immersive, challenging, *rewarding* and dynamic RPG again.
I don't have the time I once did. And when I do play a game I still want the challenge. If all I wanted was mindless entertainment I'd be a fan of another genre (well, not currently, for mindless challenges this is the right genre). But if old working farts like us still want the challenge, who doesn't? The kids. Damn kids. First with the rock n' roll. Then with the drugs. Now with the challengless game. What's next? 10-minute movies about farting that costs $12 to watch?

I think the answer is (and I've been saying this for years) tyrrany of the masses/tyrrany of the center. The same reason why the music top 10 bullets is filled with teeny-bopper hits. The majority of the paying public will get what they want. The rest of the people still get what they want, but on a less grand scale. This is already coming to fruition through indie titles such as Eschalon, AoD, and Broken Hourglass. Spiderweb is selling more, etc. After the indie scene starts making economic profit, the big devs will buy up the small devs and their games will get more mainstream and they will be eaten by the industry. The next wave will start up, etc. Its the same for any market. When there is a demand, there will be a supply. Now, that demand can be met in one or two ways in this case. You have fancy grahic games aimed at the rpg-hungry masses that cost $300 a copy (which won't happen of course). Or you have poor graphic (compared to what the big ego devs are doing) titles aimed at us sold at a reasonable price.

The only real unknown is the same unknown the movie-industry is facing, that being the future effect of the ease of pirating. Music and musicians have alternate revenue streams (such as concert and radio, etc). Movies have tv and hbo, etc, and of course merchandising. Games have nothing. And indie titles will have to bank on a person paying for something they can play for free, and a lot of pc gamers that have similar tastes as ours have no problem stealing a game and do not see any relation with that possibly hurting the hobby the enjoy. So, from an economics or financial perspective, we will be fine, but no one knows how the unknown pirate-factor will affect anything in the future, so who knows?
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