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May 21st, 2007, 03:07
Quite an interesting article. Putting the market under the microscope: Business 101 comes to game development, indeed. A somewhat cold-blooded look at the games industry and it's perceived 'needs'--by developers, for developers, as it were.

I feel soiled. I guess it's just my long-term denial that games are made for money. Of course they are. Of course, as consumers whose $$$ drive the success and failure of millions of products, I suppose it should be no different to be objectively analyzed in the game market, but still..let me rant. (It's good for my blood pressure):

I find it interesting, first of all, that they place this category last in the marketing 'life cycle'--after Decline(my bold):

Niche: Finally, the genre dies in the mainstream market. AAA teams actively avoid the genre and the existing audience for the genres must rely on re-releases or independent games made for love, not money.
Q: Do they honestly think that if a AAA team made a great CRPG, nobody would buy it?
A: No, not enough people to pay the marketing department and CEO's would buy it.

Some of this analysis of genre 'life cycles' is undoubtedly accurate, of course, but it leaves everything out that matters--except how to make money:

Large teams are assembled with the goal of creating products that have a shot at becoming first or second in an established genre. In light of this business strategy, it makes sense that companies tend to value craftsmen designers and developers who are passionate about building incremental improvements within proven genres.
I give up---how can you be passionate about 'building incremental improvements within proven genres"? Craftsmanlike, perhaps. Passionate? I'd reserve that for something a bit more creative.

Some of it is blatant:
Ultimately every game developer must ask “Who is my game’s audience, what are their needs, and how does my game compete?”
Yes, that would be good, but another question might be "Is my game inspired, competent, and fun or is it a piece of bat dung unfit to see the light of day?"

Finally under the "He who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it" category, the conclusion:

The history of CRPGs. This historical article gives a blow-by-blow account of how the computer role playing game genre evolved and fragmented over time. Note the numerous mentions of fan betrayal when the developers change the core mechanics of their titles. Over time, the ‘traditional’ CRPG genre fall into the niche stage and is supplanted by the 2D action RPG (of which Diablo was the genre king) and the 3D action RPG (where Bethesda’s various titles were genre kings).
IMO,There's a flaw in that reasoning. Yes, the traditional CRPG genre has become niche. NO it has not been duplicated, replaced let alone supplanted by action-rpgs. Hey guys, you can't buy what isn't there.

The perception of the market and the 'needs' of the game producers are what have "supplanted" the genre with something they think is the same only better (for them as easier to script,develop and sell) and that we know is not the same thing at all.
Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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