Are Big Companies Killing the Video Game Industry

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We all like to play new and innovative games with a good storyline. The big names in gaming- EA, Ubisoft, Blizzard etc- have a very big problem nowadays. They are so deep into the corporate world that, for earning money, they sacrifice the most important part of a game- Story and Gameplay in that order. The situation is grim with most of the AAA games making it to only mediocre reviews because of lackluster elements. In recent years we have seen quite a few problems with big companies releasing simply bad games:

Disappointing Games:

This is probably the most distressing fact about the games in recent years. Games such as Assassin’s Creed Unity, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Watch Dogs, The Crew all were over-hyped and went down the trash can. AC Unity especially, it didn’t even deserve the ratings (According to me it was overrated even at 7.2 by IGN). There were so many problems like, incomprehensible bugs which affected the gameplay many times, bad story, graphics like a disney movie (Personal opinion) and no relation to the Assassin-Templar war, that I didn’t even play 5 hours of the game properly.

AC Unity was full of bugs at launch
AC Unity was full of bugs at launch

Call of Duty was not bad but I am fed with the same type of story every time in a different location and with different characters. Watch Dogs *sigh* no comments Ubisoft. It really feels like they said they were going to the moon and after they returned they showed us a photo of Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969. What Ubisoft had shown in the trailer back in 2012 and what they released were miles apart. And the gameplay wasn’t satisfying either.

No Replay:

None of the games released recently have the slightest hint of what gamers call ‘Replay Value’. The companies are so much focused on earning money  through multiplayer that they do not put in effort to make the single player campaigns worth our while. Two very recent games that failed are The Order: 1886 which had a very short story and Batman: Arkham Knight which did not get as much critical acclaim as Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and on top of that, was broken on the PC ports. It may have gotten 87 on Metacritic but most of the critics are not in the least satisfied. All of these games barely grazed the 80’s on Metacritic.

The Order 1886 took a total of 10 hours to complete. Too short for a full retail game.
The Order 1886 took a total of 10 hours to complete. Too short for a full retail game.

Very few games so far in 2015 and I may as well say 2014 have crossed 90 except Bloodborne which is from the creators of Dark Souls series and Witcher 3, which has become one of the best games ever without being a AAA title and having no multiplayer.

The Indie Zone:

Surprisingly, small games what we call ‘Indie’ games are doing pretty well. Partly because they have the ‘Fun Factor’ and partly because they are not bound by hundreds of focus group suggestions. Games like Kerbal Space Program do well in spite of being from smaller companies as they have new and creative content.

Smaller, lesser known game studios have produced more fun games like Apotheon
Smaller, lesser known game studios have produced more fun games like Apotheon

These companies do not hype up their games and are not under the pressure of market statistics and take risks which many a times succeed. And as usual silly big companies buy them out and start making games of their own.

The Freemium Model:

Micro transactions are good for games which have a low buying cost, but it becomes irritating when we already buy a 60$ game and then we have to add another 50$ for its DLC’s and in-game purchases such as guns, character upgrades etc. That’s plain business even to a newcomer’s eyes. Let us take Pop Cap. They released Plants vs Zombies which became a fan favorite and was free and pretty enjoyable. Then EA went ahead and bought Pop Cap and made Plants vs Zombies 2 a freemium. Though you could complete the game without actually buying anything in-game, they had bundles worth 5$ and that reduced its fan base. EA’s chief financial said that:

“We’re building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, whatever it might be . . . Consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business.”

Plants Vs. Zombies was a fan favorite, UNTIL it was bought by EA and converted into a Freemium game
Plants Vs. Zombies was a fan favorite, UNTIL it was bought by EA and converted into a Freemium game

Now let’s talk about the big games. Lets talk Destiny. We all know that destiny is not that great a game when it comes to single player. Whatever it has is due to its multiplayer. It is a 60$ game from which we expect some decent content. But it’s DLC’s put together cost more than the game itself including the passes and all such stuff. Now who would like to buy small things for 20$ unless you are so much engrossed in it and want to miss out on nothing.

It seems that those days are gone when we gained something from pure skill and worked hard to getting it. This somehow doesn’t feel rewarding at all, if we see it as a gamer. And making micro transactions a trend will not please the general people all over the world. Another game with a similar situation was Evolve with all the DLC’s costing about 150$ including the game . Not many are there who are willing to pay an additional 20$-60$ after buying a 60$ game.

Misleading:

Now let’s have a look at the past few E3’s of 2012, 2013 and 2014. We all saw games which had breathtaking visuals and particle quality, though most of them were set at ultra quality. Still we expect something of a resemblance of what we see. With release of in-game footage a year or two before the actual release, people start expecting more of the game and the developers, due to certain problems have to downgrade the visuals. One of the major reasons for the downgrade is that the current gen consoles have mediocre hardware and that does not help in the making of games flawlessly. But only CD Project Red came out and was vocal about the complains about the Witcher 3 graphics downgrade, otherwise Ubisoft and EA dont seem to care about it at all.

CD Projekt Red and Witcher 3 have proven that the old school method of immersive gameplay and content still rule.
CD Projekt Red and Witcher 3 have proven that the old school method of immersive gameplay and content still rule.

VERDICT

Smaller companies like Konami are able to provide better visuals and better gameplay without using marketing softwares like Gameworks and Phyx. But yet most ‘Noobs’ still say/believe EA or Ubisoft is the better developer which doesn’t help the company. We can also see it in the way, that these companies have established themselves as giants and it would take a lot to dethrone them. And till they keep releasing games of their successful franchises, they will give smaller companies a lot of trouble. But if a smaller company comes up with a totally new idea and better visuals, it will easily dethrone these big companies which have lost their charm among those who have been playing games for the past 10 years. And I hope this happens soon because I’m bored of the repetition of games.

What do you think of EA, Ubisoft and Activision. Do you agree that they are not good for the gaming industry, or are they a necessary evil, or are they not evil at all. Let us know in the comments.

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