As AAA hardcore gaming readies itself for a great leap into the next-generation, genuine concerns are being raised by games fans and by industry insiders that a nasty fall awaits.
The costs involved in making profitable, top-notch video games has created a very small niche of companies prepared or able to carry the enormous risks involved. Studios are being closed or radically downsized on a regular basis. Retail console games are operating in an ever-decreasing circle of genres and franchises.
This long console generation is slowly coming to a halt. But with free-to-play in the water, as well as mobile, PC games, and an ever-expanding choice of digital entertainment offerings, the next generation looks to be incredibly risky -- most especially for those who’ll be paying up to $100 million per game release to get on board.
But there can be little doubt that games publishers of the future are going to be making fewer big bets, and placing more of their trust in games experience tells them will turn out just fine. But to survive, AAA gaming cannot long rely on rehashed ideas and predictable experiences. The history of gaming is one big lesson, that old ideas will satisfy for only so long, but that bold new ideas are the ones that carry the day.