The Games Industry is Not Dying

The Games Industry is Not Dying

Humans are grim little animals with a fixation on decimation and destruction. We’re always thinking about the inevitable nuclear war that will end us, or the next killer plague, or the next meteor strike. When we’re not talking death, we chatter about smaller disasters. For instance, people have been predicting the next Video Game Crash of 1983 since Mario came hopping and bopping onto the NES in 1986.

Numerous factors contributed to the 1983 crash, which killed the gaming market for a few years, at least in America. Chief among the reasons for the crash was a lot of poor marketing decisions: Atari made several boneheaded moves, like manufacturing a stack of 12 million Pac-Man cartridges for the Atari 2600 with the assumption that every single 2600 owner would pick up a copy, in addition to two million more consumers who would pick up the system and a copy of the game.

Game companies usually don’t make these kinds of beautiful mistakes anymore, though other threats crop up often to poison the modern industry’s health. There’s the ailing state of the industry in Japan, mass layoffs at game developers, the economic downturn, and a creeping realization that maybe there is nothing new under the sun except a whole pile of sequels and remakes.

Things seemed especially gloomy for the industry this year. The Wii boom seemingly petered out, and Apple and Android are poised to change everything we thought we knew about video games. “Oh God, it’s all over,” we moaned.

Except it’s not. After eight months of declining sales across the whole industry, sales of hardware and software are up 8%. Once again, Captain Christmas has come through, boosted by his sidekick, Microsoft Kinect. Even Nintendo is doing quite okay, with 1.27 million Wiis sold through November 2010. And system/game sales will almost undoubtedly be higher in December after parents throw up their hands at their original notion of a traditional, gift-free Christmas, cave in, and buy a PlayStation 3.

Chalk up another year where we’ve worked ourselves into a froth over the state of the industry, only to learn that everything is pretty okay. No, things aren’t perfect, and the industry will always be in a state of flux–especially as downloadable games fight increasingly vicious battles with retail titles for the prize of the player’s attention. But as long as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo can hold off on manufacturing two consoles for every human being on planet Earth, maybe the games industry will hold on for just one more year.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

1 Comments

  1. if, in 30 years or more, we want to be proud of what we have done as gamers so the industry will not be this mess that it is right now.
    First we must change how video games are sold.
    We need a broader demographic, we can’t rely on our fanboyism and keep defending “nintendo, microsoft, sony, sega or whatever the hell company is your favourite” like they’re the origin of life. Selling a video game for 2000 dollars in some countries is not the answer. We also need to stop with exclusivity and how every couple of years we get a new console or some new shit for it.
    You don’t see other, more successful, medias, like movies, for example, selling their products on a “oh, this game is only for this new console that just came up and it costs the price of your soul” policy. You don’t see the movie industry doing that. You don’t see a movie being released for just a few select dvd players, do you?
    This only shows us that the gaming industry is a money grabbing no good piece of shit.
    If video games are to be considered a true form of art, it still needs to be much more democratic than it is, and selling gimmicky shit every year is not the way

Leave a Reply