January 29, 2007

Poll #2: What?

The second (and final) poll question of the evening is actually an odd one, given that I'm now out of the industry: If you could pick one thing that you think is broken in the games industry, what would it be and why?

I should probably elaborate. I've got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity coming up very quickly to talk about some of these problems (and potential solutions) in a very public forum, and I'd like to hear your opinions on what you feel are the biggest problems so I can take those into account when I'm preparing my talk.

Please reply in the comments if you want to have your voice heard.


Anonymous said...

Only one? Bah.

The biggest problem in my mind is that publishers appear to be assholes a lot of the time. Unrealistic deadlines, unrealistic expectations, ignoring the requests of developers, etc. Stunting the development of quality games because they don't see the market for it.

I remember reading a developer of Red Orchestra talking about how difficult it was for them to find a publisher who would publish their game the way the devs wanted. Virtually all the publishers they went to said that they needed to modify their game to be more mainstream, and effectively remove all the qualities that makes RO the game it is. Eventually it made its way onto Steam in the form the developers wanted, the game made back its development costs within a week I believe, and the rest is history.

They were sooooo close to not releasing the game at all because those publishers didn't want to publish a game which would have an admittedly small market.

Drogo said...

The industry's attitude toward Work/Life balance. That's the single biggest thing keeping me from ever again considering a job in the industry.

dr.d00m said...

If you're talking specifically in the area of QA then the bottom line problem is the mentality of thinking of a QA position as an "entry level" position in the industry. A properly trained QA engineer can easily replace 4 "d00d, I LOVE playing games" 18 yr old testers in terms of production.

Even more importantly that same properly trained QA engineer can take 4 of those same untrained testers and work with them for a short time and get them trained and working in a way that could easily replace 10 untrained testers who have no guidance/mentoring and also set those of the testers in motion towards being highly trained QA engineers who can sometime down the road continue the pattern for new talent.

On the other hand if you are talking about the industry in general, the real issue is that people in the games industry need to realize that what they are doing really isn't all that important. Get over yourselves, you make games...toys, nothing more, aside from making money the products you make are not terribly important. Just like Hollywood actors the games big wigs need to get over themselves, primadonnas...

Ok so the harsh part being said there is value to games, it just isn't as important as some think and I think those people need to be put in their place.

Rob said...

Money, and how costs are spiralling out of control, especially how it ends up leaving smaller/independent developers in a precarious position.

Francesco Poli said...

Lack of free save. We could wank around for hours and hours about sequelitis or publishers or whatever, but that is a far bigger issue.

Free save is a gamer's undeniable, fundamental right. It is the first amendment to the gamer's constitution, and if gaming is in trouble, that's a bigger issue than any IP issue.

Checkpoints are a crutch that bad game designers use to support poor gameplay and/or substandard length, and they need to go.

(A close second: four hours of unskippable logos and cutscenes that cannot be skipped, I mention this because it's lethal when combined with checkpoints. Can't even begin to count the number of times I was killed by a very difficult boss or section, and had to watch 5 minutes of cutscenes or more just to try again.)

Andrew Timson said...

I haven't worked in the industry; my perspective is solely that of a gamer. But what I think of first when I think of problems in the industry is the lack of communication.

This happens on all levels. Developers don't talk about their games, leaving the public in the dark and the fanbase disinterested. Publishers throw deadlines at developers, without working with them to create a schedule that's flexible (and adapting it when it inevitably slips). And fans don't meaningfully communicate with the developers, instead generally just ranting and raving on forums.

I'm sure there's other examples that I'm forgetting. (Especially within the developer.) But as a whole, that's what I think needs the most improvement…