The Outsource Of Evil
Posted on Thursday, March 9 @ 16:22:03 Eastern by Joe_DodsonOh my God, it's getting bigger! But it's not a tumor, it's the video game industry. According to this article I found while browsing joystiq.com, the looming transition from current to next-gen consoles will make our Trapper Keeper-like industry more expensive to feed than ever before.
Most of the article is put in economic terms we barely understand ourselves, so to make things a bit clearer we've tried to put the situation in a more familiar vernacular - that of a zombie pandemic.
The article says that "rising art requirements and the requisite support for high definition" are factors that could lead to a 50% increase in game production costs, or the financial equivalent of a full-blown zombie apocalypse. Through outsourcing, publishers and developers hope to limit that to only 20% - still dangerous, but only likely to kill the workforces of a couple small towns.
But like a hastily-boarded window, the article claims outsourcing will only provide a temporary fix, ultimately doing little to stall the impending dawn of the dead. From there on out, consumers will see "rising prices" and the "continued suppression of the number of new titles in development." In other words, expect more games like Fantastic Four, at twice the price, and fewer like Shadow of the Colossus. The horror!
Things will thusly shamble on, says the piece, until we see "an increase of financing into the games services sector, and a number of new market entrants." In zombie terms, the video game industry will step up and kick zombie ass only after the National Guard comes in and starts handing out awesome flame-throwers for free.
Outsourcing itself is no big shock, but considering that this industry was started by teams of four or five guys building classics in garages, it's a shame that outrageously overblown production has dominated the seemingly lost art of sheer game design. I doubt it took a staff of fifty programmers and artists to make Lumines.
The article says this will be beneficial to the industry, but it's going to suck for you and me. Due to the inflated costs of game manufacturing, publishers already favor proven formulas over new ideas, and the stakes aren't nearly as high as they will be. This means you'll have to pay more and more for video games that differ from one another less and less. With a future like that, who needs a zombie apocalypse?
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