23 January 2009

Games Industry = Epic Fail.

In an interview with Gamasutra, Peter Molyneux reflected on an era of broken dreams and untapped potential.

"I would say, to a great extent, we in the development community have really let this industry down. Because I wouldn't say there were exponentially more people playing computer games today than there were when Game Developers Conference first started. Fifteen years ago? Twenty years ago? It's been quite a while.

When it seems to me that the number of people that use computer games as entertainment isn't getting exponentially bigger. Although the market is getting bigger, and we're selling eight million units.

But I've been really thinking about, I remember back in the early eighties... when Clive Sinclair in England released the Sinclair Spectrum.

And he famously said, "Every home in Britain will have one of these, and people won't watch television anymore, they will play computer games." That was a dream that was put forth in the seventies, when this thing had 1K of RAM -- and for a little while, we all believed that."

Strong words from Mr. Molyneux.

Despite its seniority, the Gaming Industry indeed remains infantile when compared to the other entertainment industries. The Wii's recent successes notwithstanding, videogames are still very much a niche industry, with very few mainstream standouts ['Wii Sports' and 'Wii Fit' are the only two that really spring to mind]. Compare that with the movie and music industries, both of which maintain a steady stream of major releases all year round, and it appears that Gaming has a long way to go.

The more I hear from Molyneux, the more I think he should be developing Wii games:

"Now, there seems to be this big barrier that exists. And I was actually just in the shops, down here -- I'd forgotten to bring a shirt -- and I was talking to the bloke who's selling me a shirt, and he said: "Aw, I don't play computer games. Because I'm not good enough. I can't get my head round this thing. [Molyneux holds up an Xbox 360 controller.] Every time I do it, I hit my head against a wall."

Too many characters, too many characters!!!

So he openly acknowledges that the X360 controller is alienating, and yet his Fable series appears exlusively on Xbox consoles. Obviously there's other reasons for these decisions [Lionhead is an in-house developer for starters], but ultimately I'm sure he could afford to leave and take his ideas with him.

"You know, I think you can already see that games are being made that are making inroads in [bridging casual and core games], but unfortunately, they're not quite as obvious. Maybe they are, when you think about it. Wii Sports is a huge step to bring casual gamers and hardcore players together."

Surprising comments for someone who once counted himself amongst the Wii's biggest detractors.

Do you agree with Mr. Molyneux? Is the Gaming Industry behind, a shadow of what it should be? Will Sinclair's vision ever be realised? Post your thoughts below.

No comments:

Post a Comment