Perhaps it would be best for you not to be successful in game industry

Everybody wants to make money and be successful, right? Well, outside the game industry that seems to the ruling idea. Not only the game industry hates success, but it seems that people who play games hate successful games too.

Wired had an article on Flappy Bird and it’s short history. As someone who doesn’t give two shits about mobile PC gaming, which is different form handheld gaming, Flappy Bird went under my radar, thou I have seen it being played almost everywhere. The article nicely states how the game industry, or the people who call themselves as the game industry journalist, have no goddamn idea what the hell is going on or what makes a game successful. Any casual bystander can tell you why; It’s fun.

What makes Flappy Bird fun is that it’s  simple and wants you to keep trying again and again. The game is hard, but not impossible. It rewards you for trying again, and you feel the joy of getting one more point.

It follows the same simple principles that early arcade games did that paved way to the game revolution. The Best games have always spawned from simple ideas with great execution. Flappy Bird has both. After trying the game with a friend’s phone, I can’t say but the game isn’t doing nothing wrong.

Because Flappy Bird became a success, the game industry hates it. It does not go with the grand vision of video games the game industry and the game industry journalist have. Flappy Bird shows how out of touch the industry is from the general consumer. Flappy Bird, for all intents, hit the Blue Ocean once it took wind. A great product will sell itself. Word of mouth is the most strongest way anyone can have his product out there. TV commercials are for propaganda, inside-industry reviews lie and are worthless pieces of garbage, random pop-ups are annoyance and practically everybody have AdBlockers installed in order NOT to see the banner ads. I hope you have yours on while you’re reading this blog. But when a friend tells another about a good product, and this person tells to three people and these three tell to three… it explodes. Social media allows one person to spread his views on a subject like a wildfire. Naturally, advertisers use this method to virally get their own propaganda out, but in many cases they’re way too overt, especially on forums and image boards.

Flappy Bird didn’t became  a hit through bots as some suggest. It was just a simple and addictive game to play that didn’t took too much attention away. It could be whipped out, played for a moment and then put back. It’s a happy person’s game, someone who wants to play a little here and there. It isn’t a game you spend sixteen hours of watching some awful Lord of the Rings or Star Wars copy living itself out, but something that is active for that short burst of time again and again. Not that people couldn’t sink multiple hours in it in one go, but then we’d had to question other things with this person.

I am sad to notice that Dong Nguyen got flak from the industry and the users. However, perhaps all the attention was unwarranted. The product speaks more than the actions of the person who made it in most cases. Nguyen seems to be a happy fella that wanted to have his dreams come true is some way, but modern game industry doesn’t allow people like him to become a success, not with a game like Flappy Bird. That is sad and wrong. I wish the game industry will have a time, when products are allowed to become successful, to go against the self-destructive behaviour it has nowadays. Flappy Bird wasn’t a million dollar Tripple A game, but it’s success was nevertheless in the same calibre, or even higher when you take notice the amount of time it was out and the resources that must’ve cost Nguyen to develop the game.

Shouldn’t the game industry follow the same model; simpler, more addictive games with lower production cost and yet with great gameplay? Ah, you’re right dear reader. It costs millions to develop a game nowadays, and to make those millions make more millions back in return takes years and hundreds and hundreds of workers in order to put out a game that will shatter screen with their 4k high-definition visuals and 7.1 sound that has music licensed from the most popular bands. Then there’s this one guy who makes a game with something like five bucks and starts raking fifty thousand bucks per day for it.

I bought a used Nintendo 64 recently. I have no interests in the current console generation, so I decided to give the N64 a chance. Yet, whenever I recheck what games I might want to hunt down, I always dismiss the same games; StarFox 64, Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong64, Pilotwings 64… I have no interest in majority’s of Nintendo’s N64 library, because they are those multimillion games that barely make their budget back. The games I seem to have most interest are games like Bomberman, Mischief Makers and Robotron 64, games that are more about that similar arcade-style get-in-get-out mentality than Super Mario 64. There’s few exclusives that I want to check out, namely Super Robot Wars 64, but all of these games are exclusivities that have no staying power or attraction outside selected group of people.

Flappy Birds is an anti-thesis of N64 and its games, and it seems the more anti-N64 a game or a console is, the more successful it will be. I hope Nintendo will be moving towards NES and Wii kind of gaming in the future with Wii U now that they have admitted that the problem with Wii U is the quality of the games. Well, if you want to sell games more, the quality needs to be up there, up to the infamous Nintendo Seal of Quality. Perhaps Nintendo or some other company may want to employ Nguyen for their game department and listen to him. He might have some nice insights that have been long lost from the industry. He might as well end up spouting same indy garbage about art most indy devs do.

It’s a sad situation when I want the game industry be successful, and the industry then shuns the successful people away. All I can ask is What the fuck is wrong with you?

CAPCOM going mobile Wait What?

So CAPCOM’s taking all profits they managed to gain from Monster Hunter 4 sales into a brand new, 4 billion yen mobile game development studio. The question is why?

Before I go into a full on rant how they should have put the money into developing the next Monster Hunter game, let’s take a look why did CAPCOM decide to go this way.

First of all, mobile development is relatively cheap. You can churn out mobile games in somewhat fast pace, but then again you shouldn’t take three years to develop a game anyway.  The same applies to portable gaming, and seeing that the 3DS has been slowly gaining some actual sales , portable games are a valid choice if done right. The problem here is that very, very few games on mobile market become successful despite the amount of downloads. Majority of the downloaded games on mobile phones are downloaded free, because why the hell would you pay two euros for a game you can play for free with some ad popping up? Why should anyone pay anything for a Bewellled copy when there’s dozen others already made for free?

To make a successful mobile game is a whole different world from either home or portable gaming. It’s a world, where the cheapest shit with best value can become successful, but not always. Angry Birds didn’t just pop up in right place and in right time, but it was a game based on time tested mechanics that worked on a smarthphone and tablet screen. It has relatively interesting visual design, that was easy to franchise. This kind of lighting can be repeated, if done correctly, but seeing that nobody has even tried to topple Angry Bird’s place from being one of the most well known mobile game, we can only assume that the game industry doesn’t know what to do with mobile games or how to do them.

Not surprising thou. The same industry tells Nintendo to stop making 2D Mario games even thou they sell. Speaking of Nintendo, remember when they did make games for other systems? Those were the good days.

Secondly, because the mobile development is cheap, on the long run it doesn’t eat too much money if it is successful, thus the money gained from it can be redirected into home and portable console markets. Thus, the money gained from Monster Hunter 4 can be applied to the possible Monster Hunter 5, but only if the mobile division becomes successful relatively quickly.

This seems to be reasoning for CAPCOM to put the new studio up. I hope they’re not aiming for a quick buck here, because they actually would need to do some serious work here, and that’s something that CAPCOM has not been very good at lately.

Now, how good idea is this ultimately? Depends really what CAPCOM does to make it succeed. I haven’t heard any of the major game companies having much success in the mobile market, which tells that the market either is hard to penetrate, the market itself is misunderstood or that the market is just a hyperbole bubble.

The mobile market is a bit different from what the game industry is used to handle. It’s weird, but I’ll try to open a little bit it’s as weird as it is. The machines themselves are computers with a different interface. That’s nothing difficult in itself, but they’ve specialised in a large amounts for specific kind of entertainment. These are things like video streaming and point-touch based games, eg. Minesweeper to mention two examples. All these can be done on PC to large and arguable better extent, so approaching the mobile market from the PC market would seem to be the best answer, right? Most successful games on mobile platforms have been PC game variants to large extension, like the aforementioned Angry Birds. Then you have slew of other games that base themselves around the idea of mouse control, but here it’s called touch controls.

However, most of game companies tend to approach the mobile game market from another direction and place games like Grand Theft Auto 3 for sale on various systems. Sure, it plays but the question is whether or not it plays well enough to warrant its stay on a system that barely has any controls? The touchscreen/ mouse controls are best when they’re kept simple and easy. Well, that goes for everything really, but especially with mouse. While multitouch is an interesting option to play with, you can never get the same performance out of eg. iPad touch screen and a game controller. They’re too different things. Of course, the smartphones and pads nowadays have the option to buy a separate controller, but that’s going beside the point and the intended design of having just the screen in your hands and nothing else. If a game for the mobile market is designed to take advantage of a game controller in the first place, then it should appear on systems that use a controller rather than just a touchscreen.

Because of the origin and how the mobile market has become to be, and still is, it’s a separate entity that does not directly compete with the handheld game console market, that’s pretty much in Nintendo’s control.  SONY barely has any part in it, and Microsoft it automatically in the third place for not having a portable gaming console, which is just for the better if all signs are to be considered.

As the mobile market is more mainstream than the current handheld market (things were different during DS after the second year) people are still willing to buy a dedicated machine for a thing. Most pads I know are used just like any laptop would be, ie. somewhat stripped down mobile desktop computer, but game consoles have always been just for games. I used to see people playing a DS here and there, but thus far I haven’t seen one person who wasn’t by friend using their 3DS anywhere. The 3DS doesn’t interest people not because the mobile market exist, but rather than the handheld market doesn’t cater their wants and needs, and lacks the things to grasp their attention.

How does a game company, that has developed arcade and console games for decades, enter the mobile market? With great difficulties. CAPCOM’s Rockman Xover was received with large negative reception, and unlike most of their dead games, CAPCOM just continues on making content for a game nobody wanted.

Speaking of mobile games, damn âge for cancelling that mobile Muv-Luv themed card game. It looked delicious.