EA COO Peter Moore is talking, and that means, somewhere in the world, a gamer is fuming off the top of their head. Never one to dress his thoughts on the state and future of the video game industry, the latest from Moore has him saying that core gamers are too uncomfortable with “change.”
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Moore explains his optimism about the ease and accessibility of this coming generation of video gaming.
“I think we’re going into almost a golden age of gaming, where it doesn’t matter where you are, at any time, any place, any price point, any amount of time, there’s a game available to you. And our job as a company is to provide those game experiences. And then on our big franchises, tie them all together.”
I can get behind that. The Golden Age of Gaming is way behind us though as we move away from a less innocent one pushed by fun and into a more corporate one pushed by profit margins, but that’s beyond the point. Gaming needs to be accessible for the mammoth sized industry it has become, and EA’s “games as a service” approach has filled in those boots with both high and low results.
However, Moore starts stepping on toes when he discusses what is holding the industry back, namely, old time gamers like me and some of our readers who enjoyed just buying a game and putting it in a machine.
“I think the challenge sometimes is that the growth of gaming… there’s a core that doesn’t quite feel comfortable with that,” Moore says.
“Your readers, the industry in particular. I don’t get frustrated, but I scratch my head at times and say, ‘Look. These are different times.’ And different times usually evoke different business models. Different consumers come in. They’ve got different expectations. And we can either ignore them or embrace them, and at EA, we’ve chosen to embrace them.”
The result of these different approaches to video games creates tension. Moore states that there isn’t a problem with video gaming business models,just the general gaming public accepting them because it’s “different.”
“There is a core–controversial statement coming from me, sadly–that just doesn’t like that, because it’s different. It’s disruptive. It’s not the way it used to be. I used to put my disc in the tray or my cartridge in the top, and I’d sit there and play. And all of these young people coming in, or God forbid, these old people coming into gaming!”
Moore goes on to compare video gaming to the music industry and how it must avoid the mistakes that it made at all cost if it wants to grow and change. The man does have a point. This is a different time and age, and the idea of simply buying a game and playing it is sadly in the past. That’s never going to change while the corporate publishers see profits in micro-transactions and free-to-play models.
The change has been a rough one for gamers such as myself, but I have accepted ideas like digital distribution being a better idea than a boxed product in the case of mobile gaming. I’ve come to accept that my favorite publishers can’t take risks and stray too far from the beaten path anymore. No more Parasite Eve or Brave Fencer Musashi from Square or Mega Man Legends or Okami from Capcom. Sorry folks, no money in those kinds of games. Here, have another mobile CCG instead!
Luckily, the indie scene and the lingering stubbornness of Nintendo have made this transition easier and fills in those gaps that the big publishers can’t.
I can accept change, just as long as it is change for the better. I can’t accept change if it leads to favorite franchises of mine sacrificing decades of design to make a quick buck on the free-to-play market. I realize it is the corporate dream to get people to pay a lot while you put little in, but the model for gaming won’t survive if free-to-play devolves into horrendous games like these.
I can’t accept change if you are going to charge premium for smaller games and make us pay more for content that might have been free before, and I won’t accept change and pay full price, DLC and all, for a game at launch if it isn’t even guaranteed to work.
Yes, us old timers need to accept that times are changing, but we shouldn’t do so blindly. The trust needs to be there that this won’t ruin a medium we’ve loved so much since its inception, and quite frankly, that trust is not our responsibility to make.