Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Console Wars

Why the "Console Wars" Are Actually Kind of a Good Thing
Which console to choose has been a heated debate since Sega v. Nintendo, and we know who won that battle... The "wars" we see today are Xbox v. PlayStation v. Nintendo v. PC, and from what I see, there is no clear winner. Each has their ups and downs, their goods and bads, but no company (PC isn't a company, so I guess go with Steam) is under duress to sell more consoles or make better games, they're all thriving in the current industry, despite all having their "fanboys/girls" and radicals who say one is superior to the other. But the console wars go far beyond "Well this console has X game" or "X console has better graphics than Y console".

The console wars we know, (Nintendo vs. Sega) started in the early 80's, after the "video game market crash" - there were too many terrible consoles coming out, so the market was crowded and inflation set in. That crash, from what I know, is the only downside to the console wars, and that will never happen again, as Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have the market dominated to the point where no new consoles can enter the industry effectively, look at the Oouya and how disappointing that was (well, they got Towerfall first, and that game is fantastic, so I guess there's that).
The hottest debate nowadays is the Xbox One vs. PS4, each, as I stated earlier, have their ups and downs, but it seems the PS4 is outperforming the Xbox this generation, at least sales-wise. That isn't all people look at when it comes to buying a console, though, other things, like friends, console exclusives, and personal preference are all things to take into account. The biggest effect on the industry as a whole, though, are the console exclusives. These exclusives are seemingly bad, at least for a fan base, take Tomb Raider, for example; a long time PlayStation-centric game was made into an Xbox exclusive. Though only for a year, people are still displeased, I, for one, am not, though. I think this is a good thing, as it is a product of competition. Sony has their Uncharted, Xbox needs their Tomb Raider. Each Uncharted has built on one another, and Xbox never had an equivalent, so they took what was good about Uncharted and made it into their own thing, a Tomb Raider reboot. There is a competition between these two series, and competition breeds excellence. Though a game being exclusive can suck, overall it is better for the gaming industry.
Historically, the console wars have helped the gaming industry in a big way, it has helped evolve the consoles, whether it be how we have seen - in the short amount of time the gaming industry has been around - graphics in games move from polygonal characters and "muddy" textures to what we see now, almost lifelike games or how the consoles have sold better and better over the year, the PS4 and Xbox One are on track to be the two best-selling consoles of all time (currently held by PS2 and Nintendo DS respectively). Over the years, gaming has evolved in a big way and gained popularity, largely to gamers having a choice, whether it be Nintendo, PlayStation, or Xbox. This growth can (probably) be at least partly attributed to the competition of the consoles, each generation iterating on the last and making the newer console bigger and better. This competition has truly bred excellence, as with this generation we got the most powerful consoles we've had yet.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Dev Does Not Necessarily Gaming

Extended Title: Dev Does Not Necessarily Gaming: Why Supporting Your Favorite Creators Is Important in Today's Gaming Industry. 

I've written about Kickstarter before, in the early days of this blog. Since then, my experience with Kickstarter and other crowd-funding sites has expanded to the point where I feel like writing about why it is one of the best ways for indie game devs, independent content creators, and even small companies to get into an industry.

Recently, I have backed a few Kickstarter projects -- Allison RoadFriday the 13th: The Game, and Labyrinth, Collectible Card RPG -- two of which have been a success, Allison Road got picked up by a developer, and Friday the 13th got fully funded. Labyrinth, though not fully funded, is looking like it will hit its goal before the end of the campaign. I also back a few people on Patreon -- The Comedy ButtonJim Sterling, and Kinda Funny Games -- all of those people/channels I watch on a daily basis, so why not help them out?

Kickstarter, Patreon, and other crowd-funding websites are some of the biggest ways you can support your favorite creators or take a chance and put your faith (read: Money) into a developer with a cool idea. Without Kickstarter, we wouldn't have got Pillars of Eternity or Prison Architect, some of the popular Kickstarter games to come out this year.

My point here is not to boast about who I've given money to, but to show the importance of supporting your favorite creators. You like what someone does and have a dollar a month? Give it to them, it helps them keep creating the content you like! Your backing can lead to big things. If you like something, you should support it whether it be music, video games or movies (pirating is bad!).

P.S I might add more to this as time goes on, we'll see how it goes.