Gamer's Grasp: Being the bad guy
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:07
Rumors recently have surfaced that powerhouse gaming publisher Electronic Arts may be in negotiations of a buyout by Tokyo-based online game company Nexon, and that Nintendo recently reported their biggest loss in decades. Though not connected, these rumors do give off the impression that the business behind the game industry may be facing some uncertain times.
In a report released late last week, it was revealed Nintendo lost $533 million dollars in the latest fiscal year Nintendo is going through a transition period with their consoles, as this has been the first full year the 3DS has been on the market. And as the launch of WiiU approaches, the Wii will soon be singing its swan song
On Electronic Arts’ end, while they may not be facing the financial woes of Nintendo, they don’t seem to be faring well with their consumers.
Earlier this month, Consumer Report’s subsidiary the Consumerist had crowned the publisher as “The worst company in America” based on more than 250,000 votes. According to the Consumerist, the mega-publisher tends to “nickel and dime consumers to death.”
News like this is a downer, as it gives companies that back enjoyable games a negative persona. Electronic Arts is the publisher of many fan-favorite series, such as Mass Effect and Dead Space. While it’s easy to view corporations as evil, the reality is that if they do poorly the games they provide will suffer.
When it comes to game sales, it’s always easier to see things from the developer’s point-of-view and to feel sympathy towards studios who are working tirelessly to put out a quality product, and nothing towards the corporations.
Third-party game developers such as Double-Fine and smaller independent developers have found solace in backing sites such as KickStarter, seeing it as a means to develop games without the hassle of going through a publisher. In theory this is great idea, and opens the door for many up-and-coming game developers, but also opens a lot of problems. A major risk being behind the proactive itself as backers essentially vote with their wallet by buying a game before it is finished, or even before development. It’s taking the role of the publisher, the company with the money to invest in these projects because it’s their job, to the consumers.
Though it may be nice to see companies like Electronic Arts flounder about as they grapple with unhappy costumers and Nintendo trying to gain control of their earnings, it’s important to take a step back and see how the failure of one aspect of the industry affects everything else. The health of the industry depends on the heath of all its facets, consumers, developers and publishers. At the end of the day, corporations are simply huge, successful, and efficient businesses. If they go under, it’s a safe bet that that’ll drag the entire industry down with them.