Saturday, 3 January 2015

Save The Game

In 2015 we need to #SaveTheGame.

2014 was a turbulent year for the gaming industry and community. It began almost as a blank canvas, with the new consoles sitting in people's living rooms ready for a year of shiny new IPs with shinier graphics. We have had some high notes, but even the biggest new IP of the year Destiny couldn't escape disappointing some. Nintendo had an awful start, with the reveal of their dismal financial report and failure to keep up in the 'console wars'. Many developers and publishers have had their fair share of scrutiny, and there were few weeks where news from the gaming industry did not feature a negative spotlight.

For most of 2014 we have had a snowballing, torrential downpour of controversy surrounding ethics in journalism, sexism, feminism and an absolutely unacceptable storm of perpetuated abuse and hatred towards various groups of people. The arguments and the hashtags have gone through quite a few evolutions but unfortunately the level of negativity has been consistent (and I don't think I need to say much more about this).

Crowdfunding, despite being an important business model for the indie community, resulted in disappointment for many backers as various projects ended abruptly or failed to meet expectations. The poorly managed finances of the Yogventures game arguably being one of the biggest stories, and Double Fine's sudden release of Spacebase DF-9 with a considerably shortened feature list was another. Not to mention a pile of AAA titles which were shipped buggy, and arguably unfinished, raised questions about the moral obligations of developers who offer $60 pre-orders, plus the ethically questionable review embargo's placed upon new releases. 

To top everything off, the new EU VAT regulations (#VATMOSS #VATMESS), have potentially crippled the finances and spirit of many small and independent developer and content creator. Not everything was awful in 2014, but the memory of last year has definitely been tarnished and upstaged by countless other negative events.

2015 needs to be about #SaveTheGame. I want to begin on a high, focusing on how we can make the future months better for all developers, content creators, and individuals who just love playing games. We need to spread a positive message, learn from the mistakes of last year and help each other. 

I propose we all support one another as creative people, nurture the new blood and reassure those who have already given many years to their industry as an indie. Sometimes all it takes is a retweet or a quick post on any social network; so let's support and co-promote each others projects. If all you can afford is a £1 donation to a Kickstarter or Patreon then go for it, you don't always need to meet a reward tier and you can always buy the game later when you can afford it. Talk to each other and if you like the look of a project then tell the developer, they will appreciate it and it could be the small pickup that they need. I don't want anyone to ignore the problems of the gaming industry, and I'm not suggesting you forget about what has happened, but I think it's important that we start spreading a positive message. 

#SaveTheGame is the hashtag I've started using, and I will associate it with all the promotion of my own, my friends and stranger's games, blogs, YouTube channels and any other content in the effort to spread good intention. Feel free to join me in using this, or spread your own message of goodwill but at the very least try to be good to each other. 

Let's have an awesome year. Thanks, and remember to #SaveTheGame. -oP

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