I was pointed to this article on JoeUser.com from the creator of Galactic Civilizations and other stratagy games. It’s a typical blast of the PC gaming industry and it’s habits of releasing buggy, incomplete games, and then patching them later.
He goes into the history of his company, Stardock and how over the years they have lost out on so much in royalties from their publishers that this fear of “piracy” killing the industry is nowhere near correct. He envisions a future with more direct marketing via the internet and downloadable games available that are complete and don’t require a ton of patches to get right, but are done correct the first time out.
I’m torn with the idea of downloading newer games. While I do it currently and will in the future, I like the idea of a physical copy of a more major game purchase. I don’t mind having downloadable copies of puzzle games from say, Popcap, but if I were to want to get the latest Fallout, or Doom, I want a physical copy of all of the game. I want my CD there on the shelf or in a binder, and my key ready to go, instead of digging around or re-downloading the game and trying to find out where my e-mailed key was or if it still even is on the face of the earth.
And in a way, the CD’s represent my “library.” When I go over to someone’s house I find myself looking at their books on the shelf, and if they are a gamer, what games they have. That is one thing I like about console games, is that your library of games is there to see, and be commented on. “Oh, you have Metroid Prime? What did you think of the first person changes to the game?” I like having my gaming tastes being shown. You look at my games and you can see what I play.
Problem is, I like the idea of self publishing, and the way the internet can be a way around the retail racket. The way profit for the little guys can be had without selling their souls, and filling up landfills with oversized boxes that are just thrown away anyways. But it is always tempered with the fact that I would never want to give up my Fallout 2 manual and it’s humor, nor would I want a PDF of the Star Control 2 map that I have.
There is a balance somewhere, and I suppose the industry is going to find it, or at least it had better. The console is booming and knocking down the castle that PC gaming had for so many years. Where’s it going? Guess we’ll wait and see.