Consoles Need To Embrace The Indie Scene More
The growth of mobile and social platform gaming cannot be ignored. They have effortlessly persuaded people who would not normally play games to become obsessed gaming addicts, fueled by a level of accessibility that no console can counter.
Video game consoles age and age quickly. In the current technological climate, the ever-growing forces of technological advancement degrade their worth as a gaming platform.
I am not referring to a console’s graphical capabilities. The growth of the indie scene over the past 24 months proves that graphics really mean nothing in the bigger scheme of things.
Rather, I am referring to a console’s inability to embrace the social platform, an aspect of society that has grown beyond the reaches of any major console manufacturer.
None of the current consoles on the market are designed to embrace social networking, nor are their markets large enough to justify social network implementation.
The counter argument here is that social networks and mobile platforms appeal to a very broad mainstream audience, and that this isn’t good for gaming. It’s quite the contrary, as a larger market means more games, which can only point to a larger selection.
Each market is divided into sub-markets, if you will, categorized as the typical hardcore and casual gamer, as well as the illustrious non-gamer. It would be ludicrous if not all market’s are effectively researched and delved into.
The biggest problem here is that the indie scene -- that is, the scene that is appealing to a larger market than the three major consoles do put together -- is being neglected by console manufacturers and license holders, despite the industry being in the midst of an indie renaissance.
The reason for this is because the consoles, as powerful and big as they are, are not sufficient platforms for small games like the ones we see from indie developers. That is not a good thing.
Furthermore, publishers and console manufacturers seem intent on ignoring the indie scene, whilst attempting to grab hold of a market that is being pushed into the social and mobile platform corner.
The casual market – that is, the market Nintendo helped create with the Wii – has moved on from the home console and is now playing the Farmville’s and Angry Bird’s of the world. The Wii was a gimmick, and its terrible software sales a mere three years after its launch proved its worth amongst casual audiences.
The current generation of consoles is running on fuel left over from the Wii juggernaut. That market doesn’t dictate a high-quality of games, and yet it’s the only market the indie scene is open to development for, fueled by a roadblock that stops them developing for consoles.
But what about Kinect? Microsoft’s intention was merely to offer incentive for non-gamers to buy the console, and this is part of the reason why software for the device is so limited.
Now, twice as many people own a 360 than before, although Xbox Live participation and software sales haven’t jumped as significantly as one would expect after such high Kinect sales.
It’s arguably all about appealing to a mainstream audience now, but the problem is that the consoles are too big and expensive to really sustain any long and valuable market that the industry can benefit from. It’s not just about getting non-gamers to buy your platform, but rather about turning them into genuine gamers that care about the content.
Indie developers don’t really want the support of big publishers, because they see the direction of the industry and the corruption of unique IP’s. The PS3 might have a stellar lineup of exclusives in 2011, but the console still offers no incentive for a development scene that is screaming for attention.
The problem is that consoles help form the foundation of a society’s definition of a video game, despite the fact they no longer accurately represent what gamers what: originality.
By Gaetano Prestia
Do you think support for indie gamers is sufficient within the industry? Is the growth and importance of indie games being ignored by the big three console players?