This has become a growing problem for the industry in general. These truly are dark times for gaming in general.
As you guys (should) know by now, Gamers are experts of their particular interest: They thoroughly research video games as soon as they’re announced at events like E3, BlizzCon, PAX and ComiCon. The learn everything they can about a video game well before the game’s release even if the release is almost a year away. Like movies, video games are usually released in different regions at different times. In part it’s so supply can keep up with demand but also so the release is during holiday periods in specific regions (such as Christmas) to maximize profit yields. World of Warcraft expansions, Call of Duty and the main Pokemon Games are ALWAYS released in the fall (October or November) in North America for this reason.
Of course, since 95% of all video game making companies are based in Japan–Microsoft and Blizzard aren’t the only western game developers on that note–games are usually released in Japan first. The console makers are pretty good about simultaneously releasing new consoles in multiple regions, usually Japan, North America and sometimes Europe. That said, Europe and Australia are usually the last to get new games due to European games needing to be multilingual. The primary six languages in Europe being English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch and Italian.
Times have changed from what many call the Golden Age of Gaming (Late 1980s to early 2000s): Namely the internet. We live in an age where information is literally at your fingertips. Unlike the days of relying on monthly gaming magazines, the internet changed the game. GameFAQs.com, Serebii.net, Serenes Forest, Court Records and MMO-Champion are the five video game-related websites I visit at least once every day. In the case of GameFAQs, that site has been around since the mid-90s. I have had that site bookmarked since 1998. If you play video games, you’re crazy not to make use of that website.
Back in the day, we had to rely on pictures in magazines for video game footage. Thanks to “Let’s Play” videos and Twitch, anyone can see gameplay footage online without owning a single game or console. That’s fine and all but at the same time, it’s created an entitlement mentality with many gamers who feel since they’ve “seen” the game or Beta tested it or played the demo, this automatically means they should get a free copy. This sentament is growing at an alarming rate on alot of high-profile gaming websites including some of the sites I mentioned above. Hence, some gamers are turning to piracy. These Gamers want it both ways and in reality, that’s neither realistic or equitable for the industry in general.
More and more game developers are making the jump to mobile games. Bethesda’s Fallout Shelter has proven to be very profitable for the company though for now their focus is still on making games for consoles and the PC. Nintendo announced earlier this year it would start making mobile games as well. In fact, Pokemon Shuffle was recently released on moble playforms in Japan as a test market. Pokemon Shuffle, along with Pokemon Rumble World is a Free to Play game and both were originally released on the Nintendo 3DS earlier this year. Steel Driver Sub Wars and Pushmo are two other Free to Play games that are sure to be ported to moble platforms in the near future.
Getting back on topic, while I don’t believe piracy alone is at fault for the state of the industry, it certainly IS a factor. Not just current games both older games and consoles, too. That said, I do have illegit digital copies of select games from older platforms on my computer (SNES, Genesis, NES, etc.) but I also have physical copies of them and legit digital copies via Playstation Network, Virtual Console and/or Xbox Live. In short: I have several copies of a handful of games.
The difference myself and my buddies at Fantasy Anime have with those demanding handouts for games they just DON’T want to pay for but still want to play is I actually support the industry with my money. 99% of the video games I own I bought with my own money. Ironically, 100% of the games I pirated I have since bought.
The interesting thing is the pirates are right about one thing: Sometimes, piracy can beneficial to the industry. Digital downloads are what I’m talking about. Online stores including Steam and the three console ones I mentioned above were created in part thanks to Piracy websites. 65% of the video games I’ve bought since February 2014 I bought DIGITALLY so…yeah. That said, digital downloads are here to stay. Backwards compatability in the last few consoles is another byproduct of open source emulators. It adds shelf life to games from the previous platform which means more money for stores. A total win-win.
The way I see it: You don’t deserve to enjoy a game if you’re not willing to for it. It’s that simple.
…Look forward to Part 2 =D