Moving to a new city, it's sometimes hard to get acclimated. Typically, I try to find a couple staples: local boardgame store, a good retro videogames store, comic shop, dog park, a few good restaurants, that kind of thing. There is a period where you are searching, making guesses really, to find out what a locale has to offer. In the last few months, I've done alright with most of these endeavors, but one: a solid videogame shop. It started to get me thinking about how I purchase games, how it's changed over time and why I may want to think about my habits.
Certainly a solution would be to buy all of the available platforms, but this is not economically feasible for most. Gamers are put into a context where we limit our choice in marketplaces by investing in hardware, then are asked to invest again in a game or franchise. This isn't a problem unless the games cost several million to make. This leads to a cyclical progression where some great games don't have great sales (due to low install base, poor market timing, poor advertizing, etc) until the after-market or not at all, and consistent franchises continue to get released because the risk to develop them is relatively low. Creative developers are in a position where they will only get to make a sequel if their previous titles sales can satisfy a quote. Motivation for many businesses is data driven, where it should sometimes only be data informed. But the gamers are the participants, we are the engine of this machine. How, where, when and from who we buy our games shapes and changes this market landscape. And the landscape that we live in demands us to make choices. Digital or Physical? Online or brick-and-mortar?
���� Most people can tell which way the wind will blow, but until that happens, we're stuck in transition. Steam is one of the greatest "platforms" to be developed to date, but if Good Old Games has it, I'm going over there. Nintendo works with Best Buy to sell you eShop Cash at 20% off so that Best Buy can get foot traffic and Nintendo gets more profit from digital sales. Playstation Plus is giving away free games every month! It's amazing! But you have better make sure you keep your subscription going. I know a few people that love their XboxOne to death, yet live with an anxious tremble at the thought of cutting their Xbox360 umbilical cord (it's the, "if you aren't using it, get rid of it" thing often heard from loved ones). Purchasing a new console shouldn't be done under duress due to lack of space, purging the old, and industry pressures to buy what's new. It's a weird place right now to be a gamer.
���� But at the same time, I think our purchasing decisions have a greater impact now than they did 10 years ago.Voting with our cash, so to speak, is something these businesses take notice of.
���� What is it about this current gaming landscape that gets you excited? Or bewildered? Or cautious? Games are becoming artifacts. Pretty soon, if you're interested in getting some older games, you'll probably feel like this guy. Or you'll go dumpster diving around a GameStop.
Respect the Dumpster.
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