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E3

Whilst the rest of the British Isles was celebrating the Jubilee and its various events, the beginning of this week was about an entirely different show for me.

Monday was the beginning of E3 the annual LA convention for all things computer games, in my world this is the biggest event of the year.

Sadly it was somewhat of a disappointment.

There was no PS4 or Xbox 720, although to be fair that was fairly established before the event, there wasn’t even a showing from GTA. All in all much like last year’s E3 it was a bit of a letdown.

The fact that just about every trailer, gameplay video or new feature had been leaked a few days before didn’t help, hell if I had been lucky enough to go, much as I would have enjoyed both the experience and LA sunshine, as a Gamer I would have felt pretty let down.

Microsoft delivered what has over the last few years become their staple of non gaming content, a few casual games and some promotions of multi format titles.

Nintendo once again teased the Wii U but didn’t really give us anything apart from some social media crap, a “name” for the imaginatively titled “Wii U Gamepad” and confirmed that some games that are already out on other systems or will be coming to other existing systems will also be available on their new console.

And my personal favourite Sony, failed to deliver on their newest piece of hardware although did manage a little bit of wow factor with The Last of Us and Beyond.

The show much as last year was dominated but yet more sequels, don’t get me wrong some of them look awesome, but I was really hoping for something special and it simply didn’t deliver.

The games industry seems to have forgotten the gamer, its sole purpose nowadays is to churn out yet another Mass Market Sequel or flood the market with yet more casual crap to try and buy into the Ipad generation.

Sure mobile gaming is a problem that all current publishers and developers need to tackle head on, and it would be business crazy to not try and get in on the act, but this shouldn’t be done at the expense of the people who put said publishers where they are today.

Sure they all look at the insane amount of money that angry birds has made and want in on the action, I get that, but you know what, as it stands you can’t compete. Your angry birds rip off, or even your angry birds HD (that I believe is coming to consoles soon) is not going to get even close! Not because it isn’t good enough, not because it isn’t addictive enough, but because you haven’t got the price right!

The console developers can’t quite get the hang of this, when you can get GTA 3 for your Iphone for less than a £5, but the console owners want to charge us £29.99 for a collection of other PS2 titles say, tomb raider, Ratchet and Clank, or Jack and Daxter you can see where the issue is.

Now maybe they are going for quality over quantity, generally these collections are HDified, I personally have not experienced the difference between and HDified God of War and the original PS2 version but I find it hard to believe that the difference is enough to justify a price tag that I would find on some current gen games.

It’s like they don’t want to admit that the bubble has burst, sure people will pay £40 for the new COD, they might not want to, but they appreciate that the budget of most “triple A” titles is not far short of a blockbuster movie and the developer has to make their money back somewhere.

But what you’re trying to sell is a tired engine, with a tired format, where all the RND was done 5 (at least) years back, at that point the cost drops massively and the argument just doesn’t wash.

Sony are in the best position to cash in on this “cheap casual” game phase, they probably have a back catalogue that is rivalled by none, if GTA can run on an Iphone, why on earth are they not tapping up square for various Final Fantasy IOS versions for example? Why has Nintendo not ported old school Mario’s, Microsoft the original Fable? This way they can get their cash cow from the current infatuation with the mobile devices and still keep the home consoles for us nerds who have no interest in Dance Central 3 or its like.

I personally hold the Wii responsible, it introduced a whole new market to “gaming” and it did it well, but over the last 2/3 years its sales have dropped, there are arguments that this is due to the  impending release of the new Wii U but let’s be honest that’s bull. The sales dropped off because suddenly all those people who owned a Wii realised there was a reason they had never purchased a games console before, because they didn’t want one! They got caught in the hype, got their Wii Fit played it for a week and then tucked it firmly under the bed next to the virtual boy.

Its success made the publishers and console makers think that “casual” gamers were the way forward, but what they forgot is these people are fickle, the hardcore gamer is not. He/She will be in every week to buy the next release; they will queue up at midnight for the latest and greatest game and will most likely pay whatever you charge because they simply have to have it.

The gaming industry needs to take a long hard look at itself, it thinks it evolving, understanding its customers’ needs and catering to the masses with its obsession with the “new market” of gamers, but what it’s actually doing is alienating the very people that put it in the position it is now in.

Perhaps to be fair it’s not them that needs to change, perhaps it’s me, perhaps I need to realise that what was once the hallowed ground of the geek is now open to everyone, and I should be happy that people I would have never thought, are enjoying a hobby that I thought was exclusive to a select few.

Or perhaps that’s a bit like telling a Picasso enthusiast that he should be glad that people like paint by numbers because it’s practically the same thing!

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