Oh my God what are we going to do!!! We are in an economic recession and companies are going bust. What do we make of our chances in the industry and what’s happening to it? Is the games industry really recession proof? The games industry has come a long way since the days of just making games for fun. The industry has become bigger and more powerful. It can now compete with other entertainment industries, however, it is now being run as professional businesses. This means that projects have become bigger, teams have increased, more is invested into them and a yearly profit needs to be made.
Its January 2009, there is currently a recession in the UK. Now you maybe thinking ‘how can that affect the games industry?’ well if you look at it, the sales of games and consoles are hitting a high even though the recession is taking place. Why aren’t sales affected? Well games are affordable and probably a cheaper form of entertainment. Considering that a game lasts well over 6 hours (average time depending on the genre) and that they can be played several different times to achieve different experiences, they are definitely worth the money paid for them. Look at this way; if I bought a 2 hour long DVD at £16 (all depends on the retailer), I would be paying roughly £8 per hour for entertainment. If I bought a video game (Call of duty 4) at full retail price that I played for over 70 hours, I would be paying £0.57 per hour for entertainment. Either way you look at it, buying games is cheaper and lasts longer. The audience is also mainly filled with teenagers and kids that can afford to spend pocket money on games.
The majority of people, who buy video games, buy them to escape the reality of the world we live. During a recession we fall into dark times where the struggle for tomorrow is unclear, what better to do than escape the world for a few hours and become an Italian plumber with a moustache and fashionable dungarees. Yes FASHIONABLE you all know you want dungarees, tomorrow you will feel the need to go outside and buy a pair. Wait right there…I have a thought (my mind wonders), we have Hawaiian shirt days and Halloween and ‘underwear only’ days so why can’t we add one more for the calendar, Dungaree Day (D-Day). Imagine offices and stock markets filled with people in dungarees, in fact I think it should be suggested for our Game Art course: Mandatory Dungaree Day by which everyone has to include ‘its’a me Mario’ in every greeting.
New paragraph to end the lunacy of the statements above and carry on. The sales of games have increased and are still fine even though there is a recession. But the problem occurs when companies have to decide which games they can afford to fund. How can a company decide on what game will be profitable? Where will the initial development costs for the ideas come from? It’s scary to think that on one hand, everything seems fine yet the mechanics of the industry have just had a spanner thrown in to the works. Games that are on shelf and ones that are very close to release will be fine in this mess, but what about games that are due to come out in a year or two. What will they be like, will good ideas be canned due to the lack of money and resources.
Jobs…don’t get me started. If you are a third year or someone looking to enter the industry at this moment, I feel for you. Think, if Midway just ‘axed‘ 180 developers from its US studios and rumors are spreading that Free Radical are going bust, how many professionals in the industry are also now having to look for a job. Competing against people who are already recognized for their work in the industry is like deciding to compete against Tony the Tiger over who becomes a better cereal mascot. To include people already in the industry, if Midway had to fire 180 developers to ensure that the company could still keep going, how do employees feel about their job security. It doesn’t matter how good you are at the moment since companies will be looking at trying to make it through these tough times instead. It is tough when something like this happens, but from the other perspectives. Other countries are able to purchase even more stock than before due to the drop in the value of the Pound Sterling. They look at this as a gold mine; figures show that Japanese customers can get GBP 74,361 from JPY 10 million whereas it used to be GBP 47,619 for the same JPY value. America has similar increases as well, so what’s to say will happen to the overall gaming industry. Will it actually pay off to become an employee at an Oversees games company? What is the competition like? Troubled times but ones that will become better, there will be a point at which everything hits a low and the only way out is up. Sorry to put the fear of realism into your souls but these things have to be considered with great thought. I will now leave and hope that you spend a few minutes analyzing the situation since it is late and I need to escape into a alter universe.
Here are some links on the affects of what is going on today;
'Hawaiian Shirt Day'