As many people know, gaming journalism is an industry that’s going through a bit of crisis at the moment. With AdBlock doing a huge amount of damage to revenue (up to 50% of gamers use Ad Blockers when browsing websites), competition getting fiercer by the day and events like GamerGate doing serious damage to its future sustainability, there are very real worries the field might disappear within the next few years or so.
So what’s the future of this somewhat turbulent industry? What’s going to replace the Kotakus and Polygons and IGNs of the world in the few years? What will change going forward? Well, quite a few things, and that’s what this article is about.
Either way, let’s start with the obvious prediction:
Videos and Let’s Plays Will Replace Traditional Gaming Media
It’s already started (what with popular gaming channels racking up millions of subscribers on Youtube and live streams on Twitch becoming near global phenomenons), but it will only get more and more obvious as time goes on. Text articles are on the way out, video coverage is in.
So why is this happening? Well, ignoring the obvious (the move towards user generated content and its many positives, as discussed later in this article), it’s because videos are simply better for showing how games work than other mediums.
Need a good example of what we mean? Well, go to GameFAQs or some other walkthrough site, and download a text guide for a game you’re playing. Now, go on Youtube and find a Let’s Play of the same title.
Above: This is easier to follow than the GameFAQs equivalent.
Which one is easier to follow?
It’s probably the video. Because in the video, you can see for yourself just how the game works, how someone gets through the levels and how things like the enemy AI and special attacks and game mechanics work. In a text walkthrough, you just to have to try and read between the lines and figure out what to do based on a vague description.
And reviews are better for similar reasons. When a text review says the graphics are good, you just get a few screenshots as proof. And for anything else, you have to take their word for it, since things like music, game mechanics and game difficulty levels are not well illustrated in a text and screenshot review on a web page.
Video reviews let you judge everything for yourself. Oh sure, the video commentator says the graphics or music are good, but do you agree with him? He or she says the game’s engine works well and the levels are well designed, but you can be your own judge of that too. Need an example? Well, which of these reviews makes it more clear how bad the game is?
Above: Superman 64 Reviews by Gamespot and the Angry Video Game Nerd.
But now that the obvious is out of the way, how about non video content? What’s the future for written articles and news in the industry?
Well, it’s hard to say. But…
User Generated Content Is the Way Forward
Which again, is already pretty clear if you’ve a hardcore gamer. You’re probably getting more of your news from gaming forums, Reddit and social media anyway. But in the near future, it’s pretty much going to become the norm for everyone; all gaming news and articles will be written and posted by unpaid fans and amateurs rather than ‘professional’ journalists.
So, the wait is finally over and Nintendo’s first smartphone title has been revealed! So what is their first app? What Nintendo franchise or IP is going to be the first to make it over to smartphones?
Well… none of them. Instead, their first title is something called Miitomo. A free to play Mii based game with micro transactions (in other words, a freemium game like Candy Crush Saga and such likes), it lets players use Miis to communicate with others, in what appears to be some sort of hybrid between a traditional mobile app and Animal Crossing.
Here are the slides from the financial presentation announcing the ‘game’:
So what do we think about this new app? Well to be honest… we’re not even sure what the point of it is. Is it supposed to be a cross between SwapNote, Miiverse and Animal Crossing? Is the focus purely on the Mii customisation and ‘random’ conversations? Why are Nintendo going with this for their first title?
It’s certainly a strange situation, and it’s not one that’s got investors particularly confident either. Apparently, the company’s shares fell by 7.5% after the reveal, which implies quite a few of the investors are confused about the thing as well. Perhaps a more… ‘traditional’ game would have worked better here?
But what do you think? Is ‘Miitomo’ something you’re interested in playing?
Nintendo Unveils First Smartphone Game – Wall Street Journal
With their partnership with DeNA announced back in March this year, it’s been quite a while since we last heard anything about Nintendo’s plans for mobile games. But now, it seems the wait is over. Tonight, the company will share the first details about its first new mobile game, with said details being made available in the company’s financial briefing.
As Nintendo president and CEO Tatsumi Kimishima has said earlier:
We will provide updates on our project with DeNA tomorrow
So yes, the wait is finally over. Later today (or early tomorow if you’re like us and live in Europe), Nintendo will share details about its first mobile game. What do you thnk about the announcement? Are you excited for the company’s first foray in mobile gaming?
Nintendo to Unveil its First Video Game for Smartphones – Wall Street Journal
With Pokemon apps already being on the app store and Pokemon Go coming in the near future, it already seemed pretty clear that Game Freak and the Pokemon Company have plans to move further in the world of mobile gaming. But now, it seems like we may have another reason to believe that this is the case.
Why? Because apparently, Game Freak has now bought Koa Games, a smartphone game developer. Here’s a tweet from Takashi Mochizuki of the Wall Street Journal mentioning it:
So yes, it seems pretty clear that Game Freak do indeed have plans to make more mobile apps. Maybe even some that aren’t Pokemon based, given their recent releases of HarmoKnight and Tempo the Badass Elephant.
Back at the start of September, a new Pokemon game was announced for smartphones in the form of Pokemon Go, an augmented reality title where players would encounter different types of Pokemon ‘in the real world’.
And while things have been a tad quiet on that front ever since, it seems like more information on said game could now be just round the corner. Why? Because as Niantic representative Evan Dexter has said to Slate in a recent interview:
We’re not quite ready to talk in more depth about Pokémon GO than what was revealed in the announcement press release and assets. Come mid-October we’ll be able to start going into more depth about our plans for the game, and about our plans for real world gaming overall.
They’re now ready to the discuss the game in more detail, given how the interview was held back in early September near the game’s official announcement. So if you’ve wondering what future holds for Pokemon Go, or whether this new app will be an riddled with poorly priced in app purchases and DLC… well, you won’t have long to find out!
Pokemon Go Article – Slate