Sunday, March 28, 2010

Have Games Gone Anywhere in the Last Decade?

I was just browsing through the newest issue of PC Gamer and came across this month's "10 Years Ago" feature. It is a small column that gives a little overview of what was going on in the PC Gamer issue from a decade ago. The thing that struck me is this particular issue had the "PC Gamer Readers' All-Time Top 50" list. And guess what were the top five?

Half-life, StarCraft, Diablo, Warcraft II, and Civ II.

Other than the fact that 3 of the top 5 are Blizzard games (time to buy some Activision stock) something struck me: these are pretty much the games everyone is playing TEN YEARS LATER. These games are still played heavily and their sequels (including World of Warcraft from the Warcraft series) are some of the most played and highest selling games in recent gaming history. And what are some of the most hotly anticipated games in the pipeline? Starcraft II, Diablo III, the next WoW update, Civ IV, and I'm sure there will be more Half-life 2 updates and sequels at some point.

So what does this say about the games industry and we as gamers? It seems the games industry has become pretty much the same landscape as Hollywood: unimaginative blockbusters are rolled out based on existing franchises to bring in the dough while smaller indie titles that show that spark, magic, and imagination that makes a good game great rarely get the attention they deserve.