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Going (for) Broke

AJ Dellinger | 9 Mar 2012 09:00
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One can't take the game out of gamers, even when they are away from the traditional platforms. In an economy where buying $60 games every month may be out of the question, spending small increments and still getting a gaming fix seems to be a more reasonable solution. The biggest change that this is bringing about, it would seem, is the introduction of these games to an entirely new audience. People who spend time on social networks, but don't game, see posts from their friends' latest game and click to join in. Apple happily promotes games that are top sellers in the App Store and on commercials, giving them exposure to those who are looking for new ways to entertain themselves through their boring business meetings. These are people that were otherwise untapped in the gaming market that are now spending a few extra dollars each month to get into new games.

If there is one thing that gamers should remember, it is that game companies cannot profit without their support.

Despite changes that have come based on where and how players are spending their money, some companies haven't totally caught on quite yet. For example, because of its regular promotions and support for independent game makers, gamers almost universally revere Valve Software's Steam distribution system. Electronic Arts tried to throw its hat into the same ring with a similar platform called Origin, but has found its fair share of detractors and boasts a less-than-friendly Terms of Service agreement. In a similar public debacle, EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12 for the PC operated with a micro-transaction system that required the player to spend real life money to upgrade in-game equipment and clothing and has its online play is only available through a pay-per-play or pricey subscription service called Tiger Woods Online added onto its initial $39.99 price tag.

If there is one thing that gamers should remember, it is that game companies cannot profit without their support. By choosing to spend money on downloadable content, social games, and handheld games, gamers have set a precedent for what it is they want from developers and publishers. They have made their demands clear through their willingness to spend on games that are bringing value, interactivity, and addictiveness. It's now time to watch how the industry will respond. The business of videogames has proven to be a profitable one, with plenty of room for growth. It's not just a matter of the industry growing with its clientele.

AJ Dellinger is a freelance writer from Madison, Wisconsin. His work can be found on various sites across the web and on his personal blog. He also occasionally writes bylines about himself in the third person.

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