Before I started my Isearch, I had already formed a few opinions on the topic of laziness in game design and the trends going on throughout the industry. Anyone who seriously plays video games can easily feel the decline and come to the same conclusion, a change in the way video game creators operate result in a major change in games. In an attempt to organize my research I divided my thoughts into “The Three Categories of Slothfulness”: Money hunger, Shortcuts, and Painting.
microtransactions play a major role in understanding the most egregious example of money hunger. Most free mobile games ask for money to continue playing or to gain some kind of perk for example decreased waiting times or an unfair advantage over the competition. The player has now fallen victim a microtransaction. Microtransactions, as I understand them, require money in exchange for a heightened game experience. Now although microtransactions present no moral wrongdoing in relation to mobile games, since they cost no money to download.
A games, or professionally made games, go for sixty dollars each and add microtransactions on top of the flat rate already paid to purchase the game shows the real greed and ‘money hunger’ on the part of the game developer. Shortcuts, such as (bad game engines, bad mechanics, bugs and lag) remain in the game due to either the laziness of the developing team or the aggressiveness of the deadlines, and, as a result, make the game less enjoyable, when the developer knowingly releases a bad product to the public shortcuts start becoming malicious.
If the developer know their game lacks in functionality and he releases it to the public anyway knowing he must deal with the problems later, (ie. ignore them completely) this is a fraudulent action and a disservice to the gaming public the game buying public, and failing to provide a finished product.
The quick paint job, presents itself as the laziest out of all three categories of slothfulness. Consider this example; a person buys an amazing blue speaker. The buzz surrounding the speaker makes it really popular and everyone loves it to death because of the new sound technology in the speaker. The people making this speaker see the profits their product brings in and decide to make the amazing blue speaker again but without any of the work. They apply some minor differences, paint it red, slap the number two on it and sell it again. The same thing often happens in the gaming industry. Developers take a super popular product, present it differently, slap the number two on it (for brand recognition) and resell it for sixty dollars a pop. That way they only have to create an innovative and cool product once, and then, of course, come up with a lot of different colored paints.
Unfortunately, in my experience through playing video games and following the news pertaining to them, and based on these sole situations, I have no proof that game developers cheat their consumers intentionally. However, during this project, I would like to know the reality behind these notations, whether or not they are intentional and if they are by necessity or a conscious and optional decision on the part of the developers to save them the headache. I have multiple topics in mind, for example: since the prices of video games have stayed relatively consistent while the cost of making them have surely gone up, why instead of raising the price of the game to match its growing cost like most other industries do, do they resort to the more “dirty” tactics, or even if we as gamers would anger at the fact that the running rate for video games increased from sixty to say seventy dollars. Do I underestimating the gaming public willingness to pay an extra ten extra dollars to have a better product, or do gamers know their perfectly sufficient sixty dollars contribution fails to go the distance because they find themselves misused somewhere down the line, and refuse to reward bad behavior.
Another interesting topic I plan to look into involves whether game developers keep painting over games because gamers like it, or does it continue because it works and we keep falling for it. The final interesting topic I have in mind pertains to how independent video game design companies show little to none of the laziness problem stated above, so do these problems lie with the corporations backing them, or the relative security of a certain job at a big company? Finding credible and interesting articles to cite for my Isearch presented more difficult than previously thought. The simple fact that video games do not fit in well with the academics sources my school provides coupled with the recency of the problem at hand presented a persistent issue and made the pool for academic search papers on the topic slim to none.
This definitely brought me out of my comfort zone seeing that all the databases and academic researching techniques I learned previous language arts classes proved ineffective in this situation than situations previous, making most of my early research targets utterly useless. This new development served to propel me past Encyclopedia Britannica and Academic search complete to more modern sources of information like YouTube and independent articles from video game critics and industry players. Of course, this brought up concerns about the validity of these sites and video essays, Some of these sources seemed more analytical and others seemed more anecdotal, however as long data presented proved corroborable and the logic used in these video essays and articles made sense I could at least consider them. In addition to this, I also contacted reputable video game critics and video game companies via email correspondence, to get a professional and experienced point of view on the industry questions I had.