Friday, February 22, 2013

So Long, Farewell

1up and Gamespy closed yesterday. In their more than a decade span, each site has come to belong to the gold standard of excellence in video game journalism. They are the latest casualties in what is becoming an increasingly dismal video game horizon. Record profits or no, it has become crystal clear that the video game industry is undergoing a titanic upheaval. Studio after studio closing in 2012 can’t be pushed aside as nothing more than mismanagement or a shifting of game development focus. Large and small, studio after studio has fallen, and fallen hard. Long lauded as recession proof, video games have been given a one two punch of declining unit sales as well as a changing of the guard in how gamers wish to pay for content. Big publishers and small are turning to mobile, casual, and at times even handheld markets to create new revenue pathways with limited success. It’s not time to raise the white flag but the uncertainty of both publishers and developers will likely herald far less risk taking and innovation no matter the wishes of those involved. Like the countries they reside in, a downward turn in economics will result in a more conservative approach. Perhaps the next gen holds the key to new revenue streams, but more likely it will do little more than mask the prevailing problems. The video game industry is changing and quickly at that, what will rise up from the ashes may only be guessed at. Fare thee well 1up and Gamespy, you will be missed.

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