2022 was the year that major video games ceased to exist

In some ways, it feels like there are more video games than ever before. But in another way, 2022 was a drought unlike any other.

If you want to talk about small platformers on Switch, city builders on Steam or quirky horror adventures on itch.io, this has been a year full of explosions. If you’re working purely on volume, there are more video games to play today on more platforms than ever before. With the calendar packed with smaller and even mid-sized games, looking at the flagship release schedule for 2022 was dire.

What is the “big game”?

I use the term as an acronym to describe an independent video game release, one that is usually financed by a major publisher and has an inevitable level of hype/awareness. Think Call of Duty, Halo, God of War, Zelda, games like that. adults! You know what I’m talking about!

It’s easy to forget, as comfortable as we are with its routines, how much of this industry still revolves around this calendar, blissfully unaware (or unwilling to accept) that it’s not 2003 anymore. The timing and scale of AAA game releases has been a cornerstone of everything from major events like E3 to development plans to sales to sales channels to when the writers of video game sites like this used to go on vacation (not done until recently Never in October or November, it will very busy!)

In recent years, what used to be high-profile releases have slowed down considerably, and by 2022 it’s more of a slow trickle. But the framework around those games, encased in such scaffolding that no one knows how or wants to remove, is still there. Large swathes of the video game industry have reverberated throughout the year, lonely footsteps thrive in an empty, cavernous church. 2022 was not a special year for his big fights. It was a year marked by their absence.

Yes, a few have come true. They always are and always will be. The fire ringAnd God of WarAnd horizonhas been renovated Duty. But what now? Recently, 4-5 years ago, it was this year Filled with Big, expensive releases from big publishers. Especially now, during the holidays filled with the kind of games that require you to pre-order them with big posters at GameStop that can stop an E3 press conference. In 2022, you could hear the pin drop for several months.

Why?

The first answer for most people is probably a pandemic. Its impact has messed up development schedules around the world, and while some games were rushed in the middle, others were delayed for months or even years to recover from the chaos of having to send entire studios home for the worst. A lot of games that were supposed to come out now didn’t work, Which leads to a stalemate in Hell in early 2023.

But I don’t think it is really Reply. This impasse is temporary and masks broader trends that the pandemic has only exacerbated. The truth is that the AAA landscape has been shrinking for years. Everything becomes too big and too expensive. The math is simple: Games take longer to make, and it takes more developers to make them, so we get a little carried away.

And even then, it’s not all the big releases the new. Publishers are so risk-averse in the modern era that remakes are now big business, and companies clearly prefer the safe money of restoring a proven classic to trying something original. So yes, the year also featured major releases such as The last of usa game… released in 2013 that has already been remastered once before.

Throw in a constant obsession with turning the few releases into a live service experience that publishers hope to sell content for years after release, and you can see not only how we got into this AAA drought, but why it will only worse (or at least weirder) in the coming years. Doctrine killer Take charge here; What used to be a flagship series released every 1-2 years It is becoming a platform in itselfbut it is also visible everywhere Duty persistent war zone to me Fortnite’s seasons. The big games are no longer published; it is We are You never go.

And yet, despite all that scaffolding having changed, the hype and marketing structures established to fit AAA’s business model remain, even as what it was built around begins to crumble. Look at GameStop, a former store that sold packaged versions of video games, Now an NFT clearinghouse and placeholder for an equity note. Look at big trade shows like E3, where bread and butter are offered – and big reveals and huge press conferences.I moved and got smaller. These remnants of the ancient world remain, but the sand they were built on is beginning to wash away.

I want to be clear now and say that unless you’re running E3 or working at GameStop, that’s not a bad thing! Smaller game base, average game base, smaller studios, more flexible publisher base, mobile game base Millions of people (and millions more every year) really enjoy playing video games every day in a way that doesn’t involve spending $70 on a box that says “PlayStation 5 Exclusive”.

But for anyone involved in this challenging framework, or even emotionally invested in the idea of ​​standalone AAA game releases – people are still writing E3 press conference times in their diaries, I’m looking at you – these must be tough times. Because while 2022 may seem like a bare-bones year for great video games:

Billedet, der fulgte med artiklen 2022 var året, hvor større videospilproduktion blev stoppetscreenshot: The Simpsons | Kotaku

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