The biggest gaming trends of the past decade

The past 10 years have been the most turbulent in the history of gaming. A decade ago, gaming insiders had no idea what was coming.

While the past few decades have generally been marked by technological change, the period from 2010 to 2019 was characterized by massive changes in the way games are made, played, discussed, challenged and promoted.

We spoke to 16 people who have had a significant impact on gaming in the past decade and asked them about some of the biggest game trends in that time.

The decline of publishing power

Jack Tretton

Jack Tretton is a former president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America. Photo: John Shearer / WireImage / Getty Images

Jack Tretton headed Sony Computer Entertainment America for eight years and led the launch of PlayStation 4, now the second-best home console ever. Since leaving Sony in 2014, Tretton has been involved in a number of projects, including a company that provides financial and business support to independent game developers.

The rise of the indie game has fundamentally changed the face of the industry. So-called AAA branded games from large publishers still form the core of the business, but they now compete with innovative games from small teams and often borrow the best ideas for indie games.

“Independent game development and the growth of online shops were one of the biggest changes in gaming. Developers can market directly to gamers without restricting the creativity and direction of large publishers.

“They are no longer dependent on large, stationary retail for shelf space. You are no longer subject to payment delays or deductions. As a result, players have more choices than ever before, what they want to play, and how much they’re willing to pay for it.

“The ability of the players to participate in the development has developed enormously and they can actively work on projects and influence them for the better. Developers can communicate directly with potential buyers and get help from them to create a game that is received by the widest possible audience.

“On the negative side, large publishers are still focusing on fewer projects in limited genres. While the narrow and deep strategy strives to create well-funded blockbuster franchises, it leaves a gap in creative projects with a medium budget that offer variety, expansion of the genre and the chance of a surprise hit.

“This gap is actively filled by indie publishers, but the medium-sized publisher and expanded catalog of mid-tier and mid-budget games have largely disappeared.”

The mixed reaction of gaming to the cultural wars

Anita Sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian is the founder of the activist for feminist frequency and social justice. Photo: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Anita Sarkeesian’s YouTube documentary series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games was the most devastating and influential review of games of the decade. This led to a comprehensive re-evaluation of the representation of women and other under-represented groups by the game developers. As a result, the games have changed significantly in recent years. More and more women, colored people and LGBTQ characters appear in leading roles.

Sarkeesian’s work also triggered waves of malicious harassment campaigns by right-wing cultural warriors and reactionaries. GamerGate was the best known.

“It can sometimes be difficult to explain how vicious, violent, and cruel is what we call GamerGate today. However, with the increasing prevalence of such attacks on the Internet, there is a possibility that you have witnessed or read about such an attack in recent years.

“A mob that is stirred up by racist or misogynistic rhetoric (or both) tracks a target’s social media accounts with death threats, rape threats; sexist, racist, disloyal, transphobic arches; horrific graphic images; and endless, limitless images , incoherent YouTube tirades full of Wackadoodle conspiracy theories as to why the person they hate this week is actually an evil demon who has been sent to destroy everything that Reddit users living in the basement consider to be is classified as sacred.

“GamerGate was certainly not the first cybermob or online harassment campaign, but it is one of the best known and most remarkable examples because it has met with widespread interest from the international press and the public. While women lost their jobs, endured the emotional and psychological abuse of brutal, uninterrupted cruelty and dehumanization, and fled their homes out of fear, the vast majority of the gaming industry remained silent.

“Most major game publishers and developers were deafening, and their silence spoke volumes about what was most important to them. Much of the gaming press remained silent until the pressure grew to make statements – milquetoast statements that were offensive to the many women who had endured them. Fortunately, we’ve seen real changes in games manifest in recent years, but we’ll never know what impact this could have been if the industry had sharply condemned GamerGate at its peak. “

Technological advances in VR and AR

Jeri Ellsworth

Jeri Ellsworth is a co-founder and CEO of Tilt Five. Photo courtesy of Jeri Ellsworth

Jeri Ellsworth is an inventor and entrepreneur who specializes in augmented reality. She worked on the early development of Valve’s Vive Virtual Reality platform and invented the CastAR holographic unit. She is currently preparing to launch the Tilt Five tabletop hologram platform, which will be released next summer.

“When I worked at Valve at the beginning of the decade, we did a lot of experiments with augmented reality and virtual reality. In retrospect, I would say that VR technology has continued to evolve as predicted, although augmented reality may be slower.

“In AR, it is encouraging that we saw extremely popular games like Pokémon Go, which is AR-lite and raised awareness. Our kick start for Tilt Five has been incredibly successful and we sold 7,000 units.

“Sony has had good experiences with VR with PlayStation VR, and Oculus Quest is probably the best standalone device, but the launch is still a niche. There are still too many friction points for VR that hinder mass adoption. It is still a big step that consumers have to accept.

“For most people, the headsets are isolating and a little scary. It is alien to human nature. It is hard to imagine that most people are ready to move away from the real world and make themselves so vulnerable.

“I always felt that augmented reality would come first. Augmented reality devices are very useful to get customers used to the fact that their world merges between reality and games. After a decade or two, these players are more ready to plunge into virtual worlds. “

The esport explosion

Travis Gafford

Travis Gafford is a League of Legends content creator. Photo courtesy of Travis Gafford

Travis Gafford started the decade as a StarCraft 2 fan and ended it as one of the most recognizable faces in sports. For the past 10 years he has been part of the League of Legends scene as a podcaster, streamer and journalist. He mostly attends league live events, interviews competitors and team owners, and tells the stories and rivalries that inspire modern sport.

“In this decade of sport, we started in Vegas ballrooms, where fans went crazy (and grew) to sell the crowd in Madison Square Gardens and the Staples Center.

“One of the biggest factors that made this a decade of sport was the fact that League of Legends was a free game. Virtually everyone who is into remote PC games and likes multiplayer games has probably already played this game. It is a democratized competitive game that arouses interest in the best teams and players.

“Another reason is that there are many people who are sports fans but only found their sport when there was sport. I know that I am one of them. The spirit to take care of your team is in arrived at the games and important to the fans.

“Free online streaming has brought a lot of content to fans and its importance should not be underestimated. It should be remembered that at the beginning of the decade there was a lot of streaming and esport content behind paywalls, which is currently unthinkable.

“There’s also a lot of money spinning around. Venture capitalists are finding it easy to bring sports and video games together. However, the economic situation of this business is unclear and we may see a correction soon.

“Many game companies tried to get into esport by announcing that their games were made for esport. But that’s gone, with just a few success stories like Overwatch and Fortnite. On the way there, sport has become more professional and perhaps more careful. When I interview players, they are now like normal sports professionals: they don’t want to say anything controversial. Sometimes I miss what it was like 10 years ago, but I wouldn’t go back. “

Growth and dominance of gaming

Jessica Rovello

Jessica Rovello is co-founder and CEO of Arkadium. Photo: Arkadium

Jessica Rovello founded the online game site Arkadium in 2001. The company now employs more than 100 people and develops branded games for leading companies. It is featured regularly in business publications and national newspapers such as Fast Company and the New York Times. She says the increasing reach and popularity of games has created opportunities that have not existed in recent years.

“The greatest achievement in gaming in the past decade has been to become the most dominant form of media. Gaming has grown in every respect, from platform and device expansion to demographic expansion to new monetization tactics.

“A decade ago, the industry generated $ 11 billion a year. In 2019, it will be $ 150 billion, more than television and films combined. Games are now integrated into every American household, be it that the mother plays word games on her iPad, the son plays AAA games on Xbox or the grandmother on her favorite game website.

“Games are also at the center of our cultural life. Football stars dance Fortnite at the World Cup. Politicians who make Pokémon jokes in the middle of presidential campaigns. Streamers become superstars.

“Unfortunately, this enormous growth also has disadvantages. The toxicity at the gaming workplace remains a reality for many that has to tolerate harmful crunch cycles and obvious misogyny every day. For gambling to continue growing in a positive way, the industry needs to improve inclusion, create a positive culture, and incorporate that spirit into games so that players can follow suit. “

The rise of new narrative techniques

Chris Remo

Chris Remo was a game designer and composer at Firewatch. Photo courtesy of Chris Remo

For decades, game design has focused on action, with the story being the number one address. In the past 10 years, the narrative has evolved around the world.

Chris Remo is currently a game designer, composer and author at Valve. In 2016, he was part of the Campo Santo team that Firewatch supplied, a great narrative game in the Wyoming wilderness. He also composed the music for Gone Home, one of the most important storytelling games of the decade. He believes the rise of great stories has been one of the game’s most notable successes in the past 10 years.

“One of the most enjoyable trends of recent times is the expansion of gameplay models that focus on history without having to rely on combat models or traditional adventure game puzzles as” real “mechanics.

“I grew up with a love for classic adventure games and enjoy systematic games that also don’t tell a story. But now there are more games that really deal with what it means that narrative is at the core of a player-centric interactive experience. I think Fullbrights Gone Home has caused many people to realize that with this priority you can get a breakout hit. I consider myself lucky to have contributed to this game.

“When developing Firewatch in Campo Santo, it was important to us to advance player-related systems where we could keep the narrative focus within reason and budget.

“I call it ‘reactivity’: the principle that narrative content not only reacts dynamically to dialog trees, but to as many player inputs as the design can support. I have given a number of lectures on it at various conferences such as the GDC because I love it when developers take this approach further. “

Slow recognition of responsibility

Mel MacCoubrey

Mel MacCoubrey was a story director at Assassins Creed Odyssey. Photo courtesy of Mel MacCoubrey

Mel MacCoubrey led the narrative team that created the wonderful Kassandra (and Alexios) in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. She understands the work that helps create a great game and the extreme expectations of consumers and employers.

“The past 10 years have been phenomenal for gaming. This decade has surpassed everyone else in its variety of compelling and compelling games. Games are more popular than ever. However, this comes with a price for which the game industry is still struggling to find a solution.

“With so much experience, we can do what we want, from characters that look alike, to our own user-generated game levels. AAA games have matured in storytelling, and indie studios around the world allow us as players and developers to gain broader and more diverse perspectives and experiences.

“Our games are bigger, longer, longer and more beautiful than anything we could ever have imagined.

“However, a change is needed to address those who are negatively affected by this success. There are developers who feel pressured to work overtime without paying any compensation. There are players who are not safe in their community, at industry festivals, or at work. There are companies and developers who believe and say that their games have no social impact on the world around them. And there are hundreds of thousands of players waiting for their cultures and identities to be displayed on the screen.

“With 2020 ahead of us, of course, I want to jump forward and hope for the best. But it is not enough to hope. We as developers, as CEOs, as gamers must take responsibility and strive for changes in ourselves and in the spaces around us. It is up to us to make games as good as possible. “

Streaming, YouTube and video content

Danny O’Dwyer

Danny O’Dwyer is the founder of Noclip, a producer of documentaries about video games. Photo: Noclip

Danny O’Dwyer quit his game journalism job in 2016 to found Noclip, a company that produces video documentaries about games and often interviews developers. His work is mainly funded by Patreon subscribers.

“Ten years ago, the economy of video content was terrible. They are pretty good at the moment. Thanks to advances in low-cost editing software and streaming apps, the barrier is low. The audience forgives and is keen to experiment. How long does that take? I don’t know.

“Patreon is the top-selling factor because the advertising model is unsustainable for someone like me. I can create detailed documentation about games for my audience that wants this type of content and is willing to subscribe and pay small amounts. We are all used to an online tip culture. Even five years ago, even with something like Kickstarter, it would have been difficult.

“Some of my videos are two hours long. and some are 15 minutes. Some are about the most famous games of all time and others about obscure games that I just like. I can tell stories about games I want to tell, without the restrictions imposed by previous platforms such as magazines or television.

“I know there is some snobbery about video. A lot of YouTubers and streamers are aggressively targeting children, so we’ve seen this voice develop for children and it can be very helpful for the rest of us. It is strange that there is this type of speaking that is specifically related to streaming games for things like Minecraft and Fortnite.

“But I think the same as MTV for an earlier generation. It is the background entertainment in which the children see their cultural life. “

crunch

Tim Schafer

Tim Schafer is an experienced game designer and founder of Double Fine Productions. Photo: Rosdiana Ciaravol / Getty Images

Tim Schafer started his career at Lucasfilm Games (later LucasArts), where he worked on hits such as The Secret of Monkey Island, Tentacle Day and Grim Fandango. He founded Double Fine Productions in 2000 and subsequently published Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Broken Age and Headlander. The company was bought by Microsoft earlier this year.

“Crunch is a big problem. It’s hard to say it’s a peculiarity of the past decade because it took longer, although it’s more likely to be discussed now. In a way, the crisis has been almost positive in the past 10 years as it finally flows into the discourse about how games are made. It is now very public, even if it is still happening with large publishers.

“It raises questions like” How do you lead people creatively? And how do you create a sense of collaboration in creative teams without causing harm? “

“Crunch is not just a problem for large companies. It is something that Indies has to look out for. For small companies, crunch can be an unhealthy thing that is self-imposed and not imposed by a large corporate culture. You are on your own and inspired by the work you do and you work yourself to death when it is really wiser to rest.

“When I started college, we were happy to be able to work all night. We didn’t want to be anywhere else. All I wanted to do was get my game up and running and enjoy that feeling of success. Then I went outside and … is it the next morning? When I got my first job, we thought it was normal. Nothing mattered but work. Nothing mattered than the quality of the game. And we expected everyone to be just as focused.

“But as a team leader, I started to understand that it was not normal and not healthy. As a team leader, I looked around and thought: wait, how does that affect the life of the team?

“So we started researching different production methods and more reasonable working conditions. We don’t have crunch at Double Fine. Sure, if someone comes over on Saturday and wants to work on a fun idea, that’s fine. And sometimes we have pressure points. But we’ll never say, “Oh, hey, we’ll be crunching for the next six months, so buckle up.”

“If there’s a hint of it, we chase it down and choke it. It’s something that should no longer be acceptable.”

Social media and loss of trust

Laila Shabir

Laila Shabir is the founder of Girls Make Games.Photo: Girls Make Games

In 2014, Laila Shabir founded Girls Make Games, which host summer camps where girls can experience the development of games and develop the confidence to make a career in the gaming industry. It was a huge success: 10 camps were organized in the U.S. in summer 2019, and more are planned worldwide next year.

Shabir is also the head of the educational game company LearnDistrict, and thus at the forefront of the industry’s brutal commercial reality. She sees greater inclusiveness as a positive trend in games, but is concerned about a loss of trust between game consumers and the game industry. The problem was exacerbated by a combination of predatory business models and direct inclusion of social media.

“The overall inclusiveness and diversity of the gaming community has improved dramatically over the past 10 years. We still have a long way to go, but there’s no denying that the gaming industry has a much larger number of unique voices than at any point in its history.

“There are cultural and social reasons for this, but we shouldn’t overlook the technological influences that have helped create new creative voices. As a young developer, you no longer have to surrender to larger publishers and studios to start your career – if you have a vision and the will to pursue it.

“Technology also has disadvantages. It was really daunting to see how much animosity has built up between players and developers in recent years. At a time when social media platforms are making interaction between the two groups easier than ever, there seems to be a very strong we-against-you mentality that pervades the entire community.

“From a player perspective, what really matters is a lack of trust in the intentions of the developers. Things like microtransactions, predatory freemium models, effortless money wins (especially in the cellular markets), and packing game content behind excessive DLC slumps have helped gamers feel cheated and suspicious of developers. There is a widespread belief that developers spend more time emptying their players’ wallets than creating a great game.

“This harms developers who are really innovative and want to inspire the players with their ideas. Mobile games in particular are generally despised by hardcore gamers and are wrongly responsible for sharing a platform with titles with less effort.

“Ultimately, both sides suffer from this kind of hostility. It’s a symbiotic relationship – we need each other! At the end of the day, you can only make great games and support others who do the same. “

Gaming retail upside down

Sam Barlow

Sam Barlow is the designer of Her Story and Telling Lies. Photo courtesy of Sam Barlow

Sam Barlow started the decade at Climax Studios as a game director. He left his comfortable position to create his own games, including the highly rated hits Her Story and Telling Lies.

The path from major publishers and established contract studios to independence has now been followed by many successful developers who use digital marketplaces to reach consumers directly. The same digital marketplaces can also be traps for both authors and customers.

“For me, online marketplaces were the greatest single success. Most of my career, and that was true when I got into the decade, I was committed to the physical games pipeline – a top-down setup that, in the worst case, would mean that the game design would taste like the GameStop buyers was determined.

“The industry was moving slowly, driven by this conservatism. The genres were rigid and you could only optimize one point at a time. Then digital sales came and freed us from it.

“It ushered in a new era of indie games and allowed creativity to flourish when it stalled in AAA. It allowed me to do something like your story. That’s why my GOTY lists have largely been dominated by independent games this decade outside of Nintendo.

“But the digital business also brought the game-as-service business and the opportunity for games to make exponentially more money by abusing people with weak impulse control. The unchecked economy drove us to the slot machine / arcade hybrids, refined and perfected, and mobile gaming became everything everyone said they were games.

“The freedom for us to make new indie games was also the freedom for psychologists to optimize game designs to make billions for gem investors for investors. Now that the decade is over, we’re moving towards the next cycle: more new space marine boxes and new platforms, and the advent of subscription models and what that means for the freedom of digital business. “

Game development after the start

Austin Wintory

Austin Wintory is the composer of Journey and many other games. Photo courtesy of Austin Wintory

The Grammy nominee Austin Wintory is best known for his outstanding scores for Journey, The Banner Saga and Monaco. He is closely associated with game developers, not just to write music, but to create a habitable narrative landscape.

Like many game developers over the years, Wintory’s work is based on a constant iteration before release. However, games are increasingly only created after their release. He sees the release of Mass Effect 3 in 2012 as a crucial moment in this development.

“One of the things that make games so spectacular is the ability to iterate and respond to feedback. Over the past decade, when the boxing titles are practically extinct, downloading games has enabled patches, updates, and DLC in a way that I believe will benefit everyone.

“Releases get longer terms, which benefits developers and publishers who need sources of income after a large investment. It gives players more of what they have proven to love. Not to mention the obvious technical advantages of patching bugs after release, etc. Our ancestors only wished they could do that.

“The ending situation of Mass Effect 3, in which BioWare responded to negative reactions to the end of the game by offering alternatives, was a typical example. The end is not working and we have ideas to improve it? Patch it.

“But I was intrigued by the outcry, especially from the industry, when the dangerous precedent was that loud, angry crowds could force developers to change their ideas. For some, this was the greatest conceivable failure that doubled to a weak end with a cowardly answer.

“Part of me can see that, but I also thought,” How is that not different from other user feedback? “Nowadays we are used to seeing games in early access with the stated intention of following customer suggestions, either through data or anecdote.

“I appreciate the complexity of the Mass Effect 3 situation, but I see it as a sign of a positive future. In the end, developers can decide whether to ignore reactions or not. So I don’t see it as a catastrophic change in momentum. It is a constant development, because we all ask ourselves again and again, how we relate to our own creations and to those who consume them. “

Emotional connectivity

Katherine Isbister

Katherine Isbister is a game and human interaction researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Photo: University of California in Santa Cruz

It wasn’t long ago when the question “Can you make people cry at games?” Was still open. Really emotional moments when playing were so rare that they were countable on one side. That has changed. It would be difficult to name all the games that have been released in the past 10 years and that have been received with tears and laughter.

Katherine Isbister heads an experimental game lab at the University of California at Santa Cruz, a popular learning destination for game-minded students. Sie ist auch Autorin des 2016 erschienenen Buches How Games Move Us, das sich mit der emotionalen Konnektivität von Spielen befasst.

„Dies war ein unglaubliches Jahrzehnt, um eine enorme Bandbreite an emotionalen Erfahrungen in Spielen aufzubauen, angefangen von großartigen gemeinsamen Erfahrungen mit dem gemeinsamen Springen über Sanddünen in Journey bis hin zur langsamen Entfaltung nuancierter Emotionen in Walking-Simulator-Spielen im Solonarrativstil, wie z als Gone Home und What Remains of Edith Finch, zum Eintauchen in politische Allegorien wie Papers, Please, zur ergreifenden Erfahrung autobiografischer Spiele wie That Dragon, Cancer.

„Es erinnert mich an den Aufstieg des Graphic Novels – die zunehmende Kunstfertigkeit bei der Gestaltung subtiler und einnehmender emotionaler Momente für Spieler, die weit über die farbenfrohen Schock- und Ehrfurchtbereiche hinausgehen, die Spiele seit vielen Jahren haben. Es ist großartig, diese breit gefächerte emotionale Palette zu haben. Ich liebe die hellen Farben und auch die subtileren Farbtöne.

„Im wachsenden Bereich der Augmented Reality spielen auch Emotionen eine Rolle. Die Leute lieben es, sich zu bewegen und zusammen zu spielen. Der jüngste Erfolg von Pokémon Go zeigt dies. Ich hoffe, dass das nächste Jahrzehnt dem physischen / digitalen Hybrid-Gameplay neue Aufmerksamkeit beim Design widmen wird, und ich bin gespannt, was Entwickler in diesem aufstrebenden Raum schaffen. ”

Gaming als sozialer Raum

Chet Faliszek

Chet Faliszek war Autor auf Portal 2 und Left 4 Dead und ist ein Virtual-Reality-Game-Designer. Foto mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Chet Faliszek

Spielefirmen haben mehr als 30 Jahre damit verbracht, ihre Produkte offen an junge Männer zu vermarkten, selbst während die Spiele von einer sich schnell erweiternden Bevölkerungsgruppe gespielt wurden. In den letzten 10 Jahren hat sich die Wahrheit, dass Spiele ein universelles Medium sind, endlich unter den Mainstream-Publishern manifestiert – ein Hinweis auf die Vorreiter aus den Anfängen des Spielens und der modernen Indieszene. Und Spiele sind zu sozialen Räumen geworden, in denen Menschen miteinander interagieren können.

Chet Faliszek begann das Jahrzehnt bei Valve und schrieb für erfolgreiche Spiele wie Portal 2 und Left 4 Dead. In den letzten Jahren hat er an einer Reihe experimenteller Projekte gearbeitet, um die Grenzen der Interaktion zwischen Spielern und Spielern im Kontext von Spielen zu erweitern. Er glaubt, dass der größte Erfolg des letzten Jahrzehnts darin besteht, lustige Plattformen für den sozialen Verkehr zu schaffen.

„Fortnite hat der breiten Öffentlichkeit gezeigt, dass Spielen sozial ist, dass Spielen Spaß macht und dass Spielen für jedermann ist. Selbst Nongameren wurde klar, dass die Leute nicht nur Fortnite spielen, wie das Spiel geplant war, sondern dass sie sich auch im Spiel aufhalten, um mit ihren Freunden in Gesellschaft zu sein.

“Spiele sind nicht nur etwas Wettbewerbsfähiges oder Herausforderndes, sondern auch ein sozialer Raum, in dem Spieler aus allen Bevölkerungsschichten zusammenkommen und einfach nur abhängen und Spaß haben können.”

“Gleichzeitig haben wir den Aufstieg des Crossplay erlebt, den Fortnite selbst vorangetrieben hat. Insbesondere Microsoft hat es sich zur Aufgabe gemacht, nicht nur Xbox-Spieler zu unterstützen, die mit anderen Plattformen spielen können, sondern sie lassen auch Plattform-Exklusive fallen und gehen dorthin, wo auch immer die Spieler sind.

„Wir alle gewinnen, indem wir den Spielern den plattformübergreifenden Zugang zu Spielen erleichtern und es uns ermöglichen, auf den Plattformen zu spielen, die für uns am besten geeignet sind, wo immer wir uns befinden. Dies sind zwei Trends, von denen ich hoffe, dass sie sich auch in Zukunft fortsetzen. “

Games Media Communities und Persönlichkeiten

Andrea Rene

Andrea Rene ist Produzentin von Spielinhalten und Mitbegründerin von What’s Good Games.Photo: What’s Good Games

Andrea Rene begann ihre Karriere in der Spielebranche mit der Berichterstattung über die E3 2008 als Reporterin vor der Kamera und arbeitete anschließend als Videoproduzentin und Moderatorin für verschiedene große Spieleunternehmen. Zusammen mit Brittney Brombacher und Kristine Steimer ist sie Mitbegründerin von What’s Good Games, einer Multiplattform-Community für Gaming-Inhalte. She’s also a regular presenter at game industry live events and conferences, including E3.

“The key change in the last decade has been social media. It allows creators to have immediate and direct interaction with fans and viewers. It enables communities to connect with each other across multiple platforms, including YouTube, Twitch, Discord, and Facebook. Audiences can form their own friendships over the games they love.

“The rise of streaming shows how important it is for people who love games to make connections. Yes, people are watching for tips and other benefits. But it’s really about the connection. It’s about the idea that you’re allowed into the lives of the people on the other side of the camera.

“Some of the most tightly knit streaming communities are built by people who are always in chat with their viewers. They work to get to know each other. That’s propelled Twitch to the enormous success that it has today.

“It’s very competitive, and it demands hard work. It’s essential to be in the public eye, which means accepting a lot of work, which means being offered more work. Being a workaholic helps!

“Most of our revenue comes from Patreon, but business models can be a challenging patchwork. It’s essential to be imaginative and to take advantage of innovations. Our viewers love that we bring more than 30 years’ game industry experience, including news media, marketing, development, and PR. We bring a unique perspective on gaming, from news analysis to criticism. But our audience also loves that we have a very positive, upbeat style. We prefer to talk about the things that we’re passionate and excited about versus focusing on the more critical aspects of video games.”

The rise of retro

Mike Mika

Mike Mika is chief creative officer of Other Ocean.Photo: Other Ocean

Mike Mika’s company Other Ocean has a catholic approach to game development, but is probably best known for making retro and retro-style games for all platforms from mobile to VR. The firm’s most recent release was a PlayStation 4 remake of ’90s adventure MediEvil. It’s also working on games for the launch of the Intellivision retro console.

“The game industry is still relatively young, but efforts to protect and promote classic games (go) way back to the early ’90s. More recently. though, we’ve seen a lot more activity in terms of re-released classics, mini-consoles, and mini-arcade machines.

“Partly it’s about nostalgia, but as a father of two, I also know that young people today can and do appreciate the best of the past. I was very happy to see my kids really enjoying some of the games on the SNES Classic Edition. I think it’s also important that these consoles also use the same control design as the originals.

“Console makers and cloud services will, of course, make all their old games available on new consoles and services, but I think we’ll also see a dynamic market for retro controllers that make playing the games feel as authentic as possible. It helps that hardware is now so cheap that controllers and arcade machines can be released at such a low cost.

“We’ve also seen a lot of classics remade and updated for new consoles, like our release of MediEvil. Players want to go back to these games, but they also have expectations now about how games look and how they play, so updates sit alongside faithful versions of the original games.

“Another major factor has been the growth of mobile games. Some of the biggest games of the past decade were heavily influenced by classic game design, and that feeds back into the demand for the original hits.”

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