But are you aware of how bad the arcade industry is now? It’s gone through various rises and falls through the decades but apparently now is the worst it’s ever been.

Here’s a somewhat interesting article on the arcade industry. Not the best, and you can tell it comes from an industry person not a arcade player, so it glosses over certain things I think are important, but still interesting. He attributes the decline of arcade games to the following things:

  • “Over investment of starry eyed R&D engineers” – not a lack of R&D, but R&D resources misplaced. In the 90s every company had to have a 3D system and poured tons of money into it. Much of which was wasted, and in the end, the 3D capabilities of consoles caught up with arcade games. And they spent tons of money on games that were technically impressive but not fun to play.
  • “The support of console performance in order to embrace the fast buck of a consumer port” – again, a short term view that shot them in the foot. People ended up not playing the arcade games because they knew the console version would come out really soon.
  • “The pure failure to create games that earn”

I still think Dave is right in that the critical difference between now and back then is that there’s less creativity now, and that’s what’s killing the industry. Companies are still spending money on R&D, but they’re bandwagoning, like they did with 3D, and it’s hurting them. I dunno, that Star Trek game that Dave mentioned is a great example to me. It’s clear they spent tons of money on it. And they just made it a shooting game. Boring. Who plays it? Anyone?

I dunno, gaming technology is weird. You’d think that with greater technology, there’d be more freedom with games and more creativity. But I think the opposite is true, on every level, arcades, consoles, and computers. Everything that comes out is the same, like another real-time strategy game, another RPG game, another first person shooter. Why is it that there’s more creativity when there are more technical limitations?