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Lack of Innovation? A Counter Point…

Pedro wrote a great post on the lack of innovation in games. I’ve heard this a lot lately. Here, I’d like to present the counter point to that general sentiment.

Too Many Shooters, Too Many Sequels

Are there too many songs on iTunes? Too many books on Amazon? I can name a dozen items at the grocery store that I don’t want to buy, but so what? Buy what you want, enjoy it, and don’t let the other options trigger any anger.

Motion control sucks, pay-to-play sucks, stereoscopic 3D sucks, Blu-Ray sucks, DRM sucks, etc

Same as the above. BTW, plenty of people like all of the above.

Publishers are evil and destroy game developers

Hey, if you want to fund game projects that publishers are finding unprofitable, go ahead. Game development doesn’t get government protection like education or health care, they are subject to the brutal whims of the consumer market, and realistically that will involve lots of good, talented, hard working people getting layed off and having miserable and frustrated careers. You can’t blame that on publishers, that’s how the system works. I’d give aspiring game developers the same advice I’d give aspiring musicians: no one wants to discourage your dream, but I’d consider a safer career track with a better likelihood of happy outcomes. For every success story, there are hundreds of miserable tales.

Take a Break

If you hadn’t been exposed to video games for the past five years and just got back into it, you’d be blown away by the progress. If you’ve been playing new releases constantly, and are just comparing this month’s new release to the dozens of other recent games you’ve experienced, you are more likely to be disappointed at the lack of progress.

Real Innovation is Happening in Games and Entertainment

If you take a step back, and look at the transformation of gaming throughout the past five years, it is phenomenal. Everyone who attempts to predict how the industry will evolve over the next five years also expects dramatic transformation going forward. Most other sectors of society are relatively stagnant compared to the constant innovation and transformation seen in game entertainment.

The Fertile Field of Innovation

For those who act champions of innovation, take a break from video game entertainment. Focus on Math, Science, and Engineering. When is the last time you took a science class at a local college? I’d argue that innovation in these areas is more important for humans as a species, and ultimately more exciting, than innovation in video game entertainment. Entertainment is still important and has an important role in life, but some people focus on it too much. I’d also argue that many talented game programmers would have happier and more satisfying careers in the traditional sciences.