How the Playstation Destroyed the Gaming Industry
In the olden days, quality games were common, Sega and Nintendo were at war, and things were good. Then came the Playstation. Now i'm not having a go at the system in particular- for it's time it was a good system with quite a few good games. But, nonetheless, it is the reason for beginning the destruction of the gaming industry.
The early nineties were good times for the gaming industry. Sega and Nintendo were at each others throats in a friendly, "i'm better than you, but if you weren't around i'd have no-one to be better than, so i'm letting you stay in existence" sort of way. This meant gaining customers the old, better way. Quality games were being shoved out the wazoo. We aren't talking about buy one game and then you're already excited about a soon-to-be-released game. We're talking about four great games all being available at once for both systems. For gamers it was heaven (provided you could actually afford all the games you wanted, otherwise you had a constant feeling of incompleteness).
Suddenly a new competitor enters the console ring. Following a broken contract with Nintendo, Sony turned their attention and large fortune to the gaming market. This, i feel, was the point gaming went into collapse. Sony didn't use the marketing techniques Sega and Nintendo (and the other, smaller console makers) had been using up till then. They didn't take the market by producing more and higher-quality games than the opposition. They took it via quantity, not quality. There's no doubt the Playstation was a powerful machine, it blew the SNES and Saturn out of the water. But that wasn't how it destroyed the gaming industry.
It commericalised gaming on a never seen before scale. It was the playstation that put the final nail in the "movies into games" bandwagon. Up till then they had quite a lot of effort put into them, even though they usually were reviewed as "crap" due to being slightly unfinished and therefore of a lot lower quality. But the PS just destroyed that. Games became so cheap to make on the playstation that developers reallised that because the people who bought the games would most likely be buying them because of the film name stuck to the side, they didn't have to make the game high quality to make loads of cash, whereas before a game had to be fairly high quality to pay itself, and if a game didn't pay for itself a company could be in big trouble.
It also heralded the true birth of the third party. They had existed before, but because they had to survive on their earnings their games were incredibly high-quality, games such as Final Fantasy and Sensible Soccer were making serious money. But thePlaystation saw the birth of what i will call the "Mary-Kate and Asley" titles. Low-quality rip-offs of TV shows and films that were worth nothing, made nothing, and had endless sequels despite selling roughly four units per game. This is one of the things that has left the industry where it is today.
Another thing the PS introduced into the gaming market was the CD playing secondary option. Cool idea. But the PS market, which was a big market, decided later on that this was a total requirement. This caused major hurt for the N64, GameCube, and though i'm not sure, the Dreamcast to. This hurt was increased with the release of the PS2, adding a DVD player into the features that were, according to playstation crowd, "basic requirements". I don't know about anyone else, but in my opinion anyone who buys a console so they can play CDs or DVDs has too much money. There are cheaper and there are certainly better quality players available on the market. This was another kick to the true gaming market, making unnecesary add-ons necessary yet a constant supply of quality games not.
The PS also murdered the market as regards to games rated at teen or below. While Nintedo and Sega had had major successes with E-rated titles such as Mario and Sonic, there were only around three quality e-rated titles on the playstation. There were a lot more good quality mature titles, but because of the flood of "Mary-Kate and Ashley" standard games being the only e-rated games being released on any kind of regular basis, all games that were e-rated were dismissed as crap. This opinion is just as strong today, as the PS2 operates on pretty much the same idea. This gives playstation gamers the mindset that no game rated less than a 15 could possibly be good. This led to swarms of attacks on the GameCube for games like Pikmin and Mario Sunshine. The games were both incredibly fun and high-quality titles, but because of the playstation mindset, the only thing non-Nintendo (and some Sega who hadn't left for the playstation by now) fans were seeing was the 3+ sticker on the side of the case. This has in turn led to two things- 1) Companies being forced to make titles more violent with the threat of losing major sales, and 2) A major increase in the number of games being bought illegally by under-age gamers who just want to play a quality game.
That's my version of how the Playstation managed to turn gaming from fun to sale-stat city in the course of it's life. You can dispute it as much as you like, it's pretty much the truth and if the PS2 (and indeed the upcoming PS3) continue in the same mindset then sooner or later the market will be filled with low-quality games that spray blood all over the screen from the moment you turn it on to the moment you turn it off, featuring no fun bits in between. Enjoy your future, you'll be the only one.
This was of course, stolen by Me. :)