tl;dr : capitalism sucks as usual and is ruining games.
Billionaire owns and invests in a thing. Many people care about it. They use the media empire they already own to promote it. Clearly, that is mainstream and super popular.
Mere millionaires, or even on-profits, own and invest in a thing. Just as many people, if not more care about it. Only small media reports on it, because it does not benefit the billionaires who own it. Must be just a niche. No big deal. Will never matter.
Basically yes, but also no. Capitalism is trying it’s best to ruin games, but there is still more than plenty of people and groups and studios making games as a passion and art over maximal profits so that there are infinite good games to play and more being made all the time.
But capitalism does suck and is definitely not helping anything.
In 20 years will more kids have played basketball or whatever the current hottest digital game in the world is?
In 20 years, basketball may exist but it may not be as it is today. Most kids will be playing some sort of physical augmented reality sport with their equivalent of a mobile phone. ESport won’t be limited to sitting down at a gaming rig in a shitty racecar chair with a headset, with a feed broadcast on Twitch with some horrible announcer talent. It’ll be drone racing league. It’ll be extreme Pokemon Go. It’ll be crazy VR stuff. I’m sure you’ll have some esports more or less like we have today, some kind of team FPS say. But it’s going to bleed into everything else.
Sure Yale might never have a prestigious Overwatch team that will awards someone a full ride scholarship. But I could easily predict in 20 years that most colleges might be bringing in a few highly skilled people on athletic scholarships who compete in something desended from current eSports.
So I can see it being crazy popular when it’s been a thing a kid’s parents grew up with.
I was being a bit hyperbolic but it sure is ruining the top of the line big budget material. Valve is exhibit A in this. They used to be the number one with a bullet in making the coolest most popular games. Now they coast on LoL, profits from retailing other people’s games and microtransactions. The last game was that card game that was designed to to more of the same. They’re not even a publicly traded company and they fell to the lie of infinite growth. Imagine if they had shareholders.
I was being sarcastic, I know he’s huge.
I thought it was an interesting development, years ago, when a couple MMOs(namely Guild Wars and Secret World) broke away and went “We’re going pay once, play forever, and supporting ourselves with additional content” - a lot of people dragged them, said they’d be gone in a few years because they couldn’t keep up cashflow that way, unlike all the other MMOs on subscription models. Now, look who still standing? Guild Wars, and Secret world. Pretty much every other MMO of that time except WOW has long since shuttered.
Brian Michael Bendis is one of the most popular writers in comic books. If you read comics, you pretty much know who he is. He’s been a major writer for Marvel, and now he’s writing Superman for DC. He’s the creator of Jessica Jones and Miles Morales. He’s about as high profile as you can get.
Outside of comic fans, if you asked people who BMB is, I doubt they’d be able to tell you. Even me, a huge comic fan, if BMB was walking down the street across from me, I doubt I’d recognize him because I’m not sure I know what he looks like well enough. He’s niche famous.
I feel like a lot of the magic is gone from games. Very little makes me go WOW! these days. It’s all either very indie retro small footprint run on a toaster pixel and sprite games, shovelware, or cynical big budget Triple A stuffed with microtransactions and any creativity wrung out of it by management and shareholder meddling. I remember being blown away by not only by tech advancing but the things that were done with that tech. I thought it was the craziest thing you could distract guards with a girlie magazine in MGS, the physics in HL2, stuff like that. It’s just not… “wow” any more.
Despite One Piece being a bigger deal than Batman, you’ll see Batman reported in the mainstream media. Why? Because that same media empire that owns the news owns Batman. They don’t own One Piece. One Piece is not niche. It is bigger and more popular than Batman. We measure what is big and what is small by the actual size of the audience. Something doesn’t need to be touched by the magic wand of the 20th centuries media conglomerates to become legitimate. If you’re big, you’re big.
Well on pay to play mmo front WoW and Final Fantasy XIV are probably the big two right now (though I might be biased when taking about XIV, but it’s my understanding that it’s doing quite great). There is also Eve, which is probably not huge, but is alive and there probably is other smaller mmos still going, but sure nothing big. But sure it has been proven that mmos don’t need monthly payments to work. Destiny 2 is doing great as are the games you mentioned (not sure how big Secret World is right now, but still).
One piece isn’t reported on in the mainstream media because it’s Japanese, and most of its fans and readers are Japanese. Overall, its sales might overtake Batman’s, but in terms of cultural influence in the US, it pales in comparison.
There are probably Bollywood stars that are more popular than Brad Pitt, that made more money than Avatar and Titanic, but I have no idea because here in the US, we don’t care about Bollywood. Same with most European football players.
eSports might be huge in China, but in the near future, and not talking about the kind of future sports that @SWATrous was talking about in his post, it will never be that popular or culturally significant in the US the way mainstream sports are.
Much like heliocentrism was dumped long ago, US-centrism is also on the way out. Get used to it.
True, but I doubt it will be replaced by another country, at least here in the US. I don’t think US culture will ever be as influenced by another country’s culture and media the way our culture influences the rest of the world.
Toys ‘R’ Us is gone. Sears is going away. MySpace died. AOL died. Rome and the British Empire and the Catholic Church are well past their time. Nothing is too big to fail. US culture has only dominated the world for < 100 years. US itself isn’t even that old.
Gotta stop believing in that American exceptionalism.
True, but FFXIV wasn’t out at the time Secret world and Guild Wars were kicking off, so I deliberately didn’t include it.
Eve is…Really it’s own weird thing. I mean, you can literally play EVE for free, you can trade in-game commodities for game-time on your account, and not even in the “Oh, trade one almost useless currency for a tiny amount of our premium currency” way some free to play MMOs do. They did also add a free-to-play account option, though, which is pretty interesting. It’s now even more affordable to largely ignore eve while marveling at the occasional mad shit that comes out of that game into the gaming press.
Honestly, while Destiny 2 is MMO-like, I wouldn’t call it an MMO, just MMO-adjacent. That said, Secret world is doing REALLY well, though - appropriately for a game about secret societies - very quietly. After all, it is the game that propped up, by itself, a company with multiple games in development, financed another AAA MMO being developed(That conan one that got good reviews a while back), and continues to make a surprisingly large amount of money, even after they made a completely rebuilt and modernized version, then took it free to play. To put it another way, it’s making enough money that they can afford to maintain the old version - both servers and ongoing patches/maintenance - literally indefinitely, and still make a profit.
Edit - Oh and Secret World is still really fucking good, I still genuinely consider it the pinnacle of MMO quest and world design.
About the only country out there with both the population and economic resources to effectively counteract American cultural influences is probably China, and it doesn’t seem to be very much on their radar. Even if it was, they still have enough internal problems with being an authoritarian state that it’s unlikely you’ll find the same sort of cultural output you see from the US, warts and all that we may have here.
Thanks to the Internet you don’t big population or resources. You just need to try hard at something and invest in it. Look at what Finland/Sweden have done with Ice Hockey relative to their population and funds. Look at what Korean has done with music. Little old Ireland has just one major-ish studio producing animated movies, and now Ireland is easily top 10, possibly even top 5, countries producing animation.
If you make good stuff, and make it available, you are set. The biggest barrier is the language barrier. Or in the case of Japan, the self inflicted barrier.
I actually recently thought about Destiny and realized I can find no reason to just call it an mmo. Open maps where people do public events together and some lonely people go around doing meaningless side quests with instanced dungeons that are done with groups. Destiny 2 is as much of an mmo than anything else mentioned.
I played FF 14 for about 4-5 months about a year or so ago. While the usual MMO treadmill type stuff eventually caused me to get bored with it and stop playing, as an MMO, it was excellent, having all kinds of quality of life improvements that I wish previous MMORPGs would have had.
Additionally, the story was downright amazing, probably one of the best FF stories ever, and for that reason alone, I’m somewhat tempted to go back to it. I wish Square would release a single-player version of FF14 so I could play through just the story bits.