I had to think more about the economics that the E for everyone except me article. What is he suggesting that we do? His complaint is that the market can’t support AAA titles outside of a few genres, but it seems that the real reason he’s complaining is that AAA games in genres that he doesn’t like make games in genres that he does like look worse by comparison. Given this, what does he suggest be done about it? You’re not going to change the economics of the situation and make realistic strategy games a better investment for developers unless you recruit 3-5 million more realistic strategy game players.
Thus, it becomes a bit like those who complain that those other people have a million dollars and I don’t. You can do one of two things. You can either work hard, and improve the situation for everyone. Your genre’s games will improve, but so will the AAA games. They’ll still be infinitely better graphically than your genre, but at least yours will be getting better as well. This is the path that we’re on now with gaming. If you look at niche genres now, they’re tons better than those same niche genres were years ago, it’s just that everything else has gotten better faster than those niches.
The only other way would be to do what Communists and Socialists do to economic systems. Take from the AAA developers and give to the Niche developers. You hobble the AAA games so that they can’t develop games with better graphics than the niche games. This would have two effects. Gaming graphics would increase at a much slower rate for everyone. Not only would the AAA shooters and such still be at a Doom 1 level, but Strategy games would be stuck at the same timeframe as well, with low end 320x240 MCGA graphics. Everyone suffers.
I know which way I would choose. While Disgaea and the Atelier series have nothing on Ratchet and Clank or Uncharted, they’re still much better than the older RPG games that I was playing. We’re still in a Book publishing style medium, it’s just that a handful of books can afford much better paper, much better ink, and such that cost so much more to setup. Just because someone else has rich graphics doesn’t mean that they’re hurting the graphics that you’re experiencing. In fact, the trailblazing that they are doing will lead to better graphics for all games, just not quite as good of graphics…