Behind the lackluster showing of the Summer Gaming Festival, there is hope for the industry

Behind the lackluster showing of the Summer Gaming Festival, there is hope for the industry

Let’s not beat around the bush: Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest presentation was nothing to write home about this year. Without huge revelations or big hype moments, there’s little left to show.

After a wonderfully smooth start, where new ads like Lego Horizon Adventures and Civilization 7 were replaced by beautiful visuals for games like Neva and Metaphor: ReFantazio, the show quickly fell apart like candy. In fact, it didn’t help the rest of the show: there wasn’t even a bomb at the end so you could justify staying up until 1 a.m. While the new visuals for Monster Hunter Wilds and Phantom Blade Zero were certainly welcome, they’re not the kind of disturbing ones that you’ll enthusiastically send your audience to sleep with.

Organizer Geoff Keighley didn’t have enough big ads to justify a two-hour show, but at the same time he couldn’t make it shorter because it also had to fit all those commercial breaks. After all, Summer Game Fest isn’t a publisher showing off its own games at a nice E3 press conference, but a business that has to make money to survive. The small range of advertisements was therefore further diluted by advertisements.

Get used to it

We can tell you a little secret: it will stay that way in the years to come. Anyone who has followed the gaming industry lately knows that layoffs and shuttered studios are happening all over us. You don’t have to be a mathematician to calculate that fewer FTEs, fewer studios, and fewer investments will also lead to fewer games in the coming years. Hence fewer ads to fill these types of offers.

Kelly did well to start his presentation by reflecting on this situation. While he was criticized after The Game Awards at the end of last year for continuing to happily talk about games while the industry was on fire, he has now taken the time to express his support for the developers and studios affected. And perhaps most importantly, it put independent developers at the forefront by emphasizing that small teams will drive big successes this year. Think about the sales numbers of games like Palworld, Manor Lords, or Balatro, and you’ll see the hope that still exists in our industry.

Perhaps mega projects like the Last Of Ussen or Spider-Mans of this world will become too expensive to survive for long. But who cares if you can display gems like the Neva, Slitterhead, or Wanderstop in your showcase? These kinds of cool projects – and many others in the streams from e.g Developers Day And Devolver It was displayed – showing that creativity is not dead yet.

It’s very easy to say that indie games are the future if the abundance of AAA games disappears in the coming years. Small studios also need funding, and lately we’ve been hearing more and more that independent developers aren’t able to find it. Without an infusion of money from publishers, small studios are also doomed to close their doors. Just look at studios like KeokeN or Paladin Studios in the Netherlands alone.

We have money

For this reason, it was great that Kelly made room in his presentation to highlight new initiatives in this area. It was almost emotional to see how Innersloth They took to the stage to announce that they would use the millions they had earned among us to give a chain of independent studios the right to exist. They want to give other developers the kind of deals they wanted when they were kids. If big companies stop providing money, the independent community will have to do it itself.

This is beautiful, isn’t it? The only indie studio that likes to use its success to do something for others? Of course, it’s not just out of the goodness of their hearts: if these new games become a hit, they’ll likely benefit from them, too. But of all the ways to try to make money, this is one of the best.

Also in the spotlight Blumhouse Games It was a beautiful moment. The company is known for its horror films and series, but now it also wants to create a gaming branch. The weird horror game series reviewed looked incredibly interesting. In times when many small studios are struggling to keep their heads above water, it’s good to have new companies popping up to invest money in.

Go Jeff!

Geoff Keighley is often called an ambassador for gaming. He of course founded the Games Awards, where every year everything that makes games so great is highlighted. It organizes major shows such as Summer Game Fest and Gamescom Opening Night Live. The guy really loves games, it’s obvious, but he’s also a multi-tasking businessman who stuffs his shows with expensive commercials, where the line between a trailer and a commercial is often blurred – to the point where there’s no difference between them at all.

In this regard, it is good that he not only used the industry this year to make money and create a flashy show, but also talked about the health of the industry, which is obviously close to his heart. Or if you’re being too cynical, you could say he has to: otherwise he’ll only have a few games to fill his gigs in the coming years.

However, highlighting projects that provide more breathing room for more vulnerable studios is a big step in the right direction. These are initiatives that we can reap the benefits of for years to come through creative games you can play. In any case, we’ll put games like Project Dosa, Mars First Logistics, The Mossfield Archives, Fear the Spotlight, and The Simulation on our wish list.

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