Thursday, May 4, 2017

Business Monopolies: Why Gamers Should Care

Monopoly = Own everything... and then what?
I'm not a fan of the New York Times for obvious reasons regarding the legitimacy of news reports. However, once in a while even the NYT can provide a small nugget of truth in an article that highlights a great problem in today's society. The above link would happen to be one of those articles.

Google controls 88% of search advertising? Isn't that a shame? Just 10+ years ago one would get the feeling that he or she could go anywhere to get their reliable internet searches. Today that feeling is drastically different as the first platform that pops into anyone's mind is Google. Need a question answered? Just Google it. Need tips on how to do something professionally? Just Google it. Need to look up new information on your favorite celebrity? Just Google it.

Search advertising is where money is made, and of course Google (and by extension its parent company Alphabet) have perfected this art, so much so that they intentionally shove every other competitor out of the way and gobble up online search resources. That sounds like a friendly and welcoming company, right?

Facebook, which also owns Instragram, WhatsApp and Messenger, controls 77% of social traffic? Social media... The platform you use to communicate with other people. Just go to Facebook. Everyone in the world appears to be there, so you join up with us! Need to contact your best friend or lost family relative? Join Facebook!

Good ol' Mark Zuckerberg (sarcastic intro), who plans on running for President of the United States one day (that alone is a scary thought), not too long ago bought the VR company that makes the Occulus Rift for $2 Billion. That's billion with a B. Social interaction takes on more than just social media, but also in this case, Virtual Reality programs, whether they take on the forms of video games or not. It's not hard to figure out what the long-term play from Zuckerberg and company is, right?

Revenues in media businesses like newspaper publishing or the music business have, since 2001, fallen by 70 percent? Not surprising by any means since the newspaper publishing business has become, in many ways, obsolete since we have the internet to look up on the latest news and developments of our society. The music business is pretty much in the same boat as consumers don't necessarily need to buy the hard copies of music albums anymore, but rather download those albums and soundtracks off the internet.

I'm sure you, the reader, are noticing a trend as I run down these notes.

 ^ The above link is the result of a little test I took that measured where I supposedly stand politically, and no, I don't 100% agree with these results. I am more about a single nation and I am more about liberty than the opposite, so I know this test got those parts about me wrong. Apparently this test says I'm basically a Centrist, neither Left nor Right Wing. I'll shrug my shoulders and say that I really don't care. I've never been big into politics anyway.

Reader's Question: How does this relate to video games?

Here's how I tie the above article to the Video Game Industry. Business monopolies, at its core, are not good for the long-term health and sustainability of industries. Wouldn't you generally agree? If you disagree, then you might want to imagine this "Doom and Gloom" scenario where the Video Game Industry only has 1 big company making home consoles for gamers. Take your pick of either Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft right now. One of these companies are only allowed to make consoles for gamers and the gamers just have to deal with it, even if they don't like most of the games they receive.

That's what a monopoly basically is without explaining it thoroughly.

Business monopolies clearly fly in the face of the general principles of entrepreneurship, a practice that promotes the idea of you, aspiring to make a splash in the business world, entering the industry of your choice with your own company and your own fascinating ideas. Business monopolies squash competitors. They always do. It doesn't matter how they plan on squashing your company. If they have an opening they are going to do it. You had better be prepared to fight for your company and your business dreams because otherwise the leading corporate giant company will come in and stomp all over your dreams. That's business for you.

So for those of you who hope to see Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft pull out of the console-making business, I warn you of these business monopolies because this is NOT the road you want to go down as a consumer, and definitely not long-term.

Independent video game development combats the big boys of AAA game development because this serves as one way to avoid a monopoly in the game-making world. I highly doubt we will see the day where Indie devs have to team up with AAA companies just to survive, because otherwise the Video Game Industry wouldn't nearly be as strong as it says it is.

If you apply an equivalent to Google or Facebook to the Video Game Industry, should that corporate giant company be broken up? My answer is absolutely, positively YES. I'm not a believer in the saying "We're never too big to fail." That's where so many companies begin their fall from supremacy. Arrogance. Pride. Greed. The basic need to be everything for everybody when that isn't realistic for the market.

In this sense equality is desperately needed in business because without it the territory to have creativity and imagination will be limited, and game devs will suffer long-term. No one company stands above all. Today's society needs to better understand that.

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