I had the privilege of working with a top team of dedicated writers back in my Kombo days, and now I'm fortunate enough to work with some of them again. My old Kombo colleagues Sean O'Neill and Casey Ayers have launched a new digital magazine called The Industry that focuses not on video game news or reviews, but on in-depth features regarding industry trends, culture, and major events. It's available for iPad, Kindle Fire, and the general Kindle e-reader platform (which means that the Kindle app for iPhone and Android can pick it up), and I definitely suggest that you pick up the latest issue because I have an article in this week's edition. You don't want to miss "At Rest" in which I discuss the industry's push to release a new game in a hot franchise each year whether or not the franchise is creatively ready for a new sequel. Here's a sample:
War. War never changes.
Video game publishers have learned that the easiest path to reliable success is to turn the company’s biggest cash cows into annual releases. Stumble into the right success and a popular music game or first person shooter becomes a franchise, reemerging every holiday season, groundhog and/or zombie style, to produce six more months of steady revenue.
All too often, players must deal with the diminishing returns that come from overtaxing a franchise that just cannot take the weight of holding up a corner of the industry. While the money may keep rolling in as devoted fans continue to buy up the latest iteration of a favorite game, creative fatigue is always nipping at developers’ heels. Stockholder demands aside, perhaps it’s time to let some of these franchises take a year off to regroup. It would be better if some of them were at rest for a while.
The article goes on to analyze franchises that need time off, franchises that justify their annual appearances, and companies that know when to put their top performers on the bench for a while. Other articles in this issue include a look back at Nintendo Power, a breakdown of SimCity's disastrous launch, and a peek into the world of professional gaming. If you enjoyed Kombo's long editorials and feature articles in the old days, then you need to read this twice-a-month magazine. For more on The Industry, be sure to check out our upcoming Power Button interview with Sean and Casey.