In this Metacast Roundtable episode, Anil Das-Gupta and Matt Dion, join your host Maria Gillies to discuss Sony’s Transmedia Announcments, and if we’re entering the golden age for successful big screen adaptations of games. The team also discusses when the consolidation mania might end and why some of gaming’s biggest giants might be interested in being acquired. The group also talks about the problem with matchmaking in gaming, and why some popular FPS players and content creators are asking for easy PvP lobbies so they can entertain with crushing wins.

Sony’s Transmedia Announcements

When Does Consolidation Mania End?

  • Context
    • Supercell acquired a majority stake in Trailmix, a studio based in London that creates free to play mobile games.
    • This seems part of a larger trend of acquisition and merger in the gaming industry.
  • The possible repercussions:
    • Game developers may be put under pressure from their acquiring company to stick to known formulas instead of trying new things. Coupled with how common acquisitions are becoming, this could make future games generally less creative.
    • The industry may become more inefficient as it’s more difficult for creators to share knowledge within/between larger companies.
  • The scale of these acquisitions put into perspective how colossal not only the gaming industry, but also the tech industry (e.g. Microsoft and Google, which are major acquirers) has become.
  • The tech and movie production industries are both already very consolidated, with select major companies dominating the sphere and smaller/newer companies struggling to compete. The gaming industry is not yet like this, but could be on its way to be.
  • The rise of web3 could create a massive shift in this trend thanks to its decentralized nature.
    • Alternatively, acquisitions might still happen, only in a new format. For example, a large company could buy a huge quantity of tokens and essentially take over a DAO.
  • We will likely see more acquisitions, especially of small studios.

Some Players Don’t Want Fair Matchmaking

  • Context
  • Game developers should think twice before incorporating this player feedback.
    • Players raising this issue may be vocal, but unrepresentative of the player base.
    • Players may not understand game design and may not foresee the consequences of the features they ask for.
  • Some are of the opinion that games should take a pragmatic approach— optimizing engagement and retention over fair play. However, they actually go hand in hand.
    • Fair matchmaking has proven to increase retention. Players will lose interest if the game is too easy or difficult.
    • This also explains why games in which players competes against bots instead of other players typically have lower retention rates.
  • To address such issues, game developers have tried/ are trying to create novel matchmaking systems. However, many eventually revert to the more simple but effective Elo format.
  • When starting out, games should focus on acquiring players rather than matching those players perfectly.
    • Smaller player base → more difficult it is to find a good, much less ideal, match → players have to wait longer to get a match the more fair the matchmaking system demands.
  • Web3 could revolutionize PVP games.
    • The web3 circle is smaller and its games hence have faster feedback loops.
    • On web3, even small studios can easily publicize their works, and even while its in development. Currently, most games go unheard of until they’re officially announced.
    • On the other hand, the fact that some web3 games are publicized before release might mean they have higher expectations to live up to. This is especially given the financial aspect of web3 games.