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David Cage tells games industry to grow up at DICE Summit

Friday, 8th February 2013 10:10 GMT By Dave Cook

Beyond: Two Souls writer David Cage has spoken out regarding the maturity of the games industry in his keynote speech at this year’s DICE Summit. He warned of an industry that wants to grow up, but thanks to stagnation in sales – the same franchises dominating the charts year-in, year-out – such coming of age will not happen. The video of his lecture is now available, we’ve got it below.

Cage also cautioned a lack of inspiration in genres and suggested that the industry operates in just three distinct areas – kids games, casual and violent games – while calling for greater diversity.

He cited gunplay as a key issue, adding that shooting in games has become commonplace and unimaginative. I interviewed Cage last year and we spoke at length about this issue here.

He called for reflection, and for developers to assess how best to move forward in breaking the monotony going forward into the next generation. You can watch the whole discussion here:

What do you think?

Thanks GI.biz.

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34 Comments

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  1. The Auracle

    Mr Cage makes a valid point. I think the reason why the industry produces so much of those three types of games he highlighted is down to one major thing: public consumption.

    There’s much more to it, though. I think gamers owe it to themselves to diversify their game collections but let’s be honest: the industry is not going to make something that they don’t think will sell enough.

    Something’s got to give.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 I agree with him 100% Sick of console paradigms right now. Assassin’s Creed 3 broke me last year. Just really put me off.

    This year’s pre-next gen titles should go some way to address it though. BioShock Infinite for one, Metal Gear.

    All about Killer is Dead for me though.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. viralshag

    Haha, gutted Nintendo. All you’re games lumped into the kids/casual category for an entire speech.

    Can’t say I really agree with much of his speech. Has the gaming audience really stayed the same over 40 years? He says we should be reaching a wider market and then asks what about your friends, family etc that don’t play games but it’s fine for any other entertainment?

    My mum happened to be in the room once when I was playing Heavy Rain, I’m not lying or making this up but she said “this is really boring, do you really like this?” She never plays games, my aunt brings the Wii over at Christmas and you can’t tear them away.

    I think the audience is wide, as wide as most entertainment these days. Not every movie or book carries significant meaning or message. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong when a movie, book or game does but I think Cage wants games to be something it’s not. I love gaming but at the end of the day, it’s just another simple form of entertainment. Real life is where most of my meaningful moments come from, I don’t think games or films will ever replace that and I don’t know why some devs want it to try.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Sini

    I voted for Bayonetta, Vanguish, Journey, Dishonored and many others.. etc. And closed my wallet for Heavy Rain. When you’ll make a game, we’ll talk Mr Cage.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Gadzooks!

    Cage is just so full of (sh)it. The games are out there, right now, if people care to find them.

    Of the most significant games I’ve played over the last year let’s see how many actually fit with his surface-deep appraisal of the industry:

    Dark Souls – no.

    Amalur – no.

    Wrecketeer – no.

    Skyrim – no.

    Borderlands 2 – yes.

    Trials – no.

    Fez – no.

    Witcher 2 – no.

    Darksiders 2 – no.

    SSX – no.

    XCOM – no.

    Happy Wars – no.

    Minecraft – no.

    Forza Horizon – no.

    Halo 4 – yes.

    Fary Cry 3 – yes.

    Lego LOTR – no.

    The cave – no.

    That’s just a small sample. 18 games and only 3 fit into his stupid categories.

    The guy is threatened by CoD, because he doesn’t understand the attraction. He refuses to accept (like so many others) that CoD can exist alongside smaller titles. It’s not killing anything, because the majority of the CoD/FIFA/AC/etc.. playerbase wouldn’t play more diverse titles if CoD and the likes were not there, or didn’t dominate the charts.

    I’m not forced to play major-sequel-IP. Even though they rule the charts I’ve had far more original IP available than time to play them. People have just become lazy and whiney, and so blame the most prominent game that they don’t enjoy for their own lack of interest or imagination.

    If this useless piece of crap wants to be taken seriously then he should stop whining and make decent games instead of really bad movies made slightly interactive with a string of lame QTEs. He has absolutely no relevance, and shouldn’t be given airtime.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. LuLshuck

    Cage is such a faggot, funny how no one listens to the cunt

    #6 1 year ago
  7. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    @6 Impressive language there, for a four-year-old.

    He’s also fat. You missed that one.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. JokingPanda

    He’s trying to bring games to an audience that won’t exist for another decade or two, when you know, current gamers get old and wrinkly. Books, cinema and tv as mediums have been around for years, the audience he wants to target grew up with these things, they’ve experienced the joys of what those mediums can bring. If the (older) parent & grandparent crowd had touched games, it’d have been when games weren’t the interactive experience they are today. It’s why games like WiiSports tend to be so popular with that same crowd, there isn’t a guy blabbing about his deep backstory or what they need to do to save the world, WiiSports is a game in the plainest sense and it’s what the audience he’s trying to grab more or less know about games.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Erthazus

    He is just making adventure games.

    Why the hate? Ahh he is saying that developers need to innovate more

    BTW, Gadzooks, games that you mention. (Most of them) require aiming at some point.
    “Witcher 2 – no.
    Darksiders 2 – no.
    Skyrim – no.
    Amalur – no.”

    These are big games and require aiming. (some of them even shooting) and except for Witcher 2 all these games just don’t push anything. Amalur was casual Fable-Like RPG game, Darksiders 2 was a Zelda, God Of War, Ico, SotC clone, Skyrim was a dumbed down TES experience compared to the past games and it was very limited without any substane at all, it was big though.

    and Yes, I’m not talking about your enjoyment of these games. I’m sure you had your fun with them.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. xino

    devs need to listen to Cage and start making break through games.

    everyone just follows the same trash cliche pattern with violence, cursing and swearing.

    i found it annoying how many devs were trying to show who can show the best blood/gore in a game. I wonder if they’ve stopped the silliness or still competing on that childish immature act.

    and they wonder why people die because of games or many heads trying to ban games.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. viralshag

    I’m pretty sure most people loved Dishonoured, that was quite a violent game. People didn’t seem too bothered about it then… Ah but the game play was solid and a load of fun, so it’s ok.

    We’re obviously just talking about the “crap” violent, casual and kids games?

    #11 1 year ago
  12. LuLshuck

    @9 how the hell is amalur a casual fable? you cant even get anymore casual then fable. YES the gameplay was the same but at the same time the gameplay in witcher 2 is exactly the same as fable (obviously more tactical, harder and better)

    #12 1 year ago
  13. SplatteredHouse

    What is there possibly to lose from heeding any of the points that David used in his speech?
    I completely agree with what he said. Why can’t we have games designed to hold the broadest appeal? Even NINTENDO are becoming caterers, for goodness sakes. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to acknowledge interest and trends, but there are companies that only do that – Activision, who stand just a Blizzard away from a precipice. How isn’t the Tony Hawk outcome likely to repeat with CoD, at the rate they are going? The next MoH, when something more competitive pushes CoD aside, to succeed it!

    That was surprising, the part where David talked about when he went to pitch what became Indigo Prophecy, and the response was where’s the characters gun, to which Dave replied that the player doesn’t use one (nor does he drive, or jump platforms) the lack of these supposed building blocks leading the representative for the publisher to lose interest, and become puzzled as to what game there could actually be, without such elements!
    Is this “turn the page, start a fresh chapter” thought a prevailing one at DICE Summit – and if so, what does that mean.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Sini

    DIshonored captured what games are all about; rats voyeurism and Walken whore tossing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8mK97qN02k

    No wonder it was GOTY candidate. Mr. Cage “games” on the other hand, are nothing more than really bad movies, that stop periodically and wait for you to wave your hand around before the character in this bad movie game opens the door, totally breaking the little immersion he painstakingly creates with his fumbling efforts.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. viralshag

    @13, But do you really think what he talked about isn’t around now? I mean let’s look at the film industry for example, we might be lucky to get a truly original, life-changing and impactful film a few times a year (if we’re lucky). While the rest of the time it is comprised of films that simply offer people of various tastes what they enjoy: action, comedy and romance most likely being some of the most popular.

    Why SHOULD games be any different to that form of entertainment? Does every game really need to be a Shakespearean effort or can it simply be something fun and enjoyable?

    #15 1 year ago
  16. SplatteredHouse

    Does every game really need to be a Shakespearean effort or can it simply be something fun and enjoyable?

    That’s very much the question I want to see investigated! That’s exactly why they should keep things simple. They should not try to capture demographics. They should not try to make the game that someone else would want designed, if they would not want to play it, and enjoy it themselves.

    Here’s one of the things about the recently shown Remember Me. In the questions by the press, they were asked how long the game was – and Pat mentioned in the article that the people on-hand were apparently forbidden from revealing such a detail: and a commenter posted, and Pat responded that this poster had best wait for the review to discover the true length of the game…But, is it so relevant. Because for me, I am already resolved that I want to play that after seeing the footage, and the interview pieces! Even if the report is, “oh, it’s six+ hours”. If the game is of good quality, and it succeeds at its intent, then I am determined to get it.
    That’s a super feeling. An excitement about games. I think there is too much focus in the mainstream at too limited of a scope atm, sure. But, in the case of RM I reckon this French studio, Dontnod, are making what appears to be a cracking action game.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. death_489

    I’m with Cage. I’m getting bored of gaming. My brothers stopped playing. I always feel that i’m too good and that’s a bad thing. When i play new game i play like if i played for months in just one day. Games need to evolve. They are getting easier, meaningless, simpler, Gamers fight each other for stupid things because of journalists like this game have better graphics in xbox360 but when ps3 have better graphics xbox360 fanboys says it’s not about graphics and the same goes for ps3 fanboys and for other subject. So instead of playing games we fight each other..

    So many talk. Just wanted to say and support his vision a little bit. He is a great developer. He is talking with reason and he’s making very very good points and explain what i feel about gaming these days…

    Note: My parents always make fun of anyone who play video games here. When my father talk about something serious and i say my opinion and he doesn’t like what i’m saying he say to me go play. I’m 20 years old XD. So Dave talk is true. Gaming is considered for childrens and it’s meaningless but in reality it could be much much better then movies and could be anything it want . educational, entertaining, social stuff..etc

    #17 1 year ago
  18. death_489

    All he’s saying that if developers wants to make games they need to make it meaningful. Not same game every year with just different contents. Make games if you have a vision . Try brining something new..

    Is that a bad thing for you guys ??? He’s not saying just make one type of games like you guys claiming. In reality most of the games are meaningless and copy other games instead of having it’s own vision. He said in the video that some games does work that way but most doesn’t and even if it works it’s not changing anything in gaming, it’s getting old. If you can’t really understand what he is saying then he is right about gaming need to grow up. You guys can’t even accept an advice and see the good things he says. Just complaining about the things you think he is wrong..

    #18 1 year ago
  19. TheBlackHole

    I can’t stand listening to this guy. He is so full of shit.

    I find it hilarious and intolerable that he suggests FPS gameplay has become unimaginative, whilst simultaneously making games around the worst fucking gameplay feature in history… QTEs.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. OlderGamer

    But I don’t like his games.

    I think everyone posting above is a bit right tho. I am bored with a lot of what the industry is shoveling out the door today. Esp the main stream big box stuff. I looked at Gadz list, I didn’t play 90% of that stuff. They just don’t interest me.

    But they interest someone. And because of that, because they are validated with sales numbers, they should legitimatly be on the market. Where I find pause isn’t in the games, but the way they are often handled. For example I liked the Forza Horizen demo, but with the stupid amount of DLC, the game should have been a free client download supported with microtransactions. I really would like the new Aliens game, but I will not pay 90usd for a game(that is the price with the season pass).

    I bitch about outdated and broken biz models, those are two examples that in my mind have worn out their welcome. I just feel like a wallet and not a gamer. I feel like I am being bleed dry by greedy pubs/platforms.

    Those are the types of things I find distasteful about the industry.

    If people want to buy those games he is complaining about…why shouldn’t devs/pubs try and provide them? Simple supply and demand.

    Personaly I don’t like the monitization of the industry. It really turns me off. Ofc, same thing applies. If people are willing to be milked and monitized, then why shouldn’t pubs go after that?

    But it causes me(and others I know) to lose interest.

    I spend a mega ton of my time playing PC games. I am playing Path of Exile right now. It is a Diablo style hack and slash, that is in a free to play structure. I can spend money for features I want, but not have to shell out 60usd upfront and another 20usd-50usd after the fact. I like that model, alot. I also play Guild Wars 2. My inital purchase nets me hundreds of hours of play, no sub fee or DLC needed…game updates are included in the purchase price of the game. I like that. I also pick from various Steam Sales. Some big names games for mere pennies, this is how I bought/played NFS:HP, DarkSiders, and more.

    I don’t think the games are the issue. I think value is. And to some degree the over monitization of that value. Instead of making such a big budget game that costs 90usd for the full experience and must reach 2million+ copies sold to break EVEN….make a less investment intensive game thatcan be sold for less money, be made in less time, and can afford to take a few inovative risks. In other words….go indie.

    I buy a lot of Indie games. And it is in the indie scene that a lot of disenchanted gamers seem to be finding renew. Perhaps said Mr. Cage would find happyness making games in that market space instead.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Gadzooks!

    #20

    What DLC model are you talking about w.r.t Forza Horizon?

    It’s a plenty big enough game, fully featured with loads of cars and tracks, multiplayer and no online pass required.

    There’s DLC packs like every other game out there, but what’s in the box is a full game. No corners cut.

    You questioned DrDamn the other day why he dissected your post, well it’s the same thing as in your post here. Really dude, you need to research the examples you cite.

    We’re a truly anal bunch here, so you know every detail is gonna be scrutinised! ;)

    #21 1 year ago
  22. death_489

    @20
    That’s another point we all agree on. It feels like politics thinking of all the limitation the companies do for the sake of many instead of gaming xD …

    @21
    Dlc’s made for taking more money without making more effort on the game. Developers announce Dlc’s before even release the game. Dlc’s already on disc. Dlc’s released after few days or weeks from release date. that isn’t for gamers interests. That called greed..

    #22 1 year ago
  23. viralshag

    @22, he’s right though. Regarding Forza the game is huge and content filled out the box. I haven’t finished it all and hardly have any of the cars on offer.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. DSB

    @15 That’s a very selective way to look at it.

    You don’t have to look very far for movies that truly break the mold.

    Sure, Michael Bay and James Cameron are terrible and they sell loads of tickets, but they’re a small group in a huge industry that is infinitely broader than videogames can claim to be.

    We don’t really have the Coppolas and the Scorceses, or the Grisham or Le Carre filmatizations.

    The only people who are dedicated to trying to give you that in videogames are indies at the moment, where the movie industry has several tiers worth of studios that are either indie-based themselves (even supported by a respected festival in Sundance) or dedicated to taking creative risks on a daily basis.

    There’s little room for the argument you’re trying to make there.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. Gadzooks!

    #22

    You don’t want the DLC then don’t buy it. Problem solved.

    I bought a full game, finished it, was very satisfied. Later on, once that meal had gone down (for want of a better metaphor) I wanted desert. DLC can neatly give me another slice of pie where I might not want a whole extra game.

    I’m perfectly happy with a system that lets me decide how much further I want to extend the life or breadth of my games, because I have the sense and willpower to take what DLC is worthwhile/relevant or not.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. viralshag

    @24, I think there’s plenty of room for that argument. What you’re suggesting is a lack of talent able to create games on that level. Cage is saying the effort is not being made. I think there is a difference between the two.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. DSB

    @26 I don’t know if it’s a lack of talent, I think it’s mostly stagnation by choice.

    If it doesn’t shoot, and it doesn’t slash, then it doesn’t get made.

    The same can hardly be said for movies. Already there you’re leaving videogames in the dust when it comes to the reach of the content.

    Why wouldn’t you make a game that was about running like Mirror’s Edge, or about spying like Spycraft? Or about caring for a community? Why is shooting and slashing the only thing that gets made?

    Obviously because nobody in the mainstream wants to push what a videogame can be. The same can’t ever be said about movies. And movies never would’ve gone there if it hadn’t been for pioneers who took initiative and showed ambition on behalf of the medium. It didn’t happen over night.

    For the better part of 10 years all movies cared to do was show some guy walking into a wall, hitting on a chick and getting chased by a fat man.

    You had to have people like Chaplin or Bergman or Kurosawa. Their movies aren’t popular by default, but they strengthen the medium by showing people new ways, the industry listens and learns from them, and even if a guy like Judd Apatow never knew who they were, chances are he’ll have learnt something from them anyway.

    The same goes for the indies. People might not watch those movies in countless numbers, but the industry knows to watch and listen, and the result is that indie film makers actually have a direct influence on the industry as a whole. Cronenberg, Rodriguez, Raimi, Jackson. All graduated from the lowest possible places.

    That’s never going to happen as long as videogame publishers are purely concerned about milking the same old group, with the same old content, instead of ensuring that videogames mature as a creative medium. They need those radical guys, whether they realize it or not.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. death_489

    @25
    I don’t mean only Forza. Most of the games do that..

    #28 1 year ago
  29. Gadzooks!

    #28

    Yes, most games do release fully featured with ability to extend them with DLC.

    You are free to decide whether the DLC represents value TO YOU, and purchase or ignore as you see fit.

    Free will. Yes siree it’s a beautiful thing.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. OlderGamer

    I don’t think it is as clear cut as that Gadz. A well done DLC example would be RockBand. Extra content made after the release that extends and adds value. A poor example would be a game that isn’t even out yet and yet is advertizing 15usd DLC packs already. I am talking about Aliens. And I am not picking on Aliens. Alot of games do it.

    Sure fundamentaly you can argue that DLC is a choice. I argue it is a biz practice. Both are correct. Neither is moraly right nor wrong. It will bother some people and not others. But to take the smug high ground is to not understand the causality of it. Preditory biz models will and have chiped away at the industry. Not everything can sustain it.

    It is part of the current console enviroment that has to evolve and change. 90usd games is not a sustainible pricing model. And again that is the cost of Aliens plus the Season pass. And really when you are holding back online gametypes as DLC, and forcing people to buy it as 15usd DLC packs…that doesn’t sit well.

    Look, Tablets, PCs, Mobile are already taking gamers away from Consoles. At some point you have to look at way. Pricing is a huge consern. Instead of trying to extort money from customers, they should be trying to give value to costumers. Why? Because we have choices now.

    I canceled my Aliens preorder, for example. I told my brother inlaw they had a season pass, and he did the same. It has just gotten to a point where enough is enough. Maybe not for you, that is fine. That is your choice. But I am not going to play that way anymore.

    When Aliens is on a Steam sale someday, maybe I will bite.

    As me talking to Doc, it had zero to do with debating games or a topic in general. But alot of people are more concerned about the way something is worded then they are about the subject matter being discused. Word warriors I guess. Not that Doc is, but I was noticing a pattern. I post and he picks at the something, mostly because of the way it was worded. My orig posts here today, are opinions. Again no right or wrong. Just an expression of what I was thinking/feeling. You can have a different one if you like.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. Da Man

    Completely agreed with Lulshuck’s attitude towards this guy.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. i.hate.tabloid.journalism

    Of course you do. After all, you defended his other alt-accounts.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. Gadzooks!

    #30

    That’s the wrong argument.

    When the DLC is announced or released is not an issue. The value of it is, and that is in most cases subjective.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. Da Man

    i.hate.disagrees

    #34 1 year ago