Remember in the beginning of the economic collapse, when everyone was saying "The game industry is recession proof?" Nearly two years of layoffs and sales slumps seem to have shown that theory flawed. The latest piece of evidence: Publisher Electronic Arts says it may cull its output of games even further than it already has.
EA publishes more than 50 titles yearly now, but will cut that number back to around 40 next year. Those ten games aren't the end of the blood-let though. EA head John Riccitiello said EA might publish even fewer titles in the coming years. "Thirty wouldn't shock me at some point in the future," Riccitiello said at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York on Tuesday.
The culprit for EA's cuts is more complicated than bad economic times. Riccitiello and company believe that the game market is shifting toward casual games like Facebook's Farmville (shudder) and Bejeweled. To capitalize on this trend, EA purchased casual game company PlayFish, and is in the process of porting some of its well-known franchises to less-traditional platforms like iPhones: Franchises like Madden, and, as we learned today, Mirror's Edge. So, in the future, look for fewer triple-A titles to be released, and more casual games.
I see this as a good thing for gamers. I think the number of releases in the industry will shrink, but the quality of the AAA games released will rise -- I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy, and it's not like there has been a shortage of crappy games lately. I just hope the good titles end up getting rewarded while the bad ones are cut, as opposed to vice-versa. What about you? What games do you think the world could do without?