Let's talk about computer game economy. Consoles shall stay out, becouse at first they were much more expensive becouse of memory cards they were shared, and now there are (still) licensing fees, making them more expensive compared to computer games (just compare prices of multi-platform games).
I've seen here much complaining about reduced box sizes, reduced size or complete lack of printed game manuals, and then some. Let me tell you reason for this: currencies inflate, but computer games still cost about as much amount of money today as they did 20+ years ago (and console games cost whole lot more). So even though we pay more for food, rent, gas, and rest, we don't pay anything more for computer games than we did in the past. Many of us take advantage of this by buying more games. In the meantime costs of game development, advertising and publishing have increased, even up to SEVERAL MILLIONS of $! Do you understand what this means? Even though cost of game development has increased BIG time, income from customer hasn't. Explanations: there are more customers buying 1 particular game (particularly the ones with multi-million $ budgets), and game publishing policies have been stripped by reducing number and size of by-products (game box, manuals). Why? Manuals need ink, paper, and machinery, and they all cost money. We all knew that, right?
Many people, particuarly long time gamers of game magazine columnists, complain about how games of this millennia are too easy, lack challenge, and underestimate players. I have answer for this too: 20 years ago digital games (computer & console) were niche, and those who played them, were called nerds and even freaks. That we certainly were: some of us played Carrier Force, which required memorization of thick manual and notebook when playing the game. Some others played Star Control 2 with with help of english-to-finnish dictionary (that's me). Getting the game to work might have required fine-tuning of C-cassette drive. Now ask yourselves this: would most gamers of today play like that?
Of course not! Newest gamers we have now haven't even seen 5,25 diskette and C-cassette! They didn't type commands, tune cassette drive, memorize sound card configurations, create boot diskettes... face it: this is hacker/nerd stuff, and most of new gamers don't qualify that high. WE are 1337, THEY are n00bs! Get it? That's why games of multi-million $ budgets are dumbed down to level of the n00bs, and those n00bs are needed to finance the multi-million $ budgets. But don't worry about it, there are still people making the more demanding games for us. And... I guess audience of those games hasn't increased much. Let's make some comparison with games of Gary Grigsby from different times: what are production costs, total sale income, and # sold of Carrier Force, Pacific War, and War in the Pacific? If there is increase in numbers over time, I bet it's much lesser in relation to all the computer game players in given times.
Conclusion: most of the new players (n00bs) play simple games that work out-of-the-box. Without those games total increase of gamers would have been much less. Increase within our group (1337) has been much less. Therefore dev teams, who make games for us, have much smaller income, and therefore smaller budgets, which forces them to sell games with lesser auxiliaries than before: 2by3 Games don't have even single-million $ budget for any given game.
Sometimes n00bs wander in to this forum and ask for recommendations. Some 1337s here don't realize they're dealing with n00b, and so their answer is: "Buy WITP" WAKE UP THERE!
You know what they say, don't you? About how us MechWarriors are the modern knights, how warfare has become civilized now that we have to abide by conventions and rules of war. Don't believe it. MekWars