Well, Activision Blizzard has acquired King, owners of mobile glutton-puzzler Candy Crash, for nearly six billion dollars. That means one company now owns an extremely popular and profitable version of each of the three worst gnarled branches of modern game development.
They publish Destiny, a bland scifi juggernaut that launched with less than one game of content and now continuously charges for thin DLC packs. It is a full retail release designed as a platform for later content and micro-transactions. It epitomizes style over substance and earns loyalty by backing early adopters into a corner so they trick themselves into thinking they’re having fun because they don’t want buyer’s remorse to strike. I would call this arm of the evil video game trinity bloating.
They create the yearly iterations of Call of Duty, the most vapid, militaristic, histrionically masculine, xenophobic, and rote shooters available. They are incapable of creating any sort of meaningful story or even a halfway decent set piece. It’s the kind of thing that shrinks the brain and thickens the skull. I won’t even get into the horrid things that happen in its multiplayer when children and the child-minded gain access to microphones. I’ll call this arm chauvinism.
And now, with the purchase of Candy Crush, they are the proud owners of a game that has fools mindlessly shuffling jellybeans around on their iphones and spending real-world money to ‘beat’ artificially difficult levels. Games similar to Candy Crush can be purchased, once, for just a few dollars. Anyone who plays the game instead of simply buying something like Bejeweled is not only responsible for the descent of the video game industry into a series of colorful slot machines, but they are also reinforcing the industry’s ideas regarding how commercialized they can make one of their art/entertainment products. Micro-transactions are a thing in the first place because of games like this. Games with ads. Games with sponsored levels and characters. Other things that fill you with so much bile you can feel your brain bobbing and pickling in it. I’ll call this arm: pettiness.
I could probably justify another arm talking about Blizzard’s games (World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Hearthstone, etc…) and how they expertly refine tested game mechanics to make them palatable enough for you to ignore their creative bankruptcy (maybe I’d call that mealiness), but then I wouldn’t have this nice unholy trinity analogy.
So yeah… Activision Blizzard is now all of the bad things about modern video games. They are the people who have forced me into a corner. They took my consoles and forced me and my controller onto PC. I am forced to subsist on only a handful of creative independent releases each year on Steam, a storefront that doesn’t even have the basic dignity of quality control. I actually worry that the very definition of ‘video game’ is going to become so loose and associated with monetary IV tactics that the medium will be destroyed by greedy business-types.
Screw you Activision Blizzard; that’s really what I’m trying to say. If you work for them maybe you should consider quitting and working for people who value both their customers and artistic integrity.