UPDATE: Kojima’s next game confirmed to be coming to PC after PS4 release. That was fast.
ORIGINAL STORY: I expected Kojima’s recent announcements to be absolute fire. I thought social media would crash, news websites would need more bandwidth, and Trump’s vague internet rules would begin to apply everywhere because of it. But I was wrong about everything.
Hideo Kojima has become a divisive name in the industry. It took me a while to admit it, but he and his best-selling games are niche. There’s no way around it. For every ten people who would kiss the Earth beneath him, there are ten more that would look the other way rolling their eyes. Neither camp is wrong. Some people like his uniquely directed titles while others consider them stealth snore fests. He doesn’t have mass appeal. So what gives with his latest tweets?
If readers find themselves lurking the echo chambers of dedicated gaming sites, then it’s almost impossible to not have stumbled across this fun tweet.
1/2 This is new studio’s logo. Looks like a medieval knight and also a space suit. pic.twitter.com/AC3j6kfImy
— HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) December 16, 2015
Pretty snazzy design for a brand new studio, right?
While that had hardcore fans frenzied, another tweet watered down many hopes that Kojima would stay a progressive in an industry that needs it most.
I just can’t fully get behind this, like most.
*Before I continue, like some of the people looking at the announcement above with a microscope, it’s clear that there’s only mention of “console” exclusivity, which as we know at this point in time almost always means an eventual, if not superior PC variant release as well. Every time there’s a naysayer, they’re almost always proven wrong. It’s when suits say “exclusive” without the words “timed” or “console” in front of it that usually means it’s actually exclusive.*
“Yo, Walter, you hate Sony, don’t you bro?” If that’s your first inclination then it’s clear you haven’t been raised as an open, balanced, and fair person. My writings or anything else online for that matter probably aren’t and won’t ever be your cup of tea.
To answer that quickly, No, I don’t. I love and embrace the company from multiple standpoints, but I do believe it’s still a thunderously stupid deal in 2015/2016.
I believe that deals like the one mentioned above are for the new guys and gals that aren’t trying to get through the well guarded proverbial doors. Indie developers that don’t necessarily have a direct way to enter the business should seek the help of bigwig conglomerates that can propel them into successful territories. Some of those deals are short-lived anyway and eventually appear on shelves everywhere. Even when they don’t, the dev earns the opportunity for their next software to go multi platform.
If people download and play an indie title and like it, they’ll rate it well and more people will buy into the developer, their games, and their future games. It’s theoretical, but we’ve seen it work tons of times in recent years. Best of all, it’s smart business in the world of exclusivity.
It’s when publishers hold meetings with the AAA guys and gals that make me wince.
I’m totally aware that free markets allow for those types of deals to occur, but it totally divides the gaming community into more parts, and bigwigs don’t give a lick about it.
If the deal makers in the video think that several years down the line of a hardware generation and one multi platform Metal Gear Solid V later can still get people to “come over to” their console, they’re sadly mistaken. Other than that, I don’t see why they would make such a deal if that wasn’t their intention.
More people (arguably) own a PS4 globally than any other contemporary dedicated gaming device today. This of course was due to Sony’s great marketing timings and encouraging passionate and angry gamers to expose their lust via social media. It worked, and it worked well. No qualms. So what else do they want at this point, bragging rights?
If that’s the sad case, then they might have gotten it, but a huge portion of people lose because of it. Depending on which ultra-biased (I kid) sales chart we look at, MGS:V sold the best on PS4, but it didn’t slack, by any sense of the word, on any other platform. Depending on how you see the numbers, one could calculate that it counted for close to fifty percent of sales altogether, and that doesn’t of course include digital sales, which is another monster entirely. We’re not getting into that.
Let’s say that the game only sold 10% on PC and 10% on X-Box. As of a few months ago, we heard that three-million copies sold in total. If the numbers were that “low,” (which they weren’t) that means six-hundred-thousand enjoyed the game. On screen, that might not look like a lot. Who are we kidding? That’s a lot of freaking people, and a lot more they’re about to leave out in the cold.
If we want more preciseness, judging by statistics of physical console editions of the game sold in September, X-Box One, 360, and PS3 owners accounted for close to 30% (again, judging on which charts) of three-million copies sold in total. We’re looking at just under one-million users, or nine-hundred-thousand. That was just a few months ago. The numbers have risen since.
We’re living in an era that attempts to include all “gamers,” no matter the devices they use. It’s true, there might always be the Halo’s and Uncharted’s, but that’s a small part overall, and we don’t need any more of them. By continuing traditions of isolating members of the community by hardware over genre, we risk never seeing genuine innovation.
Mr. Kojima is living two decades ago from today if he thinks his new studio being exclusive to one brand is a swell gesture. He lacks foresight and that scares me. If more like him encourage console wars, we’re guaranteed to get into caps-lock matches with each other until end times. I don’t doubt that the man loves his job, but like most content creators, he’s in it for himself and doesn’t care about mass appeal, inevitably isolating newcomers from ever enjoying his future works.
However, we must remember that he doesn’t owe us anything. He’s created a product and thereby a service that we pay for. We’re not obligated to procure his art, but the option over elitism will always take preference over precedence, at least in my eyes.
I wish Kojima and his venture infinite success, albeit my quirky ambivalence towards his passé decision sticks.