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The golden age of gaming?

September 23, 2017


Is it really as rosy as we think?As I type, there are 275 live tabletop projects trying to raise funding. On Kickstarter alone. I’ve backed at least half a dozen this year and am still waiting for models to arrive from five of them. My inbox is full of at least 20 emails from gaming companies in the past few days, extolling the virtues of their product lines that I Really Must Buy Now. Browsing forums is like looking at a laundry list of projects soon to be released, being developed or FOR SALE NOW.

And though I love this explosion of variety in what is available for purchase in just a few short clicks, I do wonder how long it will last. Last month Spartan Games and Tor Games closed doors. Both were small to mid tier companies, which until about 7 years ago meant that in this industry you could earn a decent enough wage, even if you never exactly broke the bank. They were just the companies big enough to be noticed . But fickle consumers constantly being distracted by new and shiny releases is leading to the same amount of money going to more manufacturers than ever before.

I don’t like to be a doommonger, but you hang around the industry long enough and you start to notice how things are getting harder for many companies. Some are open about the rough times they are having (and because this is the internet have shit heads giving them abuse) whilst others…well, you don’t have to be a genius to connect the dots. No matter how much they pretend things are going hunky-dory.

Many have called this the Golden Age of Gaming and I don’t think that’s true. It’s the Golden Age of Customer Choice – and that doesn’t always translate to a better environment for those in the industry, or fans who want to have games that will survive for a long time. I’m lucky, in that the gaming group I’m a part of at the moment happens to like to play what I like to play. But that isn’t the case for many. I know I have many, many unfinished projects going. That probably won’t change for a long time to come. But I do wonder – how many of those projects will be around by the time I come to paint them?

I don’t doubt that many of these project’s creators have the passion required for them. This isn’t a rant about how ‘it was better in the old days’*. They were just more condensed. Every industry goes through booms and busts and I would suggest that we are still in a boom. But do many of the business about now have the acumen to surivive once the good times are over? As practice shows, the odds aren’t in their favour. Which I think as the fallout from any burst bubble in industry shows, will leave us poorer in the short-term. It’s up to us as fans and companies as producers to chart a future where this isn’t that case.

Cover image originally used in this article

*As my wife likes to remind me, I wasn’t alive for the Good Old Days of Wargaming.

From → Writing

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