So what’s up around the sphere? Well the past week seems to have been the week for talking about money, specifically who has it and who doesn’t. This topic occurred and recurred both in-games and IRL around the industry. So let’s get to it.

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Foremost, the Video Game Awards (VGA) 2012 were perplexing for most viewers or downright worrying for others. The diversity was lacking and it seemed that only popular, trendy games won awards. One might say “and what’s wrong with that?” Well the problem is the VGAs are supposed to be rewarding not just popular games, but games which changed gaming; games that innovated, tried something different which turned out to be both good and inspiring; something that sets a new standard in gaming. Most winners were none of those things. In fact, the only game up there which seemed to me to deserve most of it’s nominations was Journey in my opinion. But I’m definitely being slightly unfair: of the top winners I’ve only spent time playing one of them. That’s part of the disappointment for me actually. None of the games I thought were great this year were even nominated except Journey.

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But what’s this to do with economics? Well, when winning awards is influenced too much by marketing hype and insider vote-trading, then it becomes a contest of who has the most money and resources. Still, I guess this year is just as bad as last year was. I’m less and less likely to view this show every year. It’s like watching the Academy Awards, which is a well-known circus.

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Layoffs at Trion have hit the Rift development team, and not just a couple. As many as 40 are rumored to have lost their job this week. At this rate, some of us are thinking that if the world ends on December 21st it might be a great mercy. It’s always saddening to hear about people losing their jobs and that’s doubly true in this slugglish global economy.

However the devs creating Bioshock Infinite might be able to hire some extra hands once they cash in on their latest marketing ploy:

Bioshock Infinite Cover

The hoopla over this cover has been interesting the past week. The chief complaint is that it doesn’t speak to the game at all. I have to agree with Liore’s take on it. Others think we should be grateful for slightly worse games and some others believe we should be glad that we only have to pay $60 dollars for them — because, ya know, we’d be paying more than that if not for mass market (hint: the games would not cost more, since they don’t for non-mass market titles). It’s a bit too obvious that 2K is trying to cash in on the mass market bandwagon. Honestly I hesitate these days to make a judgement one way or the other on these kinds of manipulative ploys. It’s like I see the world sliding into economic hell in the news everyday and then I see everywhere companies cashing in anyway they can, as if in a desperate last opportunity grab for profit. Who knows what kinds of layoffs this company *might* be trying to fend off with this cover. Whatever their excuses, it’s very obvious they want some of that Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty money, who rake in record profits with every release. Maybe it’s because they have a stoic white guy with a gun on every cover with explosions in the back ground. /shrug

Whatever they tell us dedicated gamers, this isn’t a decision they are making so we can have cheaper, better games and that’s for sure.

Glitch has sadly departed as scheduled last week. As reported before, Tiny Speck didn’t have the resources nor the income to continue with it’s development and so the game was shut down. This was a very special game and I hope that someday Tiny Speck or similar developer can pick this back up with a sustainable technology and bring it back to us. If you want to show your support of the company for all the love and goodness they put into the Glitch game experience, they have an Indiegogo campaign going to put together an art album of Glitch.

Last but not least, economic upheaval is the center piece of forum discussion this week. I play EVE but I have a very limited interest gauge when it comes to the often dry aspects of EVE economics. That said, I usually read player and dev published articles that can break it down for players like me who aren’t likely to whip out spreadsheets and charts to understand market trends. The Mittani has you covered this week. At issue? Hi-sec mining, bounties, and ISK sinks.

Lots of winners and losers this week in the world of gaming. Some are miners in EVE Online while others are flesh and blood programmers at Trion studios. It’s never cool to lose anything during the winter and holiday seasons. There’s a lot of economic turmoil and I hope that this article finds all of you in good health and spirits this season. Hopefully next week around the sphere will be filled with more optimism.

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