Topics: Abhimanyu Shekhar

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Subscriptions: Game developers moving toward subscriptions

This article will analyze the growing trend of game developers and publishers moving towards subscription models instead of one-time purchases. Examples: Apple Arcade, Google Stadia, Microsoft’s Game Pass (old, but now more aggressive than ever push towards subscription-only titles and removing one-time purchase options swifter than ever), Ubisoft , EA Play, PlayStation Now. Studios with a single game or franchise are also going the subscription route. Is this good? Bad? Subscriptions of the Game Pass, for example, have increased by millions in the last year. And it’s true that indie games, when they come to Game Pass, earn more than they could ever make solo. Xbox Game Pass is a unique case which will need its own section here. Instead of subscribing to a service that gives free delivery (like Amazon) or TV shows (like Netflix) – a game can be anywhere from 20 hours of fun for hardcore games or 1,000 hours of play and replays – how is it fair that you pay less than I do for the same game in this case? A headline: "GDC has released its annual State of the Industry survey of 4,000 developers, over one-fourth of which were concerned such models would devalue games." Another topic to cover is games-as-a-service (or more broadly tech-as-a-service) models being adopted by videogame publishers and developers. Even gaming hardware seems to be moving in that direction, with Nvidia providing subscription to RTX 30-series gaming capabilities instead of actually owning a video card. Starting from newspapers and magazines; then moving to TV shows, movies, and software; and now to games – subscriptions seem to be the way forward. But is it really better to have a monthly subscription to play games than to own the games and judging by the current pace of things, even renting your hardware and not owning it?

  • A couple of articles here in The Artifice have already explored similar problems (micro-transactions, in-app purchases, and yearly-releases) in the gaming world. The progressive increase of an economic model based on subscriptions in the video game business can be an interesting topic to explore, as long as it frames the phenomenon in larger and more meaningful terms than “good” or “bad.” The question “Is adopting the subscription model in videogames development good or bad?” needs to be reformulated. Good for whom? Bad for whom? It is certainly good for the business. It might be good or bad for consumers, depending on what they get from the deal. But and outstanding article about this topic would need a stronger and more daring approach. – T. Palomino 6 months ago
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When do we call them shows and not TV shows?

Let’s face it, the "TV" bit in "TV shows" is pretty pointless. The majority of the people you find talking about TV shows are watching them on computers, laptops and even phones. Sure, Netflix likes to say that they cater to the TV audience and that most of the viewing happens on TV apps, but there is hardly anyone who has a subscription to one of the many services such as Netflix and HBO Max but watches stuff only on their TV. We can also explore what we could call these shows now.

  • In this topic, perhaps more statistics could be mentioned about the percentage of people streaming compared to that of consumers watching TV. Consumers are increasingly watching content they can identify with, and streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO produce entertainment that reflects consumers' identity. Who has the most monopoly today on how entertainment is marketed to the public, and why is this done? - Richard – Richard 6 months ago
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What makes a TV show intellectual or stimulating?

From Marvel’s superhero-based TV shows to shows such as Black Mirror – we have a very differing opinion of "good". For shows that fall into the intellectual or stimulating category, what makes them tick? A few shows to compare: Black Mirror, The Wire, Sherlock, Westworld, Peaky Blinders, The Vikings vs. Stranger Things, MCU shows, sitcoms, Game of Thrones. Also, where does it leave shows like Breaking Bad, The Boys? More specifically, is it the story, acting, direction, or the intended audience?

  • I believe this has some legs, but the question, I think needs more direction. Either as a contrast or a complement. Your examples are decent enough as many have entered the popular canon many to critical acclaim but there's quite the variation between genre, subject matter, and target audience as well. Even though The Boys and MCU have superheroes you can clearly identify the goals and direction of the work. The only commonality of the works mention is their popularity which could be expanded upon, the cultural value of recognizing a popular property, along with the works own entertainment value. – SunnyAgo 6 months ago
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Is it time to let Marvel go?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for its action-packed superhero blockbusters. The whole genre is single-handedly carried by Disney at this point, with WB’s DC being the honorable competitor even Marvel must pity. But with Phase 4, viewers are already reminiscing how good the initial movies were. This is point every franchise or medium reaches – "the old stuff was so much better." Derive comparisons between this phenomenon and other cinema franchises (might as well expand to other media, such as music or art) – and conclude whether the Marvel’s marvelous days are over? For once, with great powers come great responsibilities. As the sole arbiter of the "superhero" genre, is Marvel’s lack in handling its responsibilities* going to spell its doom? *When I say lack in handling responsibilities I mean churning out movies solely for ticket sales even when the story could use more work (latest MCU movies and TV shows) and trying to milk as much cash as possible (launching a barrage of TV shows).

  • I think this definitely worth writing about but I wouldn't be willing to do the research of Phase 4. I finished with Endgame, and nothing else has really sparked interest in me. – SunnyAgo 6 months ago
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  • I think this definitely worth writing about but I wouldn't be willing to do the research of Phase 4. I finished with Endgame, and nothing else has really sparked interest in me. – SunnyAgo 6 months ago
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The art of recycling in creating a game franchise

We can all name more than one game franchise that’s essentially a recycling of sorts. A lot of R&D goes into improving features and adding new ones, but they still "feel" the same once gameplay begins. Why does this happen? Are such games not receiving enough hard work? Or is it just us feeling that way while the truth is different?

  • I think it often has to do with cost management. If Ubisoft makes an Engine for Assassin's Creed, it is cost effective to reuse the Engine on multiple games rather than start from scratch each time. – Sean Gadus 2 years ago
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  • The Sims 4 cops a lot of flack for this very reason. Could be an interesting game to explore in such an article. – Samantha Leersen 2 years ago
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  • @J.D.: I have a few games in mind. Source engine based ones, Unity based ones, Pokemon, COD, Sims, NFS, Elder Scrolls primarily. And yes, the amp is coming because the symbol isn't allowed to be formatted into here, but won't be a problem in the article. @RedFlame: I will definitely specify more than a few franchises so readers have a clear idea of what exactly we're talking about. And valid point - perhaps, I'll tackle both types of recycling separately. Makes sense to let people learn there's not just one kind of recycling that goes into games. – Abhimanyu Shekhar 2 years ago
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  • I think this article can do very very well if you also throw in some numbers in terms of development cost and creating new IPs in general. It wasn't touched on extensively, but I remember when watching the documentary on developing God of War (2018), they briefly mentioned how tough it was starting a new IP in general with new mechanics. If you have numbers or at least quotes of reputable people in the industry talking about the numbers then this article can go far. – Daniel Ibarra 2 years ago
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  • I think this could be an interesting thing to do a comparison with. Recycling in gaming vs. recycling in other media (Literature, film, Music). – Bct417 2 years ago
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Why some games create such an unforgettable impression

Witcher 3 – why was it more than just a game? It was the prerequisite for the Netflix show. Pokemon games – why did they spawn a whole franchise of merchandise, TV shows, and more? In this article, I will dissect what makes a game have that sacred "emotional connect" for most of the people who play them.

  • Gungrave is another game which ended up creating a fine anime adaptation. You may want to check it out. – RedFlame2000 2 years ago
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  • Some games definitely leave a long-lasting impression on me. A key franchise for me is the Xenoblade Chronicles games, especially the first and second games. It took me a month for the second game after playing it every day, and almost a year for the first game. Because it took me quite a while, I truly felt like I was traveling and adventuring with these characters that I grew to love. The story also really brought that out, as I always reached a new plot point with each sitting, or met a charming new character. Those games still sit at the top of the lists of my favorite games, and it would be hard for me to forget any aspect of them. – Max 2 years ago
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  • I have written the article with your feedback in mind, do check! – Abhimanyu Shekhar 1 year ago
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The importance of indie game development and why we should fight monopoly

Indie game developers have always been there. And the tools and platforms that allow them to reach more and more gamers have only improved over time. But monopoly of the big game studios is a serious concern, which grows day after day. Why should we actively fight against that and how is it even more important than gaming as a hobby itself?

  • People just like to gamble. Oh and if you can edit it I'm pretty sure that the indie games are more likely to be found online. Websites like coolmath Games, Crazy Games, Poki.com, and lagged.com. – horrorfan 2 years ago
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The War of Colors

Watercolor, acrylics, poster color, and oil colors. Well, there are more. I think it’ll be a fun and interesting article to simple analyze the pros and cons of color types in a humorous sense. Something like the personification of colors. Amid our serious articles, we need something light to serve our audience.

  • That would be a very fun article indeed! The major thing is not to take this seriously because there is no way a certain colour or material is better than another. Each one has a different purpose, and it's very subjective - you would start a war in the comment section! So make it fun and ironic and light :) – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 7 years ago
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  • This sounds delightful. I don't know that much about art but something like this could be informative and lots of fun to read. Hope someone takes on the challenge. – Celeste Reeb 7 years ago
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  • I agree with Rachel, this could be a tricky subject to work with though unique in its approach. The topic sounded a little too vague before; if only because the subject of colors could be applied to just about anywhere artistic, not just the "Arts." Maybe have an article centered around artists like Pablo Picasso who used color to emphasize the subjects of his art's emotions (Rose Period, Blue Period, etc.). – dsoumilas 7 years ago
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  • As a mixed media artist, this topic intrigues me. The thing that concerns me is your suggestion of using humor to convey the topic. As a person who uses sarcasm and humor in most of his writing, I wouldn't know how to use humor in an effective way when talking about different paint mediums. – Kenny Lim 7 years ago
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The Line Between Research and Copying

To copy from a source is called cheating. And sometimes, when a writer (mostly content writers) copy from multiple resources, they’re applauded for their research capability. There has to be a fine line between copying and genuine research. A mindbending article about this topic will be a good read for all writers and the people who hire them.

  • This topic is an interesting one but a tough one to write about. You will need to treat it very meticulously by researching specific cases of 'copying' or plagiarism in the history of literature, film, theatre, art... What is the line between being inspired by and actually copying? Copying suggests the appropriation of the work. It's also very different from copying as paying a tribute. I know some people are allowed to copy some of the art works in the Louvre Museum but they have a specific title and a card, and they have to change at least one thing about the painting, whether colour or scale or small detail, to avoid plagiarism. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 7 years ago
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  • It is interesting to note between academic and amateur copying. While most consider academic copying to be fool-proof it is possible for a person to cite their own work previously published, thus augmenting an argument with their own information that doesn't normally get checked further down on. Theoretically a person could for decades perpetuate a lie or half-truth. All research is based on limited abilities of human beings to comprehend, such as the long-time fact of a flat Earth, etc. Looking at human research and its faults then is key for an article of this nature. – smartstooge 7 years ago
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  • This is very interesting. But It is even tougher sometimes when a writer thinks that he/she have researched something that he/she is positive that hasn't been used/written/applied before, it turns out that (not so often) it would be on internet. It's hard to do research when the internet is very broad and an idea can just as contagious as the ones on the internet. – banalma 7 years ago
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Ori and the Blind Forest: The Magic of Simplicity

In the age of 3D, high-voltage, intense action-packed games, Ori and the Blind Forest stands out for its simplicity. The stunning (but mainly 2D) graphics and a Disney-ish approach to storytelling make this simple game fun. So what makes it so beautiful and exciting? Analyze the strengths of Ori and the Blind Forest.

  • This game brings a simplicity that we've lost nowadays. We valorize an important visual over a good story that connects us to the game we're playing (for example Bioshock Infinite, with stunning graphics but dull storyline and repetitive quests). Also, the atmosphere the games create involves a very urban and modern characterization. Ori really innovated by bringing to a modern experience (the consoles) a comfort and simplicity inspired on the tales of the "Good Mother Nature", that really stands against the aura of destruction that permeates modern games. Ori proposes that we construct instead of shoot everything to the ground, and in a certain way makes us calm and relaxed, because the graphics are cute and comfortable and the storyline is beautiful. The painting this game produces is different from what we've been seeing and maybe it would be interesting if you searched if that line of thought for games already existed (and wich games fit into it) and if it's going to be developed. – Samuel23 7 years ago
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Web Video Making: Props for Newbies

In videos for the web, a lot of props and customized items are required. But without a strong financial support, how are the newcomers supposed to acquire them? Don’t they deserve to be equally popular? Find out ways for acquiring necessary props in affordable ways.

  • It would be good to give examples of Youtubers who have become successful after becoming creative with their props. – Ryan Errington 7 years ago
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50 Shades of Grey: Movie vs Novel

Analyse the shortcomings of the movie adaptation over the novel, and the inherent benefits a movie adaptation brings with it over its novel counterpart. There’s a great deal of debate about the movie toning things down — here you can discuss the role of censorship. And this might bring you to conclude that apart from the lack of motion, action, and music, the book is better than the movie adaptation.

  • This is a broader argument in the original work vs adaptation department (usually noted in novel vs movie arguments). How can one compare two radically different treatments of the same origin material, especially if the adaptions aren't done by the original creators? While always a good idea for debate, the actual idea that one can be better than the other comes down to comparing the original to like-material and the adaption to like-treatments of other work. Example: You should talk of how a successful adaption like "Lord of the Rings" works while an unsuccessful one, say "Super Mario Bros." doesn't and why. Recreating the book in movie form is not the goal, making a film feature inspired by the book elements is, don't fall into the trap of being able to compare a movie to a book. You wouldn't compare "Citizen Kane" with "Fahrenheit 451", so it becomes about seeing whether a movie adaption of a novel has successfully presented the original material in film form effectively with the techniques available and true to the intention of the novel (going back to "Lord of the Rings" note while the story is the same, the films are almost nothing like the books). This can easily address the idea of "lack of motion, action and music" by showing how it's not the techniques an art form lacks that make any difference, but the effective use of the ones at hand (the ways of using written word for books, and the ways of utilizing visual and audio methods for film). The idea of censorship is a great starting place. – smartstooge 7 years ago
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Ghost in the Shell: How Important is Consciousness in Today's World

Under the umbrella of the majestic story of Ghost in the Shell, discuss how important are the values about the "ghost" aka consciousness and its relationship with the "shell" in our context.

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    A Comparison of Animation Software

    The more skilled animation-related people in Artifice should give this topic a try. I think we really need a comparison of animation software article that elaborates things in-depth. Mostly the internet is full of vague statements and outdated facts. A modern compilation of data with a touch of artistic experience could make this one a popular article. It’ll be good for rookies and experts alike, as well as casually curious people.

    • I agree. There is very little documentation and examples of technique specifically involving the Flash and Vector-based animation programs. Vector animation done in Flash or Toon-Boom is getting so good these days, and yet there are no explanations are to how the animation in "My Little Pony," "Wander Over Yonder," or the "Mickey Mouse" cartoons are created. It's quite frustrating. – Jonathan Leiter 7 years ago
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    Makeup: Competition to CGI?

    Discuss the role of makeup in movies. How has it evolved over time, and how it competes with CGI and VFX in movies. An example of implanting reality through makeup would be the horrible state of the soldiers in the movie Lone Survivor. The bullet shots are perhaps computer-generated (research needed), but what makes the movie all so real is the makeup.

    • I think you may also want to consider how film technology has affected the make up applied. For example, a lot of the make-up used in film depended upon the kind of film stock it was being shot on. So what looked liked "red" lipstick may have been more like licorice because it showed up on B&W film better. – rj2n 8 years ago
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    • Make up helps shape one's identity. It can frame how the character is perceived and portrayed by the audience. Make up is also an important tool in character development - as a character progresses through the film, so does their look. – danasom 8 years ago
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