Sid Meier, creator of Civilization and Pirates!—two of the most habitforming titles in history—is critical of the trend toward monetizing games to the hilt.
"The real challenge and the real opportunity is keeping our focus on gameplay," says American developer Sid Meier.
"That is what is unique, special and appealing about games as a form of entertainment. When we forget that, and decide it's monetisation or other things that are not gameplay-focused, when we start to forget about making great games and start thinking about games as a vehicle or an opportunity for something else, that's when we stray a little bit further from the path."
The BBC quotes an industry analyst, who claims that 79% of the game biz in 2021 came from in-app purchases, microtransactions and add-on content. So in a broad sense, the war is already lost on mobile. NFTs, though, kick away whatever constraints remains, and are being promoted hard on desktop, too. The threat is that game culture—Sid Meier's culture of pay-once, play until quarter to three—finds itself reimagined as Claire's Gifts and rehoused in a casino. There it will burn brightly for proprietors, but quickly lose its status and its place in the ecology of mass entertainment, like family arcades turning into sleazy slot machine holes 20 years ago.