In 1964, Donald Horne published The Lucky Country. It was a scathing yet insightful and totally accurate deconstruction of Australia, its national identity, and its view of the world. The central that Australia, which has grown to become a regional power and exert global influence despite our relatively small size and isolated location, achieved that remarkable rise through sheer luck, rather than the strength of our political or economic system.
it all, really. “Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck. It lives on other people’s ideas and, although its ordinary people are adaptable, most of its leaders (in all curiosity about the events that surround them that they are often taken by surprise.”
That book, despite its age, remains as utterly poignant and relevant today as it ever does (incidentally, conservative Australia, which the book is particularly critical of,to bleat “Australia is the lucky country” as a mantra without a hint of irony, having clearly never read the book and being utterly unaware of the context of the quote. That is, to say the least, one of the most ironic proofs of the can
Over the last fewclosely the video game industry and participating in it at various levels, I’ve come to the firm conclusion that the video game industry is the Lucky Creative Industry. Just as Australia is a country, video games are indeed an art as the “ordinary people” are adaptable in Australia, many of those game developers working in the trenches, and people in the and appreciate the artistic potential and value of video games.
However,Across the prominent community voices (i.e. influencers), what passes for “mainstream” media, and the leadership of the industry itself – the CEOs, studio heads, and project managers – I see a clear, blatant parallel to Australia’s upper echelon and the These people are second-rate individuals that have all benefited from exploiting the natural growth and mainstreaming of the industry, and in the process have destroyed its soul.
Let’s startThis year alone we’ve had near-record levels of layoffs in an entertainment segment that has only not declined. This means that at a managerial level something is deeply wrong with how video companies are organised. Yes, capitalism is the root cause of it, but it is possible to build stable businesses in capitalism with responsible, and forward-thinking leadership. Instead, in games, we have this dystopic cycle of massive growth and massive because stable capitalism isn’t what these suit-wearing Ayn Rand hero cosplayers want. What they want excess that Caligula himself would find much.
We’ve also had massive-scale mergers and an industry that’s contracting in the number of Microsoft has become a Borg-like entity, absorbing everything it comes across and ripping the soul out of the Has any of Microsoft’s acquisitions produced anything that has a whiff of the same creative freedom that they did prior to being assimilated? Sony’s tried to play the same game, and meanwhile, feral companies like Embracer Group just bought everything, never considering that that might not be a smart to growth.has that the video game industry could be used as a scientific model for what the big crunch end of the universe, down to a singularity, might look like.
If it all feels like the blind are leading the blind, that’s because it is. Second-rate executives run this industry and they all got lucky that their sector has grown as gamingmainstream activity. It has hidden their weaknesses as business people, leaders, and human allowed them to indulge in an approach to their companies that Patrick Bateman would find admirable.
All of this is cheered on by the community. The mainstream gaming community is made up of armies of sycophants repeating what they hear from Twitch streamers and other influencers that are great at pressing buttons, but are such unintelligent individuals that you can’t even be sure they will know what fascism is… or alternatively love to flirt with the very edges of it because they think that makes them edgy and funny. No one’s done a survey, but you just know that a massive, likely majority cross-section of these people would roll their eyes at the idea of reading a book, let alone spending time in an art Because video games are their lives (or, at least, they were until they hit superstardom), quality to wealthy from living in games is exactly what draws eyeballs to them.
So many of the most egregious examples of dystopic capitalism ruining gamingcome on with thundering applause from these people. It’s the is making progress at pushing everyone into Xbox Game Pass, despite streaming services being monumentally for the arts. Yes, letting corporate decision-making determine what art you can access, and for how long you can access it, is a fundamentally idea. It doesn’t matter if it’s games, film, or music. It was a mistake to cede such total control over our access to these it’s especially problematic in the games industry, which is run by such second-rate, brazen capitalists. Unfortunately, where the community should has a habit of people into positions of community influence, too.
It’s not just Game Pass that the sycophantic communityeither. The shift to live services, the idea of endless consumption and focus on the amount of content in games, rather than the quality of content, the inability for game developers to produce five-hour games and the idea that you can harass a game developer into completely changing their game if you’re not happy with it as a product all show that they’re quite happy with a completely uninspired game industry as long as there’s a lot of it. There’s no inspiration here. There’s no desire to see anything better. All gamers want endless sequels, franchises, products and content. Truly, the mainstream community in video games are second-rate people, making a few particularly effective grifters among wealthy voices in the process.
No wonder the entire industry is so enthusiastic about AI and its ability to generate endless content without the slightest concern for its artistic value.
And then there’s the media. Games media is what many luck into, with their only qualificationsthat they video games hard to get a job writing about them. They get hired because, typically, under-resourced publishers can get the most and so long as they can or two together, cheap is to them. That’s exactly how I However, while you might think an art criticism background would help a journalist work in an artistic industry, few actually have a background in art criticism (that’s just a cold, hard fact), and so instead pop culture writing, topics, themes dominate the discourse. It’s TV Guide journalism ArtReview.
Furthermore, it is inevitable that some of those media explain what an “indie” game is.roles of real influence. A example is Geoff guy that set up the “Academy Awards of video games.” Keighley has a degree in business, and this why The Game Awards is a celebration of capitalistic nonsense rather than artistic excellence. Keighley can’t even
The Game Awards is watched by hundreds of thousands of people across the world because it lets people see a lot of content (especially promotional content – The Game Awards does more new content reveals than most game conventions) and thenabout which content to win, as though that’s a topic worth discussing.
There are niches within the video game industry where art matters more thanwhere people look to have serious discussions about games as a serious creative pursuit. There are publications and books that aim to contribute to that space. There is a rare moment where things come together and a truly magnificent game gets the attention and The response and in-depth that Disco Elysium generated, for example. There are times when what could have been through.
But then, there are pockets of Australian life thatThe exception to the rule doesn’t disprove Donald Horne’s niches in video games don’t mitigate the fact that the entire video game industry is a waste. One that is likely not salvageable now, since at all levels, this industry is more than happy with settling for being second-rate and living off the sheer luck that people will pay for second-rate anyway.