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Author Topic: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?  (Read 4831 times)

PunkFrog

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What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« on: August 27, 2016, 05:34:04 am »
I play mostly colorful, quirky Japanese games. It's been that way for 25 years, and I don't see that ever changing. That's not to say that I don't enjoy certain Western games (e.g. Rayman, Assassin's Creed, Prince of Persia, Uncharted, Mortal Kombat, LittleBigPlanet, The Witcher, Banjo Kazooie/DKC etc), but I've always leaned Japanese. Super Mario Bros, Zelda, Castlevania, Mega Man, Mystical Ninja Goemon, Bomberman, Dragon Quest, Katamari Damacy, Sonic the Hedgehog, Kirby, Ninja Gaiden, Tales of Phantasia/Symphonia/Abyss/etc, Secret of Mana, Shinobi, Ninokuni, Rygar, the list goes on and on.

But starting last generation, these games have begun to disappear completely, often along with the companies that make them. Konami's gone (and they took Hudson with them), Capcom is in miserable shape, Sega only makes (bad, excluding Generations and Colors) Sonic and Yakuza games, Namco isn't what it used to be, and while Nintendo still makes quality games, they've lost a lot of their ambition and most of their games nowadays end up feeling sterile. Square-Enix are trying to regain their lost glory, but the way Star Ocean 5 turned out leaves me worried. Tecmo-Koei, Falcom, and Level 5 are still out there, and that's about it.

So will there ever be a Renaissance, or should I just accept the fact that the kinds of games I like are rapidly dying out?

SCD

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2016, 06:14:20 am »
The way the video game industry is right now, I don’t think there will be another renaissance era like the one from the 80’s and 90’s ever again. In my opinion, I seriously think we’re heading towards another video game crash and it’s going be way worse than the one that happened in 1983. The main thing that is killing the industry right now is greed.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2016, 06:19:59 am by SCD »

BlackDog61

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2016, 07:14:02 am »
It's kind of hard to answer your question - this is a crystal ball prediction after all, isn't it?
While I do share the feeling that there could be a gaming industry crunch (which I feel is getting caused by higher and higher costs for games development, in parallel to easier and more wide-spread piracy, as well as a "zero price" expectation created by the mobile gaming approach to the gaming business), I doubt Japan will ever disappear from the equation. And with it, Japanese games as we know and love them.

First and foremost, there is a culture of manga drawing, animation, and arts that gravitate around these, in Japan. There's no way that culture would be wiped out just by a stupid industrial crash, even a major one that could last a few years. Which means, the sediments on which "our" Japanese games grow, will always be there.

Second, Japan has recently faced tough times - the nuclear accident being a very significant part of it. So we're not seeing it at its best.

Third, we have an appetite for these games. In other words, there is a market. It may be a little less significant in numbers now, in part due to the sheer amount of games offered now that independent game studios are around and visible. But I think it is here, and thus will always be addressed.

I think VR gaming (the real thing, not Pokemon Go - it's an interesting game but not a VR game the way I'd define it) will be the next huge game changer (pun intended).
If Japan is among the first to walk that route (and they should be, seeing how robotics and VR have been pushed by them years before others), then you could very well see exactly the contrary of the previous prediction: a multiplication of Japanese games everywhere. They would have to be different, since VR will require that. But they would retain the same characteristics.

Last, there's no way the Japanese way of story telling will disappear. It is unique. It is fun. It is striking to the heart. Since humans will be humans, Japanese gameswill remain, one way or another.

Spooniest

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2016, 07:20:01 am »
Oh, predictions of an industry crash worse than the 1983 crash!

I get to use this joke! It'll be "game over" and we'll be asked if we want to "insert coin to continue."

 :laugh:
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MisterJones

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2016, 11:29:29 am »
time to move into indie and kickstarter games
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HaxorKyo

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2016, 02:18:13 pm »
If you're someone like me that doesn't count mobile trash as real video games,  then it's pretty much dead and I doubt it's coming back. Capcom and Square are pretty much in the shitter when it comes to quality, and aside from Splatoon and Mario Maker, Nintendo has been making nothing but soulless rehashes for a long time. I say this as a major Nintendo fan.

That's not to say things in Europe and the US are any better. It's actually substantially worse over here.

The entire gaming industry is horribly diseased beyond cure and will soon die once the "gamers" move on from Call of Duty/Assassins Creed to the next big fad.

It's kind of like the Simpsons. You see it as a kid being this amazing thing with massive potential only to watch as it dies a horrible non death and becomes a zombie of it's former self. You pray and pray for God to have mercy and simply kill it, but he never does.


Bahamut ZERO

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2016, 02:46:44 pm »
If you're someone like me that doesn't count mobile trash as real video games,  then it's pretty much dead and I doubt it's coming back. Capcom and Square are pretty much in the shitter when it comes to quality, and aside from Splatoon and Mario Maker, Nintendo has been making nothing but soulless rehashes for a long time. I say this as a major Nintendo fan.

That's not to say things in Europe and the US are any better. It's actually substantially worse over here.

The entire gaming industry is horribly diseased beyond cure and will soon die once the "gamers" move on from Call of Duty/Assassins Creed to the next big fad.

It's kind of like the Simpsons. You see it as a kid being this amazing thing with massive potential only to watch as it dies a horrible non death and becomes a zombie of it's former self. You pray and pray for God to have mercy and simply kill it, but he never does.



Pretty much sums up my thoughts on this since around the time the Ps2/GC/XBox era died out. Nowdays it's harder and harder to come across games that aren't either generic clones, remakes of remakes, or sequels of sequels. Or sequels of remakes of sequels!

Granted that once in awhile I'll stumble across a game or series that's  pretty good because they ripped off certain games in clever ways (Saints Row) or are the 8162836123th sequel in a franchise that has soul left in it (Elder Scrolls, Fallout, GTA), but more often than not it's just yearly rehashes while the few things one waits for are either delayed the entirety of a console's lifespan (FF15, KH3 during the PS3 era) or are canceled in a way that feels like a figurative slap to the face (Megaman Legends 3).
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Disch

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2016, 04:04:08 pm »
Video games have stagnated in part because technology has stagnated.

The video game renaissance of the 80s and 90s was in no small part to NES/Master System/Genesis being a HUGE improvement over the generation prior.  If you look at an NES game compared to an Atari 2600 game, it's a tremendous difference.... not just in graphical capabilities, but in terms of what the game itself was capable of doing.

NES to SNES
SNES to PSX
PSX to PS2
PS2 to XBox360/PS3

Each generation of consoles was a big step up (or at least a big change) from the generation prior.

But what about PS3/360 -> XBone/PS4?  Does anyone really give a shit?  The PS3/360 era was almost 10 full years -- when generations before it were only about 6.  And after the big wait... the differences between the generation is marginal.  What do you really get with a PS4 -- just slightly better graphics and/or 4k video.

Games can pretty much do whatever now.  The only real limitations are graphical, and even those aren't very limiting any more.  On top of that, games have been huge for so long and the boom was so strong that new ideas for games are running thin (as others have mentioned).  Every once in a while you'll get a game that experiments with a new idea, but mostly game companies want to stick with safe and predictable formulas that have worked for them in the past.  And even the new ideas that come out usually fall flat (see:  No Man's Sky)



That said... I don't think the industry will crash again like it did in the 80s.  Technology is cheap now, and video games are such a big part of the culture with not only my generation, but the ones after me.  None of us will give them up completely.  Sure it'll slow down and some companies might fold, but there's won't be a time where video games simply aren't being made anymore (which was what looked might be the case after the 80s crash).

A resurgence could certainly happen, but only with some technological breakthrough.  I think Nintendo has been trying to find it with all their weird experimental peripherals, but I don't think they're on the right track.  VR might be it.  Augmented reality might be it.  But whatever it is, it's still a few years out at least.

Bregalad

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2016, 04:30:44 pm »
The main thing that is killing the industry right now is greed.
This is nothing specific to video game industry, though. Apparently, for some reason, ultraliberalism and extreme greed is very popular among the 1st world elite, even if not su much within the 1st world population. I wonder why.

Also, I can't say if I agree or disagree since I know squat about modern video game industry, but such predictions have already been made over and over on this forum... and for now, they didn't happen.

Quote
It's kind of like the Simpsons. You see it as a kid being this amazing thing with massive potential only to watch as it dies a horrible non death and becomes a zombie of it's former self. You pray and pray for God to have mercy and simply kill it, but he never does.
Haha so true. But the same thing can be said about most series (games, comics, books, anime, films, whathever), and it's always the same. So logically the whole things also happens to "video game industry" as a whole...

Quote
Video games have stagnated in part because technology has stagnated.
I agree, probably related, the moore's law already ended. We continue to be able to make smaller and smaller chips, but they stopped to be more and more powerful, and massive parallelism is basically useless exept for very specific tasks.

Quote
Each generation of consoles was a big step up (or at least a big change) from the generation prior.
I'll also add that games on the same system but begin of life or end of life have almost nothing to do with eachother on earlier generations. Just compare Donkey Kong to Kirby's Adventure, both for the same console. Does early PS2 and late PS2 games have such a difference ? I'd say no.

Quote
What do you really get with a PS4 -- just slightly better graphics and/or 4k video.
But 4k video is completely useless for human beings, as the extra resolution isn't even perceptible to the human eye in the 1st place.

Other "innovations" such as immersive 3d or virtual reality are acually a resurect attempt at something that was already a huge commercial failure in the 80s...
« Last Edit: August 27, 2016, 04:42:29 pm by Bregalad »

KaioShin

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2016, 05:15:52 pm »
If what people around these parts who still play NES games said about "modern" games was true, 'gaming' would have been dead since the PS2 era already. And now PS2 games are suddenly considered to be among the classics from the good old times by many of those same people... ::)

@Topic: The Japanese gaming industry completely missed the train. There was a time when practically all the best games came from Japan and western developers made clunky RPGs and strategy games or FPS games. Instead of innovating again they make bad imitations of misunderstood western designs. Resident Evil 6 anyone? And now western games are lightyears ahead and they have no chance in hell to catch up. Is Devil May Cry really Capcom's newest franchise? Can't think of a newer one. But hey, they made like 30 more Megaman games until then. And for some ungodly reason people are still sad there aren't more... But oh right, "modern games" are bad because they are all sequels :laugh: It also doesn't help that the domestic Japanese market seems to be all about mobile gaming. They reduce the budgets on console titles which in turns makes them look even worse. Outside of rare treats like Souls you can say goodbye to Japanese games. But don't worry, they'll keep making games even on tiny budgets. If you are itching for some JRPGs you can always rub some loli breats in Criminal Girls or laugh about boob jokes in Hyperdimension Neptunia 15.2 Zombies vs Boobs or complain on the internet that they removed a breast rubbing minigame for the western release of Fire Emblem. All hail Japanese games :crazy:
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Bahamut ZERO

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2016, 05:34:41 pm »
Quote
I'll also add that games on the same system but begin of life or end of life have almost nothing to do with eachother on earlier generations. Just compare Donkey Kong to Kirby's Adventure, both for the same console. Does early PS2 and late PS2 games have such a difference ? I'd say no.

Idk, to a degree PS2 had such a difference. Dark Cloud 1 (early title, kind of wonky but still fun, Dreamcast-looking graphics) to Kingdom Hearts 2 (late title for PS2, but with graphics and controls that put a fair share of PS3 games to shame, staggering amount of things can be going on at once before the fps even starts to hiccup) is the first thing that comes to mind.
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BlackDog61

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2016, 03:10:18 am »
Video games have stagnated in part because technology has stagnated.
In fact, I think the perceived decreasing variety in gameplay may be caused in part by technology getting better and better at providing a full-fledged, pre-digested experience. I think people's (and especially creators's) imagination is less involved when you get everything to sound & look pretty realistic.

The video game renaissance of the 80s and 90s was in no small part to NES/Master System/Genesis being a HUGE improvement over the generation prior.  If you look at an NES game compared to an Atari 2600 game, it's a tremendous difference.... not just in graphical capabilities, but in terms of what the game itself was capable of doing.
I'd like to reminisce of these times saying I wouldn't be able to count the number of shmups and platformers that came out in the 80's without overflowing a unit32... Copies and non-innovative gameplay were a thing in those times too. I'm with Bregalad in saying the way the economy is structured is more at stake here.

A resurgence could certainly happen, but only with some technological breakthrough.  I think Nintendo has been trying to find it with all their weird experimental peripherals, but I don't think they're on the right track.  VR might be it.  Augmented reality might be it.  But whatever it is, it's still a few years out at least.
How goes VR gaming sound to you like a breakthrough? To me, it's pretty clear it is a game changer and people have to reinvent everything because of it. It's probably immature right here right now, especially with the entry ticlet being significant, but give 1-2 years and it will be verywhere.
Hell, I'd bet a lot of money psychiatrists will have to handle severe cases of "loss of sense of reality" for the coming generation of kids who will grow with Vive 3 and Occulus C!
I know it's been said before for "just" 3D games (what with Carmaggeddon media craze), but this time VR really impacts your human perceptions. It's no longer a matter of knowing you"'re just gaming and your sense of morale and values doesn't get affected by it.

Disch

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2016, 09:55:13 am »
I'd like to reminisce of these times saying I wouldn't be able to count the number of shmups and platformers that came out in the 80's without overflowing a unit32... Copies and non-innovative gameplay were a thing in those times too. I'm with Bregalad in saying the way the economy is structured is more at stake here.

What I meant was this:

You couldn't have a Legend of Zelda on the 2600
You couldn't have a Pilotwings on the NES
You couldn't have a Metal Gear Solid on the SNES
etc

Each generation of consoles brought forth entirely new types of games that couldn't be made before.  They weren't just graphical improvements, they were applying new technology in new ways to create a new experience.  That pretty much ended with the PS3/360 generation (or arguably the PS2 generation).  There's not really any new ways to change the experience anymore because hardware isn't changing the way it used to.

Quote
How goes VR gaming sound to you like a breakthrough? To me, it's pretty clear it is a game changer and people have to reinvent everything because of it. It's probably immature right here right now, especially with the entry ticlet being significant, but give 1-2 years and it will be verywhere.

It'll completely change the experience.  Therefore it will spark new interest in buying new hardware (and software).

Kallisto

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2016, 12:28:19 pm »
I have some inside knowledge of what is going over there, but it is not much.

1) Capcom President really didn't care about gaming like that when he took over, and the reason why their games suffered because all he thought about was the money rather than "what would make this game good". Further add the fact Inafune told of their culture over there, and this just adds more confirmation, but nowadays it seems Capcom is turning around, but slowly.

2) Konami is regressing back to the days when Japan was all crazy about casino games (they still are), and they couldn't care less about games now. Also add in the fact the business culture over there is horrible.

3) Square Enix is the last major company that is barely standing, but it's doom will come from spoiled fans. The gaming community today is not the same one from years ago, and they're a lot more volatile, and nasty toward gaming companies nowadays for no real reason other than doing it for the LuLz & being morons.

4) Neo Otaku business culture, it is one of the sad truths that is keeping their economy up. You can see this seeping in your favorite series these days, and trashing them whether it be anime/games/etc. Everything is about fanservice "MORE THAN USUAL", and story goes to the wayside.

5) The laws of Japan has brought back Censorship though how this affects gaming is unknown to me because I've only seen this happen to anime like Dragon Ball Super. Though the counter-argument is DB which not meant for a certain audience, but I feel like Toriyama betrayed his own style regardless to satisfy Fuji TV.

6) Most of the ideas have been used up, there is not much creativity to be had in gaming now. Games like Mass Effect & Star Ocean are probably like the last few frontiers have we left to explore sci-fi concepts rather than Medieval fantasy settings which was done to death back in the 90s, and 2000s. However; there is still of plenty of material out there to read to pickup ideas, but nobody has bothered yet.

7) Copyright & Contracts has become a monster that the business culture created. Nobody wants to do business with Japanese companies anymore because of all the shit they pull if you're not careful.

8. The developers are leaving, and this relates to the poor business culture that had worsened over time.

9) Also I've been told there are employees like in Ubisoft (probably elsewhere too) that they only care about the money, and not about creativity because they know that brand name alone will sucker in people buying their stuff. That is why creativity in gaming has stagnated for some companies.

It's all about the numbers rather than the passion now, and the industry and the gaming community have become so toxic.

BlackDog61

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2016, 01:52:23 am »
I have some inside knowledge of what is going over there, but it is not much.
Interesting thoughts.

6) Most of the ideas have been used up, there is not much creativity to be had in gaming now. Games like Mass Effect & Star Ocean are probably like the last few frontiers have we left to explore sci-fi concepts rather than Medieval fantasy settings which was done to death back in the 90s, and 2000s. However; there is still of plenty of material out there to read to pickup ideas, but nobody has bothered yet.
Zelazny's "Amber" set of novels come to mind as something that would yet need to come as the source of video games. ;D

shadowmanwkp

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2016, 02:39:04 am »
Konami is regressing back to the days when Japan was all crazy about casino games (they still are), and they couldn't care less about games now. Also add in the fact the business culture over there is horrible.

That one at least is false, konami is trying to get into games again indicated by their PR guy Ben trying to inform people of konami's latest plans: http://gamerant.com/konami-rep-earn-you-back/

And the announcement of metal gear survive. Even if the effort looks half-arsed, it does indicate that konami has an interest in games.

Kallisto

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2016, 10:53:14 am »
That one at least is false, konami is trying to get into games again indicated by their PR guy Ben trying to inform people of konami's latest plans: http://gamerant.com/konami-rep-earn-you-back/

And the announcement of metal gear survive. Even if the effort looks half-arsed, it does indicate that konami has an interest in games.

Hopefully they will turn around, it seem like for awhile they were trying to get out of the business.

MisterJones

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2016, 06:28:49 pm »
from soft is still my savior
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Jorpho

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2016, 01:13:40 am »
and aside from Splatoon and Mario Maker, Nintendo has been making nothing but soulless rehashes for a long time. I say this as a major Nintendo fan.
So, you played Steel Diver, Dillo's Rolling Western, and Codename S.T.E.A.M., then?  People hate on them for making "soulless rehashes", and then they try something like Federation Force and people go completely bonkers.  What do you expect?

On that note, Square did release I Am Setsuna – and everyone likewise apparently went "Meh".

Zelazny's "Amber" set of novels come to mind as something that would yet need to come as the source of video games. ;D
Technically there already was an Amber game once, long ago.

In any case I recall can't see anything to be gained by going back to a source like that.  Certainly name recognition for something so relatively obscure isn't going to help it sell, nor do I see it as having any particularly fresh ideas that would foster something new in gaming.
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FAST6191

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Re: What is the future of the Japanese gaming industry?
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2016, 07:48:18 am »
In general I don't hold Japan's game output in terribly high esteem. They make and have made some good stuff, and are certainly important in the history of it all, but at the same time it is just another country making games to me.
At the same time I grew up in Europe where there was no crash or anything and plenty of local made "minicomputers" doing good things throughout. I loved my NES and megadrive but at the same time my Amiga and later PC also provide many fond memories, and despite the legacy here as a cheap option the C64 had had its day by the time the NES came along for me (only to return a few years later when people were selling gym bags full of C64 games for next to nothing and my broke younger self having a delightful time as a result).

There was a time when practically all the best games came from Japan and western developers made clunky RPGs

They were different, many would argue because they sprang from different traditions and media (to say nothing of the differences between what Germany and Russia do vs what the US does), but I am not sure I would say clunky as if to dismiss it. This discussion forms the basis for most of my misgivings with the concept of genre though so I will spare that one again, unless people want to go there I guess.

I agree, probably related, the moore's law already ended. We continue to be able to make smaller and smaller chips, but they stopped to be more and more powerful, and massive parallelism is basically useless exept for very specific tasks.
Afraid I am going to have to be a pedant and say Moore's "law" refers to transistor density rather than computing power, and it is still going on happily for the time being and never stopped. I agree the megahertz wars have long since ended and many metrics that once stood and made for easy comparisons have become broken at best, and that yeah multi threaded/parallel computation is presently not cracked for a lot of things we see in games.

On VR, at least the headset variety, I am less convinced. No doubt it will make for some sweet things and usher in a lot of improvements and experimentation, both in tech and storytelling, but its main trick is first person view and swamping the visual field. So much of what we play and do is purposefully abstract. Or if you prefer it will probably make online poker far more enjoyable in a lot of ways, won't do a thing for tetris, solitaire and minesweeper though. Augmented reality has some more interesting things too -- the day I can look through some glasses and see a "projection" of a board game or something and play with my mate that is somewhere else (or maybe right there and we just can't be bothered to set up the board because we are in a pub or something) will be a good day indeed for me. Waving my hands and fingers around like a bellend is something I look forward to.
On trick cyclists I feel compelled to link http://edition.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/11/avatar.movie.blues/ at this point in time. Also http://www.cbsnews.com/news/when-texting-becomes-an-addiction/
Doubtless there will be people that struggle with things, there are with most things, but at this point I am not going to view. Right reserved to backpedal on that massively if it is viable for perhaps a majority of people to generate enough to do the food and shelter bit within the VR game/world/space.

On mobile then my test of things is can you emulate something, if so congratulations you have the scope to have "real" game. The microtransaction as gameplay altering mechanic* is unpleasant but I view it as no different really to pocket money drainers of the arcade era, and many of the same opining on mobile would decry the fall of arcades (though again that is a US problem -- a little seaside town not far from here has, and has had for as long as I can recall, several arcades featuring stuff from all over the world and the same is true of many towns/touristy areas in towns wherever I have been in the UK) as part of the same rant.

*commonly termed pay to win where you gain an advantage for paying or have to pay (or effectively have to pay -- putting in 300 hours does not count) to progress. I have no problem with pay for skins and despite saying gameplay altering up there then if damage per second is king then paying for a weapon that does half damage but fires twice as fast which my cheap self has no access to, or things that are not inconsequential but offer an equally valid but different way to play.