Why Games Suck: Even starry eyed developers fall prey to these bad ideas

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Games used to be good.  Look back to the release of Everquest, Diablo 2, Starcraft, and many more.  The late 90's and early 2000's were the golden age of games.  Why were they so good?  It was a few factors coming together.  But before we can explore that lets see what game studios are doing wrong in 2020.
Quality Assurance Testers are underpaid and under recruited.  You might think, as all game developers do, that testers are just gamers that get to play games early and give feedback.  This is wrong.  Do you know what type of person a true tester is?  An Engineer.  Engineer's are the people with tester mentality.  An Engineer's mindset is "Don't Trust, Do Verify".  This makes sense because if a Bridge wasn't at least Theoretically Tested before built people would die.  Have a great idea about a new building design?  Great but an Engineer is going to test the idea to make sure it won't collapse.  Have a new design for car airbag?  Great, but an Engineer will Characterize it to tell exactly how much gas it produces and how fast.  Engineers are testers.  Testers are the most important part of a successful product.  This is why they get paid so much.
Now game companies treat testers like 3rd class squalor.  Any surprise when every new game launches as a buggy mess?  Game companies don't take testing seriously and it shows.  The fastest ways to loose players isn't a lack of story or too few quests, it is when your game is literally not working.
Design God syndrome.  Game development companies have this notion that "Ideas are great, but it is your ability to implement that is important".  Basically game studios don't want actual Designers, people who vet ideas and tell you what the possibilities are for the game, they want doers - implementers.  It is great to have doers and implementers, but those sort of people are not actually designers.  They hire for a "Game Designer" position but in reality it is a "Game Maker" role.  Designers sit and brainstorm all day, not crank out game content under deadline via Monster Energy.
The only real designer in a game studio is the "lead designer".  This privileged person is the only one who is a true designer and concerns themselves with what direction will be best for the game, whether or not the game needs a crafting system and what type should it be, should food be in the game and if so how should it function, etc.  One out of four people are the designer type, and for there only to be one true designer on a team of 50-500 people is a huge oversight.  No one person can truly see every angle to make sure the game is doing everything it should be, and doing it right.  This is why Game Design is seriously flawed, and games often struggle with trying to cater to both casuals and hardcore players; they end up doing both wrong because one person can not hold every perspective that the community truly has.  Even lumping all gamers into 2 categories is flawed and comes because a single designer can't parse out all the intricacies of the playerbase.
So game studios are left with only Makers and Promoters.  So testers and designers are out, makers and promoters are in.  The makers fill every roll from programming to "game design" to IT, to artists.  Promoters fill every other roll like Advertising, marketing, community management, fundraising, etc.  So instead of a well oiled machine, you have a stunted and disjointed hot mess.
So now you see so many people who are fed up with modern day game failures and think that they have "just the idea" that the game industry is missing - call it being too casual friendly, or not having a certain feature, that they get lured into making the exact same mistakes that got modern day companies in the design hell that they are in.  Anyone who thinks fixing a problem that arose because only one designer was allowed to design, and think they are the only designer who has the idea to fix it, will just perpetuate the cycle.  It is only when we take everyones gifts seriously and let them have an equal impact on the game and value people that design and test, will we have games that actually are good again.
So how did studio's in the late 90's do it?  Firstly they were designed by the community.  There was no one with a "grand vision" of how computer games should be designed.  Everyone was players of Card games and Tabletop games so everyone had ideas on how to implement those ideas into games.  No person thought their ideas were the best because they realized they didn't have all the ideas and they were basically at the same level as everyone else.  The entire community of employees designed these early games.  Games also took testing much more seriously.  Games didn't have alphas and betas and day one patches, Games had to release polished or else no one would take them on to sell them.  In that day computer users were serious people, a decent computer cost today's equivalent of around $4000.  The price of entry was great, and top tier games were supposed to be masterpieces.  There were no "updates" to games as a rule.   A studio simply wouldn't release a game unless it was thoroughly tested.

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