"deeper more meaningful and relevant content" as the industry succumbs to marketing-led graphs, pie charts, focus groups and risk aversion.
Big words. Lanning warns we need a lot less "Britney Spears-class content" and more Pink Floyd. We end up seeing big budget games that rarely try to 'rock the boat' with ideas.
Sales results are prioritised over meaningful content, he says, and that's not a helpful direction. No indeed, just look at the 'meaningful content' of reality TV today.
"As storytellers in the 21st century, many designers, creators, and writers will be compelled to make deeper more meaningful and relevant content that reflects the challenging issues happening in the world around them today," Lorne Lanning told .
"Storytellers have been doing this from the beginning. Shakespeare reflected governmental corruption in his plays, without preaching about the obvious issues of his day. Pink Floyd was able to express CLEVERLY their issues with the negative music industry practices and general dismay with capitalism, while in turn making some of the greatest selling entertainment music of all time."
Financial support is all tied up with big blockbuster franchises that don't deliver much deeper meaning.
"Marketing and sales departments that are focused on sizable returns for their huge product investments are less concerned with meaning and more concerned with sales results. So the least likely place we should expect to see more subtly influential, deeper content is from those products with the highest budgets and greatest focus on 'must have massive audience consumption results.' Anything that looks to possibly rock the boat toward that end, and reduce the size of the possible audience take will prove more likely to be cut from the end product before it ever makes it to the shelf."
"Money, means, and the ideas that figure out how to do it without getting dull and standing on a soap box, which quite frankly nobody wants to listen to, and if they do they will go to documentaries. But as we are seeing, the more audiences realize that deeper content reflecting relevant truths can be more refreshing and engaging," he continued.
"...we see documentary films having greater successes than ever in history. This is reflective of an evolving appetite that more people want more meaningful content and want to walk away from their experiences with more lasting impressions that add 'more value to their lives.'"
Lanning draws comparison between the music and film indie sectors with our own in the games industry, pointing out it's the indies offering the most in terms of this deeper content.
"This is why indie music is trending far more interesting in its content than the big pop stars with the highest short term sales," he says. "This is why indie films have more meaningful and lasting results on audiences than big blockbusters. Games are no different. It's an investment versus returns reality."
"The best way to see deeper content manifesting in any of those mediums, is for creators to figure out how to deliver the products cheaper so that they may retain far more creative influence in the end product."
"When content is deeper and more meaningful, then you can still create highly digestible and widely consumable entertainment products. Or, you can make Britney Spears albums. The games industry has more Britney Spears-class content than Pink Floyd. We just always aimed to deliver more of the later."
"Great content lasts the test of time, big pop for the moment evaporates from the history books more quickly."
Lanning: Marketing-led IP means "more Britney Spears-class content than Pink Floyd"
22 October 2013 | By Simon Priest