It’s really only a matter of time until the video game industry collapses again at least as far as the US side of things, and there’s a lot of factors at play, several matching up with what happened back around 1983. Generally there’s a lot of trash on the market coming from major companies, and things are constantly being recycled. Also, graphics are starting to peak, and if they don’t find another selling point, they might not be selling much. Game companies are preferring China over the US and might just move most operations facing East, leaving a void that will probably be filled with a flood of indie games that’s only being held back by the marketing saturation from the AAA companies. Whether any of these games stand out enough to keep the concept of video games afloat in the general mind will just have to be seen. It could fall back into a niche hobby as it was before.
With AAA games, they’re mostly microtransaction-driven at this point. More accurately, macrotransactions. Major annual releases are coming out to be further from games and closer to gambling simulations, with the addition of the ability to pay extra for whatever reason. Even those that tend to avoid microtransactions seem to be ending up in cases where it’s been done before. Several games are re-releases of games from even just 5 or so years prior. While a “remaster” isn’t a bad thing in concept as several have gone above and beyond with remastering the game, many are minimal effort and just decide to just allow a higher resolution output. Generally it feels that many modern games only sell because they’re marketed and there’s hardly any research done beyond that from the consumer’s side.
On PC there has been an explosion of launchers, while on the surface just being another program to open games from, it has become several stores that are attempting to compete with each other but at the same time not exactly competing because they’re all focused on exclusives, sometimes outside of first-party. While several stores have dominated in general so far, it feels almost overkill and could just become a return to every game just being its own launcher as in the old PC days before Steam and everything. At that point, it hardly seems to be a point if none offer anything beyond just launching games.
Consoles have been coming out too frequently, to the point where hardware revisions are about as commonplace as they are with iPhones. This just generates a lot of overstock at used merchandise places when someone just wants to go after the best models at that moment. I don’t know of console manufacturers holding any sort of recycling program as well, though as far as iPhones, Apple seems to have their own program in place for trade-ins.
The main thing to do at this point is to let it happen, as the industry can be reborn with a new spirit. Consumers should only purchase actual quality products that they actually want, if anything. Anyone with a job in the industry should look into another skill that can be put into practice as general computer programming jobs may be the first to fill up when the major companies collapse. They may also wish to become an indie developer, and anytime is fine to get started with that, just go in with low expectations, the ability to abandon ideas that aren’t interesting, and know how to self-market. Given how the major companies are having major layoffs frequently anyway, it would be a good idea to be prepared.