This week, one of the game publishers of the good old days went under. THQ has been in bankruptcy, and its property has been auctioned away, piece by piece. Although none of its games of the past few years interested me enough to buy them (aside from that Humble Bundle), I really liked Supreme Commander and STALKER. I'm sad to see a once great publisher of PC exclusives and a proliferater of gaming originality go under.
In my recent podcast, I had mentioned an article about how with every console generation, costs go up and game publishers (and studios) go down (bankrupt). Seeing how we are in the twilight of a gaming generation, I feel that this is the proper time that I should make some speculation:
A major hardware vendor (namely Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo) will stop hardware vending. Sony isn't doing too well. If they don't pull out a winner in the next generation, they will be destroyed. Nintendo just does its own crazy thing and is crazy enough to make it (it has thus far). Microsoft keeps losing a bit of money on Xbox, but is extremely popular and they have put too much money into it to just step away.
One of the other big three (Activision, Electronic Arts, or Ubisoft) will go away: not necessarily bought, bankrupt, or merged. Perhaps one will loose big on something (like Activision succumbing to sequelitis), and will have to downsize.
One of the minor publishers (like Konami, Take Two, Square Enix, Namco, Capcom, Zenimax, or Sega) will close, be bought, or merge.
But I think all of this will be OK, because digital distribution will continue to become more important. Who needs to go big when you can simply kick start something and put it on Steam?