Large influx of money, yet gaming was still a subculture. The second clout chasers realized Games could make them rich, the industry was ruined. The masses weren’t into it too much yet. Thanks to smartphones now they are, and you gotta cater to the lowest common denominator. That and psychopaths gaining power through the SJW trend.
-Smaller development teams
-No design by comittee or irrelevant bullshit meetings over feelings and focus groups
-Developers are all white men
-Developers are making games they actually want to play
-Developers actually play their own games
-No beancounters demanding maximizing profit at the expense of the game and dev reputation
-Marketing didn’t take up 2/3rds of the budget
-Smaller budgets making it easier to take risks and experiment/fail
-Small teams of talented passionate men making cool shit they enjoy and having fun doing it.
To this day I still don’t understand why no publisher has broken apart their studios into dozens of smaller 20-30 man groups with easily centralized elements like QA and marketing done by the publisher so the devs can focus on development. Let people make games and hit it out the park or fail without spending 100 million each time. You could run 20 studios each making a new game which could potentially be a blockbuster instead of these 700-person behemoths that put one game out every 6 years and it’s unmitigated garbage.
1997-2007 was a period of economic growth where entire generations of euros and japs were entering their 20s and 30s and not having children. Without children to spend money on, they funneled most of their peak consumption into entertainment like big budget hollywood films and video games. We’re currently experiencing the bust after this as there aren’t as many young euros and japs consuming things. The anglosphere (and the Scandis plus France) is mostly stable wrt young consumption, but everyone else in the developed world isn’t consuming so there isn’t enough demand available to pump out games like the old days. That time period was when the first wave of game development peaked; the old heads were at the helm, but now they had a shitload of money to play around with. they could achieve all sorts of amazing shit, and with a well-rounded grasp of video games as a medium and a culture, knew exactly how to appeal to as broad an audience as possible while still preserving a sense of challenge, accomplishment, progression, and overall fun.