Are Strategy Guides Actually Making Games Harder?

Over at 2Old2Game, Snakemeister has an interesting piece on the growing popularity, and indespensibility, of official game strategy guides. Have these guides led to games becoming more complex, possibly to warrant the purchasing of such guides, which has led to games getting even more complex, which means you can never actually fully explore a game world without a guide, and on and on you go, down the rabbit hole? In part, he concludes:

“I like to think that developers and publishers realised that their customers were looking for more content, more depth to their games, more ‘bang for their buck’ if you will. They needed the maximum return on their investment (that phrase again). As the games became more complex, the need for strategy guides, official and unofficial, became greater. The moment that strategy guides started to become official, developers were able to place secrets into their games that would guarantee the need for a guide. It’s unavoidable that these secrets would eventually be passed around online for free, but there will always be gamers, who will be seduced by the lure of a glossy 200 page strategy guide, shrink wrapped to protect its secrets, every inch of it screaming quality. And yes, I do count myself among those gamers.”