Oh hun, such a drama queen.


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Video Game Decline | a Gamer's POV

It cannot be denied that this year in video gaming has been disturbingly lacklustre, with a small handful of the occasional high points that inevitably faded away as if it never happened. In an article written in October by Zacks Equity Research, video game sales have declined for the tenth consecutive month in September. According to market research firm NPD, U.S video game store sales slumped 24.0% year over year to $843.3 million in the month of September. Although the year-over-year decline widened compared with the prior-month level, dollar sales increased from $515.6 million reported in August.

Hardware sales plunged 39% year over year to $210.9 million while total software sales declined 14.0% year over year to $547.3 million. Accessories sales declined 11.0% annually to $139.9 million. The weak retail sales were primarily due to the ongoing transition from physical to digital platform and aging hardware consoles. Microsoft Xbox 360 was again the top-selling console for the 19th straight month with 270K units sold.

As it saddens me to say, video gaming has become increasingly stale and in my opinion, this generation of consoles and general gaming is to blame. While I feel as though some developers are at fault for ignoring creativity and throwing innovation out of the window, we must also look at the other side of the coin; developers could be growing tired with the current generation consoles and are itching for something new to work with. However, that does not excuse the lack of effort in an attempt to produce something innovative or fresh. For example, let's have a look at the line up for next year's releases, being developed on the current generation consoles: Watch Dogs, Beyond: Two Souls, Grand Theft Auto V, Tomb Raider, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and The Last of Us, to name a few; these are some of the most anticipated titles and they're coming to consoles we already own.

This takes me back to an older blog that discussed the belief that this console generation had lasted too long. When compared to previous generations, it's about the average duration—however, when we take a glance at this past year and notice how stale gaming has been, I believe that this particular generation is basically jogging in circles. Personally, this year in itself was full of hype that did not deliver—I can count on one hand the games that I really had an eye on and completely exceeded my expectations. However, some of them I haven't touched since its completion.

That brings me to my next topic: have video games really become a single-experience thing? Let's have a look at Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls in which its developer basically told us to just play the game once because they're both predominately based towards making choices, with multiple playthroughs defeating the meaning of their consequences. "It’s the same approach as for Heavy Rain: play it once and then don’t replay it. You can if you want, but I think the best way to experience the game is really to make choices and then never know what would have happened if you’d made a different choice." Well, at a $60 price tag, gamers are certainly not going to play the game once—especially if they're achievement/trophy hounds. But is this what gaming has become, without necessarily having to tell it to our faces? Are video games turning into one-off experiences, in which the replay value is so low to nought that we can't see ourselves having another go? If that is the case, why are new games still $59.99?

Coming from an avid gamer, I find this analytical theme disturbing; video gaming has been my number one hobby since I was four years old—fifteen years running now. Over the years I've gotten more and more into gaming, development, the industry, and really getting more involved than simply popping in a disc, playing the game, and going to bed. With that being said, I find it really disheartening to see video gaming not really given the proper attention it deserves, and one can only hope that 2013 brings in a breath of fresh air.

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imtheman20131947d ago

Very few games this year really blew me away. Dishonored and Journey mostly. I am looking forward to a lot of games next year though, especially Watch Dogs. Although, I didn't know it was being developed on current generation specs. At E3 I thought it was running on a high-end PC? I could be wrong though.

Valenka1947d ago

You're correct—Watch Dogs was presented on a PC, but as for the speculation that it was high-end or its complete computer specs, going by an educated estimate, I think it's safe to assume that it'll be a current generation or even a cross-generation title.

Ducky1947d ago (Edited 1947d ago )

I didn't find the year that stale.

I enjoyed 2012 because a lot of the big-name games were non-linear with Hitman, Dishonored and FarCry3 being at the forefront.

There were a few 'stale' sequels such as MassEffect3, AssassinsCreed3, Halo4 and Borderlands2 which were highly anticipated but didn't particularly do anything unique... well, except for BlackOps2 which managed to be better than expected (although I'm not sure if that's worth bragging about)

TheWalkingDead surprised many, and even nabbed the GOTY from the VGA2012.

Journey managed to do something which no other game has done before: it got a grammy nomination for the music.

XCOM showed that turn-based strategy games still have a market.

TwistedMetal was a blast from the past for a genre that has almost been forgotten.

Many bets were lost/won when BlackMesa was finally released (although it's still not complete)

... and there were some pretty good games which had their own quirks like Darkness2, SpecOps:TheLine, MaxPayne3, Starhawk, and more that I can't remember.

Bring me another year like 2012, I say.

rainslacker1947d ago

I don't think it's the hardware or long generation that's holding games back. It's the lack of investment in risky new exciting things on the publishers side of things that is hampering this downward trend. Looking at the end of the PS2 cycle, there were still some great and innovative games coming out. It gained momentum with 360/Wii/PS3 being released, but since then the whole industry has been moving towards very few risks, and for the most part a cookie cutter approach to games. On top of that publishers look's at it's consumers as nothing but a wallet, and tries to find whatever way possible to get us to open it. This has a direct effect on how games are made, and the content that is offered (ie Capcom, Mass Effect 3).

There is a reason why indie games have seen an upswing, and it's because they are about the only ones innovating outside of the few standout AAA titles.

Which brings me to my next point. Nowadays, if something isn't AAA, it seems to not really stand a chance in retail, or much chance to gain acceptance within the larger community. There is no middle ground anymore, and it used to be that middle ground was where all the action was. Today, if something isn't at least a 90 meta-critic score, it is looked down upon.

caseh1947d ago

Honestly, no offense but i'm failing to see your point:

'According to market research firm NPD, U.S video game store sales slumped 24.0% year over year to $843.3 million in the month of September.'

You can't base software sales on video game stores alone, I NEVER buy from video game stores due to them being overpriced and there are like 1001 other places to get games these days.

'Hardware sales plunged 39% year over year to $210.9 million while total software sales declined 14.0%'

Well yeah, hardware sales will slump, because everyone already has an Xbox/Wii/PS3...its over 5 years since they were released so sales will eventually drop.

These kind of articles remind me of the weather. We get a single summer thats either very hot/wet...'Is the environment changing forever blaaargh, end of world is nigh'.

There is no video game decline, its just as popular as ever. People complain about too many sequels, no innovation, games are too expensive etc but lets see:

- Too many sequels: they still sell record numbers and everyone keeps buying them, this hasn't changed since consoles came about.

- No innovation: oh its there, but it often gets over looked or slammed as a gimick or too casual. Can't please everybody clearly.

- Games are too expensive: They are the EXACT SAME PRICE as they were in 1990, approx. £40, i mean f*cking hell thats pretty impressive given 22 years of inflation. Compare it to that blu-ray you bought last week, cost you What? £ you get 200 HOURS of viewing time out of that? Probably not, how many people have poured over 100-200 hours into games like Fifa, CoD, FallOut etc.

Gaming changes, I mean to say I wish it never moved on from sprite based games of the 80's/90's but then I would never have getten to play some of the EPIC games that have come about since then.

caseh1947d ago (Edited 1947d ago )

As you want to be a child and block me after sending a PM heres some food for thought:

I'll just cut to the chase, you've been gaming since you were 4 right? And you say 15 years on in your blog...yet in your PM (which you didn't post here oddly enough) you refer to clearly remembering the price of Megadrive games despite the fact it actually launched a few years before you were born (1990/1991) Either you can time travel or you just recall retail values of gaming consoles before your time off the top of your head.

I'm an avid gamer myself, but i've been playing since about 1985. I've seen all sorts of sh!t come and go over the years, believe me. I've even gone to the extent of writing emulators when I was at uni. NOTHING has changed other than the internet has given everyone an opinion whereas you only used to see that in publications for video games.

if you don't like people responding to your blog I suggest you don't post a blog. You emphasis the word opinion in your PM yet you then say 'video games are clearly in decline..' on what basis is that an opinion. muppet.

Valenka1947d ago (Edited 1947d ago )

I didn't block you out of immaturity, I blocked you to end the continuous strain of back and forth messages that were leading nowhere. Considering that the hint was not received, I'll use my last bubble to correct you a final time.

First of all, do not put words in my mouth--I did not claim to remember the price of Megadrive games, considering the fact that I have never owned a Megadrive console nor have I played a Megadrive game. If you want to play this game, I'll gladly screenshot the private message and post it. When I was a kid, I was a Nintendo 64/PlayStation gamer and I purchased games for both consoles at prices as low as $30.

I have nothing against people commenting on my submissions--I welcome it. I just do not take kindly to those who are going to sit there and pick apart and attempt to counter-argue my opinions.

Video games are in a decline statistically, whether you want to admit it or not. The reasonings behind the decline are up for determination and are definitely opinionated.

Next time, if you're going to attempt to slander someone, get your facts right. Don't put words in another's mouth when the proof is there for reference. Also, if someone blocks you, chances are they wish to no longer associate with you. Take the hint.

Here's the proof that I did not claim to remember the price of Megadrive games, or any specific console or time period.

angrygamerx1947d ago

I was reading through a few blogs and I had to register on the website just to comment on this. Dude, honestly, it's called "private" messaging for a reason...your simply validating your immaturity by attacking the writer about a nonsensical argument.

You started off antagonistic with your first comment which was literally just nitpicking through Valenkas piece and then your going to respond after he/she blocked you to get the last word, defaming his/her character by making false statements? Valenka provided the proof in his/her reply to you and what you did was disgustingly low and immature.

Grow up, honestly.

CuddlyREDRUM1946d ago

Why not just write your bullshit in your own bloggy blogg?

smashcrashbash1947d ago

I would like to point out that even if next generation consoles come out it won't change the attitude of the lazy attitude most developers have adapted over the years. People seem to believe that many developers will start making better games because you give them better consoles or give them some tool like the Wii U pad. But the desire to do anything like that is what is waning. Out of all the games you mentioned did you mention Rain or Puppeteer? No. You mentioned most of the the sequels and the mainstream games. That is why games are declining. We are losing the people who loved games that went outside the box or showed some sort of imagination. The developers no longer want to risk doing anything different or radical because they know people will tear it to shreds, put it down at every turn and in the end not buy it.New consoles aren't going to solve anything.Everyone's attitude to gaming is what needs to change.Heavy Rain attempted to do something and it got attacked from all sides and hit in the gut because it didn't come out as well as they wanted but people treated it as if it was the most horrible game in the world.

Developers keep saying they are tired of current consoles but most of them don't want new consoles to make new things. They want to do the exact same thing and hopefully get new fanbases who they can sell to especially if the current fanbase is already tired of your lame attempts at making sequels and prequels or trying to con them.They have already seen all of their tricks and instead of making new ones you instead want a new console so you can sell all your old tricks to new people. No one cares that much about new radical ideas. The plan now is to keep making sequels to your mainstream stuff then toss you a little innovative bone every now and again to keep you quiet and celebrate while the mainstream games makes a mint and the obviously better think out of the box game fizzles and dies.And everyone shrugs and says 'Oh well at least Halo/Mario/Pokemon still sold x amount of dollars'.

It's not that every developer who behaves this way and some actually want to do something radical but most of them don't care.All long as they can keep selling Call of Duty by simply adding some new mode in MP why change anything even if you have a new console? In short new consoles will not necessarily bring new gaming.And while people are celebrating how much money the mainstream game made meanwhile developers are seeing little reason to do anything new as long as they keep feeding you the same line over and over again and you keep buying it.Look at the Wii U. Has anything radical and mind blowing come from it being a next gen console? No. I am sure we will be getting Pokemon and Zelda with better graphics and the same tiresome goals and story. I can bet my head is that Link will be fighting some unknown enemy and Princess Zelda will be either already captured or be captured at some point and the unknown enemy will be Ganon AGAIN only it will be in HD.

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