The games industry: Pushing consumers toward breaking point
I honestly believe as gamers we enjoy the best hobby available, video games.
Games, unlike most other forms of entertainment are capable of providing us with a combination of other great forms of entertainment, such as the cinematic experience of movies, the emotional depth and subtle sub text of music and the gripping plot lines, characters and unique worlds of classic story telling.
The classic games of the early 80's and the mid to late 90's where able to be fun and entertaining regardless of their technical limitations, creating great gaming experiences through original gameplay and memorable characters. Even to this day we experience incredible games that are able to push the boundaries of art and story telling, and immerse us in breathtaking and original worlds with memorable characters and original story lines.
With the help of advancing technology games have never looked better and with the next generation of games consoles currently on the horizon the possibilities for where gaming can take us next is near limitless.
That being said, as much as I love gaming there are some notable negatives, many of which have come about since gaming entered the main stream. Compared to 15 years ago games cost a ridiculous amount of money to produce/develop, mostly because of this many larger companies tend to shy away from developing mediocre titles that aren't practically guaranteed to be huge hits, and instead aim to create AAA games, a "AAA game" is a term used to describe a game with a huge production value, usually created in order to spark a franchise or as a continuation of one, the problem however is that when creating games with a huge budget developers tend to avoid taking risks and that can often lead to games becoming unoriginal and uninspired, the milking of popular franchises is a negative trend that all too many pubs/devs are responsible for, even just these two things alone are contributing greatly toward stunting the creativity in the games industry at large.
CoD, Gears of war, Assassins Creed and now even God of War, are amongst game franchises that many are saying are currently being put through the milking machine, in order for the pubs/devs to squeeze as much cash out of them as possible before the fanbase gets bored, now for a hardcore fan of a franchise it's all too easy to excuse this kind of behaviour especially while you're still enjoying the franchise, but that does beg the question, when should a game franchise be laid to rest? For example, GoW: Ascension, is it necessary? It's a question that is being thrown around quite a lot on the interwebs, and the fans of the franchise are almost unanimous in saying "yes, it is necessary" (usually along with some colourful uses of the English language) well, Im not about to argue with that, however I'll pose this question instead, how many more God of war games need to be made before a new game in the franchise isn't necessary? Before it becomes stale? Well, some would say that it's becoming stale now, I personally haven't played Ascension yet so I can't really comment either way, but having been gaming for over 20 years I've seen many games come and go and believe me the people in games industry will almost always milk a game franchise to death if you let them.
Remember Rockband and Guitar Hero from some years back? they where huge!, but EA and Activision milked them to death by applying crappy business practices (Like expansion packs sold at full retail price and by yearly sequels) that reap huge profits quickly but inevitably kill of a franchise due to over saturation, or better yet, to use the term Cevat Yerli of Crytek coined a week or two ago, it causes "Gamer Fatigue" ...Which Basically means gamers get bored of being fed the same thing over and over.
As if milking of popular franchises wasn't bad enough, gamers of today have to contend with, Online passes, locked on disc DLC, day one DLC, day one patches for broken games that absolutely should not have been on store shelves to begin with, microtransactions that exist to sell you content that was held back from the finished product just to be sold to you at a later date, coop modes being forced into franchises that don't require it isn't a negative in and of itself, but it becomes a negative when it starts to affect the main single player mode. Many could attribute Dead Space 3's rather lackluster single player campaign to that of probably being put to the side in favour of creating a more fun and enjoyable multiplayer/coop experience, is that a negative? Well if you're playing DS3 for the survival horror factor, yes it absolutely is a problem.
Just look at these recent examples of unacceptable business practices in the games industry, a few weeks ago we had Gearbox's absolutely appalling handling of the Aliens IP with Aliens: Colonial marines (we spent what was it? 6 years waiting for this game) The trailer looks great and the hype was at maximum, then the game gets released and it's broken and buggy, looks nothing like the trailer not to mention the graphics look 7 years old, (btw still waiting on that apology Geabox) and now we have Simcity 2013, DRM killed simcity, or at least pissed off a good portion of the fanbase, I may not be a huge sims fan but there are plenty out their, EA chose to limit the game to only being playable on their servers, the servers weren't up to it howerver which led to many people who bought the game being locked out of playing it, think about this for a moment, people spent their hard earned cash on a product that they couldn't even play because a company is forcing you to play on their serves, servers that we all knew where not up to the task, so you can prove to them that "you" purchased the game legally, what gull! that they should demand we prove ourselves to them when they can't even provide a service that actually allows us to play their game, it's absolutely unacceptable.
My point of this article is this, how much more are we willing to take? the games industry as it stands just keeps thinking up more ways to nickel and dime us, the consumers, we pay more now than ever, yet we also have more now getting in the way of us actually playing and enjoying games than we have ever had before, a lot of people who have gotten into gaming last gen probably don't mind so much since they are used to this crap and probably aren't even aware it's a problem, but mark my words it will only get worse if we let it and there is a breaking point, the games industry (the pubs/devs I mean) would do well to remember this and stop pushing the consumers until we hit breaking point and decide stop tolerating their mispractices and stop supporting them altogether.
Thanks for reading my blog, it's a bit of a rant I know but I feel I made some good points, or at least I hope so lol, anyway please feel free to leave a comment, thanks.