This post may be written with rose tinted glasses and a hint of bitterness.
I was reading the Diablo 3 forums when I came across this topic “Any Veteran Gamers Feel That Gaming Is Over?“. In case it gets removed here’s the text of the first post.
I’ve played games for over 10 years, and I’m reaching the disturbing conclusion that gaming is simply on its way out.
Gamers used to demand perfect control. We mocked and criticized games that didn’t have tight, precision gameplay.
Look at supposedly AAA games like Diablo 3. Best case scenario, you have a constant 200ms ping and an additional 50ms of latency from your monitor and input devices. The hitboxes take up half the screen, so you can’t dodge anything. Projectiles that were nowhere near you hit you. It plays horribly. If you look around, you can’t even find games that have good gameplay anymore.
I watched the gameplay videos from E3 2012. All I saw were Uncharted clones full of dumb quicktime events and scripted scenes. There’s no gameplay here. What happened to real games that you actually had precision control over?
In terms of stories in games, they’ve only got worse. We’re enduring laughably constructed stories full of plot holes and bad dialog (Mass Effect 3 and Diablo 3). They’re worse than they were in the late 90s and early 21st century. We’ve taken a step backward in pretty much every aspect of games other than graphics.
I built a computer this year (i5 2300k with a 560GTX), and frankly, it feels like a complete waste of money. The best use I can think of for it is playing Metroid Prime in Dolphin at 2560×1600. I’m really beginning to believe that gaming is over. It’s just one disappointment after another. All I see are attempts at getting non-gamers to play games and nickel and diming people with greedy, trashy schemes like DLC, micro-transactions, and stuff like the RMAH.
It’s sad. I think it’s time to get another hobby.™
First, I’m going to be depressed that someone that has only been playing for 10 years considers himself a “veteran” I started out some time in the mid 80s with various Space Invader and Asteroids clones and have played things constantly since then. I’ve gone through PC and Console gaming a like
So I wanted to add my thoughts but the Battle.net forums are a horrible spammy place where reasonable thought rarely exists hence this post.
I grew up in the golden age of gaming (there’s that rose tint) of the early 90s. At that time gaming was a very underground thing that only the Geeks were involved in all the normal kids were exposing themselves to sunlight and exercise. But this was fine, because it was Geeks writing games for other Geeks to play as a hobby. Today its a multi billion dollar industry, that rivals Hollywood for the amount of cash that is raked in. Star Wars: The Old Republic is estimated to have cost $200 million to develop, thats closing in on Avatar territory in terms of budget (though it has less CGI 😛 ), but guess what the game sucked. Business hasn’t worked out that throwing money it projects doesn’t suddenly make them great. So here’s the headline Gaming isn’t dead. In recent years it has lost its way due to the control being placed in the hands of publishers and their teams of accountants and marketing but its a long way from being dead.
If I look back there were great games across all the years I’ve been playing but its these last 2-3 years where troubling patterns are coming out. Games coming out half finished and DLC being released as the game launches, quality being dropped in favour of enabling shiny
So what is wrong in the industry? Because I like lists, i’ll start with one and go into detail later.
- DLC & Micro Transactions.
- Weak storylines.
- Buggy & Rushed releases.
- Oppressive DRM
Ok so here’s some detail.
Rushed & Buggy Releases… As publishers put more pressure on developers to release on their schedules to fit in with marketing and budgets you get games coming out with less QA time and horrendous releases. Final Fantasy 14, Age of Conan and to a degree Diablo3 have all had very public failings at launch. Each game (especially the first 2) were pushed out before they were ready. Taking the time to finish and polish a game makes for a much better reception. I won’t claim that old games were bug free, but I don’t think I ever had major problems with any game in the past.
Consoles… they brought gaming to the masses with their cheap hardware and simplicity. But with the limited input you can supply on a controller games have been simplified more and more. If you want a prime example of this go look at Skyrim and Mass Effect 2 & 3. The interfaces are simple and restrictive once you start playing the PC versions. We need consoles to die off or for a separation of PC and console games.
EA… the bane of the gaming world. A publisher that has pushed annual revisions of sports titles, working its developers to the bone and pushing shitty DRM and the abortion that is Origin on to us. Yes they are a business and yes they want to make money, but it is being done at the expense of originality and quality. With the likes of Steam and independent development studios EA is becoming less relevant in this world and its coming back to how we were 15-20 years ago.
Digital Rights Management… in the ongoing war against their customers games developers have been adding more and more oppressive DRM. “Always On” systems for single player games or installing unremovable virus-like software like SecuROM only serve to hinder the legitimate users. Pirated copies circumvent the DRM making it easier for the illegal versions to play. This subject is one I especially hate. When I see indie developers releasing their games without DRM and doing so successfully I have to question the paranoia of the big publishers.
DLC & Micro payments… any time we get extra little bits to pay for in a game it means we’ve not purchased the full game to start with. This isn’t expansions to games, this is the addition of a new costume or a new item in game through offline purchases. This doesn’t add anything to the game, its all vanity and trivial items that do nothing except give more money to publishers. I don’t object to a solid expansion pack or a sequel but this buying little bits of crap has to stop.
Ok lets counter this with whats good in the world of games!
- Indie development is on the rise. Maybe a new golden age is on the way?
- Games have come out of the basement.
- Steam making it easy to buy and install games.
- Good games are being made. Look at Skyrim, Braid, Super Meat Boy, Batman Arkham Asylum, Alice or Starcraft 2.
There is a future for gaming, it needs to sort things out first. We have all these problems, what industry doesn’t? But it doesn’t mean that gaming is dead. It needs to evolve it needs to get back in control of its own work. After its fun and carefree childhood, welcome to gamings teenage years!
I’ll leave you with a little nostalgia! One of my favourite games (played on the Amiga 1200) from the 90s.