Today’s post is somewhat different in that instead of having a main summary I want to throw some things out there and get the views of other gamers and people in the gaming/blogging community on something. December is always the month where I start to reflect on the year and what I’ve been up to and what’s been going on. It’s also a time where I look back on what games I’ve played and what has happened within gaming and this year more than previous I have found myself struggling to list games that have grabbed my attention (bearing in mind I play on PC and don’t have a console so that’s not including some amazing exclusives that this year has made!).
So the question I would like to get your views on is: What Do You Think? Is Gaming Changing For Better or Worse?
To help answer this question I have outlined a few of the major advancements and controversies of recent times that have made me pause for thought. Things that have led to a rise in upset among gamers. Let’s start off with the less popular events in gaming:
Microtransactions & Loot Boxes
First on my list is an older issue but one that has continued to be raised and criticised over the years. I did a whole post on Microtransactions a while back in November 2017 “Microtransactions The Good and The Bad” and most of us have a general idea of what they are so I won’t really go into it too much but Microtransactions and virtual currency have been a growing trend, featuring in everything from Fallout 76 to Star Wars Battlefront and even Assassins Creed. Of themselves these are not wholly negative but when features that should be part of the game are hidden behind a paywall, prices are really high and progression made so slow that paying for it is easier than playing and grinding for it that’s where I see the problem. Not to mention Loot Boxes, I don’t want to go into them in too much detail but the easiest thing to say is that Loot Boxes are a form of gambling and another way to get your money after you buy a game.
Controversial Business Decisions
This one was harder to pin down but I thought worthy of note. This year has seen a rise in video game publishers or developers making controversial or poor choices. From objectively bad decisions like those that brought down Telltale and The Walking Dead, to subjective issues like EA with Star Wars Battlefront, Diablo Immortals and now with Fallout 76 most recently.
Weather these issues are down to “entitled gamers” or gamers with legitimate concerns I will leave that one up to you but I would be interested to know your thoughts.
Online only games that prevent you from having a fun experience offline even in single player. A main example I remember from a while ago was with Sim City which even in single player required an internet connection until gamers complained and EA made the change.
Games that are only multiplayer have also begun to appear more in the industry. These games are often online multiplayer and have come at the cost of single player experiences such as the most recent Call of Duty game which ditched the single player campaign or the Star Wars Single Player title dropped by EA because gamers apparently don’t want single player games. Of course I don’t think multiplayer only games are bad but the growing trend to drop single player is a concern for some gamers like me who predominantly play single player experiences.
Early access games are the last in this list of negative/controversial trends. Early access can act as a great way for indie developers to get a game out there with limited resources. However, the over reliance on Early Access, the release of games before they are ready and the trend for some games to never really leave Early Access or Beta forms is something that has been mentioned a number of times and I cover in my post: When is A Game Ready?
With the negative and controversial changes in the gaming industry out the way I thought it would only be fair to cover some of the amazingly positive things that have happened in gaming this year too.
Narrative & Single Player Focus
A trend that grew out of games like Telltale’s series, Life is Strange and The Last of US from previous years. The rise of narrative heavy games has offset some of the less popular changes around online only and multiplayer only games. This year games like God of War have proven how successful narrative and singleplayer games can still be. Games like the Last of US 2 next year and Cyberpunk 2077 also add to the impressive list of narrative or role play heavy single player games on the horizon.
Rise of The Open World
Open world games used to be tricky, incredibly demanding and limited by the technology of the time. For a long while games like Elder Scrolls Morrowind and Oblivion flew the flag as some of the first massive open world games along with games like World of Warcraft. Now from Assassins Creed to Cyberpunk 2077, GTA and Red Dead; the open world is getting larger and a more common sight.
Technology is only getting better for games and whether it is physical tech that makes our computers more powerful and our games consoles stronger or lines of code and new processes things this year have stepped up. Graphically games have made some huge leaps and this year has seen a rise in the release of remastered games taking advantage of the new console generation and more powerful machines to improve our gaming experiences. VR is also a major leap forward. Personally VR never seemed my thing but it’s hard to deny the impressive applications of VR and how this will only get better and more affordable with time.
So with all that let’s get back to the question: What Do You Think? Is Gaming Changing For Better or Worse?
If I was to answer this at this moment in time I would say I’m not sure. Gaming is changing and nothing ever stays the same for long but whether these changes are wholly good or not its difficult to say. There have been some amazing steps forward but there have been some incredibly disheartening trends and controversies from my personal opinion.
That’s why I wanted to drop this question out there! It’s always useful to reflect on things and it would be great if you share your opinion in the comments below Is Gaming Changing For Better or Worse?
Thanks for reading to the end!
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