While I don’t care to admit it, I am seriously beginning to question my love for the video game industry. Everywhere I look, I see massive disappointments. Take Watchdogs as one example. That game was hyped up beyond what any normal video game should be, and it failed to deliver on its’ promises. Sure, I myself found the game to be quite enjoyable, but I also didn’t have high expectations. I didn’t go in expecting Grand Theft Auto, which was probably a good thing, as I absolutely hated Grand Theft Auto: V.
Yet, even though I personally enjoyed WatchDogs, I’m still using that game as an example to prove my point; the video game industry is fucked up. There’s too many empty promises being thrown in all directions. This industry has become a marketing powerhouse, which just goes to show; if the publisher has enough money to market their games, no matter how bad – or good – the game itself actually is, they can sell millions of copies. Gamers have adapted a consumer mindset, and publishers are taking advantage of this. Needless to say, I’m ashamed to even be a part of this industry, and no longer consider myself to be a gamer. (not by the current definition of the word)
And yet, I still find myself passionate about video games. I continue to buy the latest gaming consoles simply because of the futures that they all promise. Each console, excluding the atrocity of the PS4, promised some form of change. The Wii U introduced second-screen capabilities, while the Xbox One expanded upon controller-free concepts and had extensive cloud computing capabilities.
Yet, the simplistic and greatly limited PlayStation 4 is dominating the charts. Neither the Wii U or Xbox One are being used to their full and intended potential, with the Xbox One practically dropping Kinect support altogether. Don’t get me wrong, Sony has some truly fantastic first party IPs, and I’m excited to see what they can come out with over the course of the generation. However, Sony’s PlayStation 4 is a step backwards, as it doesn’t bring anything new to the table of gaming. Literally, the only potential game-changing feature that the PS4 utilizes is the touchpad on the controller, which itself is practically useless and nothing but a gimmick. It seemed more like an afterthought; a response to what the competition was doing at the time, than a full blown and supported feature.
In addition to the lacklustre hardware of this generation, specifically the PlayStation 4, the developers are putting very little effort into properly creating fun and unique experiences. Every single Nintendo console of every generation has provided new ways to play. Every console introduced new controllers, and with that, new buttons and modes of player interaction. Nintendo created the modern analog stick controller, which allowed for more accurate control within a 3D environment. They revolutionized gaming again in 2006 with the Nintendo Wii, and sparked a revolution of motion controlled games and the creation of entirely new genres. The unique controller capabilities of the Wii also allowed for more accurate first person shooter games, with some saying, even to this day, that Call of Duty was best on the Wii console, at least when it came to controls. Nintendo then introduced a new touch-centric controller for the Wii U, potentially creating entirely new and unique experiences. Yet, the industry no longer wishes to experiment with new controller concepts and designs, as new means risk, and risk doesn’t sell. So, they stick to what they know will sell without a doubt, and market the living shit out of it. Take Call of Duty, Battlefield, and practically every other third party video game franchise as proof to my claim. Developers and publishers tend to stick with what they know will be commercially successful, and take virtually no risks on new concepts or gameplay ideas. The only exception I can realistically think of in way of a major third party studio is Ubisoft, being the only major studio to actually focus on creating content for Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Kinect. Other than that, you’ll never find a single major studio taking any real interest in innovation.
And that’s what bothers me about this industry. It’s dull, repetitive, and boring. The future looks sad, and it’s one I don’t want to be a part of, but will be a part of anyways because of no real alternatives.