What’s gone wrong with video games?

Video Game ConsolesAs an avid gamer I have a lot of mixed feelings about the trajectory and future of the gaming industry. On the one hand, games are breaking many barriers within the realm of technological advancement and size of player base. They are setting records with respect to sales and logged hours of playtime. Games are becoming more engaging with expansive worlds, new genres, characters, and grander more epic stories. Some have said that video games are the truest art form because music, storytelling, acting, creativity, and technology all converge for a brilliant mixture and representation of human achievement and expression. So video games are becoming and have become one of the greatest expressions of human ingenuity, innovation, and discovery. But on the other hand, certain black eyes that would be considered unforgivable and even un-survivable in other industries have become commonplace. From broken and buggy launches, to the “over-monetization” of mobile games, to the pre-order hype machine that lures players to commit to extra content prior to playing a game, and the new strange practice of review embargoes, the industry has some serious problems.

What I would like to do is talk about some of these problems in two categories. First, I would like to talk about the problems inside the games themselves. This could range from content, innovation, storytelling, all the way to how games incentivize player behavior within the worlds they create. Second, I want to talk about the problems outside of the games. What I mean by “outside of the games” is the gaming industry and the gaming community. This could range from corporate deadlines, strained creativity, lack of adequate product testing, hateful player behavior, all the way to the deliberate misleading of the community with hype and dishonest sales tactics. I am going to break this into separate pieces with the following titles:

Inside Video Games: Where did the fun go?– I will discuss how many games are focusing primarily on addictive behavior rather than on innovation and fun.

“Inside Video Games: Incentivizing Behavior Pt 1 and Pt 2 – I will talk about how big titles like Call of Duty and Destiny are creating their own problems and fractured communities by incentivizing the wrong behavior.

Inside Video Games: Where is my content? – I will look at the now accepted standards of DLC used to disguise what amounts to game subscription costs and why more content is vitally important.

Outside Video Games: Creativity Killers – We will think through how certain corporate structures and habits are killing creativity and thus diluting giant successful titles that may soon fade away.

Outside Video Games:  Play Your Own Games – I will charge gaming companies with more robust and transparent product testing by launching Betas and Alphas to the community ensuring games launch more smoothly.

Outside Video Games: Agile vs Waterfall Development – As a software development laymen I will attempt to put forth what I see as the way forward for more stable, versatile, expandable, and player-loyal games.

Agree, disagree, or have thoughts of your own? Share in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “What’s gone wrong with video games?

  1. I’d really say its the lack of fun. That’s all I care about. Games are getting to be the same from genre to genre with a few fresh takes, but all I want is fun. I look forward to reading the articles.

  2. I’ll be looking foward to reading your future blog posts in the near future, especially the ” Instant Video Game: Where Is My Content?”. I think that DLC works well with a few gaming titles that are currently out on the market, although there are few game developers out there that abuse this power which I believe is unethical in some cases.

    The biggest Culprit in my opinion has to be Capcom without a doubt! Yes they make tremendous games and have a track record of success over a longevity of time. However, How many times have they released Street Fighter 4!? There must be at least three or four different instalments of this game ( which is virtually the same game but with a few additional character added to the roster) but yet they have the cheek to charge us the full retail price for it.

    The Capcom game that really annoyed me with their DLC was ” Marvel VS Capcom 3″ simply because they charged you for two additional DLC characters which i so happened to purchase, unfortunately, and then after few months of the game being released they released a revamped version: Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3. Now this instalment included the two Dlc Characters form their previous game which hadn’t even been out for that long, along with a few extra characters. But what annoyed me more was that its virtually the same game but yet they charge us the full retail price of £40 for it. It would of made perfect sense to me if they didn’t bother releasing Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3, and just sold the additional characters on Marvel VS Capcom 3 as DLC instead: thieving bastards.

    After ranting about this to my mate, he then shedded some light on the situation for me and brought it to my attention that Capcom have been pulling this stunt off for years now: going way back to the original Street fighter 2; Street Fighter 2 turbo, Super Street Fighter and so on. How did I not see this!?

    Great Blog and sorry for the rant 🙂

    • No need to apologize! As someone who doesn’t get into fighting games, I’m glad to have your input and point of view. I want this to be a conversation and place that continues to evolve and grow, helping to shape future titles, community viewpoint, and maybe even help some indie titles see what to avoid.

  3. Thanks 🙂 I think that you’re blog and the whole purpose behind it is fantastic! it’s unique. I also think that you should definitely write a post on ” is too much freedom a bad thing?” it will be interesting to hear your thoughts on this and for me to contirbute to the discussion. Keep up the good work.

  4. In my opinion, the most annoying thing is the DLC. In many cases, we already bought the game, but we have to pay more money to get a very important part of the game (bioshock infinite). I’ve been gaming for 15 years, and I feel like the companies don’t pay the same attention as they did before (snes, ps1 and ps2 generations have much more details than the current and last generation).

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