Console Gaming. Past. Present. Future.

A GUEST POST BY CODY WOLF

Blow in the Cartridge.

marioI don’t think you can accurately put your finger on why the gaming industry has changed without thinking about how the world has changed since video games were first introduced. I live in America and things have changed quite drastically since then. Our culture now accepts gamers, and gaming represents a very large part of our culture. The industry has blown up. More money is spent on gaming than music and movies combined. It is the number one form of entertainment in America for most households.

No Sleep ‘til Release.

assassin's creed unityThere’s so much money being spent on gaming, which in-turn equals more money for video game companies to fight over. Companies are forced to vie over our attention and money as a consumer. We see more video game commercials and ads as a result. As with anything else, companies with the most money get the most ad spots, and smaller companies or “indies” rarely get heard about. I think because we see so many ads and commercials now, people are forced to choose between certain games. These companies want to shove it down your throat that their game is the best. This creates heavy competition between certain gaming companies such as EA, Activision and many more. Competition is a great thing when it’s healthy. It sometimes creates the best games and the best innovations in life. The downside to competition is when it directly and negatively affects the consumer. An example of this is when franchises like Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Assassin’s Creed have to outdo each other so much, the developers don’t have enough time to find and fix all problems with their games before release. This is bad for the consumer because we pay $60, or your country’s equivalent, for a broken game. I think this is why consumers have now become so hostile to franchises and developers, and sometimes rightfully so. Something else that happened in the past 5 years was the economy went down the crapper. I want to talk about this for a second, because I feel no one has ever really compared the economy going sour to hostility in the gaming industry. Up top you have the gaming companies vying for consumer’s hard-earned cash, and at the bottom you have the consumers, who now have less money to buy those big AAA video games we all love so much. I’ve found myself lately having to make really hard decisions about which game or games I pick up for the different months throughout the year. It has gotten to the point that I’m basing my video game buying decisions on replay-ability. I research how long the game takes to beat, the fun factor, and overall is the game play worth $60? I don’t think it would be a stretch to assume this is how most consumers think about a purchase even outside of the video game industry. $60 is a lot to pay for something you can’t return if you don’t like it. I think consumers are fed-up with broken promises. All this brought upon a change to the gaming industry and sets the stage for where we are now.

Live Long, Say NO to Rage.

ori and the blind forestFrom all the factors I named above, the stage is set for Indies to grow bigger than ever. I must admit, when gaming on the Xbox 360 I missed out on so many indie titles because I spent so much more time playing AAA titles. The extent of my Indie game collection on the 360 was games like Limbo, Minecraft, Brothers, and a few others. When the Xbox One released, Microsoft did away with separating how they advertised games. Games would no longer be shown in their own separate categories. Now games are just games, and I love that. I can now say that I own over 40 “indie” titles on Xbox one. Indies are growing largely in popularity for a few different reasons: People have less money to spend, but almost everyone can afford at least one indie title. Indies take chances, bringing something new to the table with almost every release and it’s exciting. Everyone loves rooting for the underdog, and that’s what Indies represent. Indie games have very few developers and little money upfront to make the game. You want to help them out as a gamer and a consumer whenever you can. They control where the gaming industry is going to go. If you don’t have Indies, you don’t have creativity. The next big AAA game you play could be inspired by an Indie game; or, the next big AAA studio could have started out as an Indie studio. Indie games are positioned to change the gaming industry as we know it.

Go Forth, Into the Light.

Console Gaming has never been better. With more powerful consoles and technology, times are great. If you’re an Xbox fan, the announcement of Windows 10 has to be a very exciting thing for you. Steam is huge for PC gamers and will only continue to grow. I’ll admit my PC play was very limited before steam. Once I learned about steam, I was blown away. No one can deny what steam has done for gaming on the PC. It seems like Microsoft has their eyes set on the same plan for the Xbox console and gaming on Windows. Windows 10 will allow cross-platform play between the Xbox and the PC. They announced that it will be extremely easier for developers to put apps on the Xbox One because of this. With Windows 10 there will also be an upgrade to DX12. Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, confirmed this will boost graphic performance by fifty percent on the Xbox One and PC. The future for console gaming and gaming in general looks extremely bright.

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