Microtransactions, The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Micro-transactionsIf you aren’t paying attention then you may have missed that micro-transactions have jumped from mobile games to console games disguised as small pieces of DLC. Some say they are evil and ruin games, while other point out that when done properly can keep game cost down and provide gamers with variety and options. So, are there times where this controversial practice can be used in a good way? Or is it always bad and ugly? Continue reading

Games on the iPhone just got better

Apple App StoreIf you’ve spent any time playing games on a mobile device you may have encountered un-anticipated in-app purchases as the only conceivable way to continue playing a certain game. You might run out of lives or want to unlock pieces of content and all you have to do is “insert quarters to continue”. Thankfully Apple has taken steps to mitigate some of these frustrations. Continue reading

Inside Video Games: Where did the fun go?

Candy Crush Call of Duty gunsSince their inception, video games have been about fun. Whether you’ve spent late nights battling someone at Pong or spent countless quarters trying to beat a high score in Pac-Man or couldn’t wait for the weekend to take another crack at Super Mario, you probably started playing and continued to play video games because they were fun. There is a rising trend, however, that has minimized the focus on fun with an increased focus on addictive behavior that ensures continued engagement and micro-transactions. There has also been a rise in multiplayer games that have fractured their communities by focusing on the individual experience rather than the communal. Let’s look at a two very different but very well-known titles as examples of what I mean. The reason I have chosen these two games is because they are highly influential and replicated within both of their realms and platforms, so they are representative of the growing trends and problems in the gaming industry. Continue reading

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.

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