Wouldn’t it be really interesting if this whole generation of game platforms, Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U all just did terribly because they focused on bells & whistles more than the games they were made to play and the people who grew up loving them?
I’m just saying people are going to buy Call of Duty and Fifa each year when a new one comes out, so why do we cater to them? I understand trying to take away market share from the other systems and from laptops and everything. If the other guy has all this shiny stuff and you don’t, you look like you’re being left in the dust. I get that. And the stuff is cool, but in the same way that a car with leather seats with warmers built in and XM satellite radio is cool - I like them better as options I can leave behind so I can pay less for the system and not pay for things I don’t need, like ESPN-whatever-is-attached-to-it-now.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If I wanted to be social, I’d hang out with my friends. All I want to do with a game is sit back and maybe grind out some levels. I know, the console reveals don’t show games, E3 does. But I still can’t shake the feeling that Sony & Microsoft are going the way of Nintendo and just marketing to casuals anymore.
There used to be a separation. Xbox was a lot of FPSs (first person shooters - games like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor) and arcade style games (of course, with a couple huge exceptions that I never got to play). But the PS2 was a veritable gold mine of RPGs (Role Playing Games). Back then, you could buy a system and pretty much know what you’re getting into. Before this, the dynamic was similar with the Nintendo 64 and the PSX.
Now, there are only a handful of console-exclusive games. Everything else is made for the two systems, and sometimes, a lesser version is produced for Nintendo. Big name titles like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed, and all of the sports games are produced year after year - they don’t often change much, but who cares? The casual gamer buys them, and as nerdiness comes out of the closet it has been in since forever and becomes more mainstream, it’s not just socially inept kids sporting dungeon-prisoner paleness that are playing games. It’s your grandparents and younger sister. And everyone wants these people because it’s easy money they can count on. Why innovate when you’ve already got the formula to sell your games consistently year after year? Why try anything new ever?
That’s why it’s so hard for good games to get produced. Well, one of the reasons. People like steady money, sure. But, whenever there’s a desire for innovation, it’s misplaced. How many MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online [games]) have developers tried to get out there to unseat World of Warcraft? Rather than making any attempt at getting the old Chrono Trigger team back together or trying to build a new one, SquareEnix has attempted not one, but TWO failed MMORPGs in Final Fantasy. This mixes both things I’ve been talking about, since they’ve been putting the vast amount of their resources into the FF franchise and their other games have essentially been the forgotten, less favorite offspring. But big men with big plans see a game that’s on top in its category, making way more money than anything else going up against it, and they say, “I want a piece of that market share.” Like it’s that easy.
In the name of innovation, these people produce their failures and keep trying to unseat the titans. They trade true innovation for increment - small gains here and there. Rather than giving people what they want, they invent something no one really cares that much about, and try to convince everyone that they want it (I don’t even know that many casual gamers who are very excited when they see a new Kinect game coming out). They worry the other team will have more of this unnecessary crap than they do, so they’ve gotta create an everything-box that also just happens to play video games as an afterthought.
Good old 4chan puts things into perspective.
I’m starting to worry that I’m the only person that feels this way. I’ve played video games my entire life, and now, I’m the forgotten demographic. Well, psychographic. Doesn’t matter. But I miss when Final Fantasy was more about telling a story and having beautifully composed music to set the mood just right for it, rather than cut scenes and guided gameplay. I miss Valkyrie Profile, Chrono Trigger, Legend of Dragoon, Parasite Eve, Suikoden, Dragon Force, Guardian Heroes, Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, Earthbound, and all the other franchises that have either been forgotten or bastardized to sell product quickly without worrying about their quality. I miss genuinely enjoying a game and its journey rather than chasing that high every time I get an hour to myself to actually play a game. I’m not sure if gaming’s changed or I have. Maybe both. But I hate the fact that there are so few games that you can play side-by-side instead of head-to-head. I hate that everything is now a social event, especially when half of the people I’m socializing with are pubescent brats calling me ethnic slurs and claiming to have done dirty things to my mother. I hate that I have to wait a year or more to buy the completed, “Official Ultimate Game of the Year” edition of a game now, when just a few years ago, that was the entire game and you didn’t have to pay for even more just to enjoy it. And sure, I hate when a game gets delayed, but it beats releasing games that are unfinished and broken.
But that’s what the gaming industry has become. There are so few good games out there, and so much garbage. I don’t need a gaming system that’s going to do everything. I need one that’s going to play games without falling apart, and I need games that are worth playing, because I don’t have the time or the money to play this year’s version of last year’s game. And I feel like there are others that feel the same way I do, and that they are being ignored. At least, there were when I worked at GameStop just a couple years ago.
So, that being said, who wants to start a video game company?