The Sorry State of the Gaming Industry
Gaming; everybody does it; everybody loves it; it’s as simple as that. What is the purpose of gaming? It’s the same purpose as that of a movie; or a book. It’s a medium of entertainment and also for an artist to express himself. I game because it transports me to another world, let’s me participate in unreal adventures, lets me live my dreams! However, the most important reason for me, and millions of other people worldwide, to take up gaming is because of the fun factor! Video games are plain fun! Even people who aren’t diehard gamers play video games for the fun element. Unfortunately, this is not the situation now. The gaming industry is slowly transforming into something what I term as an annoying prick. Even the best gaming studios in the industry are being consumed by a fiend named commercialization.
Let’s head back a few years to the 90’s and the early aughts. Gaming was just beautiful. Pokemon was my personal favorite in the 90’s. So was Half-Life. These two games really set the standard during their days. The immersive gameplay, the wonderfully drawn environments and the innovative ideas and storylines are what made them classics! Also, many of the games released around 2000 to 2005 were and still are considered masterpieces. Games such as Deus Ex, World of Warcraft, the Sims series, the Grand Theft Auto series, God of War are some of the most memorable games of that era.
However, with the arrival of commercialization, the fate of the gaming industry was sealed. Look at the games that are released today. Where is the innovation? Where is the creativity gone? Everyone is following protocol. Sure there has been a great improvement in the games that are released nowadays, but most of them are just visually appealing. Let me show you an example here:
All the three images shown here are from THREE different games. You see what I’m trying to say here?
Video game companies “try” to justify this by releasing sequels. There are 8 Call of Duty games. 10 Tomb Raider games, 7 Halo games, 15 Need for Speed games and so on! You get what I’m trying to say?
Why is this happening? Well, I believe the reason for this is the fear of experimentation. You see, it takes millions of dollars to make a game, and with that much money on the line, game developers are worried about profits. Hence, if they put a lot of money on a product that is completely new and innovative and if this product doesn’t deliver, there will be a massive loss for them. This fear of losing money is what I believe holds them back. “But Mr. Wordwarrior92, what is the solution for this problem we have?” you ask? Make games that are different! Sure the audience is demanding today! Sure the audience is hard to impress! But then, isn’t it their job to make games? Isn’t it their job to come with something creative? Something new? Imagine if John Carmack hadn’t created the Wolfenstein 3D engine! We would still be stuck playing Super Mario (which doesn’t seem like a bad idea after looking at the current state of the series) One more thing game developers forget nowadays is the freedom we look forward in a game. Make games more creative! Make us use our noodle more often! Look at Minecraft for example. This simple game provides a boundless environment for your creativity. It is a fairly simple game. None of that Call of Duty humbug is present, yet it is loved by gamers all over!
Let’s get back to the money factor. Nowadays, game developers try to squeeze as much money as they can from us gamers. Take for example Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The game is known for its highly satisfying multiplayer mode. However, Battlefield released a gold edition of the same game. In that, you have to pay some extra cash in order to unlock new and more powerful weapons. In short, you pay Rs 2900 for the game PLUS pay more for features that are already present in the game. That is equivalent of buying a hamburger and paying extra for the paddy; truly, a sad state of affairs.
Another thing the gaming industry is doing nowadays is creating their own mini monopolies. The best example for this would be Electronic Arts. Considered one of the best gaming developers around for years and having created a number of brilliant games such as The Sims, Mass Effect, Dead Space etc., have gone a whole new low by hogging all the resources from other mainstream as well as indie developers. Electronic Arts sports division, EA Sports has been making some of the best sports game for a very long time. However, when their sales started dropping to rival companies, you know what they did? Nope, they didn’t work hard to improve on their follies. Oh no, they signed deals with sporting teams so that other developers couldn’t use them in their games. So, games from other studios wouldn’t let you play as your favorite sports personalities. Hence, they couldn’t further develop their games. This used to create a dead end for companies possessing a lot of potential. It has literally become the survival of the fittest scenario.
Today, one of the most painful things a PC gamer will come across is “Games for Windows Live”. This is truly, one of the most annoying and the most painful software you will come across in the history of PC gaming. This software, which has been created in the deepest pits of programming hell itself, true purpose, is to prevent piracy amongst PC games. However, the ordeals this software puts you through forces you to do the exact opposite. Let me explain Games for Windows Live. This pain-in-the-neck software supposedly prevents piracy by constantly feeding your serial key (unique number found in the back of every game) to the Microsoft servers. This makes sure that you have the genuine copy of the game and results in you not being able to play your game if the serial key isn’t there on the server. Also, if you are not connected to their servers, you can’t even load your previous save game. To put shortly, no internet=no game. I have personally suffered the horrors of this software and I can vouch for the torment it puts you through.
These are only SOME of the aspects I have touched upon which I believe are causing the gaming industry to go on a downward spiral. Truly, gaming has evolved from what it was before. Of course advancements in technology have made games more cutting-edge and entertaining, but sadly, I do not get the same satisfaction I used to get when I gamed back in early 2000’s. I hope this sad state of affairs ceases to continue in the near future, for gaming is what I truly loved, love and will continue to love!