The gaming industry is developing itself from a different angle than it always has. Rather than looking for the next big invention or hit, many companies are simply trying to push their products out the door. Unfortunately, this gives us many cookie-cutter games under one genre title, and more often than not, enormous parts of the development process are sacrificed to make another dollar.
Lets take for instance the Call of Duty franchise. I, myself, am a dedicated fan and have been since Call of Duty 2. World at War was refreshing; it had a great plot line, beautiful art, and introduced a new game type called Nazi Zombies. Modern Warfare took it to another level, bringing a refreshingly contemporary feel to the series as well as some brilliant enhancements to the online experience.
Because of the popularity of the series, the designers feel like they don't need to make as many changes. Why ruin a good thing, right? Don't fix what isn't broken. But the demands of more serious gamers are increasing, and if these concerns go unaddressed, it could lead to another industry crash.
I think that the industry is less interested in creating for the fans and more for the people with the money. If girls wants to play Call of Duty, and they're willing to spend the money on the games and equipment, then the series won't change much, and the designers will keep pumping out the same FPS…with a makeover.
In the land of RPGs, Skyrim and Dragon Age did a smack down on the fantasy genre. So now we're seeing a mass collection of fantasy RPGs, with little variation between each one. A lot of hack-n-slash, a lot of basic storylines with a huge, open world, and tons of side quests. While some have been great, like Reckoning and Dragon's Dogma, some completely missed the mark.
But because the fantasy RPG genre is extremely popular, game companies keep churning them out to appease the masses.
Like I said before, why change a good thing?
Why? Because there are still gamers out there. These are the people that were here before the gaming "scene" became a trend. They're the people who remember the excitement of the original NES (aka, the grey brick). When everyone else in school was buying new clothes, we were saving every penny for that new game, that new system, and probably getting teased and tormented for being "anti-social."
When our beloved hobby isn't as much of a "fad," when the plummeting economy no longer affords people the luxury of gaming, when games are a hundred dollars a pop…the gamers will still be there. If it's good enough, we'll pay for it. If it's shiny and new, we'll pay for it. If the game brings us the thrill of adventure, fighting, and maybe even romance, we'll play it. Because that's what we do. We game. It's a passion and a lifestyle.
One day, the gamers will be all the industry has left. Maybe not today. Maybe not for two years. But soon, the gaming industry will see a serious downturn. When they do, they'll have to work harder to earn back the trust of the people they let down just so they could make an extra dollar.
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