With the Xbox One turning in to a surveillance device, the Playstation 4 implementing an online fee and losing most of their exclusives, and the Wii U running a small library on inferior hardware, the future doesn’t look too bright for video gaming. While select titles promise potential for the upcoming systems, the main focus today isn’t actually on the games: it’s both the hardware and the consumer.
I’ll start with an example. I know a very, very small amount of people who, while completely aware of Microsoft’s approaching Xbox One, will still buy the system for its five million other features.While this means that the Xbox One will sell, which is a huge bummer, it leaves me concerned. These people are willing to bring home a system that has a mandatory, always online motion sensing camera that can sense your heart beat, track your skeleton, and utilize echolocation into their home just to play a video game. Coupled with the ridiculous DRM and the PRISM controversy, and you get a product that is extremely anti-consumer, if not completely anti-consumer. And yet, people will still buy it.
Sony announced at their E3 that online services are free, but to access multiplayer on most major games, you’ll need to be a member of Playstation Plus. Last gen, many people bought the Playstation 3 simply because it lacked the Xbox 360’s membership fee. However, when Sony announced that Playstation Plus will be required for online, people defended it simply because it’s a low cost. Granted, they have a valid point, as Playstation Plus is less than Xbox live membership, but the fact that consumers can so easily defend the very thing that drove them away from another console worries me. Even more, Sony really didn’t have a reason to add this restriction to Playstation Network members. And yet, people will still buy it.
It seems like Nintendo is playing it safe as they always do, but how long can they last at this rate? You can only milk Mario and Pokemon for so long before the franchise becomes fruitless. What Nintendo needs to do is listen to their fans and work on their other IPs: F-Zero, Star Fox, Wario, Metroid, and other smaller series are BEGGING for attention, but Nintendo is lagging behind, as usual. They released the Wii U with system specs that many people bash for not being up to the current generation, from higher standards or Nintendo caring less, I’m unsure. Coupled with an awful launch library, Nintendo is trying to go at its own pace, and whether or not it’s working is very debatable. What was once the a leader in innovation has reduced itself to slinging out rehashes and expanding upon the safe franchises. And yet, people will buy it.
What the flying fuck happened over the past few years? Why are people okay with giving up their ownership of games and personal privacy just to play video games? Why are people okay with unexplained online fees? Why are developers skimping out on risk-taking and innovation? Where’s the drive and passion of the entire that the early years of gaming seemed to be chock full of?
Well, businesses asked for more, and consumers gave. Nothing’s wrong with a little give and take between industry and customer. It just so happens that the industry asked for a lot, and consumers blindly gave. All of this Xbox One controversy is an example of shit Microsoft is trying to get away with because a certain amount of people are okay with giving up their consumer rights. Personally, I’m both worried and awaiting a crash of the entire industry. Maybe shameless rehashes, lack of innovation, unoriginal and uninspired games, and Xbox One-tiered bullshit will vanish alongside the mainstream video game industry, and in its place a glorious, new era will rise from the ashes. Just as Nintendo and other early game industries did in the 1980’s after the video game crash of 1983, maybe video game businesses just need a good slap in the face to get them back on track.
Do I hate the current gen? Not at all! The Wii had great titles like Monster Hunter Tri, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and the PS3 excels with masterpieces like Vanquish, Demon’s Souls, Valkyria Chronicles, Disgaea 4. The Xbox 360 had some great titles as well, like Left 4 Dead 2 and the Fable games. Coupled with awesome multi-platforms like Dragon’s Dogma and Dark Souls, and some PC only games, and it all makes up for a generation I was glad to be a part. Now, do I hate the incoming generation? Well, no, but I have a lot of problems with it, and sadly, some of them aren’t going to be fixed.
To summarize all of this, I’m saving all of my final opinions for halfway through the generation, but it certainly has some extremely very super ultra bad first impressions. I’ll probably end up buying a Wii U for the exclusives, and somewhere along the line, maybe a Playstation 4, but I want the industry to change as a whole. I want the magic back, or at least the impression that game devs care about their products. All we can do is pray.
And sorry of this article seems kind of all over the place, but I had trouble organizing my thoughts on this one. i tried though!