Many people from all walks of life enjoy sitting in front of a console or PC and transporting themselves into another world filled with love, tragedy and peril. But sometimes that isn’t always the case. Occasionally we are met with a number of problems presented to us by the developers and everyday life which make some Tomb Raider puzzles look like a simple math test.
So on that note; here are seven reasons why the gaming industry may be on its last legs.
1. Day 1 updates
It seems that these days it has become all too common for the big releases to have some sort of day one update to either patch a glitch or stabilise the game. Due to how the new consoles work now, installing a game before playing it has become an inconvenience instead of a novelty, and along with the 40GB+ the game needs to run, we also have an update for around 10GB just to get it going.
This grinds a little bit because it shows that developers are relying more and more on these updates, which tells me that the game wasn’t fully developed when it was released. I often find myself thinking ‘hey guys, isn’t that what Alpha and Beta tests are for?’
What ever happened to the days of putting a game in and away you go?
2. Cost to Produce
Games are getting a lot more expensive these days and in some cases it can cost a fair chunk of your bank balance to grab a game on release date. Although we can always blame this on the economy, we also have to accept the fact that games are just costing more and more to produce. Each developer and each company have to try and keep up with their competition.
As graphics and gameplay improve, the wage budget and the overall cost of production sky rockets. Metal Gear Solid V had to sell an obscene number of copies just to break even (we are talking millions worldwide). For a stable and well respected franchise, this is ok, but what about new games breaking into the market?
3. False Advertising
The best way to describe this issue is to look at No Man’s Sky. This game was one of the most anticipated releases of 2016, having been showcased briefly at E3 2015 and then more extravagantly at E3 2016. It promised exploration on a massive scale, an amazing number of planets to investigate and space battles taken straight out of some of the best known sci-fi films. What we actually received on release day was a game that was full of half promises. People who were waiting for the game were outraged and they quickly took to the internet to voice their opinions.
Watchdogs was exactly the same. The graphics and gameplay shown at E3 the year it was showcased were by far superior to the version that we ended up with. Developers need to put up or shut up and ensure that what they show us is the finished product.
Gamers have settled too often for games that look amazing in previews but in reality look less great in comparison.
4. Lack of a Single Player Campaign
People who know me will say this opinion is biased, but I believe that there is a valid argument here. I remember epic games such as Final Fantasy VII and Silent Hill 2 in which you were drawn into the story, bonding with characters and taking in the amazing world that has been created just for you to explore. I spent hundreds of hours on the Final Fantasy games, levelling up characters and taking part in the mini-games.
However, in the current generation of gaming, it seems we are plagued with a single player campaign that most gamers can complete on a Sunday afternoon. We are dogged with lacklustre characters and even though the graphics in today’s games are amazing, it doesn’t make up for the shoddiness of the story and the plot. It would be a novelty now if a game was released where the campaign actually drew the player in and got them hooked, routing for their hero and hating their nemesis. Mafia 3 and the upcoming The Last Guardian look like they are trying to break that mould, but it may be too little too late.
5. Online Multiplayer
This is another subjective point, that again has a perfectly reasonable argument.
Online gaming is now part and parcel of every game, and although some games manage to pull this off well (Overwatch and The Division), in most cases, I feel it is just a way of the developer fleshing out replayability of the game.
I get the impression that developers are turning to online gaming as a way of making the game bigger. They half-ass their way through a single player campaign and then invite you to go into a lobby with a group of foul mouthes 12 year olds, who come up with new and exciting ways to insult your mother (I’m looking at you COD!). Or they make the game so incredibly difficult when you play single player that you are forced with no choice but to jump in with others.
It is safe to say that this isn’t really my cup of tea, and although online gaming is ideally there for you to game with friends, there is the obvious problem that maybe some people can’t afford to buy the game when it is first released.
Another huge issue with online gaming is matchmaking. I have waited six years to install my game and now I must wait another 6 years before I can play a single match, only to get abused while doing so. Great.
6. Glitches and Bugs
Ah, Assassin’s Creed Unity, what a mess you were.
To understand why this is a big issue, Assassin’s Creed Unity is the best example to give, not only because of how dreadful the bugs and glitches were, but also because of the effect it actually had on the franchise itself.
When this game was released, the only way to describe it was broken. Slow frame rate, hilarious glitches, rough edges, this game looked like it was still in the alpha version of testing. I struggled to play this game and gave up half way through. The developers knew they had messed up so they decided to give away the DLC for free as compensation, which aggravated the gamers who had paid for the privilege. As a result, when the next game in the franchise, Syndicate was show-cased at E3, people just shrugged their shoulders and let it glide smoothly over their heads. Sales were affected to such an extent that Ubisoft gave it a miss in 2016.
Now I would like to say that lessons were learnt, but unfortunately that is not the case. WWE 2K17 has a hilarious bug where the title belt floats ominously across the screen in front of the wrestlers and also the commentators manage to get things wrong on a regular basis. Even Fallout 4 wasn’t perfect, although Bethesda quickly patched up the majority of these problems straight away.
Now, I’m not saying that any game is going to be bug free. I believe that is impossible due to the sheer number of people working on each title, but when a game is released unfinished or delayed and then released with a ridiculous amount of bugs, then maybe we should raise an eyebrow and ask why this is happening.
7. DLC and In-Game purchases
How would you react if one day you walked into a fast food restaurant and ordered a burger but you were then just provided with a bun and a thin, anaemic looking burger slapped in the middle, only to be told that salad, sauce and all the other nice little extras we get for free must be bought separately? We would go mental and demand either a refund or ask to speak to a manager. So why is this different in the gaming industry?
I hate DLC and the concept of it. I believe that when I buy a game, I should be buying the full version, not having to pay £14.99 for a code to unlock additional content that is already in the game (Mortal Kombat X to name but one).
One developer actually said that they will not stop developing DLC because people still buy it. WHY?
I understand that sometimes a time constraint means that some aspects of the game cannot be finished and as a result, developers must add this in later. In the cases of the awesome DLC for Bioshock Infinite and also Watchdogs, this is fine because they are giving us an extra 5 hours of gameplay.
But with things such as costumes or in-game currency (I’m looking at you Assassin’s Creed) being offered for real money, I believe it is starting to get ridiculous. FIFA are also guilty of this because of Ultimate Team, where you have to buy booster packs with real money.
In my opinion, having been a gamer for near enough 15 years, DLC is one of the biggest threats to the industry. With cost of living going up and wages staying the same, it is just not viable to spend that kind of money on games.