Not so long ago, I did the very British thing and complained about some things. Modern gaming is pretty rubbish to be fair. There’s plenty wrong with the industry, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few positives we can focus in on! So here we are, a few things about this hobby that I’m actually happy about!
I also want to see whether this post or the negative one gets more views! Do you folks prefer positive or negative words? Will you be more interested in what’s good about the industry or what’s bad? I’m interested in the results! Anyway, on with the words!
Alright, so Early Access and Greenlight are often terrible, but the indie development scene has produced some absolute gold in recent years. The likes of Hyper Light Drifter, Inside, and The Witness are all very successful and, love them or hate them, highly rated games. It’s very unlikely that a major publisher would even think to take a risk on unusual games like these. These are the developers that will drive the industry forward, trying new ideas and giving players experiences that Call of Duty 23 and FIFA 2043 just won’t. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these games of course, it’s just nice to see developers being brave enough to try something new and put it out there for the players.
Not to mention Kickstarter. Whilst the video gaming side of Kickstarter has had a rough time lately, there are some very impressive looking games that are on their way thanks to crowd funding. I for one am looking forward to Yooka-Laylee and Battletech, expecting them to be well made, polished games. Mighty Number 9 has been a high profile flop, but there are still plenty of fresh, interesting ideas out there just begging to be made.
This is almost an extension of the indie development point. There is just so much choice these days (I might argue too much) when it comes to gaming. Want to work in a kitchen with your friends? There’s a game for that. Fancy competing with an evil teddy bear in a battle of investigative wits? Got you covered. Feel the desperate urge to walk around a forest pretending to be a bear? Yep, that’s a thing. My point is that there is practically something for everybody who has even a passing interest in gaming these days. Not all of them are good, far from it, but the fact that something like Euro Truck Simulator exists is a testament to how the industry has moved away from platformers and ultra-violence.
Yes, I know I complained about microtransactions. And I stand by my complaint that they should not be a feature in full priced releases. But DLC is something that has allowed game prices to remain pretty much flat for a very long time. Physical releases of console games in the UK have been hovering around the £40-£45 mark for many years in spite of an increase in VAT and inflation (not so much their digital costs). PC games are even cheaper thanks to sensible digital distribution platforms like Steam and GOG and their regular sales events.
Further to this point, some DLC practices have been really rather good. Whilst so many shooters are content to release another set of maps to play online, games like The Witcher 3 get enormous expansions the size of another full game. There are some teams who genuinely seem to care about what happens to their game after release, and I’d love to see more of this.
Online passes failed
Do you remember online passes? They were an attempt to cripple the second-hand games market by locking out the multiplayer portion of a game unless you entered a one time code or paid an additional fee. Whilst I do appreciate that this existed as a way to offset losses suffered by used game being purchased rather than new copies, an attempt to lock out a portion of a game rather than giving a positive reason to buy a new copy garnered nothing but ill will from the vast majority of gamers. I don’t know how much sales suffered as a result, but gradually over the years this punitive measure has thankfully dies out.
Now, I know where this is going for some people: what about PS+ and XBL Gold? Well, yes, these models do force payment for online multiplayer. But put simply, the extras that come with it are pretty great. Two or more games gifted to you each month is pretty good, especially when some of them have been as good as Rocket League and the Tomb Raider reboot. I don’t really play much multiplayer, so this has almost become a game subscription service, and I’m sure that’s the case for others too. Now the Nintendo Switch version of this…well that’s a different story right now.
Ok, so there weren’t as many positives as negatives, and that last one was a bit of a backhanded positive point. Still though, there are some things that are positive in this hobby these days. Maybe even major publishers will start to take notice and have things developed that are outside their usual catalogue. Gaming has the potential to go from strength to strength this generation, lets hope to see plenty of good to offset the bad!