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The Top 10 Biggest Problems With Modern Videogames
Gone are the days when videogames were made by honest developers who wanted to produce art, beauty, and spread enjoyment. It’s not to say that all videogames nowadays are bad, but there are so many gaping flaws and shady practices that have certainly tainted a once noble industry.
Vidoegames today have plenty of development and business-related problems, and these problems ultimately reflect into the final product. We look at the top 10 biggest problems with modern videogames in this article.
You’ll be surprised to know that players have just as big a hand as developers/publishers when it comes to these issues.
Don’t Innovate; Recreate
You wouldn’t ever have seen Call of Duty games beyond Modern Warfare and countless rip-offs if this simple yet effective cancerous business strategy wasn’t in implementation.
Developers have gamers in a perfect little trap formed by fanboyism, marketing, reward mechanics that allow them to simply toss out annual releases of the same exact formula and watch it thrive.
Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield – all are culprits of simply recreating the same thing over and over again. The sad part is that it leads to business success, and it’s the very reason why developers and (especially) publishers are content with this formula.
We’re guaranteed to see new Assassin’s Creed and CoD iterations every year, and no matter how bad some of them are (I’m looking at you, Unity) as a product, they’ll still sell, they’ll still succeed, and this process will go on until the gamers themselves do something about it, which leads me to the next two problems.
Fanboys can actually be beneficial for the progression of a franchise, especially when they stay loyal to an idea instead of staying loyal to the brand. This is where you differentiate fans of titles like FROM Soft’s Souls-borne franchise from the fans of franchises like Call of Duty, Destiny, and Forza.
Fans of Demon/Dark Souls are loyal to the philosophy and innovative mechanics brought by Hidetako Miyazaki – not the brand itself, which saw ruthless and admittedly excessive criticism aimed towards Dark Souls 2 for its deviation from the gameplay and design that made Demon Souls and Dark Souls 1 such amazing titles.
Fanboyism towards a brand is however problematic, as their defense is not of the intricate design decisions made in the game but actually the franchise of the game itself.
Fanboyism grants overwhelming acceptance to repetitive, uninspired reiteration and ruthless intolerance towards any sort of criticism. Criticism in itself is an extremely essential part of a franchise’s development.
A good example is Dragon Age – the second part saw heavy criticism to such an extent that BioWare was forced to make an expansive, wonderful world in the form of 2014’s Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Over-catering to the Casual Gamer
Let’s make this clear: I have no problem with casual gamers. It’s completely fine and acceptable to see games as recreation and stress-relief, and not an integral part of your life.
However, the major issue here isn’t the casual gamers themselves, but the way they are made the primary targeted audience for majority of the titles. This again leads to the issue of lack of innovation, and also makes games incredibly easy and simple. The biggest factor though is it earns publishers big bucks.
Most casual games are culprits of bad design implementation: in order to appeal to the casual gamer, they’re extremely easy to get into, but they don’t offer much of a reward if you do decide to become engaged in the game.
The gameplay mechanics of such titles are so oversimplified that they don’t have a wide-spectrum that would encourage players to actually get good at them.
Even when a player does get good at them, there’s always a way for the more casual gamer to match a skilled player, simply because the mechanics are designed in such a way. Anyone who has played Advanced Warfare will know what I’m talking about.
A good counter-example of a casual game made perfectly is Rocket League. That’s a game where both casual gamers can have a lot of fun, but it also offers plenty to those looking to get a little competitive.
Micro-transactions in Paid Games
Oh dear, this one that almost everyone seems to hate, yet it manages to survive for some odd reason.
Micro-transactions are completely fine and acceptable in free-to-play structures that would grant a player no tangible benefit over others for having spent money. However, when micro-transactions essentially encourage a pay-to-win culture in certain games, that’s when it becomes problematic.
The biggest sin however is to include micro-transactions in games that you actually had to pay for. When I pay $60 for a game, I want everything that was designed at the time of release to be available to me.
Micro-transactions are nothing short of deliberately induced cancer in paid games because they demand you empty your wallets for items already featured in the game you already spent money to buy.
Unfortunately for Call of Duty players, their franchise seems to fall in every category so far. Black Ops 3 has you paying micro-transactions for supply drops that are based on terrible RNG, and essentially encourages gambling by players in hope for them to acquire something truly unique.
Don’t be the kind of person who gives reason for such horrible income strategies to exist in videogames.
The only game that I’ve ever personally pre-ordered was XCOM 2, and that’s because I know just how loyal Firaxis Games is to its PC gamers. Apart from that, I never fall victim to the preorder scheme.
The preorder culture is one of the major problems with games because it allows developers to false-advertise, create excessive hype, and then release a dumbed-down version of the product to minimize development cost and maximize profit.
The preorder culture needs to stop in order to force the developers to get their shit together and actually create games that are worth it.
Pre-ordering gives devs a sense of security and leverage that allows them to alter their business model during development to leech from gamers through an unfinished product. Just imagine how silly those who preordered The Order: 1888 must’ve felt after they finished the game (if they did at all).
It’s not all on the gamers for preordering though – a vast majority of those who preorder simply fall victim to false marketing.
Ubisoft is one of the biggest culprits of false marketing in the videogame industry. Almost all of their presentations are pre-rendered, their press-released screens are all bullshots, and the final product is almost always different from what they show.