What Stinks about Gaming in 2014?

in games on (#3M7)
story imageSome say this is an awesome time to be a gamer. I don't agree: I'd say things are getting worse, not better. Start with the freemium model of game development, to which Henry Dowling says,
There’s a rancid stench wafting around the gaming industry of late, and it can only be attributed to the advent and subsequent growth of the freemium business model ... Vampiric developers and their publisher overlords sit hunched over analytic spreadsheets, chuckling throatily about nefarious things like coercive monetisation, pay walls and progress gates.
Then, there's the endless patching. Think about it: yes, games are more complex these days, but the size of patches being shipped out now surpasses the size of the games themselves back in the day. Erik Fredericksen writes,
This isn’t cleaning up code or fixing minor functionality issues, this is modifying massive parts of games. This is delivering the passenger seats a month after I bought the car.
And don't even get me started on gaming culture. Wired has just published a highlight on online harassment . For starters, just look at all the abuse one female gamer has collected in a couple years of playing.

It all might just make you nostalgic for 1994 again , when everything was OK and 16 bits were all you needed.

Unconvinced (Score: 3, Interesting)

by mth@pipedot.org on 2014-05-19 16:29 (#1R8)

The Apogee/ID shareware model from the 90's was also a kind of freemium: episode 1 is free, episode 2 and 3 are sold. The problem is not in having a free/paid combination, the problem is greed. Game development costs money, so there should be money coming in or the development can't continue. But in some companies bringing in money becomes more important than making a game and the game play suffers as a result.

I agree with the patching problem: the nice thing about consoles used to be that you could just pop in a cartridge or disc and start playing, without having to worry about system specs, drivers, hard disk space etc. Nowadays game discs are just a workaround for people having slow net connections, because you can't play from the disc anymore: you have to install the game and then patch it.

The patching is mostly a problem with the AAA titles though: indie titles tend to be much smaller in size and scope, if only because of smaller budgets. They also tend to be released when the developer considers the game ready, instead of at a time set by upper management. Since I get most of my games from Humble Bundle and Kickstarter nowadays, I mostly know the patching problem from friends who do own recent consoles.

About online harassment: yes, that's a problem, but in 1994 there was hardly any online gaming except for MUDs. I'm not convinced that gamers from 1994 would have been kinder to each other if the masses had been online then.
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