Story 2014-05-19 3M7 What Stinks about Gaming in 2014?

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.
Reply 7 comments

Yep (Score: 1, Interesting)

by on 2014-05-19 14:50 (#1QX)

I got out of gaming in 2005. I haven't bought a game since (or game console). Life is much better.

Gaming is not much different than being an alcoholic. I know so many youth now that do nothing but game. They barely pass through school. They have no time to put any thought into a career path. And when they finally graduate they are perfectly happy with working at taco bell (or not working at all) and spending 80% of their time in front of the TV 'gaming'. Finally when they are 30, they realized that they have wasted most of their life. I was in the same boat once, but I managed to give it all up and go back to school for a degree in CS. I have also effectively banned all games from my household, with one exception, you can play the game if you are the one that made it. At least then you will have accomplished something somewhat productive. "Gaming" is a blood sucking time waster.

Re: Yep (Score: 4, Insightful)

by on 2014-05-19 15:22 (#1R0)

Right, because we live in an all-or-nothing world, and moderation doesn't exist.

Re: Yep (Score: 1, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-05-19 16:07 (#1R2)

Surely we can agree there are people with varying levels of addiction? Cigarettes are the same - some people have an occasional smoke, others reach for the cigs as soon as their eyes are open in the morning. I've got an aunt who has smoked since she was 16, so going on 60 years now. Amazing she's still alive, is all I can say.

Gaming can be addictiveness.

Unconvinced (Score: 3, Informative)

by 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.

Re: Unconvinced (Score: 2, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-05-19 17:14 (#1RB)

I think the difference between shareware and freemium is that shareware is up front about it's model. Most freemium games advertise them as being free, with the payment as a hidden gotcha (and very nagging).

Re: Unconvinced (Score: 3, Informative)

by on 2014-05-19 17:39 (#1RC)

That's indeed one of the things that annoys players: a game advertising itself as free to play, but not actually being playable in a practical sense unless you pay. In the shareware games it was completely impossible to progress beyond the first episode unless you paid, but you were told that before you started to play.

Re: Unconvinced (Score: 1)

by on 2014-05-19 21:30 (#1RN)

I used to play things like card games on IRC back in the early 90s. That seemed to be more popular than MUDs as it was social as well as competitive.