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“You can tell when developers put a lot of effort into a game compared to when they are just trying to get a game out on the shelves.”

Photos by Chance Pace/VOX Media Cafe

VOX 5: Why Gaming Isn’t The Same [Opinion]

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Gaming is no longer the same as it once was. Playing games on Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox consoles, and even PCs were always exciting growing up. Since prior great well known games like TA, 2K, Madden, Call of Duty, and Halo, there have been other good games released, but none have yet to top those games. Games from back in the day had more challenging levels/obstacles, the story lines were more developed and playing multiplayer rounds were more seamless. Multiplayer games were less competitive, which made them more fun for gamers. You can tell when developers put a lot of effort into a game compared to when they are just trying to get a game out on the shelves. In essence, games have become too expensive, they lack originality, they take too long to produce, expectations aren’t fulfilled, and casual gamers aren’t enjoying them like they used to.

Here are five reasons why gaming isn’t the same:

Too Expensive

According to a 2021 article published on makeuseof.com, “Since gaming entered the HD era in 2005 with the Xbox 360, the standard price of a new video game has been $60. However, with the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S|X in 2020, the price of some titles has gone up to $70. Will this become the new normal for all games?” 

For most big-name titles in previous generations, the starting price was $50. With the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, a $60 price tag became standard in the seventh generation. The average price of a big-name game on PS5 is now $70. On top of these game prices, gamers have to pay for monthly online subscriptions to play these games and for more playable content. For example, it would cost a gamer $10 a month for a PlayStation Plus subscription. This subscription allows gamers to play more online games and download certain games for free. With all this money they have to spend, it may turn them away from playing no matter how fun it may be.

I asked gamer Jalen, 21, who attends Georgia State University, if he could tell gaming companies what to do to make their games better, what would he say? His response was: “Stay original, authentic, and true to the company. I feel like once they see another company making money they want to copy what they’re doing or emphasize microtransactions like in 2k. But 2k went downhill because of microtransactions. It’s like 300,000 virtual currency (VC) to max out your player when it used to be 200,000. I just feel like if they cut back on that, they wouldn’t have to worry about getting the extra money coming in because more people would buy the game.”

Originality

Ever since Fortnite came out, game developers have tried to use elements from it. Some gamers are tired of seeing these similar elements like battle royale, battle passes, and in-game features. People enjoy these types of games but they do get boring after a while. Big gaming companies are not stepping out of the box or trying new things with their games and it makes the new games they produce kind of bland. I asked Jalen if he thought gaming was not the same as it used to be? Here’s his response: “I would say yeah, it’s a lot less creative. It’s more like a trend in gaming industries and companies following trends of others like booming games and stuff. For example, Warzone, Apex, and Fortnite. I like those games but if we’re being honest, games like H1Z1 and PUBG started that battle royale wave. Some games kind of perfected it but it’s a lot less original and I feel like we need a lot more of that, to be honest.” 

His thoughts resonated with me because he’s right — gaming companies do need to try something new.

Time to Produce 

Some game producers/developers are good with putting out a new game in a timely manner and some take way longer than expected. For example, gaming companies like 2k and EA put out new game titles every year while others take way longer. It might be easier for these gaming companies to produce new games every year because the games they make are really similar to the previous one. I understand that they have to take their time to develop the game to the best that they can. But sometimes they push the dates or have long release dates and when the game comes out, it isn’t even good. GTA 5 came out on September 17, 2013 and according to Roccat.com, we are still waiting for GTA 6 10 years later. Roccat.com mentioned development beginning in 2012, which was before the release of GTA 5. In the report, it was stated the co-founder, Dan Houser,  left Rockstar Games. We understand that Houser left, but the fans are waiting and need them to put something out. They keep adding updates to GTA 5 but they need to completely focus on the production of GTA 6.

Expectations

As a result of games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, Red Dead Redemption 2, and God of War, there’s been really high expectations of upcoming games. For example, some gamers expect the best quality, sounds, graphics, and controls from new games. If those expectations aren’t met, it ruins some games because when you’re playing a good game and you switch to another game, it might not look or feel the same, but it might still be a good game. Some gamers just expect all games to be perfect and they won’t always be. This makes it harder for smaller developers to make games that do well in sales and entertainment.

Enjoyment

Skill-based matchmaking is a system used in multiplayer games to match players with similar skill levels in matches against one another in order to appropriately balance teams and maximize player satisfaction. Sometimes skill-based matchmaking can be unfair for casual gamers who just play for fun because they might just play a couple of good matches then next thing you know they start playing some of the best players. It can also be unfair because good players can make new accounts and play against people that are new to the game. This is why I believe if a game implements a skill-based matchmaking system, they should only put it in ranked game modes so gamers can play against people on their skill level since it’s more competitive. Online gaming is more serious now and it’s harder for casual gamers to play for fun. When game developers are making multiplayer games, they should take this into consideration. I asked my friend that plays video games, Joshua, 14, if he thought gaming as a casual gamer was harder nowadays and why? He stated: “Yes, because the times have changed and people are growing up which makes gaming a little boring.” I somewhat agree with his statement and I think that he was just trying to say that some people are growing out of gaming.

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