My question to everyone is: Do you think we are spoilt with the amount of video game choices we have?
Now instead of having a generic yes or no answer I want to delve in a little and explore the reasons why I have this question floating in my mind.
Let’s take it back to the early 80s where we had Commodore, Atari and NES. All of these machines were literally ground breaking technology that brought the term ‘video games’ to you and me. I was born in a generation where video games were a relatively new industry with not many big players in the game. Fast forward 20 odd years and now it’s a cultural phenomenon! Perceptions and opinions of people have, at most, changed from believing what a stereotypical ‘hardcore gamer’ is.
Now it’s the norm for households to own at least 1 video game console, even if it’s just a dusty Gameboy or a Fisherprice Scooby Doo handheld. Ultimately it’s a video game! From the early 80′s, sales of consoles/pc graphics cards have shot through the roof and some companies and games living and dying by the sword. It’s 2010 and in that 30 year gap we’ve seen, new companies enter and exist the market as well as seeing companies succeed and fail.
An example of this includes Sony entering the market with its Playstation and also Microsoft with its XBOX. Whilst SEGA with their Dreamcast and Nokia with the N-Gage seem to have fallen short along the way. We also cannot ignore the 3DO. Panasonic’s hardware heaven that produced the finest version of the Need For Speed series still to this day (Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit may go some way to rectifying that!) A system that has passed into gaming history was perhaps and perceived as too ahead of its time. Fundamentally, with all businesses some come and go and some come but stay. However what is left is a trail of knowledge, technology, expertise and innovation.
This, ladies and gents is what gives us the games of today. Games from a technical and sophisticated master piece i.e. Valve with their Half Life series to something groundbreaking, simple but innovative, Wii sports.
Over the years there has been a thirst and demand for playing more games, new ways of playing games, playing games online as well as on social networking sites.
Its 2010 and more people are talking about them, it’s become a general topic of conversation, it’s become ‘cool’! Finally looking around the hardcore gamer doesn’t have to feel like the black sheep anymore. I believe the Nintendo Wii, DS, Facebook and recently the Iphone has really helped introduce new players to world of video games, whether that’s Nintendogs or Angry Bird it doesn’t matter, it’s a game.
In hindsight I can count at least five or six current successful gaming machines that cater to every type of consumer and with that comes a truck load of games. The Iphone itself has over 30,000 games and that’s just one device! Add together the Wii, DS, Playstation 2, Playstaton 3, PSP, Xbox 360 and PC and you have an ocean full of games, with more on the way! It’s an industry that’s worth $44 billion, has overtaken film industry in terms of revenue and it just cannot be ignored.
However, on the other hand with the shear volume of games coming out, it can prove to be very overwhelming for some consumers with what choices to make. Going to your local retailer and asking for a Mario or a first person shooter game would be like walking into a ward of new born babies trying to distinguish the difference between them all. There is just an unprecedented amount of games on offer and fine tooth picking which title is best suited for you can be very frustrating and a time consuming process which as a result could make the consumer abandon the shop altogether.
Furthermore, with a lot of titles coming out, comes a huge amount of expectation and being spoilt for choice comes the over saturation of games. Take for example Medal of Honor from EA or Star Wars The Force Unleashed 2 from Lucas Arts. Early reviews suggested that Medal of Honor was linear game with terrible AI issues and a not very engrossing multi-player experience. The Force Unleashed II just being a 6-8hr campaign with very limited variety in gameplay can put gamers off of what could be a missed experience. This as a result may dumb down a consumer’s expectation of a title and hinder any chance of a purchase.
Finally, there has been a wealth of media surrounding controversial games, starting way back with Doom and including one of the biggest sellers in history, the Grand Theft Auto series to last years Modern Warfare 2 Airport mission there is no denying that this sort of gaming exposure comes at a cost on how non gaming media may perceive our hobby/industry. This as such is negative publicity but these days bad publicity is always good publicity and in most cases works in the favor of the publisher. This has been proven successful with Activision selling 20 million copies of Modern Warfare 2 and Rockstar boasting 17 million copies of Grand Theft Auto 4.
So to answer my original question are we as consumers spoilt with the amount of games we have for choice?
And the simple answer is Yes, Yes we are. We have games coming out week in week out all the way up Christmas day for every gaming device. We have a huge variety games from simple, family party games to action packed gut wrenching games. In addition Nintendo has brought us Wii Fit making working out simple, enjoyable and fun. What’s more, by the end of the year we’re going to see Microsoft release their Kinect peripheral with it’s motion capture camera that eliminates any use of a controller. Furthermore Sony have already released their Playstation Move peripheral where again like the Wii will use motion controls to play video games. And finally we have Nintendo again that will shortly be releasing another version of their DS the 3DS, a 3D hand-held machine that doesn’t require the player to have 3D glasses.
With all of this in the pipeline and Sony wanting to create more 3D games for 3D T.V.s I think its safe to say that we are heavily over indulged with the amount of games we have, not only because we have greater choice but they have become more affordable making them an impulse buy for some consumers.
Do you think we are spoilt for games? Why not have your say!