The State of Gaming: End of a Generation

Gaming

Today is the start of a new series of blog posts I’m going to be releasing weekly entitled The State of Gaming. Every Wednesday for the next six weeks (with the exception of the 26th) I’ll be writing about the gaming industry as I see it. I know my opinions may not match everyone’s, so feel free to post in the comments with your thoughts.

So, without further ado, let’s talk gaming! Today’s topic; The End of a Generation.

This console generation has been one a long one; the Xbox 360 was released in 2005 and the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii in 2006. All three consoles started out strong (some stronger than others), and have gained a substantial following to this day.

The Xbox 360 is known for its superb multiplayer, the PS3 for its killer exclusives, and the Wii for its unique and at times groundbreaking hardware. I own all three consoles, and while PlayStation is my preferred console, I’m not naive enough to ignore that all three have some truly incredible games.

Aren’t they beautiful?

Xbox has Halo, Gears of War, Alan Wake, Forza, Fable, and in a way, the juggernaut series Call of Duty, who has found a home on the Microsoft console.The Xbox 360 is the leader in multiplayer, and anyone who wants to play online probably has an Xbox.

The PS3 is known for story-driven games such as Uncharted, inFAMOUS, Resistance, God of War, Ratchet and Clank, Metal Gear Solid, Journey, and many more. Because of its powerful hardware, killer graphics, and superb exclusives, the PS3 has something for everyone.

And the Nintendo Wii, the little console that could. The Wii pretty much dominated in sales this generation. Its groundbreaking motion-technology (love it or hate it, it was groundbreaking) and the return of many classic Nintendo franchises brought a whole new generation of people into gaming.

There’s no doubt these last six plus years have been great for gamers, but with the Wii U freshly released, and the new iterations of PlayStation and Xbox most surely on the horizon, are gamers getting tired of sequels?

That’s not an easy question to answer. It’s true that most of the big releases this year have all been sequels, such as Assassins Creed III, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Halo 4, and Mass Effect 3 to name just a few. And while everyone loves a good sequel, it seems like gamers everywhere are itching for that fresh new IP to come out and blow us all away.

When is enough enough?

While games like The Walking Dead: The Game and Dishonored are both wholly new games that both received numerous critical acclaim, was it enough? I don’t know if it was.

For me personally, this has been a decent year of gaming, but an almost forgettable one in terms of games. Most of the games on my wish list were either pushed to 2013, or didn’t turn out as great as I expected. I’, itching for something new and exciting to come out of nowhere and surprise me; and I didn’t get that this year.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with sequels. In fact, almost just the opposite. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and inFAMOUS 2 are some of my all time favorite games, and they happen to be sequels. What I’m trying to say is that I know what I’m going to get when I play a sequel, but what I want is to be surprised.

Naughty Dog’s upcoming game The Last of Us looks amazing, and guess what, it’s a new IP! Even Crystal Dynamic’s reboot of Tomb Raider looks excitingly fresh; as does Irrational’s new take on the BioShock franchise with BioShock: Infinite. These are some of my most anticipated games of 2013, and only one of them is a totally new title.

The new Tomb Raider reboot is a prime example of what developers should be doing.

With new consoles on the rise, most likely waiting to be announced at next year’s E3, it seems like developers and publishers are holding out on releasing new games, and instead giving gamers something familiar; something that will be guaranteed to make money.

I think what needs to happen is that developers need to come up with some sort of balance. Release sequels, but make them different enough so as to provide gamers with a different experience while staying true to the roots of what came before. While some games do accomplish that, some don’t.

But they also have to take chances. Sequels don’t just come out of nowhere; they come from new, exciting ideas. I expect that the next Xbox will be available by this time next year, and the next PlayStation shouldn’t be far behind.

So with that mind, developers need to produce great games, whether they’re original or not, that will act as a sort of ‘swan song’ for this gaming generation. Because when the new consoles are announced, I can promise you that there will be a ton new games along with it.

And I’ll most likely be at the midnight opening, waiting in line for the next big thing just like everyone else.

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