We are at the precipice of change in the gaming industry, right now: how we game, going forward, can change in a way that’s massive and irreversible. It’s been quite apparent that a huge change has been coming for a while now and it’ll be on us before any of us really know it; no one really knows which direction gaming will take, for sure, because it seems to be moving in so many different directions at once. Between microtransactions, downloadable content, virtual reality headsets, streaming video games, the cloud, and goodness knows how many more innovations that are coming down the pipeline, there’s a very high probability that gaming is going to change and change for good. If #GamerGate has proven anything to me, it’s that the gaming industry is changing and society at large is reacting much how they always react to change: with fear, doubt, and general negativity.
You see, video games are much like music, movies, and pictures in that there are many different mediums by which to experience them because the experience transcends them all. Video games also suffer from many of the same issues that are just the nature of the beast: you need to change the medium by which the product is consumed or else you face market saturation or stagnation, the former almost nearly claiming gaming as an industry back in the 80s. We’ve been resting on a singular format for almost all of our entertainment – optical disc – for decades, now, and things have been slowly moving to purely digital formats to amend for that format change, which means that systems are able to become smaller and less apt to wear over time. We’ve also been resting on a singular approach to gaming for longer than I’ve been alive – controlling the game through input feed from some kind of remote or controller. That’s been changing largely in part due to mobile devices as a gaming platform but also with innovations in virtual reality headsets headed up by projects like Morpheus from Sony and the Oculus Rift and could change the experience completely.
Change is coming, folks: it’s coming fast and it’s undeniable. Something big is happening and it would be futile to resist it. It would seem, though, that unlike the days of the 80s where gaming was in its infancy and gamers responded by simply not buying games and speaking with their wallets – which led to Nintendo breaking out of the mindset everyone had regarding gaming and stepped into the console market with an Earth-shattering console, still considered one of the best console releases in history – things have changed in this day and age: people are not satisfied with simply not buying what they don’t like, anymore. They have standards and demands and each gamer has slightly different requisites for what a game should or shouldn’t be and the more a gamer feels slighted by a company the more vocal they’re going to be about it, regardless of how reasonable or unreasonable they’re being. While the complaints come from what has to be a minority of the general gaming public – because, in spite of this problem, games that receive the most complaints still find a way to sell – that minority has become increasingly vocal.
In spite of this, the industry has found a way to break through to create and innovate by creating new gaming technologies, by creating an atmosphere that allows smaller developers to succeed, by creating more and more experiences that allow the players, themselves, to tailor the experience to their desires. Gaming has finally become a place where it can finally stand tall and proud as something that everyone can enjoy and create; it’s become something that can stand on its own. All you need is the drive, motivation, and vision and you can create something many can enjoy. This is a great time to be a gamer, in spite of what the vocal minority might tell you, because everything and everyone will be able to come together in a way that will allow them to share their experiences without divide or consequence.
What side do you take on this?