The State of Gaming 2019

The AAA Gaming Industry has long ruled the flow of gaming for decades. Once sought out to be the best of the best in gaming experiences, the tables have turned dramatically in 2019. While quality games do still make their way to the public, the AAA industry has begun to seek money via alternative methods. Overall, it is slowly ruining video games as a whole.

It’s not all bad. Indie developers continue to hone their craft and spawn great creativity. The problem is that the gaming market as a whole has become over-saturated with hot trends, and barren of originality over the years. Sure, there’s a million first-person shooters you can dive into. There’s plenty of role playing games you can try out. But the biggest issue that we see today is a lack of quality.

Rise To The Top

So what exactly has led us to this point? Well, there’s a few key components that have led us down this rabbit hole:

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  1. The demand for greater visuals and graphical fidelity.
  2. A need for high-quality entertainment and engaging activities.
  3. The desire to keep gaming as a whole cost effective.
  4. Bandwagon publishers trying to get rich off of the latest craze.
  5. The race for shareholders to make as much money as inhumanly possible.

What we end up with is an industry that now is geared towards getting every last dollar from you that they can, even through indirect methods. It’s not enough to spend $60 on a video game, and enjoy everything that said game has to offer. While $60 is significantly more affordable then games used to be at one point, it’s a fair amount of money to demand from consumers.

This isn’t enough to appease publishers, however. Enough is never enough. A game that sells over 7 million copies in 2019, is considered a failure (I’m looking at you, Battlefield V). 7 million copies. What we now see, is publishers turning to an age old tactic that only grows more toxic by the year: monetization.

Why Play When You Can Pay?

In-game currencies are nothing new to the gaming market. They are found in almost every free to play game, and are now found in a majority of AAA games. Theoretically, this concept doesn’t hurt the quality of a game experience. However in 2019, this has become an absolute nightmare for gamers. What’s worse is we have grown to expect and even accept it. After all, why would you want to grind 20 levels to earn a weapon when you can just purchase it for $20?

Games used to be made on the basis that if you made a good game, you would make money off of it. This was enough for developers and publishers alike. Companies like Activision, Capcom, and Square-Enix have been around long enough to remember those days all too well. The very same companies, however, seldom put out a game now that doesn’t hide it’s content behind a pay wall… even after demanding a $60 price tag.

This is where we stand in 2019. I wouldn’t go so far to say that the Gaming Industry is broken. But it’s become beyond flawed, and even corrupted by greed. This is where the lack of quality comes into play; it’s no longer good enough to just make a good game. It’s no longer good enough to sell millions of copies of games. Now it’s about seeing how much money a publisher can squeeze out of its fans by giving as little effort as possible. And it’s about keeping just enough content out of consumers hands to make them want to buy more. It’s a shareholder’s dream come true, and a user’s nightmare.

For Just A Few Dollars More…

It’s terrible knowing that in order for me to enjoy a game to its fullest, I’ll need to spend $60 for a copy of a game. Followed by another $60 or more just to unlock all the features, characters, weapons, and everything else in-between. This is becoming more and more of a common occurrence in the industry, to the point that games like God of War feel like an incredibly rare, unreal experience.

All of this makes it hard for me to be excited about most big releases in 2019. Live services are now the standard that most AAA publishers strive for, and every game has some form of DLC. Even while playing Capcom’s Resident Evil 2, I’m saddened knowing that I can’t even listen to the original soundtrack of the game without forking over an extra $15 for that and a couple of simple costumes. This is nothing compared to the anxiety I feel towards EA’s Anthem.

Truly, this is a rocky time for fans of video games. I’ve always got my eyes open for fresh indie titles like Hollow Knight and Celeste, and I’m certainly optimistic for games such as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. With the age of digital gaming right in front of us however, I can’t help but be a little pessimistic about where exactly the Gaming Industry will take us.

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Stephen Till

Father, Husband, Teacher, Gamer, Nerd.

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