Top 5 Next-Gen Features that Gamers Have Taken for Granted
As this generation of gaming comes to a withering close, with all of its antics and shallow promises, it’s fair to say that we gamers have grown as much as gaming has grown. From the Xbox and PS2 era to the HD surge that graces our consoles today, how much have we changed since then? Are we more demanding this gen than the last? Could it be that we were more sophisticated then and just spoiled rats now?
You decide. Let’s take a look at some of these examples.
The ding that notifies a player when he or she has just unlocked a trophy or achievement is almost hypnotic. After all, this is why we play games, is it not? We play games to challenge ourselves, to beat an objective in completion, to best other players; to win and win again.
Where were these trophies or achievements last gen? Over the years, these unlockable feats have become almost customary to the gaming experience. Some may even go as far as to say that they wouldn’t buy a game unless it had trophy support or achievements. Whether you have a Gamerscore of 800,000 or a bevy of platinum trophies, no one can argue that receiving these notifications bring a smile to a gamer’s face, thus increasing that illusive gamer euphoria that we seek time and time again. But why does it matter to us so much?
The Playstation 3 didn’t have trophy support until 2008 but once they made it mandatory in 2009, sales rocketed. Now it seems that if a game comes out, no matter how good it looks, if it doesn’t support trophies or achievements it automatically comes off as inferior to other games that do offer support. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots didn’t and still doesn’t have trophy support. That game turned out just fine.
Where did it all go wrong?
It’s safe to say that Microsoft popularized the business model of micro transactions; it’s even safer to say that this creature has grown a brain of its own. The main argument against DLC is that the content you are unlocking was already on the game disc to begin with. Therefore, the publisher is essentially withholding content for an extra buck or two. The dreaded “Day One DLC” also comes to mind. Before you even get to digest the game and immerse yourself in its universe, publishers are so confident you’ll love the game that their offering you extra content early. As crookedly appetizing this offer sounds; I think I’d like to enjoy my game first before even thinking about buying content. But when a certain game comes out with no DLC in sight, gamers huddle like a football team and react demandingly, fastidiously expecting something in return. Where was this last gen?
Gamers today are catching on to this practice, especially the season passes that seem all the rage these days. It feels like we’re almost entitled to DLC, which is not the case, but it’s a practice that they have got us used to. If there is no upcoming DLC, then that must mean that their not supporting the game anymore, right? Wrong. Just another symptom of the spoiled gamer.
Some people blame the misuse of patches on developers for rushing their games. While that may not always be the case, patches are definitely becoming much more frequent with the games today. Remember the remedy to constant freezes and blank screens? Just eject the disc, spray some alcohol or hairspray on it and wipe it multiple times with a piece of cloth. Close to about an 85% success rate but it was either that or buying a whole new disc. The tradeoff with patches is that, yes while some developers might hide behind patches to excuse themselves for incompletion, the good thing is that at least we’re getting another chance at fixing the game. We repeatedly take these things for granted as if we’ve had them forever.
With the recent reveal of Nintendo Wii U’s Miiverse, the whole world is a little bit closer now with the big three consoles serving as social hubs for our everyday gaming life. Yet, the lack of action found on places like Playstation Home concerns me. Sony has pumped everything they could possibly pump into Home but it still hasn’t taken off as the social giant they were hoping for. With pre-release events like the Uncharted 3 minigame or the Killzone 3 minigame which rewarded you with in-game content once the game released, it’s hard to believe that Home isn’t buzzing with countless visitors. There was even a virtual E3 booth!
Maybe it’s the slight lag or sluggish controls that keeps gamers away from Home but one thing is for sure, where was this last gen? Places where you can meet up with gamers just like you and share content and communication on your own consoles. Let’s hope the Wiiverse project is a success, otherwise we’re really spoiled gamers.
Exclusive games have become a staple this generation, a showpiece of bragging rights to their respective consoles. Last generation, the excellent Halo 2 was only on Xbox. God of War was only on Playstation. But was it really that big of a deal back then? Certainly not like it is now. Instead of hating on what other gamers get to play on their consoles, we should embrace the influx of exclusive titles, new experiences, fresh ideas; it’s one of the key ingredients that make this industry move forward. It’s almost too predictable, when a new exclusive gets announced; the owners of the differing console troll it to death or write up falsely exploitative articles in hopes of limiting its success. Although deep inside, let’s face it, their only stubborn because they want to play it so bad. Enough with the irrationality, let’s embrace exclusives no matter what!
I guess we’re a combination of both. We’re spoiled but we’re smarter consumers now than before. Fully equipped to take on the next generation, it’s time we look back and appreciate the advances and the improvements that have made gaming such a great pastime. Admire your virtual riches such as trophies or achievements. Buy the latest content to your favorite video games. Stomach the grueling number of patches needed to play your favorite video games. Participate in Playstation Home and take advantage of Xbox Live and its social opportunities. And do not, I repeat, do not hate on exclusives just because you can’t play them on your own console. That’s just childish.
You may be interested in this...
Who in their right mind gets angry about a game not having day-one DLC? Seriously? What fool does this? I've never once seen an angry forum thread or comment section about someone complaining about not getting enough DLC. That's absurd. Please point me to the neanderthals that think they need to be nickel and dimed because they're obviously going out of the world backwards.