The next Generation is almost here. Go to any gaming site or even business website and you can see the writing on the wall. Fanboys arguing over RAM and GPU’s, business analyst arguing over stock prices and whether or not Microsoft or Sony can buck the trend set by the abysmal sales so far of the Wii U. Add in some healthy optimism for the Oculus Rift and a disappointing launch of the Ouya and you get a very interesting and entertaining year so far on the hardware front.
This however begs the question, where is the exciting software, as none of these machines would be worth a shiny nickel if they did not have any software. I must say I am a bit concerned about the fact the most anticipated game of this year will be a current generation title GTA V and the other games like Call of Duty: Ghosts will be cross generation games. This new generation should be all about innovation and it appears we may be headed towards an even more stagnant generation of FPS and yearly sequels of popular franchises (I’m looking at you Ubisoft, and EA). But very few games that are going to be willing to risk their bottom line to come up with something potentially great that could potentially be a commercial dud. This is common business sense 101 however, we the consumers are the ones who drive the sales and thusly control the market. We directly affect the games that developers develop and that publishers are willing to publish. If there was a time ripe to strike to begin a gaming renaissance similar to what existed in the early 90’s it is now. We have new technologies Kinect 2.0, PlayStation 4 overall, cloud gaming etc. That if a developer with some imagination had a publisher with some bucks backing them we could truly be blown away.
We as consumers have to be willing to support indie games that promote innovative gameplay as well as the less than AAA games that get released that are fun but not quite “all the way” there. The Xbox one tried to curb this by stopping our ability to share game discs and thereby stop a good bit of potential positive word of mouth sales for some of these lower budget games thereby only leaving room for the big boys to play. But we the consumer spoke up and moved the Microsoft mountain back into the reality we wanted. We have to continue to do this in order to get AAA games with some of the fun of the indie titles we enjoy so much. It almost seems like the publishers think that fun, and innovation and big budget are all mutually exclusive. Even though franchises like Bioshock show that even franchises can evolve and be different from game to game and introduce truly new and innovative gameplay elements to each new entry, to go along with the story telling and big budget polish. Games like Heavy Rain and the Last of Us are great examples as well of outside of the box thinking applied to standard adventure/ shooter mechanics.
Just think about this, according to the Jetsons we are supposed to be physically IN the game by now, and there are only a handful of games that actually can get you close to immersed in the game truly breaking the fourth wall. Corporation do not move until they are forced by the current of consumer currency. Corporations are not salmon swimming upstream, they simply go with the flow. Here’s to the New generation and to the future where us gamers show that we are a force and are determined to control the flow and push gaming into the future. The future is indeed very bright.