Welcome one and all to our new Saturday club feature ‘Controversial Club’. As so much of our content is positive, charming and a lovely read we thought we’d start a weekly article where we can get a bit of rage out, or just generally be dicks!
I introduce our controversial club, a place where we can all write about things that get on our nerves, rub us the wrong way and generally go against the norm.
This week we’d thought we’d discuss those bizarre gaming trends that we just can’t get behind… Paying for online… Download Codes on cans of soda and crisps… Overly flashy press conferences… eSports…?! It’s all on the table today!!
I for one have a major, MAJOR pet-peeve when it comes to modern gaming trends; the culture of “Hey, X food is popular with gamers… Let’s partner and stick bonus EXP or booster codes on them to make them want to bulk buy!!” – This can be seen most prevalently with unhealthier foods, such as Doritos, Mountain Dew and Fridge Raiders, where popular titles such as Call of Duty and Halo plaster them in “Double EXP” codes and the like.
Now, I’m not a health-nut by any means, but… If you’re gonna put these incentives on food… Why not on healthy snacks? I mean, if they started to put these sorts of codes on like fruit or hummus or something, I’d snap that shit up; and, along with the added benefit of helping countless gamers beat those calories!
I don’t want to sound like the old man of the group here, which I am, but when I really think about it there’s a lot I don’t like about modern gaming. It’s not really controversial as I know a lot of gamers feel the same way as me but these are my issues:
I miss buying a full game on release that’s ready to go, and I’m not only talk about DLC. I fucking hate the fact that when you buy a game you have to reserve a couple hours BEFORE you play it so the game can install, I know this is due to modern games being beasts but it still annoys me.
Paid DLC, I hate. This is usually because when I finish a game I’m done with it, i don’t want to keep it in case content is released 6 mobths later for an extra £15. There are many games I haven’t truly completed because of this.
Paying for extra shit in general is annoying, especially as we’re usually paying £45 to start with. The most recent one was paying for an extra save (In Metal Gear Survive) this actually shocked me. To pay for a function that exists just to play the game properly? Especially an online coop game. And paying to win online, like in battlefront 2. You could put 100 hours into a game but some rich kid can just come long and kick your ass, nah mate.
Modern games are absolutely amazing, jaw dropping at times and yet can be slightly evil in a money grabbing corporation kind of way. It will only get worse and I’ll continue to spend my money but I miss having a full game ready on release day.
This one from me is very simple. Battle Royale. In the last year we have seen some amazing games come out in the world of competitive action shooters. PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds and Fortnite for example. But for me these games are simply just interesting for a quick spat and then I’m done.
It’s a concept that isn’t new, and has been done a fair few times before. Both within film and gaming. The developers are just getting the game formula correct now. These games are huge with Fortnite taking some amazing achievements like the most amount of playtime watched of games on twitch. It’s a genre of shooting that is exploding, but I’m just not that interested. Am I the only one?
A contemporary gaming trend I hate are physical PC game releases that are really just CD keys in a box. Just…why? Why are you even bothering with a physical release at all if your game is Steam only, and will just download the entire thing off the net? You’re wasting people’s time, their data, the time of whoever had to design the boxart, the time and resources of the factories that have to make the case, box, and disc…It’s just so fucking wasteful for something so completely useless. It can’t be so parents can pick it up as a gift in store, either; it feels like parents of PC gamers would be tech-savvy enough to buy and gift keys online. So really, who is this for..? If you are not going to put the game on your disc, don’t have a physical release. Enough said.
On another note, a friend of mine brought up something interesting last night: The lack of crappy movie based video games on this console generation. It’s not something I noticed, but it’s actually kind of unfortunate when you think about it – so many old licensed titles were just so gloriously shit, you and friends could spend hours enjoying their wonky charm. Charlie’s Angels. Spiderman 3. Peter Jackson’s King Kong for the DS. Without these sorts of ‘kwalatee’ titles, what will the JonTrons and Caddicaruses of tomorrow will have to look back on?
Micro transactions. I mean, why? Just why? I hate to sound like an old fart, but I remember when gaming used to have no additional money required to access things, and instead just required you to work hard. Nowadays everything is given to you on a plate if you pay enough, and it makes me so sad. Take Final Fantasy XV for example. They have a season pass and the new Royal Edition and that’s fine (Well, it’s not, but don’t get me started on that whole different can of worms). But they also have micro transactions, not included in the season pass price. Granted they’re not necessary to finish the story or anything and they’re just additional if you want them, but why make you pay for them? In Final Fantasy X, all the weapons were inside the game, not in a store, and to get them you just had to work hard and it would eventually pay off!
The notion of lying to the consumer is the one trend in gaming that I cannot get behind.
Numerical review scores are, by and large, worthless in today’s industry. Five years ago, Gamergate elevated the question of journalistic integrity, which had plagued the industry for years, to the floor of public discourse, but since then, little has changed. Bethesda carefully restricted window of time between sending out review copies of Doom and the release date of the game, which prevented review scores from impacting pre-order sales. EA attempted to manipulate the scores Battlefield 3 received by tailoring the list of reviewers to only those which the corporation believed were predisposed to score it positively. The list goes on and on.
Even when reviews do come in a timely fashion and without immoral tailoring, the big names of the industry trend toward poorly calibrated numerical ratings. The trope of the Four Point Scale is almost as old as the industry. Of course, Everyone knows that “10/10 – IGN” doesn’t actually mean the game is flawless, right? So why change it? Modern society is bombarded by puff-piece advertisements and propaganda tailored to coerce customers into buying products. Yes, sex sells, $4.99 sells better than $5.00, and fake deals drive profits, but our industry has enough trouble being trusted without blatantly pursuing the latest anti-consumer schemes. Publishers in this industry have been exposed for bull-shotting, developers have been caught blatantly lying about the content in their games, and the various controversies in the world of Games Journalism have called the authenticity and professionalism of reviews into question.
If the industry wants to shake off the layer of skepticism and distrust that has accreted around it, it must choose to do away with practices like bull-shotting and curtail the mindset which sees millions of sales as a loss and advocates for “Turning Players Into Payers.” If the industry desires any credibility, it must abandon the poor business practices which have brought us here.