The future of gaming

With E32016 now dead in your back garden, its time for the games media to break down what they saw at this glorified sales event. Personally i’m more interested in making wild speculation at what the future of the gaming industry holds for us.

Microsoft made a semi competent appearance at E3 this year despite continuing its down hill spiral of sales against the PS4. With the announcement of a new system “project scorpio” the xbox team is looking to throw themselves back into a loosing war by bringing a bigger gun.

Sony and Microsoft have in my opinion occupied different areas when it comes to exclusive titles. Sony has opted to be a little more experimental with its IP. You can see this in games such as Horizon Zero Dawn and Wild. But they also exploit the nostalgia side of things with the announcement of God of War; which i think is just going to be called “God of War”.

Microsoft tend to stick to tried and tested IP, with the announcement of the new Gears of War and Forza.  All games which sit well with its western audience. Sony are pushing for some new ideas and its looking good.  Of course this isn’t a major criticism of just Microsoft try finding a new idea in the Nintendo camp and you will be left disappointed.

O wait: mecha Kerby?, sure why not.

So what might happen?

One of the biggest things to be announced by Microsoft was that all new Xbox games will be coming to Windows 10 (maybe). Yes that horrible little gremlin that keeps trying to drag you away from your beloved Windows 7. So this triggered a few thoughts in my head.

Its been rumoured for a while now that the new CEO has had little love of the Xbox department and believes that Microsoft should get back to its software roots; something it excels at. With the announcement that all new Xbox titles will come to the PC, we could end up with something similar to the Steam box. Microsoft handles the OS and the games and hardware companies build the boxes to run it – you know; like a PC.

So thats controversial, I essentially said the Xbox will die off – kind of.

Everything’s going to the cloud. Lets be honest the gaming disc is dead. Future consoles will not come with a disc tray. Lets hope you have a solid internet connection because those 40GB games you download now; will be more in like 100GB.

Or we might all be streaming games?

With everything going into the cloud this could lead to a new business model entirely. The idea of monthly subscriptions to get access to the back catalogue of Playstation and Xbox has recently become a thing. So why not take this business model and apply it to new games. You pay a month fee to Sony or Microsoft and you can play any game your heart desires.

Lets not forget our old friends micro-transaction and DLC. You get the core of the game for your monthly fee but extras are going to cost you more.

All this talk of consoles and owning things: not anymore.  Remember OnLive? unfortunately the idea of paying a subscription and playing games over the cloud with just a controlled and a tiny box to communicate to the mothership was a little ahead of its time. I always saw the potential in this idea and once the internet infrastructure finally catches up with demand you might not even have to buy a console anymore. Just a one off fee of £100 and then £25 a month to access unlimited games on your chosen platform.

This is a big old shake up in the way we do things now but its not to far from how other companies have moved away from the expensive per-unit price to an affordable monthly subscription.

It sure would kill of pirating a game, why even bother if the month price is right. It might also cut out all the middlemen in the industry like amazon, but Im sure a deal can be made so amazon can give away a game code for 20% off the price of buying it direct from Sony or Microsoft in exchange for promotional material on their site or through traditional means. Lets be honest that pretty much what they do now anyway.

Game wont be about then so I wont include them.

Despite all this sounding terrible and “No way man your talking smach, I wont do it” its kind of already happening. If you think about it.

Sorry.

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The 100 hour game

So what happened, 100 hour free roaming games are finally here. Something changed and the justification for the £50 you drop of a game is now actually justified. Remember when you dropped £45-50 and got a weekends worth of gameplay out of the thing, I’m looking at your Resident Evil 5 and basically anything that came out near the end of the xbox 360 – PS3 era.

The obvious answer to why are games bigger now is the hardware, but then we look at The Order 1886 and how that was a fuck up people are trying to forget.

We have had long games before, basically anything with Final Fantasy in the title is going to be pushing 40-50 hour and if you choose to do the bonus content then you can truly drag it out. Bethesda is the king of long fucking games, I easily spent about 80 hours in Skyrim but lets be honest most of it was just being lost… oooo look another fucking loot cave. Or in Fallout 3 where i just got bored of not really knowing what going on. The latest round of games seem to have actually structured the main story to be 80 hours plus and then you have side missions where you have to do some just to make sure your level is on par to drill through the main story or so you have enough resource so getting through the next mission where you have to take out tanks isn’t just you, a horse and a silenced rubber shooting uzi. Balls.

“oooo look another fucking loot cave”

I’m happy that we finally made it, the price of a game is well and truly justified. Even if the games industry is trying to squeeze every penny out of a title with microtransations. In a way be careful what you wish for. I find myself becoming more burnt out on a game and instead of looking forward to playing it i just see it as a drag and getting to the end is more of a relief than a celebration. 40-45 hours for me is probably enough of a game, but 100 hours of core content is just a bit to much for me.

 

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Lets get angry about microtransaction

With the recent fuck up coming from Payday 2 lets express some rage over why games are increasingly taking the microtransaction root, as opposed to just letting you buy the whole game.

Recently Payday released a massive update with one major change and that was the introduction of pay-to-win/advance mechanics, needless to say the gaming community took this lightly (probably only 50 or so rape threats and a crucifixion). This whole fuck up exploded more than it needed to since the original stance from the payday team was – “fuck no to microtransaction”. But even though the game is essentially PVE people just don’t like seeing small amounts of money next to labels saying “buy now”, so enter the rage train.

Halo 5, recently came to life and is firing on all cylinders in order to try and ‘speed-boost’ the Xbox one straight into your living room and bring down the hammer on to the PS4 run away success. In between all the inane gargling and reviews I spotted – microtransaction.

In this incarnation of our much loved mechanic players can buy packs of cards (am i the only one who thinks this is a direct rip off of Titanfall, or has this been done before?) after a certain amount of time you will receive a filled gem, once you have something like 3-4 gems you can call in a banshi or some other vehicle, rocket launcher, BFG.. etc  and in order to gain more cards you can choose to drop $2-3 to buy a pack.

These packs also come with cosmetic changes, for example a fancy helmet or foam hand, Go spartans!. The down side to this isn’t the cosmetic change, as mentioned in a few of my post, cosmetic changes do not bother me. You can look like a fucking hard-arse for all i care as long as when it comes to playing we land with the same weapons and have all the same choices. The guy popping $100 a day on card packs whilst having little to no idea of what a warthog is should not have more of an advantage.

It difficult to say at this early stage if this will be the case but hopefully someones already though of this and i’m over stating it, but its not unusual for these – well money grabbing tactics resulting in a biased online gaming experience.

Metal Gear Solid also recently released a microtansaction service with the introduction of FOB (forward operating base) this base is an extension of mother-base. However the core difference is that the FOB is online and open for other players to come over and steal tech and NPC from your base. You can buy FOB insurance with real money which will compensate you with virtual money when something gets stolen by another character.

Metal Gear 5

I personally had no interest in this aspect of the game, some kind of clash of clans, MGS mash up. Just no. So the microtransaction aspect of this would not effect me as I give 0 fucks over my FOB. What did annoy me was the fact I still had to go through a fucking tutorial about something I had already decided to not do. I hope this microtransaction trend does not make its way into the online MGS coming out early next year.

Microtransactions are simple to do, you don’t need to fuck off everyone with them or fuck over core mechanics in order to squeeze a little more out of your dedicated fan base. We need to accept that they are here and that nothings going to change. Remember when everyone fucking hated DLC, and now people just accept it and buy it because of this attitude microtransations will continue, but the industry has a responsibility to introduce them from the start and not to fuck people over.

And finally.

Fuck pay-to-win, just fucking take it outside and fucking shoot it.

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