The Student News Site of Canyon Hills High School

Canyon Hills Chronicle

The Student News Site of Canyon Hills High School

Canyon Hills Chronicle

The Student News Site of Canyon Hills High School

Canyon Hills Chronicle

The Harsh Decline of Gaming in Recent Years

In recent years, the quality of video games has gone down hill by a large margin. Companies are so focused on making a profit that they don’t take risks in making anything creative or interesting.


The biggest sin that modern gaming has committed and seems to be here to stay is the ludicrous amount of microtransactions that are thrown into everything. Microtransactions allow players to spend their real money on fake game currency to then buy in game cosmetics. The issue with this horrible process is that it normalizes making the customer pay more money on games they’ve already bought. 


The biggest offenders of this shady practice are Fortnite, Call of Duty, and Overwatch. This all became common practice after Fortnite became one of the most popular games of all time. Others have taken their free to play approach which makes players more likely to buy into the microtransactions as they haven’t spent any money on the game yet.


 I’ve asked a fellow senior Seth Marvel his thoughts on what effect these predatory in-game purchases have had on gaming as a whole and he said “I hate microtransactions, it feels like they’re in everything. There isn’t a single multiplayer game without them but it’s pretty cool to play as characters you know, like Darth Vader in Fortnite.” 


It gets very annoying seeing these transactions in every single game but they do sometimes appeal to me. I also believe that being able to play as your favorite characters in games is cool and many others also think that, which is how these companies make so much money. The free to play motto works because more money is made through people wanting to look like a certain character while they play.


While microtransactions have had a negative effect on the industry, something that has had a worse impact is the strive for realism. Almost every single AAA game that has come out these past few years has looked amazing, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. 


All these companies think that graphical fidelity and realism will sell better and they’re definitely right with that but there’s a level of creativity that’s lost with this mindset. If you took two images from two different random games, there’s a high likelihood that you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. 


This is because in every game trying to mimic reality, there’s no uniqueness among them. All these modern games lack their own creativity and style. There’s been a switch in focus from the video game companies, once determined to make a fun experience to something that looks as good as possible because that’s what brings in the sales from a general audience. 


Gameplay has become secondary to how good and real the game looks, how realistic the characters appear. It no longer matters if it plays well or is enjoyable to play but to how pretty it looks. By every big budget game now putting all effort into looks and not gameplay, every game feels very same-y with a bland realistic look that’s so uninteresting to look at. 


For example, every Sony exclusive game is the same. All very nice to look at visually but very similar 3rd person over the shoulder gameplay that’s more interested in story telling then letting you actually play it.


Another issue I have with the current trends in the video game industry is the lack of effort that’s put into the pc ports of games. As the large majority of those who play video games play on consoles, games are designed for consoles first and then later ported to pc at a later date. 


This has been the norm since the beginning of video games themselves, but lately there’s been an almost disrespectful amount of failure in the porting of the biggest games that have no issues on consoles. It feels as if the big game companies are putting in little to no effort in putting their games onto pc, as if they know the games are gonna sell even if they’re a broken mess. 


I can attest to that, I bought the Last of Us pc port when it came out and it was one of the worst things that I’ve ever played. The Last of Us is an amazing game but its pc port was butchered beyond repair, it crashed over sixty times because it was so unoptimized. This is just one of many examples of games being haphazardly thrown together to be sold without a crumb of care put into them.


The issue is that these ports do always sell well, which in turn tells these companies that they can push out slop and it’ll always make them money. But is it really wrong of the customer to buy something and expect it to work as advertised? If anything these broken games are falsely advertised and borderline theft. 

I was curious if others felt this way, so I asked Senior Hunter Falcon his thoughts on the matter. Hunter had this to say “pc ports have been super bad lately, like unplayable bad. I really wanted to play Jedi Survivor on pc but no matter what I did it wouldn’t run on my computer.” 


These unpolished travesties are stopping players from experiencing something that they’ve paid for and is a fundamental issue with modern gaming that probably won’t be going away anytime soon.

It seems like a bygone era where the best and biggest games were at most forty gigabytes. Every modern title is at a minimum of sixty, this is an absolutely ridiculous problem that plagues the industry. There is no reason for any game to be that big, it has such a negative impact on the consumers but has become so normalized amongst the community. 


Of course there are those who rightly complain about the ridiculously large file sizes their games have but they are more or less brushed off, the common belief is that games just have to be that big now but they really don’t. The issue is greed and priorities for these companies. 


They don’t put the time and effort into compressing their files because it doesn’t matter to a studio executive how big the game’s file size is. The only reason that games are big and take up way too much space is and will always be corporate greed. It’s so incredibly annoying constantly having to manage your game storage, having to delete a game when you want to install a new one because a single game suddenly takes up half your disk space. 


It will never not be insane to me that Call of Duty is over one hundred gigabytes, that’s like a third of a console’s hard drive. My friends that play on consoles are always talking about which games they need to delete in order to make room for new games. The disinterest in keeping games small in file size is such a negative for all players and I really doubt that this problem will ever go away.


The gameplay of modern games isn’t exactly great either. A problem that a lot of people have with games that have come out in recent years is that they’re way too hand holdy. Constantly giving the player clues and reminders on where to go and what to do at every second. 


With the constant babying that these games deliver it almost feels like an insult to player intelligence. The developers don’t think that their players have the brain power and skill to naturally and organically overcome the challenges they’ve made so they practically throw the solution in the players faces. 


They do this in numerous ways, through character dialogue, hints through text, obnoxious arrows, and more recently yellow paint. There are loads of people on the internet who have made quite a fuss about the huge and comical amount of yellow paint in modern AAA games as a method of guiding players. 


Games such as Final Fantasy Rebirth and the Resident Evil 4 Remake have been facing a lot of criticism for this. The paint has been criticized for being very out of place in the worlds of these games and walking the player exactly where the game wants them to go which kills a certain element of player freedom and creativity. It’s important to allow the players a sense of freedom, let them find their own creative ways to the destination but throwing yellow paint on exactly where you want the player to be sort of disconnects the player from that ability to be creative with the world.


The rise in popularity of streaming games has also had its fair share of negatives as well. Of course game developers and companies enjoy when a big streamer plays their game because it means that it reaches a large audience who’s bound to buy it too but that isn’t always a good thing. 


Sometimes developers worry far too much about keeping streams playing their game that they ruin it for everyone else. Since streamers usually play multiplayer games they’re the ones most affected by this. If streamers complain about something they dislike about a game, it usually gets taken out even if it wasn’t really an issue at all. 


This is bad because it changes entire games for everyone just because a small few people complained and now everything is catered specifically for them. Streamers have had games suddenly designed just for them rather than the larger player base who more often than not hate the changes made but companies only listen to what’s making them money like those who stream their games. Favoritism by changing elements of games that the majority enjoy to please an incredibly small portion of players is purely a decision made by greed and is rotting the industry’s core.


I’ve already discussed in length the lack of creativity and uniqueness in atmosphere but what the industry is especially lacking in currently is the deficiency in original ideas. This has been the case for a while now and has become increasingly noticeable lately, there are so many games that just feel identical. 


The modern video game industry is missing new ideas and far too many of the games made today are actually just remakes of games made fifteen to twenty years ago because creativity and originality is dead. One of the biggest games this year so far is Final Fantasy Rebirth which is just a remake of a twenty seven year old game. 


I very much would appreciate it if any company could come up with an idea that hasn’t already been done a dozen times over. While is really do enjoy playing remakes of classic and iconic games, I would much rather have something new rather than an imitation of a pre existing piece of media.This drought in originality is very bad for the video game market, people will eventually get sick of playing the same games over and over and over again in new shiny packages.


Finally, the last issue that’s been bringing down the quality of games these past few years is the overabundance of cutscenes. I love cutscenes as much as anyone but they become an issue when most single player games have more cutscenes than gameplay. As I talked about earlier, the Sony exclusive games are far more interested in telling a story than the gameplay itself. 


While I don’t think there’s necessarily an issue with that, it becomes a problem because it’s more than just Sony doing this. A few years ago you’d play a single player title because of its fun and unique gameplay but now you’d play a single player game for the story it’s telling. Game studios seem more focused on creating a narrative than actually making a game, it’s like they want to make a movie and take the game out of the game. 


I do believe it’s important that story driven games exist when they have something to say and a story worth telling but when every game is a story game, the stories are less impactful. There are a great many games whose gameplay is practically non-existent because that wasn’t the concern when making it. These developers who believe they’re making a screenplay take the fun bits out of their games to share their mediocre narratives. 


I asked senior Alejandro Galo his view on the drastic increase of cutscenes and narrative over gameplay and he said this “It’s really crazy how most games don’t feel like games anymore, it feels like i’m watching a movie that gets interrupted by like two minutes of gameplay.’ By removing the element of why people play games, this is one of the worst trends in the gaming industry.


In conclusion, video games have largely seen a drastic quality in recent years with a few exceptions. There has been far less creativity than there once was in order to make safe projects guaranteed to reach the widest audience and make the most money. Gaming is becoming more bland with a lack of interesting ideas and costly with the amount of microtransactions thrown into a game you’ve already paid for.

A large majority of recent releases lack polish due to companies trying to push out their slop product as fast as possible which leads to many bugs and ruins the player experience. (Owen Hath)

Everything has a battle pass or some kind of in-game currency now. Anything and everything to get the player to spend more money on something they’ve already paid for. (Owen Hath)

As many people realize that the latest games that are released are lacking in quality, the sales of these lackluster titles begin to suffer. (Owen Hath)

Every AAA game in recent years has tried to look as realistic as possible, making no attempt to create a unique atmosphere. (Owen Hath)

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