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The state of the industry in 2021 - Are games becoming progressively shittier over time or is that perception just a symptom of getting older?

Dec 9, 2019
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I feel like games these days seem to be hella recycled, boring experiences - the same shit reskinned again and again for the same (if not higher) price tag. Perhaps its because im like 25 now and I've seen my fair share, so it's not as exciting anymore, but maybe its also just because the quality of them has decreased?

Developers also seem to be more afraid to go out on a limb and take risks, resulting in games that play it way too safe. One thing I noticed is that usually developers will try a few things, find something that works, and then milk the fuck out of it. But then they don't make better games - once they have their cash cow you'd think they'd be like "ok great we solved the money problem, now lets make some good shit" - but they dont even seem to in a lot of cases.

Maybe that's a shot at capitalism, but it's funny you know because when you start a business, your funds are low and you're trying to cultivate something amazing, and by the time you finally see success youve just become heinously greedy and creatively bankrupt. This isnt just a reality for the videogame industry either, it happens all over. The world in general is a more insane place than most people realize outside their sheltered reality.

Overall, I feel the following is the sad reality/issues with video games in 2021:
  1. Microtransactions are everywhere and they're being accepted by docile consumers (and/or ignorant younger people) who are not choosing with their wallet, further perpetuating the problem
  2. Certain developers appear to be hacking gamers for $$$ and getting away with it, while no one acknowledges what is happening before their eyes
  3. New games are often recycled hot garbage thats hyped to the moon and back (but never lives up to it's expectations)
  4. Video games dont even ship complete anymore, content is cut from the disc or original offering and then being offered later as DLC, or worse, it's being left on the disc and then unlocked after the initial purchase with yet another purchase
  5. Console gamers have to pay monthly to play online (when they already pay for internet - yes i know this isnt a new thing, but its always been bullshit)
  6. Video games are hitting prices far too high for the average consumer to realistically want to buy more than a couple a year
  7. Fewer games are developed each year, and the ones that are play it incredibly safe to ensure profits aren't low
  8. Games/writers are now injecting political and social agendas into video games
  9. Developers are pandering to anything that makes anyone uncomfortable and completely blunting any apparent edginess to appeal more to a larger audience (devs are legitimately afraid to be edgy in today's world as apposed to two or three generations ago)
  10. Every developer seems to want you to have and use their own marketplace and app launcher so they can make more $$$ and profile you harder, forcing consumers to install trash they dont want just to even play games
  11. Developers skimp on substance and instead make everything hella shiny/explosive in an attempt to overstimulate the player and 'wow' them (because explosions and shiny things are entertaining, right?) - a general over-focus on graphical fidelity and how it looks rather than how it plays
  12. Games ship broken with many bugs - developers release day 1 patches to supposedly fix the issues, but the patches dont even fix the issues in some cases (why not just fix the issues before launching the game, the fuck?) resulting in consumers getting a shitty experience that is in some cases unplayable (and effectively being scammed)
  13. And more that's not coming to mind right now
I recognize that some of these issues are due to the way business goes and economical pressures on both the consumer and business' side, but the overall state of things is concerning.

Does anyone feel like most games aren't living up to their hype and or expectations? At what point do you think the shift happened? IMO there seems to be many industry wide issues that aren't really being addressed, or companies aren't being held accountable. What could be done to resolve these issues?

Discuss.

Excuse any poor formatting/weird continuity issues, this is just a bunch of thoughts dumped onto a page.
 
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angrod14

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Jun 18, 2020
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There needs to be more first class studios out there. CD Problem appeared to be one of them but tanked hard. There are only a few truly heavyweights in the scene, the ones who deliver memorable experiences, games that move the industry forward.
 

crozier

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Apr 18, 2013
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Microtransactions exist because the market wants them. I don't for a second believe the characterization you make that gamers are being tricked or are too dumb to understand what they are paying for.
At a minimum micro transactions are predatory. It’s a very small number of people that spend the most.
 
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Dr.Guru of Peru

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Jun 10, 2004
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Probably a bit of both.
I don't agree with most of your takes though. The big issue I think is that games are just too damn expensive and labor intensive to produce nowadays, and thats pushed developers and publishers to only release games that are "safe bets" or fit a certain mold.
 
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Moogle11

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Feb 7, 2020
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Meh. I’m 42, been gaming for 35+ years and have never loved gaming more. There’s a lot of crap out there, but also never more games I’ve wanted to play across three consoles and PC, across AAA and indie studies, and I can access more of them cheaper than ever with things like Gamepass, PS+, Epic and other PS giveaways, many games hitting $20-40 shortly after launch etc. Stuff launching broken is a bummer, but I just don’t preorder (or at least only for something like a first party studio I know is highly unlikely to put out a broken game).

So there’s some legit gripes for sure, but sounds more like it’s just either not being into gaming as much as you’ve gotten older and/or mainly being into AAA games and not liking the directions those have gone. I’m not big on GaaS (some co-op stuff away as it’s great fro chatting with friends who live elsewhere), or PVP at all. But my games shifted toward narrative-driven stuff starting with the PS1 so part of it is main stream gaming shifted in ways that fit my tastes as I got older. I get that’s not the case for everyone. But there’s such great variety these days if one’s willing to step outside the AAA space. I love those games, but there’s also a lot of indies I love and definitely a lot of gameplay focused ones for those not into the narrative driven stuff, online games, buggy at launch AAA games or whatever in the mainstrean.
 
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Feb 7, 2018
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Yup, games are getting worse especially AAA Western games, also gaming companies are making games with no risk at all, just the same game over and over. i miss when Sony used to publish all of these soulful diverse games.

 

Danny Dudekisser

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Oct 13, 2008
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I guess the obvious, boring answer is that there's more good games than there's ever been before. But there's probably fewer truly great ones. I think the problems you cited are definitely true of the Western AAA space, which is doubling down on all the worst aspects of those games. It's much harder to find games with both big-budget panache and actual substance than it used to be, and that probably makes the industry as a whole seem worse these days.
 
Dec 9, 2019
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Microtransactions exist because the market wants them. I don't for a second believe the characterization you make that gamers are being tricked or are too dumb to understand what they are paying for.
The majority of people don't like them, atleast that I've talked to - I havent heard many good things. I think developers started offering them to test the waters, people accepted them and eventually it's evolved and become a standard (but predatory) practice. Disregard the characterization, and their prevelance remains.

The problem is that a lot of people dont see the issue with it. The reality is that you end up buying these expensive ass games with less actual content, and then paying more over time to get all these dumb skins or other things which should already be included in the game in the first place. It's actually very anti-consumer the way it is handled, while under the veil of being 'additional content' to not seem as scummy as it really is.

The thing that bites me the most about microtransactions is that the developer does the work on the skin or whatever it is once and then just keeps collecting all this money from microtransactions indefinitely, when they shouldnt be making additional revenue off of it. It's a scummy business model. In extreme cases, like EA, microtransactions are blatantly abused and borderline scam territory. (loot boxes, 'surprise mechanics' and all this nonsense justification)
 
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Desudzer10

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May 13, 2018
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Yup, games are getting worse especially AAA Western games, also gaming companies are making games with no risk at all, just the same game over and over. i miss when Sony used to publish all of these soulful diverse games.
Exactly this. The creativity seems gone. Thank goodness there are plenty of indie games with unique ideas, but AAA games are pretty much in the same bubble.
 

Dr Bass

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Jun 6, 2013
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Games are better now than they ever have been. Go play some old ones you loved and see how they hold up to todays standards.
Playing some older games vs. newer ones has been some of the most fun I've had in recent times with a game. Most modern games bore me to tears in quite short order.
 
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magnumpy

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bad games and good games have existed for as long as video games have existed. do you think that wasnt true in the nes days? in the atari 2600 days? if anything low quality software was an even bigger problem back then :(
 

OnionSnake

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Dec 29, 2020
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As the budgets and complexities raise for games the demand is also raising leading to insane crunch time which in turn leads to markedly worse products. But the fact games like The Last of Us II and Cyberpunk 2077 are still winning praise, much less so in the latters case, shows this isn't going to end soon.
 

Gods&Monsters

Formerly 'InTheLandOf'
May 11, 2018
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Absolutely not! Can you at least name the games you are talking about? Not even 1 mention? Really?

It's all nostalgia and it seems like you follow too much Stephanie Sterling talking points like a parrot.
 
S

Sidney Prescott

Unconfirmed Member
Getting older. Nostalgia is a powerful drug, it makes older games seem much, much better than they actually were. There is some bad games that come out no doubt, but plenty of gold too.

I will say I still think the PS2 era is the best we've ever had. The library is pretty insane.
 

harmny

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you are getting old. games are getting objectively better each year. if the best 2000 game was released today as it was everybody would hate it.

no achievements. no new content. no progression. awful graphics. awful animations. awful gameplay. awful ui. awful quality of life features. no patches fixing things

you may hate that it has became a real industry now instead of a couple of people making passion projects but that sounds like someone complaining about the beginning of hollywood in 1915

As the budgets and complexities raise for games the demand is also raising leading to insane crunch time which in turn leads to markedly worse products. But the fact games like The Last of Us II and Cyberpunk 2077 are still winning praise, much less so in the latters case, shows this isn't going to end soon.

sorry but crunch time was even worse in the old days. the only people making games were basically the people that really wanted to and that means working all day.
 
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Dec 9, 2019
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Absolutely not! Can you at least name the games you are talking about? Not even 1 mention? Really?

It's all nostalgia and it seems like you follow too much Stephanie Sterling talking points like a parrot.
The fact that I dont even know who Stephanie Sterling is should say a lot. I didnt feel the need to name any specific games, thats why I wrote the OP in such a way to leave that up to the reader to decide. I just listed the problems I've noticed.
 

OnionSnake

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sorry but crunch time was even worse in the old days. the only people making games were basically the people that really wanted to and that means working all day.
different levels of complexity, plus budgets werent so insane so a delay was entirely feasible
 
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Guilty_AI

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Thats a mix of games having to appeal more and more to larger audiences, while at the same time targeting mainly a young demographic.

My advice for situations like this is always the same:
*Stop being led around by FOMO and the 'show biz' aspect of the gaming industry.
*Expand your horizons to different genres, AAs, indies, old games, etc, and among those just pick whatever you feel like without worrying about 'whats hot' or popular or if its the newest stuff.
*Don't force yourself to play games, at the end of the day its just a hobby and you're supposed to enjoy it. You can live without it.
*Go after cheaper games since it usually means you won't have to think too deeply about the purchase. We might not notice it but that big $60/$70 price tag can be a burden on our minds since we might unconsciously feel obligated to enjoy the game, because we don't want to feel we wasted money. This can lead to lesser enjoyment, and to my previous point.
 
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LazyParrot

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You're not wrong, but almost all of those points apply only or primarily to huge AAA releases. I ditched those years ago, and it's what saved this hobby for me. If I buy them at all, it's years after release when the GOTY edition or whatever is 15 bucks on Steam.

There are tons of great and interesting smaller games releasing every year, and there's no shortage of great older games either. Even if you stick to games that are 20+ years old, there's probably enough great ones out there to keep you busy for decades.
 
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Sentenza

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I've been playing games since the '80s and I could easily list 10 to 20 games from the last five years or so that I nonchalantly put way above most of the stuff you just listed.
In fact, putting any nostalgy aside I don't even think that highly of a lot of them and there are even few genuine stinkers there.

There are undoubtedly a lot of shitty trends going on in the gaming industry these days, but any attempt to imply that "they don't make good games anymore" or that anything from your childhood was necessarily better seems disingenuous to me.
 
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Mobilemofo

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My view, as a 30+ year gamer. Things have been broken down. Games and the dlc format, services on console ..we have essentially evolved to a pc in a box over the last 15 years. Things have been more monetised than ever before. That's what you'd expect in these times.
 

Gods&Monsters

Formerly 'InTheLandOf'
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The fact that I dont even know who Stephanie Sterling is should say a lot. I didnt feel the need to name any specific games, thats why I wrote the OP in such a way to leave that up to the reader to decide. I just listed the problems I've noticed.
The host of the Jimquisition came out as Stephanie now that she wears a wig and she made a career of shitting on AAA gaming by using all your points like copy/paste.

Sony and Nintendo exclusives don't have much MTX and they don't feel like rehashes. Also, the price of Sony games drop pretty fast after 6 months if that's an issue for you.

Capcom is doing better than ever with Resident Evil, MHW and DMC. Sure there are some remakes but the gameplay still feels fresh to me.

Ubisoft just rebooted the Assassin's Creed series with a new formula and Immortals was well received.

With Gamepass, F2P, Epic store giveaways, Stadia, gaming is cheaper than ever so your price complaint is not valid.

Basically I don't know what specific game you are talking about. It's the usual rant against DLC, MTX etc you see everywhere. Boring.
 
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TwiztidElf

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Just different I think.
Certainly less quantity and variety now, but arguably in service of higher quality.
Games like Ghost of Tsushima prove great games still happen. There are just a lot less of them.

I had my OG Xbox out last weekend. Mainly to rip out the clock capacitor (a job I've been meaning to do for years).
But while I had it out, I played some of my favorites.
Halo, PGR1, PGR2, JSRF, Links2004.
OG Xbox was a beast.
And the awesome guy who posted all the PS1/PS2 covers above, I mostly agree.
 
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Ten_Fold

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Nintendo so far has made some of the best games imo, BOTW, Mario Odyssey, smash, even Mario3d world+bowser’s fury looks great.

Now if your looking for AAA big budget game then yeah you WILL probably be disappointed.
 
Jul 23, 2018
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Games have gotten more complex and expensive to make so we don’t get as many creative games or new IP like we use to get in the past and also, newer games lack the polish that older games had because of how easy and standard it has become to release patches versus just fixing issues before launch.

Overall, I would not say games are worst. It’s just as you get older it takes more to get excited about video games. I remember as a kid being super excited for the new GTA, Halo, metal gear solid, Gears of war 1 and I have not experienced that excitement for any video game in a very long time. Cyberpunk was close but of course we all know how that went .......
 
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Furball

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It is . Most game right now are either AAA or indie . We lacking mid budget game . Moreover , they are not as varies as they used to be and more focus on appeal to wider audience as service than actually make game fun and creative .

Back in NDS ,GBA , PSP still got alot of smaller scale game each year . But right now even with switch success , barely any type of those game even exist .
 
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Jan 10, 2021
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Tbh i kind of have a contrail feeling about games, i actually think that games about 2 decades back are getting worse, and that degradation line kind of moves forward in time with the years... Purely a function of gameplay refinement, as much as i loved Empire Earth, ocarina of time, goldeneye, Morrowind, etc, in the past, these days things like awkward camera, ui, gameplay, movement, etc, just undermine them. They're getting worse as i gain more exposure to much more refined and smooth gameplay, etc.

Of course, some timeless games sidestep this. But i think Battlefront 2 is the best simulation of Star Wars warfare to date, regardless of how great older titles were. Jedi Fallen Order beats out Jedi Outcast in many ways (not all, one does not simply beat Jedi Outcast), and heaps of that is just down to more advanced technology, and a couple decade's more time for developers to polish their art... Yup.

I think games these days are hella fun, especially kickstarters that sidestep an oftentimes tentative developer environment.
 

Sander Cohen

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I do agree we need more Nier Automatas in this world but last gen I played two personal 🐐 games: RDR 2 and Witcher 3. That alone says me gaming is actually getting better but it seems rate of release for these kind of gems is really slow sometimes.

And I always said this, even when it was unpopular, gaming is unique medium compared to let’s say film or books in that it is constantly evolving and improving, leaving everything that came beforehand behind and making it obsolete.

So IMO, games should be judged in how good they were at the time of the release, not 20 years in the future. Your favorite game today will be shit 15 years from now. That’s not how you do it, you measure impact it had at that point in time.
 
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ssringo

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Been gaming my whole life which dates back to before Nintendo reinvigorated home video gaming. My taste in games have changed over the years so I certainly don't enjoy all the same stuff but I love gaming as much as I ever have.

I know the "problems" in the OP exist but they don't seem to affect my enjoyment of games. Guess I'm just pretty good at picking stuff I like. Not engaging with too much of the eternal whining of modern gamers helps. Especially the Steam forums.
 
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Danjin44

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I'm still enjoy gaming as much as I ever did and thankfully I was able to avoid almost all GaaS and MP games......so for most part I'm happy.

I do wish Sony wouldn't concentrate solely on western games and give us some first party Japanese games.