• Five Reasons This Generation Sucked

                We are now six years into this console generation, and with the announcement of Nintendo’s latest console, the Nintendo Wii U, this console generation is inching closer and closer to its inevitable climax. Generally, when a new console cycle is near, people look back upon what was so great about the previous console generation. Those people are NOT us. With the introduction to new novelties such as high definition graphical capabilities, motion controls, and 3D, there was quite a bit that went awry throughout this generation. It’s as if there was almost TOO MUCH technological innovation (read: experimentation) that caused both major and minor issues with developers, publishers, and the consumers. You’re about to read the Five Reasons This Generation Sucked.


                #5 Downloadable Content


                I believe it’s pretty safe to assume that a majority of you reading our number 5 entry here have all had that moment in time where you would groan at the announcement of a new downloadable add-on that is worth 20 dollars for a game that you just paid 65 dollars for. Downloadable content is the developer’s sneaky tactics to get you to, not only give them more money, but to keep you playing their latest game even longer...allegedly. Very well, it sounds rather reasonable at the moment. Here’s where it begins getting rather unreasonable. Example? Downloadable content announced one week after the game releases to retail, to launch the following week. In some cases, the downloadable content is announced weeks, even months, prior to the game’s retail launch. Did I also forget to mention the game “went gold” a month before the final release? You mean you seriously couldn’t slip this into the game originally? Most games “go gold” about a week before the projected release date, and these developers gave themselves a month’s head start and couldn’t include that one special level? The latest examples of this are Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s ‘Missing Link’ add-on, Batman: Arkham City’s Nightwing campaign, and Battlefield 3’s ‘Back to Karkand’ multiplayer content add-on.

                Another sign that this is getting out of control is the fact that publishers are taking it upon themselves to create clubs to insure you get new, interesting, and exclusive DLC. You can only obtain this DLC if you are an integral part of the “club.” What purpose does that truly serve? The only viable purpose it serves is publisher’s greed. Holding out on people who also bought and support your game because they didn’t want to pay to join a subscription-based club is relatively unfair. In fact, it’s almost extortion.


                "You buy now!"


                #4 Disclosed, Sudden & Long Delays


                So what’s happened during this generation that has caused developers and publishers to become overly-secretive CIA agents? Why do they refuse to tell us what is truly going on with a title. Why were so many titles delayed this generation without reason? If there’s another much anticipated game coming out during the same time another anticipated game is projected to release, a simple excuse can even satisfy me. You can even hint at the truth by saying there’s simply an “obstruction.” If there are internal issues, there should be no reason to not tell the truth. Consumers shouldn’t be left to speculate whether a game is still projected to release or not. By not telling anyone anything whatsoever, you’re just cheating the consumers. This unfortunate event has been happening much more with the PC gaming community as of late. The sudden delay of the PC version of Batman: Arkham City and many Ubisoft developed/published titles. Here’s the hook, these were all intentional postponements to focus on the home console communities. Suddenly delaying a game, without reason, is like developers playing with my money.


                "And playing with my money is like playing with my emotions."

                #3 Extreme Omnipresence of Online Multiplayer


                Online multiplayer. It’s everywhere. Even in titles that never had such a feature prior. Before I even indulge myself into this, I will admit, I am heavily involved in the online multiplayer gaming community and this entry may be a little bit hypocritical on my stance. I’m not going to even attempt to do an introduction on what online multiplayer is like most writers do, all of you know what it is. Since the influx of online multiplayer came about, especially on the Xbox 360, gaming has gone distantly social. You can play video games with people from all over the world, and be called a racial slur of a specific race you don’t even belong to.


                "Screw you, Gingers!"
                Notice the above says “distantly social.” You can play with people from all over the globe, but nowadays, you can’t seem to play a video game with siblings or even some friends you have over going into your fridge without your permission. Unfortunately, they have to sit around and watch you have all the fun. And there’s no way in hell you’re handing over the controller when you’re 30-2 in a team deathmatch of Battlefield. Local multiplayer is almost a thing of the past, and it’s sorely missed. Screen-watching, trash-talking, and having the ability to actually punch the person, who keeps killing you, in the face. That was the good life. Now it’s nearly extinct. Instead, online co-op titles that are, built with only co-op in mind, are trying to take splitscreen multiplayer’s place. It’s just not the same. And with these games built only with online connectivity in mind, local multiplayer isn’t the only thing suffering. Single-player has taken a drastic strike as well. Is it just me, or is single-player campaigns getting shorter and easier by the day? For some franchises on the market, multiplayer is either in development before development on the single-player even begins, or multiplayer and single-player are in development simultaneously. Believe it or not, there was actually a point in time when multiplayer came along much further down the line of development. In some cases, it came along as an expansion post-release…which is kind of like DLC…


                #2 High Costs


                If there’s anything absolutely notorious about this current console generation, it definitely has to be how expensive everything has become. Developers & publishers claim the prices have risen because games are now more expensive to make, so prices have hiked in order for them to make profits, but I’m going to call bullshit on that idea. I simply just don’t agree with that. The production of a video game and a film’s DVD are almost no different from one another (sans overpaid actors, high technological costs, and on-location filming costs), but a film’s DVD doesn’t cost 60+ dollars. Why is that? The film industry makes additional money from box office ticket sales, and essentially, the video game industry earns additional money from overpriced DLC and controller peripherals. Everything seems rather balanced to me between the two. So why am I paying a quarter of my paycheck for just one single video game? PC software is even cheaper than home console software. While a console game costs 60+ dollars, a PC game is still running for only about 40+ dollars. Maybe I’m uninformed here, or maybe I actually have a true addiction to video games and, no matter the price, I will end up purchasing it.


                #1 Pre-Order Bonuses


                Speaking of buying anything no matter the circumstance, what’s up with pre-order bonuses? As is already known, the retail gaming business has been on a pretty steep decline over the past few years. Pre-order bonuses do nothing for them, the developers, or the publishers. All you simply have to do is say to your local gaming shop clerk, “Hey, can you hold this game for me” and they’ll immediately comply. You do not have to fork over any cash in order to pre-order an upcoming title. I’m so annoyed with the idea of not having the ability to slap on an alternate costume, special weapon, or unique gun camouflage onto my character all because I didn’t take the time to pre-order the game. Much like DLC, the developers couldn’t have just initially placed that into the game? I’m buying your video game regardless, so why even have pre-order bonuses to begin with? Especially if it doesn’t cost a dime in regards to pre-ordering in the first place. Nobody should be rewarded for doing absolutely nothing.


                "Okay, bad example."


                Obviously, there's some things in the video game industry that are in need of a change. Hey, speaking of changes, how about giving Five Cancelled Titles That Were Overhauled to Become New Games a quick gazing of the eyes? Follow Lamar Bland (@Crazybone126 ) on Twitter for more sarcastic humor...if that's your kind of thing. Or follow the E-mpire homepage. Join our forums and interact with our community and even the editors themselves, you're in for a real treat...and by treat I mean an uncertain fate.
                Comments 10 Comments
                1. AC!D's Avatar
                  AC!D -
                  I agree with all five points. Nice article. Hell you can add difficult PS3 architecture, hidden console costs, underpowered wii console, paying for Live, broken single player games on launch needing patches, exclusive DLC, degeneration of the gaming media, broken online passes and so much more.
                1. masteratt's Avatar
                  masteratt -
                  "Suddenly delaying a game, without reason, is like developers playing with my money."
                  Not sure I understood that logic?

                  I hate tacked on online but split-screen won't serve me well nowadays. Since I have more online friends than real life friends. Sad, I know. But that's what happens when you are a gamer and you grow up.

                  High Cost, can't be compared to DVDs. Name the last game that released at a worldwide social place (i.e: cinema) and made millions in revenues like films do every weekend. You can't, because it doesn't happen. Games have one and one income only, to sell us the software.
                  And lately, DLC stuff.

                  Agree 100% with pre-order bonus. There is no way you can access every content in the game thanks to this shit, which is just stupid. Like I wanted to play as Robin but my copy came with Catwoman..So what now? I'M SCREWED. They are not even on PSN at the moment.
                  Literally locking me out of content is BULLSHIT.

                  Anyway, nice article overall. I would personally add a few things, but they would be more fitting to "Why Sony isn't the Sony they were last gen" kind of article.
                1. zero 7's Avatar
                  zero 7 -
                  it saddens me to say but i have to agree with all of this
                1. OmniStalgic's Avatar
                  OmniStalgic -
                  You should blog that article^@masteratt ; Good write up though, I would add lack of diverse RPG's into the mix, but this gen isn't over yet, and i honestly expect it to get a lot better as next-gen systems start to garner some attention and current gen prices keep dropping and increasing in user base. So, until them...I'm just gonna have a face on and watch..slowly...
                1. Viper's Avatar
                  Viper -
                  We had a long list of things to put but wanted to narrow it down to just 5. Probably could have made this a top 10 or maybe we'll do a part 2.

                  Good write up, LJ.
                1. Crazybone126's Avatar
                  Crazybone126 -
                  Quote Originally Posted by Viper View Post
                  We had a long list of things to put but wanted to narrow it down to just 5. Probably could have made this a top 10 or maybe we'll do a part 2.

                  Good write up, LJ.
                  Yup, we're going to do a part 2.
                1. venomv's Avatar
                  venomv -
                  I agree with #1 and #3, the rest are situational.
                1. OmniStalgic's Avatar
                  OmniStalgic -
                  There should be a 5 reasons this generation didn't suck...Despite the slow start, and the lack of specific genres, I actually use my PS3 a lot more than my PS2 now. Smaller more unique games on PSN/XBLA, re-playing the best PS2 titles upgraded in HD, Sony's expansion of WWS and the new franchises that came this gen, DLC that's actually good and extends games, the boom of multiplayer games and being connected, portables becoming the new home for JRPG and unique titles etc...Lot of good things happened this gen, and I enjoy it almost equally as last gen, especially now that some of my personal genre of games are showing up more frequently.
                1. SadPanda's Avatar
                  SadPanda -
                  Gotta say from my end I disagree with pretty much all of your reasons for saying that the generation sucked.
                  - DLC:
                  Now I've never purchased horse armor, or horribly broken expansions (lookin at you BioWare/Bethesda) but when other games are allowed to go free to play because of a selection of people buying DLC (most MMO's, League of Legends, Zynga games) which allows more people to experience fun games then I really don't see the problem.
                  Sure we feel a bit ripped when DLC is announced before the game launches but nobody is forcing you to buy it. If people didn't buy it the publishers would probably either just ship it later that year or next as a "whole new game" ala FIFA12 or you'd just never see the content.
                  I think most everyone here would agree with me that if you find a game you really love why not spend a few more dollars for even more fun?

                  -Delays
                  Whatever happend to "a bad game is bad forever but a delayed game is eventually good?"
                  PC delays are probably due to publishers rather having people buy on a console than PC. The percieved benefit of less piracy is probably a culprit. However and again lets be honest how does this hurt you in any way? I can see it hurting the publisher when you buy a different game instead but I can't see it harming you.

                  -Multiplayer

                  Much more accurate than ginger hating neo-nazi's or skinheads...whatever

                  So you(we) all hate to play with bullies. We've known about this for....well...ever.
                  Thankfully you can mute people and still enjoy your game time. One of those few moments where parental controls actually do some good. But really where are you feeling shortchanged on your game time w/the advent of actually usable online systems? You didn't even name a single game where this was the case. The few shitty SP modes i've ran into are for (gasp) MP games. Smash Bros Brawl, CoD, Battlefield, Soul Calibur, Halo Reach. I don't think even games w/tacked on MP were worse for wear. Uncharted 2 and 3 are both great. Dead Space 2 was terrifying fun, from what I hear AC Brotherhood was really worth the price of entry. I could go on, but I don't see how a generation where we finally have (cept for Wii) a working online system is a bad thing.

                  -High Cost
                  I think we forget something. The US Dollar is in the shitter. I'm glad I don't have to shill out $70 for the latest FF.
                  Actually I'm going argue the other way around. For PC gamers, things couldn't be cheeper. PC's are pretty low cost to get into or build yourself given you also get ...ya know a PC for other things. Sales on Steam alone are super huge. Mass Effect 2 for like $8 or something. CRAZY DEAL!
                  For those who Pre-Order Amazon, NewEgg and others have really stepped up w/"pre-order bonus cash" hell even Walmart does it. Getting $20 to spend on another purchase (ie: another game obviously) is really awesome. From the pre-order bonus cash from Amazon I've got around $140 for the PSVita already paid off. Or i could turn that into other games!
                  Yea $60 is still a fair bit of money for a gamble on a game like say "Everybody Dance"... but wait... it was only $40.

                  -PreOrder bonuses:
                  "As is already known, the retail gaming business has been on a pretty steep decline over the past few years. Pre-order bonuses do nothing for them, the developers, or the publishers. "

                  ... Last I checked business were always looking for a way to 1up their competition and drive in sales. If I can get (for nothing as you pointed out) something extra with my purchase at store "X" but not store "Y" then that gives store "X" an advantage yes?
                  Pre-order bonuses drive up hype. They also help sell the game. When you saw people walkin around w/Tshirts for games you might have though: wow what a nerd or hey maybe i should get that game as well.
                  You may not like them but much like a collectors edition people who may not have purchased on day 1 are given an incentive to plunk down cash (sometimes in advance giving the store a free temp loan) and increase the profits for that store.
                1. OmniStalgic's Avatar
                  OmniStalgic -
                  ^I approve this post Carry on