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Tech Talk Tuesday: Is Gaming Dead?

Updated: Tuesday, March 11 2014, 02:32 PM MDT
Tech Talk Tuesday: Is Gaming Dead? story image

By Lonnie Valencia

The new generation of gaming consoles have been out for a while now and it’s time to see if they are making an impact on our lives.  Many critics are speculating that the sales of these consoles are not where they need to be.  That speculation is leading to questions from the gaming community (well those left at least.)  Lets get this Tech Talk Tuesday started.

Not so long ago, the gamers were the trend setters.  They were the deciding factor that gave us Blu-Ray discs instead of HD-DVDs.  They put Xbox on the map and froze Sega in Carbonite.  Even now, the companies that make consoles put more forward thought into their boxes to future proof their gaming way of life.  4K TVs are here now, because console games will soon match the breathtaking resolution.  We’re already into the the third month of 2014, however, and console sales are no where near where they were from the last round of hardware releases.  The quick and easy math calculates to not enough gamers left to go around, but, for me, I think the gaming community is just fine.  In fact, I think the opposite.  The gaming community has grown by leaps and bounds. How do I know this?  Where is my evidence supporting my claim?  I’ll tell you.  My 85-year-old grandmother has turned into a gamer.  My father, who is also well past his teenage years, has almost disowned his kin for not giving him jewels on his favorite social game.  These two examples alone show me that gamers have expanded to a wide variety of people.  So why the decrease in sale?

For one, I blame the poor release in games.  This is the first time I can remember waiting in line for a console and not having a clue what game I wanted for it.  Sure there are the good o’l standby’s that are sure to entertain but no real exclusive blockbuster came out at launch for PS4 or Xbox One.  I bought Battlefield 4 and I was hosed with server crashes.  I spent $500 on a new console so I could wait around for good games to eventually come out.  That sucks!  Hopefully for me the release of “Titanfall" today will give me hope.  That brings me to my next gripe about games on the console.  Everything is starting to get stale.  One first-person-shooter makes some money and now that is all you see on the shelves.  There is very little variety in gameplay.  Where is that game that is so different that you can’t help but try it out because “it” is nothing like you’ve seen before.  I’m sure it’s because that’s a gamble no one is willing to put money on.  I would love it never-the-less.

Moving on, I don’t believe the gaming community is gone.  I just think they’ve moved on.  Where? Mobile!  Everyone, by necessity it seems, has a smartphone or tablet and the games there are so much simpler to get hooked on.  I think the innovation is there and so, in turn, I think that is were the gamers have gone.  If gamers equal trend setting then, that my friends, is the place to be for games.  Simple games, social games, hardcore games, a variety of games, are all here ready to be downloaded at a touch of a finger.  This area is where the biggest pool of gamers can be found.  Even my grandmother showed my wife a game called “The bubble Witch Saga” and now they are both hooked.  Video games have single handedly bridged the gap of 3 generations and brought them together on the same topic.  That blows my mind!  Besides knitting, tell me another topic where an 85-year-old person would have common ground with a 34-year-old?  I can’t think of one.

The nail in the coffin, I believe ,is that consoles are just getting too expensive.  The overall cost is just back breaking.  Sure, dishing out $400 or $500 to get the latest and greatest of tech is bearable.  But then you need a subscription per person, you need extra controllers, the games, and now in-game purchases, map packs, season passes, and worst of all clothes for your Avatar.  You want to know why game companies go under?  To me, it’s not because the games are bad and it’s not because it takes an ungodly amount of people to make a game.  It’s because we are micro-paying until we can’t buy any more.  Let’s take my life as an example, I have two kids.  To supply them and myself with an xbox live account is almost $150 a year.  I just bought “Titanfall”  $59.99 plus tax.  There is already a season pass out for around $24.  For me and my sons to enjoy the game to it’s fullest I would have to dish out $234.  To me, the consumer, that is an outrageous amount of money.  Sure, you can say, the live accounts last all year and that covers all games, and you don’t need the season pass to play the game.  I would agree with you to a point, but I would say to you that when games were just games I would use that $234 to buy 2.9 more.  You want to know why gaming companies are dropping like flies?  Because my money is tied up in all the extras forcing me to pick and choose which games I will buy throughout the year.  These gaming companies are cannibalizing themselves by nickeling and dimming me (the consumer) to death.

Stop making me spend my money on extras, think outside the box when it comes to game play, and bring back the exclusives and you’ll see gamers return to the console.  That is what I would tell my beloved industry of console gaming. Oh, and one more thing, bring back true multi-playing.  Don’t get me wrong having a million players playing online is awesome, but when I can't play with my boys in the same room as a multiplayer… what’s the point?  That does it for today's tech talk.  Let me know if you think gaming consoles are done or if I'm full of it.  As always we would love your feedback/suggestions for this or our next edition, so feel free to send your comments to our resident Tech Guy Lonnie Valencia.

Tech Talk Tuesday: Is Gaming Dead?
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