Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Highs And Lows Of Gaming

Assassin's Creed 2 and Modern Warfare 2 are just some of the big titles coming out this holiday season.

So it's the end of October and we are currently in the midst of the end of year rush of titles we see every holiday season. 2009 is a little different to previous years in that, a lot of the expected titles were pushed back into 2010, but even so we have already seen some pretty big names and more are on the way in November. From the likes of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Borderlands to Assassin's Creed 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, there's plenty of titles to be had and a massive amount of gaming to sink our teeth into. A wonderful time to be a gamer then, no?

Well, yes and no.

With so many potentially awesome games around, deciding what to play is a burden that we don't necessarily mind, but there are people out there who are forced to decide between the games that they want, or worse, they can't afford any of them for various reasons. These less fortunate gamers are inundated non-stop with news, reviews and opinions about the games they might not be able to play, and I can only imagine how they would feel while everyone devours the latest and greatest game. When you stop to consider the fact that these gamers share our immense passion for the industry and the progression of the medium, you begin to realise it's a shame that developers and publishers alike feel the need to release all of their products within the same time-frame.

Usually when this onslaught of titles each year is discussed, it's for more personal reasons; one gamer may complain about it because they are struggling to manage their time efficiently across each title they have purchased -- I know I certainly struggled with last year's bunch and I'm still, almost 12 months later, recovering from it -- while another gamer may wish for releases to be spread out more just so he or she has something to do across the entire year. Whatever the case, it is not important and it's, dare I say it, trivial when you consider how lucky we are to be able to afford what we want as it is released. These less fortunate gamers who have to hear about these new, awesome videogames may get a nice impression of whether they'll end up liking them or not, but once that's out of the way it's just mockery as they watch everyone else enjoy the new titles. That's not to say that they don't have games waiting to be played, or that they are not going to enjoy themselves in the meantime, it's just that when so many people are discussing games that are new, it's surely not easy to have to constantly hear about how brilliant everything is. Feeling left out, or behind in this fast-moving, arguably over-saturated market is not a feeling any gamer should feel, so the fact that (I assume) many out there do is a damn shame and again, it makes me seriously wish games were spread out more. Not only would it make way for potentially more sales due to less competition (see: Batman: Arkham Asylum, InFamous, etc.), it would also allow these gamers the chance to share in the highs of our industry a lot more frequently -- surely a good thing for all involved.

With the surprising amount of delays we have seen this year, things are slightly different and games have been spread out a little bit more. Unfortunately, however, those delays then impact on the way 2010 will pan out, a year which was already looking incredibly packed and now has even more titles to think about. The unbelievable thing is, that's before E3 arrives where no doubt even more games will be announced. Come this time next year, our wallets are looking likely to hurt more than ever before, but in the meantime spare a thought for those out there who don't get the privilege of disposable income, multiple consoles and access to whatever they want. These people are gamers too -- imagine how they are feeling as we head into 2010. It's not pretty.


Michelle said...

Autumn 2009 has been the calmest gaming period that I've had in a long, long time. Why? I am starting to get extraordinarily picky about which games I really need at this time of year, because I've learnt from experience that buying up loads of games that I I feel I should be playing just leads to a pile of untouched games weeks later.

That's my personal feeling anyway. I'm trying to get out of the loop of what the game industry wants me to play, I'm feeling much, much calmer because of it.

But that's just this year - last year was insane for me, and I have a horrible feeling that's Spring 2010 could be a repeat of that.

Steven O'Dell said...

Michelle -- Yep, I'm pretty much in the same boat. Last year was crazy, too crazy, so as part of the recovery process for this year I decided to cut back. Which was hard to do at first but then became relatively easy as the months went on, as is evident by going from 5 titles to just 3.

That said, I am just in disbelief with how incredibly packed and potentially awesome next year's lineup is going to be. So many games, already known about, are meant to release. Those alone are enough to make it one of the best years ever. Inevitably even more titles will be announced next year, particularly at E3, making it even more insane.

I just don't even know what to think anymore, if even half of those games meet their expectations then yeah, unbelievable. (listen to me, sounding like a hyped up child -- oh well)