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Games Entertainment

Video Game Trends In 2008 81

Gamasutra is running a feature looking at some of the most important trends that have cropped up or become popular over last year in the gaming industry. Gamers' outrage over the DRM controversy built up a great deal of steam over the past year, and will likely remain strong in 2009. This year also saw downloadable content being used for new and varied purposes, and many developers are banking more heavily on user-generated content, as in LittleBigPlanet. They point out the increase in retro and neo-retro gaming after the success of Mega Man 9 and anticipation for the new Bionic Commando. What trends do you expect to see more of in the next year?
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Video Game Trends In 2008

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  • Eh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mewshi_nya ( 1394329 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:02AM (#26156333)

    The video game industry lost me a while ago... all I play now is old SNES games (emulated, of course), Guitar Hero, and a few open-source strategy games.

    Lower prices on the consoles does a lot for me. 400 bucks is hard to justify for an entertainment, when that's a semester's worth of books... :\

    50 bucks is a lot easier to justify.

  • by opposabledumbs ( 1434215 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:42AM (#26156595)

    Games seem to be running towards short-and-crappy on consoles. Desktops do seem to be struggling all round, off the top of my head I can only think of 2 major releases to exclusively use this hardware: Spore, which sucked, and the WoW expansion, which isn't really a new game.

    But then I prefer older games on my PC, which have stood the test of time and have been shown to be winners. I like to battle the game itself, and not some foul-mouthed 12 year old who kicks my butt by default 'cos his mom uses the Xbox as a babysitter and he can run through every level backwards due to the amount of free time he has to sit in them.

    Not bitter about it, though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2008 @03:00AM (#26156699)

    Spore, which sucked,

    I've been playing spore fore about ten hours now (which is more than I've spent in a video game since Quake 3 Arena) and I've had a good time. I don't understand why people say Spore sucks when I've watched my friends playing WoW, and I think WoW is lame. (I've played 9Dragons so I'm not totally ignorant to the whole level your guy up to get a new special attack, skill, spell, item or whatever scenario.)

    Spore might not be as good as Mario64, or Portal, but I don't think it sucks.

  • by elysiuan ( 762931 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @03:17AM (#26156767) Homepage

    If you've played it for 10 hours you've seen the whole game, it literally has nothing else to offer you.

    This is contrary to what was communicated (and subsequently overhyped) where spore would feature far deeper gameplay. In earlier version there weren't stats per se for your creature but rather function followed form. The actual shape and layout of your creature determined it's attributes. This got gut to a fairly superficial equipment-esque system.

    I think it's going a bit far to say Spore sucked but it certainly wasn't the revolutionary experience that could have been.

  • Hmm... 2008 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @03:24AM (#26156795)

    A few observations:

    * All three major consoles are competitive. This is good news, as a massively dominant player tends to get complacent (see Sony/PS2)
    * Markets continue to open up. Now, smaller, casual, quirky, and retro games are available on all platforms, not just the PC.
    * Despite predictions of doom, the PC remains strong in the online gaming (MMO and FPS) and casual markets.
    * Hardcore PC games no longer hold the dominant market position, but it's hyperbole to say it's dead. Fewer PC games from big publishers leaves more room for smaller developers.
    * Linux still isn't a popular gaming platform, but still enjoys support (directly or indirectly) from some developers.
    * Most games are still DirectX9/10 switchable (and will be for years to come), thanks to a bone-headed move by MS to limit DX10 to Vista.
    * Co-operative gaming seems to be having something of a resurgence. I really missed co-op gaming from my Doom II days. Gears of War II reminded me of the fun that can be had in a co-op game with a friend.

    Predictions for 2009?

    * Sony@Home will flop, but Playstation 3 sales will still likely eat away at Microsoft's lead.
    * Playstation 2 sales and games will finally start to fall off more seriously near the end of the year.
    * The Xbox will still dominate among console games with an online component of any sort.
    * The Wii will remain strong, but sales will probably sag just a bit relative to the other two consoles.
    * More developers will finally start figuring out how to make games that take good advantage of the Wii's controllers.
    * Online gaming and interactivity will be the topic of discussion in the press, as a slew of new MMOs are released or are close to release by 2010.
    * More PC games than ever will be reliant on some online component (some MMOs, some with an integrated online component), in order to combat the effects illegal copying.
    * Details will be leaked about Microsoft's next console, codenamed "NoMoreScrewupsDamnit"

  • by Manic Panic ( 1434285 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @03:52AM (#26156937)

    About all I know for my part is, as long as I am working on a PC, use a PC and have a PC in my house, I will want a game to play on it.

    Plus, consoles such as the Xbox 360 continues to lack a straightforward way to upgrade its graphics card, processor, memory, and run two screens with a browser on one side, and a game on the other. (I like to read while I respawn, what can I say?)

    And once you can do all those things, why not just call it a computer that hooks up to your TV and uses a controller instead of mouse and keyboard as its standard input device...?
    Because really, I'm seeing less and less difference between a PC and a Console with every new generation that comes out.

    Even the Wii with its unique controller isn't so strange, which is really more a wireless mouse with an accelerometer and a few more buttons than usual.

  • by yotto ( 590067 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:29AM (#26157463) Homepage

    The difference with console DRM is that it's transparent. I'm not saying that makes it more right, of course, but it makes it far more bearable.

    I don't even think about DRM on my console but I'm afraid to put MUSIC CDs in a Windows computer. That says something.

  • by Manic Panic ( 1434285 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:44AM (#26157875)

    Another problem with a shift to the console that's been getting a lot of press lately is the issue of used game sales.

    While the problem of intrusive and or disruptive DRMs leaves players when they shift to the console, developers are being forced to take greater notice of the fact that consoles see a LOT of used game sales, which sees no profit what so ever going to them. Its never been uncommon for people to just wait for a game to go onto the used rack and get it rather than get it new. [it just requires some patience and they get it cheaper, and don't miss any content either way]

    Another facet of the console is that you can rent games quite cheaply. Granted, I think this isn't as big a loss to developers as a license of sorts must be purchased to rent the games out, costing a good deal more than the game normally would). This does however, have the impact of letting people try before they buy, giving more than any demo could hope to.

    With the tendency of games now to provide short play times while continuing to cost quite alot, these games see a higher turn around, going back onto the used games racks quicker and quicker after release, sold by gamers in order to recoup some of the cost of that game (perhaps to buy a game that hopefully lasts longer than a day or so). Whereas, on the PC, finding used games is rare and generally done between gamers rather than a game store (and non-existent if you consider buying online from sources such as Steam, while seeing an increase in profits when you cut shipping and packaging costs for the distributor)

    The idea of having a one use download for the original purchaser, such as the map pack for gears of war, is just one way developers are trying to fight off the growing used games business. A better sounding solution though, is if someone plans to make a game, they work on ensuring the game can be played for more than a day or two. This would naturally see a longer time before games start hitting that used rack. Whether this is through replay-ability, length of story, online content, unending/sandbox content, or episodic content. Perhaps even a mix of the above.

    Using quick solutions like a secuROM or forcing people to buy new by restricting the extended content to a one shot code will just upset people. Unless you go out and make sure everyone knows that if they don't buy your game new (it ought to be fun trying to spin something like that into something positive), they won't get all the content, people are going to buy your game used and get pretty upset when they find their missing their final boss or other half of the story. Their intent to buy used anyways may have been a loss to your profits overall, but the next time you put out a game, they won't want it used or new based on the last experience with your companies product.

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