The Evolution of Gaming: Digital Age

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Now that the dust is starting to settle on the Xbox One and the mob is slowly dispersing, I think it’s a good time to start a calmer and more rational look on the future of gaming and why it is that gamers are not ready for a fully digital age.

Most of us have experienced the ebb and flow of the gaming industry. We saw the coming of the arcade age and then watched it’s slow demise with the Nintendo age. We saw the beginning of the console wars with the SNES and Sega. We saw the progression of Co-op to Multiplayer to Massive Online games. We saw companies come, compete and lose.

We came from floppy, to cartridge, to CDs and now the digital age.

Although I stand on the side of Sony in this new war, I understand why Microsoft did what they did. Gamers have shown an interest in the digital medium with Steam and Indie Game downloads. It only made sense for them to take this to the next level. But ultimately, they forgot one very important fact.

Gaming is an evolution, not a revolution.

Gamers change as the need presents itself. We go where the graphics kick ass, the game play gets better and we get more adventure per dollar.

Convenience. Gamers in the 80s were willing to stand in line with sweaty handfuls of quarters to experience the latest Arcade game but when the cartridge came along, the arcades dried up and the flickering seven foot decorated quarter machines became nostalgia. The 90s kids version of the 50s kid muscle car.

So now we’re at another crossing point. Now we see the slow demise of yet another brick and mortar gaming place… The Game Store.

We rail against the DRM and the Always Online features that Xbox One wanted to force on us but the inevitable truth is it will eventually happen. Not today, not two years from now, but eventually, the Gamestops and the Media Markets will fade along with the Game Disk.

As game publishers offer cheaper prices for digital game copies and larger incentives to purchasing your games online, the used game markets will shrivel. Why wait to buy a used game disk for 30 dollars when you can download your own copy at release for the same price?

Xbox One wanted to control every aspect of digital sales, afraid to allow digital copies of their games to go public without some restrictions. They were afraid that hackers and rogue programmers would simply find a way to repackage those digital files and hand them out like candy on P2P sites. Like a paranoid and over protective parent, they were afraid to allow the gamer to simply go offline, unwatched with the game they purchased and ultimately the paranoia of lost revenue overshadowed good business sense. 

Microsoft ‘is’ right on one thing. Digital IS the future of gaming. But we will get there walking, taking our time getting used to the scenery and enjoying the journey getting there. Those companies who want to make this journey with us are welcome to tag along. 

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One thought on “The Evolution of Gaming: Digital Age

  1. Pretty much what I have been saying to my friends and on Angry Joe’s site. I get what Microsoft wanted to do: force the new level of technology and be at the head of the evolution of technology and gaming. The problem, outside of really crappy ideas, was that we weren’t ready for the push to the digital age. I have plenty of friends who don’t even get a stable internet, and mine is not exactly high speed either. Before then, it was spotty and unreliable; I’m looking at you Comcast! Not only that, but this is a message that was actually said long before Microsoft did this, and oddly on an episode of South Park.

    Said episode featured Cartman being a jerk and wanting a new I-Pad, while Kyle had to deal with legal agreements. At the end, the message was given that basically said to slow down the evolution of technology and try to enjoy what we already have. Moreover, to those that just want better tech, keep in mind not only does speeding up cost more money, but rushed decisions can lead to problems, a lot of them. One example I can think of that rushing is a bad thing is me going into college for the wrong thing without thinking, and now I’m probably gonna be owing $200-300k because of it. Technology rushing? How about video games that were rushed out and turned awful? How about the original Xbox 360 and using plastic for the system which eventually led to system failures?

    Point is, you rush anything, you are going to fall right into the ground and really mess up your face.

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