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Top 5 Worst Trends That Plague This Gaming Generation

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Gamers have been through a lot this generation, from botched console launches to controversies so insane that it got foreign governments involved. This generation felt much more experimental versus past generations, were before we were expected to buy the game, enjoy it, and move on to the next one. That is no longer the case, one game is expected to cross out all sort of checkmarks before it can be considered a success. This has led to some of the worst features that have annoyed all gamers this generation. So let us look back at some of these attempts of failed innovation, and take a look at the top 5 worst trends that plague this gaming generation.

5. Always-on DRM


This is the oldest and still occurring feature of this list. Always-on DRM is a mechanic in which the game must remain online at all times, this is meant to prevent piracy. The earliest mention of DRM came during the Xbox One reveal where it was stated that the Xbox One needed to always stay online. However, this quickly obtained backlash from the community mainly because of the internet accessibility back in 2013, while still widely accessible it was still a questionable decision to implement such a feature. Trying to justify the always-online model created a PR nightmare for Microsoft in theory always-on DRM seems like an easy solution, however, in practice, it is a lot more complicated mainly because not everyone has reliable internet. Before the Xbox launch, this feature was removed, but this wouldn’t be the last time the inclusion of DRM backfired.

SimCity 2013, was long-awaited sequel to the famous city building simulator. Despite the hype and the early press coverage, there was one thing that had gamers worried, always-on DRM. This crippled the game’s fanbase by effecting everyone’s experienced based on their internet connection. The game was also buggy with reported corrupted saves. This landed a strong blow to EA’s image something that we will revisit later on this list. The reason why DRM is low on this list is that despite the initial backlash games requiring to stay online has become a standard part of gaming, games such as Overwatch, and Fortnite only work online and they have gained massive success. Microsoft’s attempt to futureproof their console, in the long run, was a success.


4. Day One Patch


When a game goes gold it means that the game is finished or at the very least is up to studio standard, this is more standard for AAA titles. When the game is first installed there is always a mandatory patch that is meant to work out any final bugs that had to be iron out. However, as many gamers will tell you, that is not always the case. Assassin Creed Unity was the first real game in the franchise that was supposed to introduce Assassin Creed to the new generation of gamers. With a stronger engine that was able to render multiple NPCs, the game also got rid of the PvP multiplayer aspect of the games and replaced it with the ability for four players at a time to tackle the entire story. However, despite the day one patch Assassin Creed Unity was riddled with bugs and game-breaking glitches. The launched had gamers asking what is the point of day one patches? However, this isn’t the worst case of the day one patch.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5, had an infamous development cycle where it was clear that game was being made because of the license right that Activation held on the franchise was about to expire. This resulted in a game that was never finished until the day of release, the game had a notorious day one patched that was bigger than the actual game, this was because the patch was the actual game or at least what was left. The worst part is in the future when servers close down on Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 physical copies won’t be able to download the patch that contained the actual game. Which means that people that buy the disk might never be able to play the game. The most annoying part of the day one patch is that you are not even allowed to enjoy the game until the patch is up, which depending on your internet it could be anywhere from a few hours to a whole day.


3. Games as a Service


As I mentioned before games just can’t have a beginning and an end. In order for a game to be successful, it needs to have replayability. That is where games as a service come in, games as a service means that the game has a timeline of features that will come to the game to keep the player invested. This sounds great because it means that the game will never go stale, however, this also allows the developers to take shortcuts. Games as a service, in practice, means that the game usually launched incomplete or hollow. Once you finished the base game you feel cheated since you still have to wait for the rest of the game to come out. A recent example of this is Anthem, however, the best example of how bad this could get is Destiny. When the game launched there was a reported 10-year plan to support the game, however, this wasn’t the case. With the game offering little despite its budget the season pass promise two DLCs that will bring more to the game. However, by the time House of Wolves, and The Dark Below were released gamers still felt that the game offered nothing. Then came the Taken King DLC which fixed most of the game’s problems, however, the Taken King forced you to buy the game again or pay a price similar to the base game. This continued with the Rise of Iron which also had you pretty much buy the whole game with little to offer.

Another way that games as a service can backfire is when the game is not future proof. Final Fantasy 15 bought the franchise back to relevance with a great looking game that satisfied gamers, however, much like Destiny the game also felt incomplete. Luckily the game promised future DLC that will fill the gaps and add more, these side stories were released fairly priced. The game also got a multiplayer mode, and it felt that the game was going to live for a long time. Unfortunately, Hajime Tabata the lead director of FF 15 had resigned from Luminous Productions and Square Enix resulting in the game support to end. This left the game to just fade away along with unfulfilled promises.

So far, Monster Hunter Worlds offered a complete game with free support that kept the game going, with free monsters and costumes. The game recently got its first real DLC with Iceborn adding another map to the game. However, the best example of games for service is GTA V, which up until this year, despite the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, has released multiple add-ons that have kept it on the top of the sales chart. Games as a service is not bad, it is just a gamble that either gives you an excuse to never stop playing one game or leaves you with a game that is simply empty.


2. Lootboxes/ Microtransaction


Both microtransaction and loot boxes are nothing new to gaming, however, this generation has been the most aggressive with the use of the practice. Pay-to-win is a term that gets thrown around when the topic of microtransaction comes up. The idea that you can simply buy your way into victory rather than by skill. The best solution in gamers’ eyes is to simply make microtransaction something that only effects you cosmetically, however, that quickly backfired as NBA 2k19 was notorious for forcing to use microtransactions for every single part of your character. You even had to pay to get haircuts. Lootboxes, on the other hand, are a different version of microtransaction that includes paying for a package that guarantees the player a form of reward, which is separated with tears of value. With a percentage given to the rarity of the reward. When you combined these two practices the result can become pretty controversial. Lord of the Rings Shadow of War for example force lootboxes to progress further in the game, after backlash Monolith promise to get rid of lootboxes, however, by that time it was clear that they already gained all the money they needed so removing lootboxes was mainly a PR stunt. Of course, when it comes to controversies you must talk about Battlefront 2.

EA’s Battlefront 2 combined lootboxes and microtransactions along with pay-to-win mechanics. This meant that to win you had to spend money on a package that might or might not reward you with an item to help you progress. This cycle plague the early version of the game. This was mostly mandatory since the level up grind was especially aggressive. With the Star Wars franchise being as famous as it is this practice became public knowledge, soon even news networks covered the use of lootboxes as actual gambeling. It is important to point out that Battlefront 2 is rated T, meaning that the earliest age you can play this game is 13, which meant that in theory 13-year-old children were getting told to gamble. The controversy got so bad that other countries needed to rework their gambeling laws to combat the use of lootboxes in general. This had wide impact on the gaming world, games needed to show the drop rate of the items, and depending on the country lootboxes were flat-out banned. Recently, GTA V released their casino DLC which added in-game gambeling, this was quickly banned in multiple countries. NBA 2k20 introduced an aggressive microtransaction system that even got real NBA players to start the #FIX2K20. This is by far the most aggressive trend on the list, however, despite the blowback that the practice has gotten it does not seem to be over any time soon.


1. Battle Royal


Battle Royal is the lasted craze that has taken the world by storm. Inspired by arena-style shooters, along with the Hunger Games concept. Regardless of the origins, the concept of battle royal became popular with PC gamers with Player Unknows Battleground, this early access title took the world by storm. The game was announced to arrive on the Xbox, however, as a strong power move in order to capitalize on the trend, Epic Games released Fortnite Battle Royal, a free-to-play version of their existing zombie shooter Fortnite. Arriving earlier with a free-to-play model and to all consoles, Fortnite stole all of Player Unknown Battleground’s thunder. However, what really cemented Fortnite as a cultural phenomenon was the phone launch, unlike other mobile versions of AAA games, Fortnite Mobile was actually a good game. The controllers were very responsive, and the servers, for the most part, were great.

The massive crossover appeal of Fortnite even gave it in-game events with Marvel’s Avengers, John Wick Skins, and even an exclusive concert by Marshmallow.

Just like Overwatch before it, Fortnite’s success created copy cats such as Radical Heights, and surprise sleeper hit Darwin Project. Fortnite, however, didn’t just influence small developers, but it also influenced AAA developers. When Battlefield V was announced during the E3 conference the developers simple said, ‘Battle Royal,’ and got a large reaction. Call of Duty even tried to get a piece of the pie by introducing Blackout mode, their own battle royal mode. With the game still as popular as ever, it is easy to say the battle Royal trend will carry to over to the next generation. However, these games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and seeing your favorite game adding this mode as a way to simply follow the trend can be very frustrating. The battle royal concept is not bad, but it also doesn’t add anything new. It is accessible, but not challenging and for long-time gamers, this is just a trend. A trend that unfortunately is not close to ending.


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