I recall back when a new gaming generation meant big things, and a pretty major leap forward in evolution. The jump from PlayStation to PlayStation 2, for example, was enormous, with such massive differences to games that it was like night and day. More system memory meant bigger, more complex gaming worlds, and that power was utilised to innovate in extraordinary ways. One couldn’t help but gape, and wonder how much better it could possibly get.
The next leap, from the PlayStation 2 to the masterfully named PlayStation 3, was also a fairly significant step, but I can’t have been the only one that noticed it was perhaps not as big a leap as perhaps was expected. And, when the PlayStation 4 finally came round, the leap was perhaps more of a shuffle performed by an elderly man along the boardwalk. As it turns out, there is only so far games can evolve in terms of spectacle before they begin to plateau.
I will be the first to admit that I love graphics technology. I get endless hours of entertainment from simply wondering around game world with the graphics settings pushed to ultra. Yes, I play on PC, be still your mouths filthy console peasants. PC gaming is just better. I’m joking, relax.
But I’ll also be the first to admit that graphics are no what make the actual game part of a game enjoyable. At some point the game itself actually has to be enjoyable, else it isn’t much of a game at all, it’s a showpiece. The thing is that there is arguably nothing the PlayStation 4 can do in terms of actual gameplay that the PlayStation 3 could not. The evolution between the two was in terms of graphics, and I think I’m right in saying that very little, if any, gameplay evolution occurred at all. And, more to the point, I think gamers have started to realise this.
Wet Squib Generation
As I write this blog the PlayStation 4 Pro has been released, and the Xbox One Scorpio, I believe it’s called, is on the verge of release. When I heard about these new consoles I was a little perplexed, since I had been waiting for the two existing consoles from both companies to pick up some steam, and start getting serious about their game releases. Where were all the major, game industry evolving releases?
Imagine my surprise when it dawned on me that there weren’t going to be any. I realised, with some sadness, that the generation had given it’s best, both major companies had given everything they could offer, and, forgive me for saying; it had all largely been a wet squib.
I notice an immense lack of interest, in both of these new consoles, trying to squeeze even more money out of an already unimpressed industry, and feel we are entering into a new era of gaming. Or at least, we must be entering into a new era of gaming, if the industry hopes to stay alive at all. Because I’ll tell you one thing, I don’t know anyone who has any intention of buying and Xbox One Scorpio, or PlayStation 4 Pro.
But Where To Evolve?
The question asking myself, though, is where the gaming industry could evolve to from here? Yes, the technology is reaching a plateau point, with little room to further evolve, but what exactly does that leave?
Well, I noticed virtual reality, much like everyone else, and am aware of the enormous potential. This could indeed be a major stride forward for the gaming world, jolting it into a new direction that changes the way we think of games forever. But I just can’t help but doubt that every game will adopt virtual reality. And no, not just because of the current price tag currently attached, but because although impressive, VR seems to add more limitations than the average person will be happy about.
Return To The Roots
You’ll notice that there is one form of gaming that has remained virtually unchanged, not just for generations, but for centuries. I’m talking, of course, about casino games. Yes, they went online and turned digital, but the core rules of the games are completely unchanged. Casino games do not need impressive graphics, or impressive technology to be enjoyable. They are, just by their nature, fun games.
I notice also the massive surge of retro style games currently pouring onto digital sales platforms like Steam, and see that they do away with virtually all reliance on impressive graphics and technology, in favour of simply being fun games. And yes, I think there is a pretty obvious connection. I think I know where the gaming industry must evolve in order to stay alive, or at least have an idea about it. And I’ll tell you one thing, my super powerful gaming PC might be all that necessary for the next evolution of gaming. I hope it is to some extent, though, I paid a lot of money for it.