With every new generation, there’s hope for something newer and grander. It’s what makes events such as E3 so exciting, often offering a glimpse into the future. Frankly, the future isn’t that exciting.
Once a beacon for innovation and creativity, it looks like Nintendo is struggling to find inspiration. The Wii U was a giant gamble that heavily marketed the touchscreen/second screen experience. While Nintendo was able to lead developers on how to best implement the Wii’s motion controller, it’s finding it hard to justify the touchscreen. While the newest Mario and Super Smash games look great, they don’t seem to point out a reason to use the second screen at all. This places a burden on third-parties to try to utilize the extra screen, while also having to rework their entire games due to the Wii U’s underwhelming power. It’s a lot of work for a system that has failed to light up in sales.
However, Nintendo consoles are always about the first-party. Unfortunately, this is where is it of greatest concern. I don’t have a qualm with having a new Mario Kart or Super Smash, especially as it’ll be in glorious HD. Unfortunately, from what has been shown, that may be the only drastic change. At least with the Wii, Nintendo would demonstrate new ways to control Mario or innovative methods of driving. This generation seems to be more along the lines of classic favorites with HD graphics. An emphasis on graphics is exactly what Nintendo has been against in the past. Ultimately, it’ll be a losing game. Nintendo cannot win this generation with just first-party titles.
However, the champion of 3rd-party titles is also just as frustrating. Anti-consumer policies and frustrating mandates only further reinforce that Xbox is less for the gamer and more for the publishers. Theoretically, this could turn out great. After all, happier publishers mean more and better games. Unfortunately, if E3 is any indication, more doesn’t mean better. E3 was an array of bland updates and uninspired sequels. It’s not even about personal preference; the games on display are akin to Hollywood blockbusters. They are flashy, expensive, visual splendors that lack substance. Seriously, is Ryse the worst thing ever or what? It’s essentially a bunch of quick time events that demonstrate flashy action and nothing else. It’s true that visual presentation will always make the loudest impact at these conventions, but nothing outside of E3 has shown otherwise. There’s so much potential with AI improvements and storytelling methods that are being squandered by an uncreative atmosphere. Even worse, Microsoft seems to have no regard for indie development, the most creative sector in gaming. Frankly, Xbox One is more exciting for everything non-gaming than gaming, and that’s a problem.
Sony was the darling of E3, shining a beacon of hope for gamers. Well, I’m not too impressed. Its grand E3 presentation was chock-full of games that are third-party. While Xbox One was showing off timed exclusives of Battlefield maps, Sony had exclusive beta access. It’s clear that Sony doesn’t have as much sway as the computer giant. As for the great price point? It’s about the same price as the Xbox One. The only difference is that Sony lets you choose if you want a camera.
There’s also the whole issue of PS+. Yes, it’s a great deal to get these free games, but paying for online gaming is ridiculous. Always has been, always will be. Sony will also have the same issues as Microsoft with its arsenal of technical masterpieces that fail to innovate.
I don’t hate gaming; there are a lot of games I still look forward to. It’s also true that some of these complaints may seem nit-picky and premature. However, it’s a genuine concern. This past generation is proof of it. These game companies are going through the motions of a generational improvement. They are being too passive in a fast-moving world. Technology is growing in leaps and bounds, changing how we interact with everything. I just hope that gaming development can keep up.