Thursday, March 10, 2016

Longer Games Destorying Industry?

The market is saturated with too many "long" games. That's the argument of today's topic, courtesy of The Verge and an article by Rich McCormick. The center of said argument is that they are time wasters, offering repetitive content that can be found in any other game, and don't improve the gaming landscape. (I'm expounding upon the initial article since the crux of the piece focuses on how much time it takes to finish a game - you have to read in-between the lines).

While a number of you may think that's crazy talk, because we're finally in an era where developers realize that we won't pay $62.99 for a 5 hour game, for those of us with school and jobs to handle, games can take a lot out of our limited free time to play through. Even MOBA's such as League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm can offer an hour or two of relaxation, but the games are designed to hook you so you'll return again, and again, and again. Taking up more of your precious free time to game it up. And when you're an adult, free time really is precious. Obviously I can't speak for everyone, but I know for my life the hours that I do get to game are few and far between. Funny, since I run a gaming blog. It is what it is. I have an 8 to 5 job, as well as my cosplay hobby, and I work a secondary job as a freelancer, and I handle social media for another company, and I try to have a social life outside of all of this - it's a butt to keep up with on some days that gaming takes a back seat. I have to make time for it. So when a product boasts 50 hours of game play, of course I need to sit and consider if it's worth my time.

And then I go and play Dragon Age: Inquisition 3 times and don't bat an eyelash at my 90 hour game time for one character. Priorities! I have them.

In fairness to the blog and to my game life, I have been carving out more time to pick up some of these longer titles. And I can understand McCormick's perspective in regards to the time-sucks that are video games these days. It doesn't offer you the opportunity to play a lot of games. The developers want you to keep playing their product and theirs alone. That's why there's DLC and microtransactions to keep you hooked. The longer the game, the more likely you're going to stay to finish it. If it hooks you, that is. Destiny and League didn't do it for me, and that's okay. Not everyone game is going to grab your attention.

But I don't think the market is saturated with longer games. I think it's centering too much on games asking for more money after the initial purchase, but too many long games? Nah. While it does create the issue of "which game do I play" it's also allowing developers to provide more story and character content then we've seen before. My biggest gripe with God of War III was the lack of a compelling narrative. It's Kratos still going on his journey to kill Gods and Goddesses in a gory fashion. Whoopie. I'd imagine that a 20 hour journey would have been stellar and opened up the depths of Kratos psyche that we haven't seen before. However the reduced time frame of the game really left it to hack, slash, and moving forward to kill more "bad guys."

We also have a myrid of really great indie games that are short and sweet, filling in those gaps of time where we only have a few hours to play, while still receiving great content.

Does the repetitive nature of the longer games get exhausting? Sometimes. I could do without the myriad of escort quests in Final Fantasy XIV, but I'm not required to do those quests. Just like a number of these longer games, you have options for missions on how to approach them and if you want to do them at all.

Keep in mind that you don't have to play one of the long games. It's your wallet. You choose what you want to pay and play. I think McCormick's article makes sense to those who mirror his lifestyle. When you have a job that requires you to play games, then yes. That's a lot to get through. But for the average person? I'll take the longer games. Thanks.

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