Now that most family homes have some sort of broadband internet connectivity the video game industry has had to adapt to a new breed of video gaming. While some game developers have tried to pre-empt the change to internet gaming with DownLoadable Content, Mass Multiplayer Online or In-Browser gaming, hoping to find new ways in which to overcharge its consumer base, the true future of internet gaming has, as is usually the case, silently sneaked up upon us.
How high will video game prices soar?
The problem with DLC, MMO and In-Browser gaming is cost to the player. Each of these ventures requires players to pay for either new content or continued use of said content, AKA a subscription fee; which can prove too expensive for players, especially in such financially challenging times that we are all currently facing, and when considering the rising cost of video gaming, with the average newly released console games retailing at around £50/$75, the high price of the next generation consoles and the sky high costs of gaming PC's capable of playing today's technologically advanced games.
The ability to mold the world your way has ensured Minecrafts success!
Not only are subscription fees and DC slowly turning away the majority of gamers, many games themselves are also turning away players. Gone are the days of casual gaming, the arcade and the “swap shop”; no longer do gamers want to buy a new instalment to a game franchise each year, for little to no new content. As such many gamers have been turning towards games like Minecraft and GTA Online, games they can play with and share with their friends. Players want a game that will grow and evolve beyond its original vision. These games allow players to play with and/or against their friends and/or other players in vast, expansive virtual worlds, customising and adding to the game experience themselves with an infinite supply of new content, reforging the game in their vision and keeping the audience of that game, the games community and the game itself alive.
The sheer choice of activites available in GTA Online has set the bar very high for future games!
Community Gaming has, unsurprisingly, been around for many years but it is only in recent years, and thanks to developers like Mojang and Rockstar that it has been realised, but its potential has yet to be truly unlocked. What is needed is a more open developing environment for gamers to get truly creative, in a game they can enjoy for 30 minutes or for 30 hours, and it seems the grand-daddy of Community Gaming, Epic Games, ma have the answer. Recently the developer of the much used Unreal Engine, used by many developers, found themselves in hot water with their fans when they released Gears of War Judgment; a game of which the content and the key changes regarding the games “medals” should have been applied to the already widely played Gears of War 3. But, after selling the Gears of War franchise to Microsoft Games and the loss of key founding staff such as Cliff “Cliffy B” Bleszinski, the developer has returned to its roots with the announcement of their next, big game – Unreal Tournament.
The First Person Shooter in which players compete with and/or against other competitors in explosive deathmatches for victory is making a return, but not the way you think. The game was “released” last summer as a pre-alpha version, as the game is being co-developed, openly by both Epic Games and its community of fans – both the the developers and the players are making the game, from scratch. If that wasn't astounding enough, when the game is capable of being released as a full 1.0 version it will be released for free, not free-to-play with hidden micro-transactions, 100% completely free. At which point development will continue for the foreseeable future by both the fans and the developer, evolving the game for years to come.
Doesn't look like much yet but the new Unreal Tournament is a bold move by Epic Games!
Such openness added to community games like Minecraft and GTA Online would propel the popularity of video games out into orbit; the ability for gamers to co-develop their favourite games alongside the developers of the game is man a gamers dream come true, and could open up the video game industry to a golden age of creativity last seen in the hay-days of the ZX Spectrum.