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video game industryFor the most part, video games are fantastic. I spend a good part of my free time sitting in front of my computer monitor or TV wrapped up in a video game. The fact is, video games are fun, engaging and downright addictive. There are games out there for everyone. Whether you like solving puzzles, shooting people in the face or trying to survive in a horror filled world, there is a video game out there for you.

That being said, there are plenty of things that happen in the video game industry that make me angry. Just when you think everything is perfect, something comes along and takes the wind out of your sails. Most of these annoying things could be avoided, but sometimes it is just an unfortunate side effect that comes along with any big business. I would love for the video game world to be perfect all the time, but the fact is, it just cannot be. There is bound to be bad stuff that happens, and the things I am going to talk about today are the ones that piss me off the most.

Release Dates Pushed Back

One of the worst things that can happen to a video game is their release date being pushed back. Most of the time, it is just a couple of weeks or a month, and I can live with that, but sometimes games get pushed back by a large amount of time. Generally, the game gets pushed back when it is far away from the release, so the anticipation is not too bad, but now and then, a game gets pushed back when it is close to hitting the market, and that really sucks.

video game industry

Let me just say I love Valve, but they are terrible at hitting their release windows. Half Life 2, which was supposed to be an episodic game, is still not wrapped up. It’s been something like 100 years, and we are still left waiting for the next episode. Of course, there is always the most infamous example of all – Duke Nukem Forever. That game missed release dates that spanned multiple console generations. They missed so many release windows that the game became the biggest joke in the history of video games, and no one thought it would ever come out.

Lack of Innovation

I think at this point we can all deal with the fact that the video game industry is sequel driven. When a game is popular, developers and publishers are going to do whatever they can to cash in and make as many variations of that game as possible, and generally, I am okay with that. However, what pisses me off is when they clearly make no effort to innovate between titles and the new version ends up feeling almost exactly like the previous one.

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video game industry practices

Activision is probably most guilty of this. They are well known for releasing essentially the same game over and over again until gamers are sick of it. I like to call this “Tony Hawking” a franchise. Tony Hawk was awesome, and for a while it felt like Activision was really trying to drive the series forward, but at some point they seemed to give up. They kept spewing the same game out every year, and eventually gamers spoke with their wallets and stopped buying it.

Sports games are also huge offenders. I understand there is only so much you can do to change hockey or football, but it still annoys me when NHL 2011 and NHL 2012 are indiscernible from each other.

Overhyping a Game

Developers and publishers are only partially to blame for this, as much of the onus falls on the gamers themselves. Of course, it is the job of PR to get gamers excited for a release, but most overhyping comes from players who get too excited for a game and honestly believe that it is going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. The game comes out, and is a good solid 9 out of 10, and they are genuinely disappointed. They built their expectations so high that there was no way any game could ever live up the that. (I think I am actually doing this to myself with Borderlands 2, so I am just as guilty as anyone).

video game industry

The list of games that are overhyped is massive. Of course, every Call of Duty game is overhyped. Everyone thinks it is going be the second coming, but in reality, it is always just a slightly improved version of the last one. For some reason people were hyped on Duke Nukem Forever, although I can’t imagine why. It was pretty safe to assume that game was going to be garbage, and of course, it was. Even Mass Effect 3 was overhyped to some degree. It is a great game, but the fact that people are filing complaints to the Better Business Bureau just shows that their exceptions for it were way too high.

Conclusion

As I said from the beginning, I love video games. However, sometimes stuff in the video game industry pisses me off. I wish everything could be perfect all the time, but as with anything in life, there will always be negatives. After all, if there were no unimaginative sequels, overhyped games and pushed back release dates, we wouldn’t appreciate it when a game nails these things perfectly.

What happens in the video game world that makes you mad? Let us know in the comments!

  1. 74bb231d320a5994c6a25326ae1284b3
    May 10, 2012 at 1:43 am

    First of all. I couldn't agree more with the state of many franchises. Pick up a few copies of ANY first person shooter and you will be playing the same game over and over again. What's the difference? Aesthetics. How the games look, sound and feel are all the different. How they are played is not. But who is to blame? The Developers? Maybe. The Consumers? Yes, in a way. What about the publishers? I wouldn't doubt it.

    See devs don't always get to make what they want. They work for larger companies who are cutting all the checks. When a game series like Call of Duty hits the sales charts with a bang, get ready for another. Because these people high up on the totem pole want their money back and then some. But is it truly their fault for wanting to make a decent living? Especially when you continue to buy the same game over and over again? I loved the Tony Hawk series. I thought they were really going somewhere with the Underground games (they at least had a decent story to break up the same repetitive gameplay) and that is the only reason I bought THUG 1 & 2 and TH3. The others would have been a waste of money.

    My advice for this is, as others have already commented, play some indie games! These guys (and gals) do all this work, and they pay with their own time, sweat, and cash. They don't have publishers and disconnected corporate executive breathing down their necks. They have one thing. A vision. And they are going to make that vision into an incredible, unique game.

    Secondly, you complain about over-hype; I think its great! ...to an extent. See, getting excited, even too excited, about a game you know you'll love, is an awesome thing. However, in this heightened state of euphoria, you become more susceptible to speculation. Speculation is the blight of consumer anticipation! Don't believe everything you read! Know where your gaming news comes from. Know whether or not you can trust that source. And even then, take everything with a grain of salt, because until that game hits shelves, anything can change. So get pumped about a game you think you'll like!

    Lastly, some people here commented on DLC. DLC is an amazing aspect of the industry. Some may complain about having to pay extra to be able to finish the game but what you probably don't realize, is that the game is finished. No DLC will ever make you pay for a core part of the basic game. The large packages aren't essential to the main story! They are expansion packs. That's right EXPANSION packs.

    I know what many of you are thinking, "Oh, but what about ME3? Huh? I had to pay to finish the main storyline!" WRONG! You didn't HAVE to pay for anything. No one HAS to spend their hard earned money on DLC. Developers know what they are doing and they aren't going to rip people off like that. They are in the business of making money through entertainment. You wouldn't be entertained if they were cheating you like that. ME3's core game has a storyline that stands alone. The expansion simply expands it.

    So in conclusion, event though the industry is growing rapidly, it is spiraling into a sad state where creativity is being pushed out, bit by bit. So do not complain about what is wrong. Stop conforming to the problem. You said it yourself. People spoke out about the Tony Hawk franchise with their wallets.

    P.S. I apologize for such a lengthy comment.

    "Game design is part tradition, part anticipation, and a lot of innovation."

    • 74bb231d320a5994c6a25326ae1284b3
      May 11, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Well, that was weird. Sorry about the second post everyone!

  2. James H.
    May 10, 2012 at 1:35 am

    First of all. I couldn't agree more with the state of many franchises. Pick up a few copies of ANY first person shooter and you will be playing the same game over and over again. What's the difference? Aesthetics. How the games look, sound and feel are all the different. How they are played is not. But who is to blame? The Developers? Maybe. The Consumers? Yes, in a way. What about the publishers? I wouldn't doubt it.

    See devs don't always get to make what they want. They work for larger companies who are cutting all the checks. When a game series like Call of Duty hits the sales charts with a bang, get ready for another. Because these people high up on the totem pole want their money back and then some. But is it truly their fault for wanting to make a decent living? Especially when you continue to buy the same game over and over again? I loved the Tony Hawk series. I thought they were really going somewhere with the Underground games (they at least had a decent story to break up the same repetitive gameplay) and that is the only reason I bought THUG 1 & 2 and TH3. The others would have been a waste of money.

    My advice for this is, as others have already commented, play some indie games! These guys (and gals) do all this work, and they pay with their own time, sweat, and cash. They don't have publishers and disconnected corporate executive breathing down their necks. They have one thing. A vision. And they are going to make that vision into an incredible, unique game.

    Secondly, you complain about over-hype; I think its great! ...to an extent. See, getting excited, even too excited, about a game you know you'll love, is an awesome thing. However, in this heightened state of euphoria, you become more susceptible to speculation. Speculation is the blight of consumer anticipation! Don't believe everything you read! Know where your gaming news comes from. Know whether or not you can trust that source. And even then, take everything with a grain of salt, because until that game hits shelves, anything can change. So get pumped about a game you think you'll like!

    Lastly, some people here commented on DLC. DLC is an amazing aspect of the industry. Some may complain about having to pay extra to be able to finish the game but what you probably don't realize, is that the game is finished. No DLC will ever make you pay for a core part of the basic game. The large packages aren't essential to the main story! They are expansion packs. That's right EXPANSION packs.

    I know what many of you are thinking, "Oh, but what about ME3? Huh? I had to pay to finish the main storyline!" WRONG! You didn't HAVE to pay for anything. No one HAS to spend their hard earned money on DLC. Developers know what they are doing and they aren't going to rip people off like that. They are in the business of making money through entertainment. You wouldn't be entertained if they were cheating you like that. ME3's core game has a storyline that stands alone. The expansion simply expands it.

    So in conclusion, event though the industry is growing rapidly, it is spiraling into a sad state where creativity is being pushed out, bit by bit. So do not complain about what is wrong. Stop conforming to the problem. You said it yourself. People spoke out about the Tony Hawk franchise with their wallets.

    "Game design is part tradition, part anticipation, and a lot of innovation."

  3. Jennette Sanford
    May 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm

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  4. Robert Ruedisueli
    May 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    The solution to over-hyping is easy. Don't pay attention to it.

    Seriously, Sega has over-hyped every Sonic game for the past ten years to the point that the fans think the games are crap. However, if you go in expecting an average game, you usually are pleasantly surprised to find it better than average.

    As of the delays, simply release half the game, that simple. Release a smaller game with a few levels, then release new episodic content regularly as DLC or new games (preferably the players choice.) That way you don't have to finish writing enough levels for 120 hours of single player gameplay to launch the game, but you can still have well over 280 shipped, and get the player to pay about twice as much total, as they will pay about a quarter as much for the first game, but continue to pay that much for each installment.

  5. Toby
    May 2, 2012 at 7:02 am

    2ksports is really guilty of "tony hawking". They release essentially the same basketball game everywhere. i got my ps3 when 2k10 came out, and 2k12 has some of the same bs. The same things need to be patched every year. My player is always unplayable to the end of the season EVERY YEAR until around december when they release a patch. to make matters worse they never fix the exploits they claim they will fix, they just cover it up and give u a stripped down demo that falsely advertises features of the game to make you believe they fixed something. Some years they take 2 steps back rather than a step forward. they take out some aspect of the game that is perfectly good and replace it with something trash, don't release a patch, and promises you that it will be fixed by the next game release (which it won't). last year 2k11 required some skill, but on 2k12 any kid can come in and pick up a remote for the first time, choose a top team, and give veterans comp. 2k actually said it themselves that they are so sorry for the major problems in the game this year because they used new code; they've been using the same code since Sega dreamcast when the first 2k basketball game came out. We should be able to sue companies like this and win big.

  6. Gustavo Ibarguengoytia
    May 2, 2012 at 2:40 am

    I would add a forth thing I hate about video games, especially recently, DLC.

    I sold my copy of Skyrim after finishing the main campaign because well, it was Oblivio all over again but with Dragons, or Fallout 3 but with Dragons. And then a friend told me that I've made a mistake to sell the game because of the new DLC will make the game more awesome. And I told her: Well as a consumer I don´t like and don´t think that in order to have a great product I should buy DLC, expansions or add-ons. Either your product is solid from the start or it isn't and if it isn't don't try to sell me more stuff, after I paid retail value for it just to make it worth it.

    • Yannis Vatis
      May 2, 2012 at 6:20 am

      I agree about DLC in respect to how it is implemented. Contrary to what the industry thinks, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. I think as long as the game expands from the main product or adds some fluff stuff then it's valid because it doesn't necessarily force you to buy it. Now, when DLC involves adding something that should have been part of the main package (i.e. actual ending to the story, essential parts of the game etc.) or going the pay to win approach (i.e. weapons with stats in RPGs) then it's just a blatant exploitation of the customer. One of the worst offenders to me are fighting games when they sell characters. Characters are THE core part of the game and when you go online to fight people who have characters you don't even have the chance to practice against then it's just not an even match.

      I also think that DLC and expansions should be put into two separate categories. DLC can be little bits of content but expansions imply a much bigger package that increases the replay value of the game. With relevance to your Skyrim example, if the DLC in question is like an expansion then I guess it's valid. As long as the package delivered the features, content and other core elements that were advertised I see no reason why not to make expansions to increase the life of the game.

    • Toby
      May 2, 2012 at 7:13 am

      I couldn't agree more. DLC's are scams if you have to pay for them. 2ksports is another culprit. when nba 2k12 was released during the nba lockout, the game was so terrible that they tried to better the game by making new modes like Legends Showcase available for download. Basically you can play street ball with Jordan and Larry Bird. WHO FRIGGIN CARES?!?! These basketball games have milked Jordan's image as a selling point for their games for far too long, and it's really just a cover-up for the crap job they did making the game. If I can remember right, the guy at the store told me that since I bought the game on release day, I could use the code inside and redeem 2 classic teams online for free. Later on they'll be online and you'll have to pay for them if you want them...

  7. Austin
    May 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Yeah, what I call the "Activision Effect" (Tony Hawking is another good term) is what annoys me the most. Activision makes sure they release a new Call of Duty game every year, just to milk the franchise and get more money. That is too much, we don't need 6 games that are all the same. They did the same thing to Guitar Hero, look what happened. That's gonna be Call of Duty soon if they aren't careful.

    The release date thing I can live with, because it annoys me much more when the developers rush the release to meet holiday season or whatever, and the game is incomplete or full of bugs. I'd rather wait a few months longer and get a nice, finished, polished product.

  8. Scutterman
    May 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I would add ever-increasing prices and insane DRM to that list to make it an even 5. I say "insane" DRM because not only is it expensive to the company (which gets passed onto the consumer), but it just doesn't work and it inconveniences honest players.

  9. Matt Smith
    May 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    The lack of innovation is what really pisses me off. Both in terms of gameplay and in story-telling.

    Having played games for year, I buy fewer and fewer new games because I'm not sure what they offer over older ones besides better graphics (on the PC). The stories have been told. The gameplay has been done. Even leaders like Bioware and Valve have fallen into familiar patterns.

    You really need to play indie games to see the dial move at all - but they're usually short, or have poor production values, or take pride in being crazy difficult.

    • Yannis Vatis
      May 2, 2012 at 6:27 am

      The "sequel syndrome" the overall entertainment world has been afflicted with is what really baffles me. When a successful franchise debuts and sells well then for the next game there is a high expectation bar that needs to be crossed. My best guess would be that developers hit a crossroads with two choices: do we just improve it a bit and play it safe or radically change it and risk flopping? The former when done right makes for pretty decent sequels that in most cases are worth buying, But when they do the latter then it will either make or break a good series. Makes you wonder, if they are going to radically change the game then why not just make a new title?

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 5, 2012 at 5:06 am

      I feel the same way. I mostly play indie games these days -- of course, they also have the benefit of being crazy cheap on Steam, so it's not all bad.

      I suppose that's kind of the same with other media, too -- I don't watch movies much anymore, either. Theaters are full of the same few movies shot over and over again.

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