Opinion: We Should Praise Gaming’s Diversity

Sometimes it feels like everyone has a set way they think gaming should be, that it should be only for the “hardcore”, that it should only be on consoles, or PCs, or phones, or whatever new device they’ve rigged to played games; my money’s on hoovers playing Pac-Man next. There are many, including myself at times, who dismiss entire genres out of hand, or show disdain for some business models.

I started to think about this when Jack Tretton talked about how social and free-to-play games aren’t “going to replace the business models that are out there.” He’s right of course, games like FarmVille and SimCity Social aren’t ever going to overtake the industry as a whole. It may certainly seem like that at times, but it’s perfectly possible for varying business models to exist side by side, in fact it may help to strengthen gaming going forwards.

[drop2]His point made me think about the diversity of gaming and how, despite media portrayals, it’s probably the most diverse form of media there is. It’s not just the interactivity that creates this, but it’s the variety of ways in which you can interact, layered on top of other elements. Yes, you can vary your story and your tone, but then you’ve got gameplay mechanics and different types of control (controller, motion controls, touch screens, etc…) that can created near endless possibilities for any game.

We really should praise this diversity, rather than blindly disparaging certain things without really looking at them. For example, just because something’s an RPG doesn’t mean it will be like every other RPG out there, and the same goes for any genre.

Even if there is something you genuinely dislike, I think we should still try to praise the possibilities it opens up. You may not like free-to-play browser games but they’re bringing new people into gaming who would never have played games before, perhaps to people who would even have criticised gaming in the past. Bringing new fans in is only a good thing; it’s much easier to get people who actually play games to accept them for what they really are, rather than what they’re depicted as all too often.

Even elements like DLC can be for the greater good, and open up new possibilities. There certainly are examples of DLC that have seemed like naked profiteering, but it doesn’t apply in every case. Rather than proclaiming that all DLC is terrible and will ruin gaming forever we should praise the new opportunities it brings, the new ways it can open up gaming even further and expand our horizons.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t complain about things that bother us, we certainly should. However, I feel it’s better to look at individual cases rather than casting broad brush strokes. That way games can, hopefully, move forwards, with complaints about exactly what it is we dislike being addressed rather than there just being a huge uproar every time someone announces day one DLC. I’m hoping that I can try and change this in the way I look at things, I’ve certainly been amongst those shouting in the past.

So praise the options that gaming brings. Whether it’s the smallest indie game in the world or a huge AAA title, whether it’s a 2D platformer or a motion controlled dancing game, gaming’s diversity brings something for everyone and we should drag that to the attention of the world.

– PAGE CONTINUES BELOW –

10 Comments

  1. “He’s right of course, games like FarmVille and SimCity Social aren’t ever going to overtake the industry as a whole.”

    They already have, haven’t they?

    • In terms of hours played and number of people playing maybe so, but I’m sure you could find a statistic that says Solitaire is the most played PC game of all time yet that type of statistic wouldn’t give you any reflection on the games industry as a whole.

      It just shows that these games are extremely accessible, being available from an internet browser and free to play. I play a lot of Sim City social (usually in 10 minute bursts in-between whatever I was originally doing), not because it’s my favourite game, but because it doesn’t cost me a penny and it’s easy to access. Easy + free = big numbers.

    • How do you define, “overtake the industry as a whole”? As long as games like FIFA and Call of Duty continue to sell in very large numbers in boxes at £40, you can’t say that there isn’t a place in the market for those sort of games.

    • No, not at all. They have created a NEW industry.

      Have people stopped playing COD, Halo and God Of War and swapped to Farmville? Er, no.

  2. It feels to me like every time a new genre or business model appears in the game industry that people start shouting about how it’s going to change or kill the industry. We had this with cloud gaming, free-to-play, iPhone games etc and now Facebook games. It’s just another type of game, with another type of business model and it’s quite embarrassing that the industry treats it as though it’s the second coming of Jesus.

  3. I think the next gen is the last gen. Don’t get me wrong I love spending my £40 on big titles like darksiders 2, uncharted, God of war but depending on how much software next gen is then that’s it, gaming is suffering a slow painful death. I’m pretty sure I read some NPD & it shows games are dropping down yearly rather than increasing. I find myself on my vita more than my ps3, I’m just at that stage were games on ps3 seem to be a bore.

    Eventually social gaming will become the major gaming platform along with mobile phones, if I was a developer, I would keep my options very very open & not over look a platform at all.

    • Games dropping yearly?

      Couldn’t be the economic climate, could it?

      Every luxury is dropping.

  4. We should praise diversity in gaming as having little to no diversity results in a lot of generic stuff. The FPS genre is proof that it is a genre in desperate need of more diversity as 99% of it is COD clones or BF clones or clones of clones of clones, you get the driff of it.

    The day that diversity in gaming ends is the begining of the end for gaming. Hell, we’ve seen what has happened to Hollywood as they lack diversity and rely on remakes and sequels. I hope that never happens to the videogame industry. :S

  5. Each way you play will always have a dark side especially with some Free to Play and social games. Choice is nice when executed right pretty much like when you release a bad game out of the gates it doesn’t deserve the same recognition or coverage of another that doesn’t have the same type of flaws. Sometimes they get themselves in the position of angry gamers (Eurogamer?) and that can be… bad simply because dlc as with Capcom. Energy that prevents extra houses and Pay 2 win..

    I don’t know… while I don’t mind whats available, to me they have there bad bits and Social simply just gives me a negative impression about it but I don’t perceive it to be the threat to the traditional business model. Pretty much like Android or iOS imo.

  6. I don’t question the idea of diversity, I just do’t think we really have diversity. I am a hardcore gamer and I’m all for people playing the Wii Fit or Farmville if they do so wish. My worry is when those sorts of games start to affect the games that I want to play. If you believe what you hear, free to play will be the future of gaming and I hate that idea. This is an example of how gaming actually loses diversity because of games like Farmville. The ideas that are present in that game have become so popular that they make developers of the ‘hardcore’ games sit up and take notice.

    Its a tough situation, but as with the sharing of ideas and strategies in the entertainment market and gaming not being anywhere near the size of the music or film industries, can we truly have diversity?

    Like I say, I don’t question the idea of diversity.

Comments are now closed for this post.