Opinion: Will Gamers Ever Be Satisfied?

“The Next Generation” will be the most written phrase on this website for the rest of 2013. Everything about our pastime/hobby/way of life has geared us up to crave the next step, the next evolution, the next technological leap, and this generation has exacerbated that fact, with its extended lifespan in the face of economic morbidity.

In a society where we’re all now hyper connected – to information, and to each other – we’re able to discover, digest, and deride every single morsel of information that the console makers provide, and in many cases the information they don’t provide too. We’ve been labelled “insatiable” by Nintendo’s Reggie Fils Aime, and we are.

Now, however, it has to be considered that we will never, ever be satisfied again.


How long will it be until we start complaining about features the PS4 is missing?

No matter what final feature sets we see in the PS4 or 720, there’ll be some part of it amiss. Discrepancies or hang ups will be texted, tweeted and updated before the new console smell has faded away, and even if that issue isn’t yours, it’ll become yours.

Mass Effect 3 has taught us that if we rage long enough and loud enough important people will listen, and it was a poor lesson to learn. That sense of entitlement, coupled with the camaraderie of our friends list, will ultimately still only lead to shared and amplified dissatisfaction.

Even the most ardent supporter of Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft has to admit that they all have their flaws. We’d be foolish to believe that the next generation will suddenly make the issues they’ve had previously suddenly disappear; sooner or later, the patches, upgrades and add-ons will reach their limitations and the only way to remedy them will be to turn to the next, next generation.

[drop]Many of us have grown up with this industry, and in those early years you lived in the happy surety that your console was simply the best one because you loved it. Whether you were playing Centipede on an Atari 2600, Mario Bros on the NES or Quackshot on the Megadrive, it was a more personal experience.

The connection between you and your machine was absolute, and without the weight of expectation of feature sets, online infrastructures or co-operative play there was fundamentally more time for enjoyment.

Perhaps the combination of our own youth and the relative youth of the industry amplified this, and that sensation will never be recaptured. Even if you did ever experience the pangs of jealousy at your best friend’s system, assisted by the goading of Mean Machines or CVG, you didn’t have a digital world on hand to dismantle your own console’s every last shortfall. Sadly that’s all we can ever look forward to now.

We can of course hope that software will transcend all of this, and at times it will. The next generation will give developers even more opportunities to break expectations and to create something meaningful. 

Games like Journey and The Unfinished Swan will hopefully become more prolific as gaming matures, and perhaps that maturity will extend to us as gamers. Our industry is tied in so many ways to adolescence and adolescents are rarely satisfied. A next step absolutely needs to be taken for us to avoid being in a constant state of disappointment.

Let’s hope we don’t have to wait until the next, next, next generation for that step.



  1. The way of the internet seems quite clearly a place to moan, groan and disagree with everyone…. even when you realise you are wrong doing so. It stems from this that those moaners and groaners create a wagon with a band on it to sort of tag team their way to noisier sounds.

    Its very easy to say “Just enjoy what you have, buy what you want. Dont listen to haters. Haters gonna hate” but I believe much harder to do.

    Good article btw Mr Dom. A topic I have been pondering myself recently.

    • Agreed, until this bandwagon came along it wasn’t so easy to be vocal. Although, I don’t remember having the need to vent any frustration playing Alex Kidd on my Master system, I was too overawed. We’re just spoiled now I guess.

  2. Sorry to pick up on one phrase in what is no doubt a balanced piece, but;

    “The Next Generation will be the most written phrase on this website for the rest of 2013.”

    I really do hope this isn’t true – I am much more interested in what is going on right now, what is available to me now, what is coming out soon, what is good/bad/meh rather than “something will be happening sometime in the future”.

    I know a lot of us here are looking forward to what is to come & that is completely understandable, but i do hope that doesn’t cause the reporting to focus solely on that, as some of us really couldn’t give two flying hoots to be honest.

    • With you on this one, Forrest. The future is bright with technology which’ll make our lovely games play even better (we hope) but let’s keep a well trained eye on the now. The “now” being the bit where we actually part with our money on a regular basis and get to play games NOW. :-)

  3. The 14th of June my hunger will be satisfied!

  4. Games have become more and more diverse and as a result gamers have too. At best a small number maybe satisfied but that will be at the expense of another group.

    When games were far simpler it was easy to either like games or not, now there is so much to them, so many different roads for developers to take. The ability to share an opinion so easily only makes it worse. Then there are are gaming “news” websites that produce stories just to trigger as many people complaining/arguing etc… as possible to keep their site hits up. (TSA isn’t one of them). A large part of the gaming media which should be championing gaming actually seems to exists to keep as many people dissatisfied as possible.

  5. Is it really so bad to want a product to be the best it can be? Is it also so bad to want to get the most value for money?
    The implication that people can’t dislike something about something for the sake of not “hating on it” is quite frankly, ridiculous. It seems this only applies to video gaming too. If I don’t like a movie, critics or film companies don’t label me a “hater” or as “entitled” but acknowledge that their opinion differs from mine or just ignore it.

    • Ooo, yes. Agreed. When you’re pointing something out people think you’re tearing it a new one, whereas, we simply live in an imperfect world and improvement will always be possible.

      Ah, the internet. It has your opinion already fabricated. :-\

  6. It’s such a strange article to read, Dom. What you’re doing here is pointing out the self-entitlement of the 1st World consumer society we live in. As a gamer, am I satisfied? Good god, yes! Have you seen the games we’re playing? They’re absolutely stunning in almost every way. We’ve seen Austin Wintory up for awards outside of gaming (for Journey’s soundtrack). We’ve seen countless celebrities, over the years, embrace gaming; make it part of our culture even more so. We’ve seen the consoles come into the living room like never before; to play our films, surf the internet and tool around with our games in a way we couldn’t have possibly imagined twenty years ago.

    Are there little gripes here and there with every bit of kit? Sure, but get a grip on reality! (not aimed at you, Dom) ;-)

    Our quality of life will only continue to improve and that means pretty much everything.

    Do I look at Killzone 4’s gameplay trailer and think “sweet pigs in blankets, did you see that?”. Yep. Even if I don’t play it, it shows me the power that’s on tap for developers to utilise. “Now” is an awesome time and one that I’m very much satisfied with. If you think otherwise it might be worth putting down the controller for a little while and gaining some perspective on life. :-)

    • I’m hugely glad that you’re satisfied Mike! And I genuinely am too :)

      I think that the article sprang from the last three console launches where I’ve picked them up on day one (3DS, Vita and Wii U) only to see the world and their mother pick them apart immediately afterwards. I was and still am enjoying the experiences I’ve had with them, and their software, but those experiences have been soured to some extent by the enhanced connectivity which we all enjoy. I don’t remember the earlier console-wars having anywhere near the same impact on me; I was happy with what I had.

      I think the readership at tsa is far more inclined to equal consideration and discussion and that’s a huge part of why I enjoy it here, but there are many more sites where that isn’t the case.

      Perhaps a big part of it is some regret at the loss of a more innocent time, and a hope that a more enlightened one is to follow :) thesixthaxis is obviously already there mind you ;)

      • “I think the readership at tsa is far more inclined to equal consideration and discussion”

        Totally agree.

    • I’ll never be satisfied as a gamer because there’s too many great games out and I don’t have enough time to play the buggers!
      It takes me that long to get through each game that my backlog never seems to get any smaller, and this is for someone who rarely buys a game until its in the bargain bin. Only game i bought new in the last year was blops11, due to me being a tight-arse. (Then it was only £30 anyway)

  7. What was wrong with Mass Effect 3? ;)

  8. I actually hope that we are never satisfied. I feel we should always ask for more or ponder the omission of features; it’s a way of refining our experience, and it’s another step forward to the perception of perfection. It feels very much like a life lesson, not just restricted to gaming.

  9. This is the way the internet works. Usually people come online to moan about stuff. Positive remarks are rare and far between and if one pops up, there’s always someone ready to smash that opinion into a million little pieces.
    That’s the reason why I love coming here to discuss games. TSA doesn’t only discuss games in absolutes. A game can be mediocre, great, abyssmal, awesome but slightly flawed in some aspects, or crappy with a few bright spots.
    Opinions will always differ and there is no right or wrong opinion but the respect of what someone else thinks is what separates the idiots from the mature gamers.

  10. I really dislike this sense of entitlement but it’s the ‘anything goes’ manner of the internet that fuels it.

    Good read.

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