Why does it have to be one or the other? - BladeWarrior23 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Why does it have to be one or the other?

In the gaming community, you often find people who have their own specific idea of how things should be. Gaming is something many people are passionate about, so you'll find very strong opinions on just about every topic. What's better, the PS3 or Xbox 360? Don't ask if you don't want a few paragraphs covering every reason someone believes one is better than the other. People often take sides like they're cheering for a sports team, and while this isn't exclusive to gaming, it seems to be very strong among gamers. You're either on #teamPS3 or #teamXbox, and this can include other aspects of gaming as well, not just your system of choice. 

When it comes to the idea of where the industry should head into the future, you seem to find very different answers. Some people want boxes dedicated to gaming only, much like we had prior to the current generation. Others want a jack of all trades machine that is basically a weaker desktop with gaming functions. There are even others who don't want consoles altogether and would prefer if gaming became more tablet and mobile focused. My question is, why can't there be options of everyone? Now I'll be very clear, I've been gaming since the SNES days, I very much prefer console gaming and traditional handhelds such as the DS and PSP, but I think if gaming is going to truly grow and expand, every form of game playing should receive attention. There doesn't need to be an exclusive focus on one particular area. In fact, I think "casual" gaming and "core" gaming can benefit each other in certain ways. Games like Wii Sports and Angry Birds are simple yet fun games that take a lot less money to develop than a triple-A blockbuster such as Halo 4. Creating simple games that can bring in lots of cash can give companies extra money to spend innovating and pushing the boundaries for graphical powerhouses like Halo 4 and Uncharted 2. Also, these "casual" games are often introductions to other games for people who wouldn't traditionally play games. Almost like a gateway drug if you will.

"Core" games can also benefit from casual games, in that it is a needed reminder that the purpose of playing games is to have fun. Often times these big budget games are so focused on features, graphics, and content, the developers leave out the core of the game which should be fun gameplay. For example, I recently bought Borderlands 2, and after a few days of playing it I was just bored. Gearbox focused so much on adding a crazy amount of content, that I feel like they ignored the core gameplay, which is just a boring shooter. I know many will disagree with me on Borderlands 2, but that's how I feel about it. 

There's also the issue of controls. Either you are a pro-motion controls, or pro-traditional controller. There seems to be very little middle ground. I am also not a fan of the Wii-mote or Kinect but I realize it can create fun experiences for other people. Not only that, but because of Kinect, a company like Rare was able to find success they hadn't had in a long time. I, like many others would love for Rare to get back to the days where they were making classics like Banjo-Kazooie, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and Perfect Dark, but because they did something new and different they were able to stay open(they likely would have been closed) and now the rumors point to them working on a traditional core IP for the new Xbox as well as another entry in the Kinect Sports series. As long as companies don't force a control style into a game that doesn't work, and continue to make games for both audiences there should be no problem with multiple control options. 

Another area where there is often debate, is the retail vs. digital download argument. This also includes pricing arguments. Every game does not need to be a $60 blockbuster, and it's also not financially possible for every game at that price to sell millions of copies. Every game does not need to be a $1 project on the iOS or Android app store, or a F2P game or a $10 to $20 game on Xbox Live Arcade or PSN. Every game should choose a pricing model/distribution method that works for that game. Something like Call of Duty should stay with what works, a $60 retail game. A game like Mark of the Ninja would bomb horribly as a $60 retail game, that's why you find it on the Xbox Live marketplace. The majority of MMOs should not expect to stay afloat with a subscription model, very few people can pay $15 a month for multiple games, let alone one. If companies were more open to changing their price, and basing their budget around that price, more games and companies would be successful. For example, say Microsoft decided to make a F2P League of Legends style game featuring characters from games like Halo, Gears, Fable, Perfect Dark, Ninja Gaiden, Banjo-Kazooie, etc. Would that work if they sold it at Gamestop for $60? No chance. With a F2P model, they could give you the base game for free, and charge for additional items. With a game like that, and all that possible content they could sell, I think it would work. Obviously, they can't spend 3+ years on development with the kind of graphics in Gears of War if they want to make money back on something like that. It would just have to be managed correctly. Would a sequel to the multiplayer only Shadowrun from 2007 work now with the $60 retail method? No, the first game didn't, a sequel in an era where less smaller games are being purchased at retail definitely would not. What could you do? Sell it as digital download game on XBLA at $20. Put up adds on the dashboard for it, and you would definitely find a crowd willing to buy and play it. The amount of new and different experiences we could get if companies would just adjust budgets and find the best method to sell their game would be amazing. What doesn't need to happen, is a company trying to force everything into one model. Crytek has stated following the release of their current projects Ryse and Homefront 2, they will switch exclusively to F2P. That is not going to work with every game and could ultimately harm the company. That is the opposite of what should be happening.

So, in conclusion, I think the gaming community and industry need to become more open to different options. Options and choices are better for everyone, there is no reason to force one thing down everybody else's throat. Don't oppose a F2P game solely because it's F2P, look at the game and what it's doing. If it doesn't work with that method, oppose it because it's a bad decision from the company making/releasing it. If a game like Shank 2 releases in stores for $60, oppose it because it's a poor way to sell that particular game. As the people purchasing this content, we have the power to basically dictate what companies do. Let's support what works and oppose what doesn't, not choose sides like it is a game of football. 

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