Video games have officially become a part of popular culture. Whether one points to the viral sensation of Fortnite, or the success of various consoles and mobile games, it is clear that gaming has become a part of our everyday culture. Video games have been around for quite some time now and always enjoyed some level of popularity among the youth. However, today's levels of gaming have reached unprecedented levels. Approximately 64% of American households hold someone that plays video games once a day. Furthermore, Fortnite boasts a registered playerbase of over 200 million players, and continues to climb everyday.
As the industry grows larger however, it is beginning to shift and change from what it once dealt in. I grew up with classics ranging from Mario Kart to the Jedi Knight Series. Many of the games I used to play were created with an unprecedented level of soul and creativity. The industry grew to treat games like an art for a while. That has begun to change in recent years as major companies like EA have turned into massive money-making machines. First of all, many of the games I grew up with were not lacking in content. I could have played Star Wars Battlefront I and II (the original early 2000s versions) for hours on end, and there was NO DLC. Today, it is rare that you see a AAA game release that does not include a season pass or DLC. Why relase a game and force the customer to pay extra when there is more to be added on? Second of all, loot crates and other forms of in-game gambling plague the market. Of course, EA, Activision, and other major companies have been a part of this disturbing trend. It has caught enough media attention now that some governments are even considering regulating video game loot crates.
However, the most disturbing trend of all is mobile gaming. Mobile gaming has sucked in the young rich children of America. These are cheap, simple, and uninspired games meant to rake in money. Essentially, these games will benefit from in-app purchases through what they call "whales." These "whales" are typically young, rich, gamers who have the money to make large purchases. These customers provide the bulk of the influx of money leaving other gamers with little to no content to enjoy, or the inability to play against pay-to-win gamers. This is causing greater harm to the industry as a whole because it is making companies lazy. Rather than spend millions on a AAA game, companies are making apps that bait the customers into buying in-game currencies or extra lives. The days where games had soul and inspiration are dying out. A clear example of this was the Battlefront I and II reboot by EA which was boring and copied major shooters which had already been made.
Unfortunately, it would appear as though the gaming industry has turned into something dreadful. My hope is that enough people will grow bored with these dull cookie-cutter games that keep on coming out, but the unfortunate truth is that they're made to rake in the big-bucks no matter how boring.