When the PlayStation3 and the Xbox360 first appeared on the scene, there were a few criticisms about their early titles. The powerful new hardware provided the latest batch of games with their realistic realtime 3D worlds, which wowed and shocked the gaming audience – but while the games have certainly improved graphically (and aurally), there were those who argued that gameplay-wise, very little have changed. The problem was with innovation, or rather, the lack of. A problem, which in my opinion, is even more prevalent today.
Currently Sony and Microsoft are attempting to reinvent gaming as we know it, with their motion based gaming addons for their consoles. Sony with their newly released Move, and Microsoft with their upcoming Kinect. However, looking at the early Move titles (and the previewed titles shown for both systems), I am once again appalled by the lack of innovation displayed. Sony it seems are releasing Wii-like-games that no one wants to play, while Microsoft are developing a bunch of Eyetoy games with Wii-like-features that no one wanted. I am particularly appalled by the Milo demo for Kinect, that Peter Molyneux put on for TED recently. Milo was originally promised as an AI character, that we can interact with in a brand new way. But the TED demo showed little more than a bunch of Wii-like mini games, tied together in a linear fashion, while employing a pre-programmed Good/Evil reputation type system (that is already in use by many existing games).
Where is the innovation? Where are all the new ways of gaming promised to us years ago? Less and less developers are taking risks it seems, and are instead relying on the standards set by the industry. We are at a stage where the majority of games are starting to play and feel like older existing games, but released with different skins. Games in the current market are at risk of becoming too repetitive and stale, with most developers employing the same old gameplay mechanics, using the same old engines, the same levelling systems, and even the same achievement systems. What frustrates me more is the fact that when innovation do appear on the market, they are rarely picked up and recognised, or when they do it is often years later.
This rant is my call out to the publishers, the developers, AND the gamers. This industry need to take more risks, and adopt more changes in order to move forward. Think outside of the box, beyond what is currently recognised and accepted. Give us the innovation we so sorely need in our games, and in return, gamers, reward these innovation by buying first hand copies of these titles. Stand up and unite, help starve away the mundane and the mediocre!