Gaming Trends That Might Die in 2014

Originally posted in issue 71 of T1 Monthly

The gaming industry is forever moving forward. New features and ideas are being thought up and implemented into every new generation of gaming, which is great news for us gamers. However, does all this new stuff come at a cost? As the great Homer Simpson said, “every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.” So with all this progress, we take a look at the some of the old stuff we think (or rather, hope) will be pushed out this year.

Blocks, Blocks Everywhere

Retro is great and Minecraft pretty much dominates the world – we get it! But do you know what makes Minecraft look less great? Endless games that copy its faux-retro visual style.

With the dawn of a new graphical era and Minecraft now available on just about every current platform that matters, 2014 should see the death of games leeching its style. Free-to-play games are set to boom on consoles over the next few years, and if there’s one thing console players won’t tolerate, it’s endless clones. Well, unless we’re talking about Call of Duty, amirite? Aaaaanywaayy…

We predict, and hope, that more and more developers use the start of a new generation to push the boundaries of style this year, rather than just copy successful models in the quest for profits. Everybody stopped copying World of Warcraft eventually, and the MMO scene has become a better place for it.

Overpriced Micro-transactions

Speaking of free-to-play, we reckon the trend of over-priced microtransactions and items that affect game balance will soon fall down the wayside. Here’s hoping, anyway!

F2P gaming with microtransactions is nothing new to the PC crowd. However, console gamers are a different animal to their PC brethren, and with records being broken at the start of the PS4/Xbox One generation, their voices will be heard.

Despite being part of the PC scenery, free-to-play games are a new and exciting emerging trend on consoles, and when gamers are already paying £50+ for games and monthly PS Plus/Xbox Live subscriptions, you can bet your left ass cheek they won’t be interested in shelling out for pricey in-game shop items.

We’re in a tight recession that shows no sign of loosening its grip, so designers had better come up with new ways to make us part with our money. Publishers will no doubt monitor these trends over the next few years and see what works best, then try to apply it to PC gaming. Hopefully, gaming as a whole will be better for it.

Regenerating Health

Like it or loathe it, “regenerating health” played a big part in the last generation, particularly with shooters. Removing the hunt for the med pack not only meant games could be more cinematic, but they became more immersive as a result.

However, and this might be more of a personal preference than a wide-reaching opinion, losing the med pack also meant gaming lost some of its edge. It’s far easier to sit and wait for your health to come back than it is to find a health related item, which somewhat reduces the challenge offered.

There’s a group of gamers out there who thought Resistance 3 was one of the best shooters of the PS3-generation (myself included) and the fact is had health packs in place of regenerating health played a big part in that. It also bombed in the sales department and ended up being the last in the series, and the health packs might have played a big part in that too.

We’re not super hopeful of this, but it’d be nice to see developers strive for a better, less dumb-downed solution. Needing some kind of item to manage your health, rather than being rewarded for simply sitting idle, has got to be better… right?

Gap Between Indie and AAA

With both Microsoft and Sony allowing indie developers to release games easily on their platforms, the gap between indie games and AAA games, both in graphics and in quality, should become smaller than ever before.

With that said, it may be a while before we see indie devs making AAA quality games. I mean they are still restricted by man power and money, though with Kickstarter and other early access programs even funding is becoming less of an issue.

We can’t wait to see what games come to us in this new generation, both the huge AAA games and those little indie games that you just can’t seem to stop playing.

Little Kids Bitching Online

Yeah…sorry, it’s going take more than a year to remedy that one.

I Am The Dr Z, The Dude of Things