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LingeringRegime's Blog
Lack of Innovation? 
Posted on June 7, 2011 at 07:47 AM.
Watching E3 last night got me thinking. Games are becoming more stale in a lot of ways, at least for the consoles. I remember when games used to hold my attention for a long time. Now, I am hard pressed to keep a game in the "rotation" for longer than a month or two.

Now it seems that games are so confined by their genres that their is little freshness.

I would love to see something like Minecraft come to the consoles. Where worlds are randomly generated each time you start a new game. Imagine how great that would be for shooters. Starhawk seems to be going down the right path combining RTS elements with an action shooter.

Professional Baseball Spirits 2011 is the most innovative sports game I have played for ages. From the ball/bat cursor and physics to the uber-addictive Grand Prix Mode, I haven't had this much fun with a console sports title in a long time.

What games do you think are innovative for consoles? What would you like to see in the future?
# 1 JMUfootball @ Jun 7
Console games are always going to be stagnant, compared to PC games.

1- The typical console user isn't the type of avid gamer that is going to be on various forums and communities online being critical of the deeper aspects of the game. OperationSports here is not the norm. The typical console user picks up at a game for whatever the MSRP is, plays it casually, says to his friends the "graphics are sick", and that's about the extent of his/her analysis of the game.

2- There is little opportunity in console games for user created content and community developed mods. Actually, I don't even do console gaming online so I can't even say for sure if there is any opportunity for these. When you are forced to play what the devs design for you, groupthink amongst the devs will prevail.

PC games have a tremendous advantage in innovation because their userbase is more attuned to the intricacies of what makes games fun, and is able to advance their own cause by pressure online on the developers, or the development of community-created mods that often become mainstreamed into the game itself.

When this works, the result is spectacular. Take Civilization, which in recent iterations has embraced community mods and now is essentially a core "vanilla" game designed by the paid software developers, and hundreds of other extremely fun versions of the game that are designed and distributed by the players themselves.

When this model doesn't work is in cases where the paid developers lazily put out an unfinished game knowing that the community will fix it. Silent Hunter 5 is a great example of this, and it's sad to see the community working so hard to just make the game playable.

Overall it's hard to expect console game designers to be innovative when the majority of their fanbase is satisfied buying genre-stale iterations of the same games, and the few unsatisfied do not have the means to distribute mods.

Even the most innovative idea to come to consoles in the 2000's decade -- open world games such as Rockstar currently makes -- were first found on the PC in games such as the original GTA, and Interstate 76. If you want innovation, it's PC games. Consoles have always been about convenience and quick, somewhat bland, fun.
# 2 LingeringRegime @ Jun 7
Well said JMU.
# 3 DGuinta1 @ Jun 7
I used to play a lot of PC games just can't afford to, plus I need to build a new PC. Though I always luved how you could customize PC games to your liking or download pack (for free) to add to your games experience. I used to play religiously all the time, Counter-Strike and was always manipulating the look and the feel of the game to my liking. Consoles are far more limited in this aspect.
# 4 JMUfootball @ Jun 7
The more I think about it, the more it seems that the role of consoles has always been to mimic ideas original to PC gaming.

Aside from the open world games which I already mentioned, multiplayer team shooters like Halo and Call of Duty are spawned from games like Counter Strike and Quake.

Problem solving narrative games like Heavy Rain, LA Noire, Alan Wake etc, are spawned from wayyy back titles such as Myst.

Even the rise of 90's consoles imitated MS-Dos side scrolling titles from earlier years.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Consoles have their advantages, being far and beyond superior to PC gaming in terms of cost and reliability. Consoles are just simply not now, nor ever were, vehicles of innovation.
# 5 89OneHanded @ Jun 10
Very well put, JMU.
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