2014 is all but over. The big releases have ushered themselves through the doors and have made their mark. The wonderful indie releases have done the same. Now we sit and think about what’s to come in 2015 for the video gaming landscape, and as the title of this article says – it’s looking as bright as its ever been.
Perhaps this year in the video game industry wasn’t as massive as 2013 was, and the world (slash internet) wasn’t set alight by something as incredibly massive (and positive) as say, The Last of Us or BioShock Infinite, but by no means do I mean to slander what came out this year. You’ve seen over the remaining weeks of 2014 that we’ve looked at what gaming accomplished in 2014. We’ve had a wonderful set of ups and downs as always, and there were some excellent games that hit the shelves and even some wonderful surprises as well. In spite of all of the great game releases this year though, 2014 did something much greater. It demonstrated what’s to come in the future of the business, and if you aren’t drooling over the prospect of Virtual Reality, truly immersive experiences and connecting gamers across the world without having to hit load screens or lobbies – you might be a little hard to please.
Gaming in its most purest form of entertainment, as Kiefer Sutherland put it, has reached enormous levels in such a short time span. It’s hard to think that an odd-40 years ago when Pong was first shown off to the world that it’d be the catalyst for what was to come down the track. The industry has not only advanced with the growth of technology, but it has in fact flourished. Even dating back to the release of the PlayStation 1, with its pixelated graphics and limited features, it was considered a product of the future. And with each new step forward with technology the industry continues to grow, prosper and flourish with its audience.
Now we’re here. We’re a bit over a year into the new console cycle and the three big guns have been flexing their muscles here and there. Nintendo has flaunted its unique and addictive line of exclusives and in turn has helped drive the Wii U from disappointing failure to the comeback kid. Microsoft has shown their drive for exclusive content and enjoyable experiences by bringing back the nostalgia with a beloved series and diving into the unknown with a PlayStation third party, mostly to great success. Sony continues to show that it has the upper hand in the console war by teasing fans of upcoming franchises, exclusives and new experiences by always having some sort of trick up its sleeve. It’s starting to hark back to the old days of a three horse race and 2015 will be the second lap.
The gaming experience has changed throughout its time and has evolved to cater to the needs of the audience. Much like its film and television brethren, the industry has always strived for something bigger, bolder and better throughout its generational leaps. Not only has our industry become the biggest, but it’s also become the most accessible. It offers an experience that you just don’t get anywhere else, and that’s why it’s become what it is today.
Despite the fallbacks that publishers and developers have been having throughout the better part of 2014, I’m more than inclined to put it on the back-burner in the knowledge that while its hugely disappointing to the consumer, it’s a learning curve for the companies as well. Because without the gamer, there’s no place for games, and publishers and developers would (and have) learnt to treat their products with more care and polish and understand that the consumer has the biggest say of all in the end. And yes, this year has seen a number of unacceptable releases full of bugs and glitches, but in the end it’s going to be the developer that suffers the most. We can buy those games and return or trade them straight back in, whereas they have to work their ass off to make it better. Their reputation will diminish because of those faults, and they’ll be aware that the gaming audience knows what happened to that ‘other game’ in their resume. Gamers have always had the final say on whether or not they’ll play a game or leave it to fall away, it’s now up to the developers to show everyone why it should have their attention.
Onto a more positive note, gaming has also never been cheaper than it is today as well. You can snag a PlayStation 4 for somewhere between $450 – $600 right now, a Wii U for $400 and an Xbox One for $500 – $600. Comparing that to the price of the previous generations of consoles a year into their respective cycle, it becomes evident that you are getting more than your moneys worth in the end.
Looking towards the future, the gaming industry is in a rapid rise to power. It’s overtaken its other media sisters and brothers, and has well and truly become the forefront of the entertainment experience. 2015 boasts promise of some of the biggest and greatest games to ever be created, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The future looks bright for all involved in the industry, whether you’re a consumer, a developer or somewhere in between. You all have something to look forward to.