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June 18, 2019
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Why Most Game Changing Tech is Disappointing

by Michael Smith on 03/19/18 11:17:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.




Every month brings with it word of a new innovation, a new invention. This is an exciting time to be alive and the kid in me is very happy with all of the changes taking place in this industry and with what could be around the corner. But then reality strikes, I remember the last time I heard about something big and exciting and I realize that most of this talk and this excitement will never amount to anything worthwhile.

Here’s why:

It Sounds Better Than it is

I used to read a lot of gaming magazines. I remember how they would hype up certain games by getting the developers to talk about them. The developers would discuss new technologies they were bringing to the games and make it sound amazing. If you were young and relatively inexperienced, you could easily be drawn into this hype, believing that this game was going to be amazing.

But if you have any experience in this industry you know that such claims are being made all of the time and they rarely result in anything ground breaking.

I can not count how many times I have heard about third- and first-person shooters (as an example) introducing new tech, new ways to make these games more immersive. Yet I can only think of one time when such an innovation actually resulted in something noteworthy and that was Red Faction, a game that allowed you to destroy everything in sight.

Not too long ago there was an FPS (which shall not be named) where the developers discussed all of these great weather effects and AI tricks, things they hyped like crazy to make the game sound groundbreaking. When it was released, it played just like any other FPS and it was just as disappointing.

Immersion is Style over Substance

Virtual reality sounds great in theory, but in practice it doesn’t quite work. The immersion is lost when you have to wave stupid wands around and use a point and click method to walk your character forward. The head movement can be matched, but only with limited graphics and the risk of motion sickness.

The same goes for AR. It aims to make the game slightly more immersive by connecting it with reality and creating a bridge where there should be none. Immersion is about becoming absorbed in a game played on a screen in front of you, it’s not about switching between two screens and constantly making the jump between reality and virtual. 

In theory, virtual reality is amazing and is the next big leap that games can make. In reality it’ll likely cause all kinds of issues. Distraction from cell phones is already one of the leading causes of truck accidents, car crashes and even walking accidents, imagine how insane the world would be if everyone was walking around and driving around lost in some AR or VR world. 

I can’t help but feel that the majority of the human race is just not prepared for that. If they can’t avoid walking off the edge of a cliff or directly into traffic while messing about on their phone, they shouldn’t be allowed anything like this.

They Lie

No Man’s Sky was supposed to be one of the biggest game projects ever undertaken. It was an open world game where there were limitless universes, creatures, weapons and more to explore and at the centre of it all was this huge, amazing twist of an ending. It was supposed to turn the gaming world on its head and teach us all new things about the industry.

In the end it taught us one thing, “Game designers lie”. And it became one of the biggest jokes in gaming.

They made everything up. Maybe they had the intention to implement those ideas at one point or another, but they definitely didn’t have them at the time they claimed they did and they weren’t there in the finished product either. The end was a cop-out, the game was nothing that it promised to be and instead of being a huge selling game-changer, it bombed instantly.

They rarely have the power to do the things they claim. A lot of time they claim to have created a game that far surpasses anything that console and PC tech can do. They claim to offer advanced open worlds that no console can actually store and advanced sound that no PC sound card can play (see Speaker Digital). In the end we get a mess like Too Human. And that game should never be repeated.


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