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Why this generation of consoles was one of the worst - Destructoid

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(Note: This is the second part of a two-part blog. The first part looked at why this generation was one of the best, read it here: http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Cinderquill/why-this-generation-of-consoles-was-one-of-the-best-260886.phtml)

Rather than drone on with an intro delving into this generation, I'll jump straight to the meat of this blog. Once again, I'll be mostly looking at the PS3 and Xbox 360, but there'll be some talk of the Wii. Also, bear in mind this is just my opinion, don't take it all as fact. Now let's look at why this generation sucked.

OVER-ABUNDANCE OF SEQUELS



This was the generation that brought us the era of yearly sequels. This naturally brings the feeling of sequels being rushed or short, quite often using the same engine without really trying anything new. The series most often attacked for this is Call of Duty, which has been consistently releasing sequels every year for the last few years, with each title feeling fairly similar to it's predecessor. The campaigns are often dull and repetitive, with the multi-player having slight evolution over the previous title.

Another title that has begun having yearly releases is Assassin's Creed. This series now gets releases every year, whether it be a full sequel like Assassin's Creed 4, or just a continuation of a game, like Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. There has been a slow decline in the review scores the games get, seeming to indicate either fatigue with series or a decline in quality. Whilst it's currently small, it still isn't a good indicator of the future of the series.

Obviously, most sequels are highly anticipated by fans, but would the case be the same if all games got sequels every year? Especially now that we have DLC that can increase a game's lifespan a lot more. These games get DLC almost all year round, then the new game gets released. Is it really necessary?

MOTION CONTROLS



One of the most hated things I've seen this generation has been motion controls being implemented when they aren't necessary. Motion controls are not really a new thing, but this generation saw them being implemented more heavily than ever before. The easy assumption for why they've become so prevalent is because of the Wii. Nintendo took a risk and released a console that concentrated on motion controls. This sold well, as it looked instantly fun to the average family. Naturally, Microsoft and Sony saw this success and made their own versions.

This led to games that require motion controls, or implementation of motion controls into games where they aren't necessary. Whilst they might sell well, it get's annoying if there is a game that looks like it could be quite interesting until you realise you need to purchase either the Kinect or Playstation Move to actually use it.

Personally, my room is too small for the Kinect. I was gifted one for a birthday, but if I try to use it, it tells me it needs to be further back. If I had bought it myself, I would have been irritated that it was just a waste of money effectively. It annoys me that some games cannot be played without the Kinect, Like Fable: The Journey or Rise of Nightmares.

POINTLESS/ ON-DISC DLC



In my previous blog, I wrote about how DLC has been used to add extra story to games, or make them more interesting. However, there are two things about DLC that really get annoying. DLC that is already on the disc, and DLC that is pointless.

On-disc DLC is when the DLC is not really downloaded, you instead just download an unlock for said content. This can usually be seen when a piece of DLC is less than 1MB, as there is not much needed to download. The reason this is annoying is because, if it was already included on the disc, why not make it part of the game? The reason is simple: more money. By releasing it as DLC, more money is made from game.

I'm aware that the usual justification for on-disc DLC is that it is necessary for multi-player (i.e. extra characters in a fighting game), but that doesn't mean it should be charged for.

Pointless DLC is when the DLC doesn't really do anything, and it just seems to have been released to get a couple of extra bucks for something that could've been released for free. The biggest culprit of this was probably Saint's Row the Third, which released 13 packs of content that didn't add too much to the game, such as a few new vehicles or clothes. This content could have been added for free, much like Minecraft's constant updates of new content, but was instead released as DLC.

Possibly the worst part of the Saint's Row the Third DLC was the Invincible pack, which added extra cheats to use. This was just low in my opinion, as cheats shouldn't be something you have to pay for. You already get penalised in most games for using cheats (blocked achievements, dodgy save files), but making gamers pay to use them is a step too far.

AVATARS



One of the most pointless things to come out of this generation was the Avatar/Mii. Originally released on the Wii, a Mii is a digital representation of the player that can sometimes be used as a character in games. Microsoft took this a step further with the Avatar.

Much more customisable than a Mii, an Avatar can not only have it's appearance customised, but also it's clothes, which leads to the Avatar Marketplace. A place where you can buy virtual clothes for a virtual avatar of you. An this stuff can be several pounds per item. Of all the ways this generation has been money-grabbing, this is one of the worst. 

Obviously, you don't have to buy anything, but the thing is quite a few of these are quite clearly aimed at kids, who will likely bug their parents into buying items for them, when said items will hardly be seen by anyone, and are pointless cosmetic items. I'm sure there will be people who'll say I get too worked up over this, but come on. Is this really necessary?

HATRED OF PRE-OWNED & THE SEASON PASS



Pre-owned games have been around for a long time. Like, a really long time. Whether it be giving games to friends, selling them at a garage sale, or trading them in, pre-owned is not a new idea. Practically every console in history that has used physical copies of games has had the possibility of pre-owned games, yet it was this generation that chose them as a target for why games don't necessarily reach expectations.

If a games company does badly and loses money/ goes under, either pre-owned games or piracy are blamed. The games companies choose to blame the consumer, rather than blame over-inflated budgets or overly high expectations. The pre-owned games market has suddenly become this huge evil, yet it can easily beneficial. If I hadn't got my pre-owned copy of Oblivion, I wouldn't have bought all the DLC for it, then got Skyrim brand new and all of it's DLC. If I hadn't traded in my copy of Uncharted 3, I wouldn't have been able to afford The Last of Us. Trading in my games has let me buy new games, and led to me spending more money on new content.

In this generation, pre-owned is probably at it's most friendly as far as games companies are concerned, since even if you get a pre-owned copy you can buy the DLC fresh online. Even on pre-owned titles, companies can still get profit. There are alos games on demand that can't be traded in, so there is no chance of companies losing profit. And yet it was this generation that brought us the online pass.

The online pass is a code that comes with some new games that allows the player to use the multi-player. Without an online pass, you can't use the game online, meaning people who get pre-owned copies can't play the multi-player. Instead, they have to buy the online pass as well, meaning that games companies still make a profit, on top of any DLC that is purchased. EA have recently started to get rid of online passes, but that still doesn't excuse this generation from them.

The thing is though, in previous generations there have been no online passes, and little DLC, yet pre-owned wasn't really spoken about. Other industries have a second hand market, from music and DVD's to houses and cars. Yet it is only video games where it is a huge problem.

QUICKFIRE PROBLEMS



I'm going to list here a bunch of extra things that this generation had that sucked, but I don't really have the space to go into detail about them.

-Brown and gritty games became the norm

-All games require horde mode

-All games require online multi-player

-Forget about the campaign, just concentrate on the multi-player

-Red Ring of Death/ Yellow Light of Death

-DRM

-Ride to Hell: Retribution existed

CONCLUSION

So, was this generation good? Was it bad? Somewhere in between? Honestly, I think it was kind of weak. This generation was less about the games, and more about just making money without a care about the consumer, which upsets me. Quite a few people have predicted that there will be another crash, like the famous one in 1983, and the video game industry will mostly die, leaving indies left standing. I really hope it doesn't come to this, but if it does, we can probably say it began with this generation.

Thanks for reading.
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