What has happened to social gaming........ As we move on towards the next-generation of consoles, it has got me wondering to the changes social gaming and gaming in general has faced. We as gamers play games to enjoy and escape into a world where we can forget about any worries or issues we face, that short time of simple bliss is what makes gaming satisfying.
I started gaming at around the age of 6 and the first console game I played was Super Mario World on the SNES at a friend's place and was hooked to gaming ever since. After that I would visit my friends house everyday to play a few games with him, we used to take turns to play Donkey Kong Country and Super Ghouls and Ghosts or Mortal Kombat versus. To me my fondest memories about gaming were the social aspects of either visiting a friends place or having them over for a few games. Since then gaming has evolved drastically, no longer do we play games at either our or our friends homes; instead we have moved over to online meeting zones.
This transition had completely changed co-op multiplayer on consoles through online multiplayer. The introduction of online gaming was obviously one of the greatest features introduced to the gaming industry, especially with the introduction of Microsoft Xbox live and PlayStation PSN. These services allowed gamers to create a community for themselves within the virtual hub. These features made it so much more easier to play games with people, as all you had to do was insert the disk and you would automatically get connected to thousands of players online at anytime of the day. I am not going to lie I did enjoy online multiplayer's, it was quite interesting and exciting to meet new people from different cultures and countries. I have spend countless number of hours playing games like Call of Duty and Battlefield with a party of friends and have immensely enjoyed it.
But in all honesty that experience does not even come close to having someone physically sitting next to you. Because in the world of online gaming there are many aspects that can easily make someone lose their cool and rage all over the lobby, as players are easily pushed online. When players encounter situations where they are being 'trolled' or insulted by others online, they are easily irritated which eventually leads to frustration and anger. But strangely, such problems does not seem to surface while playing locally. Don't get me wrong playing with someone in the same room can be quite frustrating and intimidating but our reactions are not as bad as playing online. This maybe because of the fact that you know who is actually beating you as he is physically there ; which calms you down as there is no injustice amongst you. But while playing online any stranger can just randomly curse or negatively criticize you, which in return can bring out the worst in us while playing with these strangers. I have played plenty of games where players would trash talk or insult us if we were playing better than them, this would eventually lead to us exchanging curse words to each other.
Therefore, when looking back to how co-op gaming has changed it kind of saddens me to see that the new generation of gamers will not be able to experience what the older generation had. With the increase to online gaming you come to realize that the culture of gaming is slowly losing its purpose by making games more anti-social. Most games released now a days are mainly focused upon online co-op and with the rise of online multiplayer there has been a significant increase with the FPS genre. FPS titles like Call of Duty and Halo have been a major force driving online multiplayer on consoles for years now. The impact these games have created within the industry in unquestionable, because these games have shown how impactful online gaming can be. This brings us to the topic to how companies seemed to have forgotten what actually made games fun. These days it is quite rare to see games developed and released without any form of online multiplayer features, they are even present in games that does not require online multiplayer. Games like assassins creed started off as a single player campaign, but later titles stared to implement online game modes which was quite unnecessary and forced for such a title. This can cause gamers to stick to fewer titles, which overshadows games that are either more creative and innovative to go under radar among gamers.
Recently EA had announced that they were going to shut down online services for few of their games. This was another issue I had feared with the transaction to online multiplayer, the fact that everything takes place online through internet connection. With those games services shut down multiplayer features are completely unusable due to their reliance on game servers. While purchasing we purchase the whole game and expect it to perform functionally till it breaks, the fact that companies are able to strip away game features few years down the line, kind of breaks the whole point to 'multiplayer'. So what would happen if the servers were to shut down for Titanfall few years down the line. That game completely relies on the internet even to the play the single player campaign, if its services were stopped we would have paid to rent the game for a certain number of years rather than owning it.
For now who knows what the future of gaming will be, as local gaming experience is slowly being exchanged in favor for online multiplayer. I do appreciate all the things online gaming has done to bring gaming into the mainstream. But when looking at it in the long run the true propose of gaming is diminished, as online gaming has turned it into an impersonal and lifeless way to play though a game.
This was a topic I had in mind for years now and just wanted to talk about it...... anyways I would like to thank you guys for taking time to read this, really do appreciate it. So if there are any ideas or thoughts you would like to share, please feel free to do so below.