Video Gaming has been around for many decades now, and has only grown more and more popular as the years go on; 20 years ago you would never have imagined eSports and the mass following around the general gaming industry.
However, gaming seems to have reached a fork in the road, and one at that which could lead to great things, or another potential crash. But which one?
Let's Look At The Positives
Gaming has reached a peak for cooperation, now with a strong partnership between Xbox and Nintendo, allowing cross-play and cross-saves over PC, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. This is a great thing for gamers, as it means everything (and everyone) is becoming more connected than ever before. As well as this, Bethesda have really been pushing support for mods on consoles, which just add a lot more creativity and experiences for gamers everywhere. On Xbox One you can use mods on games such as Fallout and Skyrim just as you would on PC; Playstation also has modding options, but only with use of in-game assets, meaning a lot of that creativity is lost.
Sony has seemed to opt out of cross saves and true modding thus far, putting them at a big disadvantage in the eyes of gamers and their preferences. Though Sony are still supporting and releasing absolutely amazing triple-A titles such as God of War, Detroit: Become Human, and The Last of Us Part II; however, as good as this is, they will still need to make a move on cross-play mainly if they hope to remain just as popular as they are.
Because of these factors, Microsoft seem to be climbing back up the ladder, and whilst they don't exactly have the greatest exclusives, their services are coming out by the number. We have Backwards Compatibility, Modding, Cross-Play, Xbox Game Pass.
Similarly Nintendo have been thriving more than ever with the Nintendo Switch, and the console becoming something of a global achievement, with it being the fastest ever selling console (US).
The Nintendo Switch continues to do well, offering game after game weekly, and now has more than 800 titles available on the eShop (UK).
All in all, each company is doing really well in their respective expertise, however with Xbox and Nintendo joining to thrive in the same area, Sony will need to either join in, or pull something spectacular out of the bag to hold on to that popularity.
Not that I'm saying Sony would ever become unpopular because of this, but cross-play and cooperation certainly looks to be the future of gaming.
Now For The Negatives...
It's hard to be negative about the future of gaming, as the industry has been thriving with each passing year; however, there is always at least one thing that could topple it.
Currently there are a couple things I would like to bring up, sort of like concerns.
The first thing I am worried about is streaming: it has become such a big part of the online world that we live in nowadays, and that's fine because it connects everyone a little more, and gives people whole new platforms to achieve what they want. What worries me the most is the potential for parts of the gaming industry to go full streaming, much like a Netflix-type service.
Sony has already been trying to push their PlayStation Now service for a long time, where you pay monthly so that you can stream games. Much to nobodies surprise, this hasn't been the most popular thing in the world.
Xbox has fairly recently introduced the Xbox Game Pass, which is a very similar service, only with this service you can download the games and play them offline; this is a much better approach to these types of services. There always needs to be the option of offline, downloads, and discs. We know that Microsoft is set on making a game streaming service along with their future consoles, and that is fine; but as I mentioned, they need to stick with downloads and discs as well if they want any chance of maintaining a high standing in the industry, as a purely-streaming console would not do well at all. Not that anyone has said discs and downloads are leaving, but it's just a general concern I have with the pushing of streaming services.
Another worrying aspect of the industry at the moment is the younger generations. Now for the most part they are fine, it's not all of the kids; however, many children nowadays are becoming so addicted to gamed such as Fortnite that it is having a negative impact on the industry in some ways.
I mean, Kids in the UK can now get treatment from the NHS for Video Game Addiction. I understand this, because some children can become isolated, lash out, almost hypnotised even by the thought of these types of games that are all over the internet for them. It makes sense that there should be some way to control this, although ideally it shouldn't really be getting out of control in the first place.
At the same time, the fact this is becoming an actual 'condition' is a bit bias: I played loads of games as a kid and even more so now, but I wouldn't say I was 'addicted', at least not in a bad way. There are plenty of people in the world who enjoy hobbies in their spare time, and it should never be classed as a negative condition if you take part in that hobby too much. I mean, are people going to start getting treatment for addiction to exercise, TV, clubbing, dancing? No. Probably not.
So why is gaming targeted by society as a negative impact on our kids?
Yes, it can be a problem and can affect the kids, but that can easily be up to the parents and the kids' exposure to the internet. Gaming is a hobby, and if your child wants to participate in that and finds joy, then more power to them; it doesn't need to be targeted by 'treatment' and taken away from their youth. It just needs to be controlled, to be managed, to keep on top of the influence they see and hear.
By all means, this is just my opinion; I am not a parent and I wouldn't know what it is like, but I do know that taking gaming away from people, and it being labelled as a disorder is a terrible and negative attempt at blaming generations on how they behave and grow up. There are hundreds of factors that could be a lot more influential to children, such as peers and social media, but even that couldn't be classed as a disorder.
I don't know. But I do know that gaming isn't a disorder, and doesn't require 'treatment'. Addiction can be to anything, and that can always be negative, but don't target one thing whilst ignoring all the other factors. Anyway, I'm just kind of rambling on about my thoughts of how gaming is going, and how it is being perceived currently.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the industry, and I will always want to be a part of it, a part of the positive community that come together to talk, play, cosplay, develop; When you love gaming for what it is, it can feel like a family, and that's how I feel with the industry. Treat all gamers with respect, and ignore those who look to do harm or negative influence.
I can't wait to see where gaming takes us all in the future, so here's to many more years to come!
Keep on gaming!