For some time now, gamers all over the world – not just here in India – have restlessly witnessed a shift in a major qualitative aspect of modern video games. Single-player campaigns aren’t as long as games from the previous decade, therefore the time invested in playing them is getting shorter. Not only are gamers feeling cheated, they’re accusing developers and publishers of only caring for their company’s bottom line and ignoring fan sentiment. If games are kept short, so are development cycles which reduces costs. Fans won’t have a choice but to lap up these short bursts of entertainment and move on to the next thing, spend more money.
This belief couldn’t be more further away from the truth.
Yes, companies are concerned about profits, but then which company isn’t? Game studios and publishers aren’t doing charity, are they? How high or low should they price a game is an entirely different topic, not central to this trend. At the end of the day they have a business to run. It’s time we cut them some slack.
The biggest reason why games are becoming shorter is none other than you, the modern video gamer. Several independent game trackers confirm that close to 90 per cent of players who start playing a game will never reach the end of it. And if you’re thinking this statistic is comprised of mostly dull and boring games, you couldn’t be more wrong. Developers and publishers are monitoring your playing habits, of course, to increase efficiency. And our gaming habits speak for themselves.
Compared to the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, our digital lives have become more complex. We are spoilt for choices as far as entertainment is concerned – on the tele, on the phone, on your PC’s browser window. Heck, even gaming consoles deliver entertainment other than just games these days. The Internet has changed our lives in more ways than one.
Time is another worry. I had plenty of it to kill back in the early ‘90s when I used to game at hours on end, every single day, even more on weekends. These habits gradually reduced in the mid-2000s, and now I can barely scrape up enough game time on weekdays, keeping most of my non-work related gaming sessions to the weekend. With interrupted gameplay spanning several weeks, plots are difficult to keep track of and not every side-quest is as important as on Day 1. And this isn’t just my story, it’s a growing global trend among gamers – unless you’re a teenager or in college. But teenagers will eventually grow up, college kids will graduate, and you’ll join our ranks sooner than completing Skyrim. So, yeah, we’re all sailing in the same boat.
Ultimately, what matters is your experience of the game. That’s where the buck stops. Would you rather play a long, winding game, spanning across several months, delivering between an average or good experience? Or would you rather play a short game spanning a few days which delivers an awesome experience overall? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org