The Video Game industry is relatively young and is constantly evolving – much faster than films or books, I’d argue. Some of the changes are for the better; others most definitely are not. So what are the biggest trends that we can expect to see this year?
Here’s a list of 5 concepts that will definitely be dominating Video Gaming in 2013.
5. Downloadable Content (DLC)
Gone are the days when a game was launched and the company stopped working on it. Most of our readers will be familiar with the DLC debate and have already taken their side. Those who are for it will point to the constant supply of new content for popular titles, the ability to patch game glitches, and (in the case of DLC games) the lack of a need to take care of a physical copy. Those who are against it, on the other hand, will note that sometimes game developers withhold content in order to flog it at an augmented price, and that developers are being increasingly lazy in terms of polishing a product because they know they can just patch it a couple of weeks after release, with the public effectively acting as unpaid game testers for them.
Regardless of your feelings about DLC, it looks like it’s here to stay. Industry experts say that in the future all games will be downloadable, and we’ll stop needing physical copies at all. That’s unsurprising (and may well turn out to be true in the film and music industry as well), but it’s also having one side effect: episodic content.
Since companies are no longer dependent upon a single sale, many developers are instead taking the long haul approach. It’s getting to a point where a game seems incomplete without a couple of DLC episodes to flesh it out, and the recent offering The Walking Dead showed that an initial sale is completely unnecessary – a game can survive with episodic content alone. While not every genre seems well suited to an episodic formula (for example, sports games only change their mechanics and their graphics; they rarely add new content), one can see that it makes sense for many franchises. A sequel to Mass Effect, for example, which released a different episode every month (somewhat like episodes of a sci-fi TV series) could be a great idea, and its universe would be well suited to it. DLC will always have its critics, but it seems that we must accept its presence – now the most important task for consumers is to stop paying excessive prices for shoddy products, as some developers will happily overprice content purely because it’s DLC.
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