Games Are Not Getting Worse, the Industry Is

Video games have come a long way since their creation in the 1950s. From simple pixelated graphics to realistic 3D environments, the technology behind video games has improved dramatically. However, there is a common perception among gamers that video games are "getting worse." This can be attributed to a variety of factors.

Games Are Not Getting Worse The Industry IsAre there too many video games that we simply don’t have time to play anymore? Maybe there are offers out there but only a few are really worth it? With the explosions of launchers, sales, platforms, ways to play, even free games… It’s never been that easy to play. Rarely we’ve seen a medium evolve so much, so fast. In the end, that might be where the problem really lies. In an ocean of content, it’s hard to find the one game that is truly worth our time.

Let’s go back in time

Let’s go back in time a little bit. In the 90’s I remember not having a real way to overplay games, since shareware was the way we could get hands on new games… There was no online store, no platforms. No abundance of choice – No overdose is possible here then. An overdose is a biological response to when the human body receives too much of a substance or mix of substances. In my case, my gaming overdose began after that time.

In the year 2000, the internet is growing fast, and the ease of access of content helps video games greatly. Adding this to the creation of adobe flash, you get a plethora of browser games. Remember Club Penguin or Interactive Buddy? Check the video below by Nuzzleton for a dive into Noastalgia But it is when unity and real engine come into play that we’ll see a huge growth in quality.

The Browser Games That Conquered The 2000s

In 2005 Uncle Gabe and his steam platform, are still relatively strict back then. Games on the platform are chosen meticulously and not all of them make the cut. All the while Microsoft chooses the same road; Xbox live arcade is filled with independent games overall really enjoyable. Sony and Nintendo will simply follow the trend. These independent games fill up a market long forgotten by triple-A’s. Short, and offering new gameplay. While the triple-A’s become longer and bigger, sometimes not for the best.

The end is near

2010, Kickstarter is born and independent gaming companies are at an all-time high. Probably because of the flow of new games, steam launched greenlight in 2012. They’re not the ones choosing what games go on the platform anymore, gamers do. Meanwhile, Xbox, Sony, and Nintendo provide a platform where independent games can be published. The end is near. Find below a video by IGN explaining what made consoles different in 2010.

How the 2010s Have Changed the Gaming Industry (Good AND Bad)

By 2017 Steam green light is already over. No more votes, no more choice, Steam launches Steam Direct. With it, comes an enormous amount of games, the store becomes saturated, hard to navigate. Since 2017 approximately 150 games a DAY are released on steam. The tsunami is on. Other stores follow the example, simply to follow the trend. Stores become filled with uninspired or plagiarised games. Couple this with the failed promises of early-access games and a few Kickstarter campaigns that led to disappointment, and it’s gaming as a whole that suffers. Even some big titles like Hitman, Watchdogs, and Titanfall are way below their average sale, even while the press and the community enjoy them.

Gaming Overdose

That’s it, there are too many video games. The audience is too wide. One proof of that is EA releasing at the same time two of their biggest title; Titanfall 2 and Battlefield One. Sells do not meet expectations. That’s it game over. Triple-A’s becomes more and more expensive to make and risks are too high. A real change in the industry, there is no place for innovation anymore. The market is flooded with sequels and remasters to capitalize on nostalgia.          

With the rise of digital distribution platforms and mobile gaming, it has become easier for developers to release their games to a wide audience. This has led to a proliferation of games, and it can be overwhelming for us players to sift through the sheer volume of titles to find the ones that are worth our time and money. As a result, some players may feel that the quality of games has suffered, as developers rush to get their products to market.

Steam Has Currently More Than 125.000 Games

Steam Has Currently More Than 125.000 Games

All the while the pressure to release games quickly and meet the demands of a rapidly-changing market impacts developers. With the rise of online distribution and digital sales, it has become easier for developers to release games that are incomplete or buggy, as they can be patched and updated after launch. While this can be convenient for players, it can also result in a lower overall quality for the initial release of a game. There are now numbers of examples of games that were hugely expected but didn’t fulfill their promise on release. The new trend is releasing a game, somewhat complete, and adding content as time goes by, either protected behind a paywall or making people pay for cosmetics.

The industry is evolving

In the past, video games were bought as individual products that players could play without any limitations. Nowadays, numerous games are released as live services or “game as a service” which entails they get regular updates and fresh material over time. Publishers don’t only want your money anymore; they want your time. The concept is simple, a base game, generally free nowadays, with updates changing the game a bit.

This concept makes players familiar with a game and allows companies to milk said game, indefinitely. Only when the sales go down, then release a newer version. These updates are often provided for free, but players may also have the option to purchase additional in-game items or content like battle passes DLC, loot boxes and skins. In 2021, microtransactions represented 71% of EA’s fiscal year. Game as a service is here to stay. This business model has been controversial, as some players feel that they are being constantly nickel-and-dimed, or that the updates do not justify the cost.

The New Cash Cows: Lootboxes and Skins

The New Cash Cows: Lootboxes and Skins

In recent years, the gaming industry has incorporated a model that encourages gamers to play their games for extensive periods of time. Consequently, developers often depend on players making minimal purchases during the process to sustain revenue generation. This can often result in the development of features that are meant to maximize profits, rather than creating a well-balanced and entertaining gaming experience. Moreover, these games may also require players to pay real money to access certain content.

Time and Money

In the last 2 years, there has been 11 mergers within the video game industry. All counted in billions. Between 2010 and 2020 the number was only four. Sony buys Bungie for 3.6 billion dollars, Zynga sold for 12.7 billion, Blizzard sold for 68.7 billion…The flow of games won’t stop. E3 this year presented around 400 games.

Gaming Market Value - Source:Statista

Gaming Market Value – Source:Statista

Unfortunately, the gaming industry starts looking like Steam’s store, busy and confusing. You really have to look to find the next game that you’ll love to play. Look through hours of content online to find the next hidden gem. Because yes, everything is online now. We were talking about E3 earlier; in 2019, 400 thousand people went to the convention, and half a million watched it online. In 2022, only 260 thousand people went to the event, while 12 million people watched it online . The industry as a whole has changed.


So have video games been getting worse? Yes, and no, the fact is that because the industry has been evolving and because of the constant flow of new games coming out, it might seem like it to some. We can’t deny that we’ve seen beautiful titles pop out in recent years. But we also can’t deny that some hugely expected titles were more than disappointing, with broken launches and unoriginal gameplay.
At the end of the day, it’s all about personal opinion.

We can provide numbers and facts that changed the industry, but some people will forever be nostalgic for the Pokémon blue era, while some will find the new Call of Duty to be the game of the year… One thing is sure though, the industry stands at a point where no one thought it would a little while ago. The evolution in technics, software, and even distribution, makes gaming a medium accessible and enjoyable. Imagine being a kid and having access to all this… Life would have been different for sure. Find below a video from diehardGG who explores the issue.

What Happened to Good Games?

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