As we approach the new generation of gaming consoles, many of us are again jumping into our backlogs to finish up as much as we can. This being our personal experience, we couldn’t help but take notice of what has been a growing element in gaming in recent years, that of homogenization.
What used to be clear-cut lines between the genres has now become blurred, with many formerly niche factors now being mainstays in almost all major releases. Looking into this further, we want to look into how this commonly applies now, and what possible reasons could exist for the blending of games into an increasingly cohesive whole.
For a quick reference of what we’re talking about, we want to cover three different games, or set of games, and how they have differed in recent years. These are the new games of Doom Eternal, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and online pokies. Each very different, and yet each guided by some similar and powerful backing principals.
In the case of Doom Eternal, what used to be a straight-action series has taken heavy influence in RPG mechanics, such as ability, character growth, and leveling. It’s not just shooting anymore, it’s about a consistent growth of backing power throughout the story.
The Final Fantasy 7 Remake, on the other hand, has adopted more action into its RPG roots. Formerly using an entirely time-based battle system, the new FF7 allows active control within the field. The player can now dodge and attack directly and, while menu management still exists, it is still far from the only component of combat.
Online pokie games, whether classic slots, video pokies, 3D games, or anything else, have similarly evolved, into commonly involving both action and RPG trimmings. Nowadays, these pokies involve very action-orientated bonus games, while growing features, like accumulators and website-wide gamification, help drive engagement for longer. In essence, it is perhaps this which best illustrates the reasons behind gaming’s continual mainstream homogenization.
Gaming today is enormous, easily out-earning other major entertainment media such as the film box-office. This means increased competition, and thus the creation of and reliance on systems that players find the most consistently enjoyable. Over time, this has often proven to be a focus on minute-to-minute action, with exterior continual growth which gives the player a conscious sense of progress.
The more you play, the greater your skill becomes, and the better you do. This is aided by abilities, accumulators, multipliers, or any other factors which make your growing successes all the more spectacular and appreciable. Eventually, this new fusion of systems accelerates players, easing them into a level of play which would have been overwhelming if dumped on them all at once.
In other words, action leads to increased potential, and this simple two-part cycle has formed the backbone of a great many modern games, genres, and series. While there are, predictably, the occasional major swing-and-a-miss, players have overwhelmingly embraced this new world.
Room Enough for Both
If you’re a classic gamer, then this route which the mainstream gaming industry is taking might be a frustrating path to follow. It should be noted, however, that the environment of gaming is one that caters to all tastes if you know where to look.
Even if, in some cases, the most major developers are set in their ways, smaller indie devs are increasingly picking up the slack, meaning a constantly new and broad selection of games with both classic and contemporary appeal. Combined with PC and console marketplaces each increasingly embracing the marketplace for these systems, and we have a future that looks poised to suit everyone, no matter where on the gaming spectrum you lie.