I was having a debate with some members of a forum I visit, and something hit me. After I got back up off the floor, I realized that the gaming industry isn’t quite how I had imagined. Hit the jump.
There have been a lot of people hailing Nintendo for it’s Wii and their motion controls. I must admit, they really came out of the blue with it. Ever since the Wii has been released, it seems everyone and their mother are commenting on how much Nintendo has really done for the industry. I find this extremely interesting considering I hadn’t heard a peep from anyone during the entire life-span of the Game Cube.
It seems like the word ‘innovation’ has been thrown around a lot, but does Nintendo really deserve this much praise? I’ve thought a lot about it and considered many variables to come to a conclusion: No. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a pretty objective guy and I hold not hate towards any of the major gaming companies. I don’t see Nintendo as anything more than what they are: An influential game developer and the eldest of this generations major 3 console companies. However, there are some fans that talk them up like they are God himself, and I just feel I need to set the record straight (if anyone is actually reading this, that is).
This industry, as we know it, is made up of mostly improvements upon itself. One company starts an idea, then the next takes it and alters it slightly to make it better. Then the next company takes that idea and improves on it a bit more, perhaps even in a way that’s considered ‘outside the box’. That’s just how it works. It’s a steal or have it stolen kind of deal.
From what I can tell, there very few true innovations in this industry. Rumble is the only thing I can think of that would even remotely be considered innovation in the modern gaming scene. It isn’t on the level of creating the very first hand-held gaming device, such as the Microvision, but I honestly can’t think of any better examples. Even the mighty Wii-mote was just an alteration of Nintendo’s previous motion controller device: The Power Glove.
So what’s wrong? Well, back when the industry still had that new-car smell, everything could be improved upon in so many different ways. But as days turned into months, and months into years, idea after idea gets used up. Sooner or later we would hit a rut and struggle for advancement.
The answer: Advancement of the more subtle aspects of gaming. We are already seeing experimentation in the way we play games. AI will get improvements, physics and gravity will be studied more thoroughly, and more advanced environment interaction will be required. I do not believe the end of the industry is upon us. This is more of a realization that, as the games and consoles keep coming, our jumps from generation to generation will become much less apparent. This generation is only the beginning.