I was thinking about that yesterday and realized currently is just the best era for gaming yet. Seems an unpopular opinion, most people like to think the times when they played as children, teenagers and young adults were the best. I generally see so much negativity regarding the gaming industry, despite being thriving and growing, it saddens me a bit so I created this thread to paint the current industry in a more positive light. A couple of reasons why I think gaming is better now than ever before:
1) Gaming today is more accessible than it used to be, thanks to a mix of technological and economic factors. People often ignore the price of consoles and games went down because the price of things keep about the same while the average income and inflation were up. But that's past the point, nowadays games go on sale quite often and get deep discounts from time to time. There are PLENTY of free options and, of course, subscription services such as Game Pass. It might not satisfy hardcore gamers, but for a low-income kid, an entry-level PC and a Steam account can provide thousands of hours of entertainment they could never experience during the 80s or 90s.
2) Games now can be updated and patched, adding content and solving bugs. The fate of a game is no longer decided by its release. People see this as a bad thing, but I believe this is a great thing. The problem is people are left to the hype and create high expectations on their minds, plus are obsessed with "DAY ONE, ALL THAT MATTERS IS DAY ONE" even when the said people have an insane backlog. Truth is: If you have patience and can wait games that are light on content and full of bugs can become a truly engaging experience after a couple of months. Plus sometimes the added content is just a way to keep the userbase engaged, as a huge Splatoon and Animal Crossing fan the regular updates provided a huge amount of replayability and were very well welcomed, hope they keep deploying that strategy. Platinum/Definitive editions are now offered as DLC. With few exceptions like Persona 5 Royal, most of the games no longer require a full-price purchase to enjoy the added content
3) Sony and Microsoft are making really good transitions and all manufacturers are in a healthy and stable position with their current strategies. Experience and learning how the market works are making hardware makers more conscious than they used to be. Both Xbox and Playstation fanbases seem to be pleased with their current strategies. We now have smart delivery and cross-generation is a thing. I find it to be extremely satisfying to care my old library for new hardware and it's even better to know some of the last-gen games are getting next-gen upgrades often for free. I'm having very high expectations for Nintendo, they have a good story of backward compatibility so I expect a very smooth transition to Switch 2 as well.
4) Third parties turning into multiplatform seems to be the new norm. With few paid-exclusive exceptions, every third party seems to be interested in releasing their games in as much hardware as possible, including PCs. The switch is severely underpowered but it's getting many last-gen ports regardless and if Switch 2 is anywhere closer to Series S in power I think it's not far-fetched to expect a fully committed third arty support again in Nintendo hardware, a thing that never happened since the early '90s.
5) Indie industry is thriving! We now have some successful and profitable indie studios. The digital market and social media help to get worldwide distribution and advertisement, which was unthinkable during most of the 2000s. Because of indies, there are so many hidden games to discover, we are now getting indie games (rightfully) competing for GOTY awards neck-to-neck with AAA games.
6) Information is widely available on the internet. We no longer rely on paid TV/magazine advertisements. Your favorite content creators can give opinions. We can now find out and learn exactly what we want about a game, read a review, browse forums and social media and look what are the game consensus. There are tools to be a conscious consumer like never before so be mindful, don't be a fool.
7) Lastly, great games keep coming! Nothing of that would matter if the games released were bad, but that's not what is happening. Games are becoming generation after generation an even richer media to tell meaningful stories, create immersive gameplay and worldbuilding, and create fun and addictive playing mechanics that can keep one buzzy for hours. There's a reason why gaming audiences are becoming more diverse in gender, age, and ethnic and cultural background: It's because there is a game for everyone, you just need to find yours =)
That's it, that's the thread!