Like many of you, I've been playing games for...well, decades. Gaming was really my absolute first love. When things weren't going so well at home, or school, I knew I could get home, play Pokemon Red on the Game Boy, or FF4 on the SNES, and kinda...lose myself for a few hours. Between gaming and writing, I always kinda had this little pocket of escapism. As I got older, gaming became more and more amazing. To beat a dead horse "Now is the best time to be gaming", and I honestly felt this up until about....the launch of the PS4. Then it felt like things had...changed.
There are still some remarkable games out there. There really are. Persona 5, Yakuza Zero, Spelunky HD, Breath of the Wild- some of the games that I can recognize over the last half decade as excellent, complete packages. However, it feels to me like gaming had this gradual switch to games as a "Service", that happened so slightly, that I never quite noticed it happening, but it really did.
I think I first noticed it at around about Diablo 3, and Destiny 2. No longer would you play a game, see credits, and be done with it. I've actually seen a thread on the forums last night about "Post game content", which really resonated with me. No longer is a game about a singular, complete experience with a logical, defined, linear sense of progression. It's as though nowadays, every SINGLE game wants to monopolize EVERY SECOND of your spare time. Every game has an expansion pass, or a battle pass, or ongoing DLC, and ongoing content, and substantial DLC drops, and honestly? It's a little exhausting, for someone like me.
Now, I appreciate that I am largely in the minority here. I'm in my thirties, I have an interesting life outside of games, and I no longer need to use them as escapism. I was talking to a good friend yesterday, and we both mused over our recent "Falling off" of games. As he put it, "We got to a point where our real life became more important than our virtual ones.....It's better to level YOURSELF up, rather than your character"
That really stuck with me. No longer do I need to grind out 2.3 gear score to get a better parse on Icecrown Citadel. My real life is fantastic! I'm moving to Japan in 6 weeks to chase my dreams! I'm moving somewhere amazing to do a really cool job, and I feel as though....I kinda don't need games anymore.
I know people that spend upwards of £500 on every DOTA battlepass, or play every spec of Destiny 2 DLC, or they dig back into Monster Hunter: World for every new monster. That's fine for them, for sure! I respect that people want to do that! In terms of money per hour, it's never been a better time to be playing games! But for someone like me, who maybe has 10 hours a WEEK to play games...I just don't have it in me to grind my head against games that are 80 hours a month.
How about you guys? Has real life become more interesting than gaming? Or do you still love just sitting there all night, enjoying a virtual world, that's been lovingly crafted. I'd love to hear from you!