Yearly Iterations Of Video Games

They’ve now become a common staple of the video games industry, but are yearly iterations of franchises a good idea? Or do they stifle talent?

I suppose the most obvious answer would be yes they do (though I don’t necessarily agree with this). Companies, probably most notably Activision stumble upon a good idea, or popular game, then churn out title after title until theres no market left. Just look at Rock-band and guitar Hero, these games were initially very popular, most of us have at least one plastic guitar lying around gathering dust in a corner, but just recently we’ve seen a massive decline in sales, as the market either reaches saturation point, or people have just become sick of the games, leading to Harmonix being sold off recently for only fifty Dollars.

The most notable yearly iteration of them all, Call of Duty has now spawned vast numbers of games, and now were surely reaching the saturation point of the genre, and this can only be a bad thing of its fans, as sales drop, so will developer support, and naturally investment and talent being pumped into the genre will fall.

I also feel that the yearly releases of sports games are also interesting. Its well know that developers have plenty of ideas to implement on future releases, but they hold them back so that they have something to add next year, surely depriving it’s customers of the the ultimate experience?

There are however solid pros to this approach that some people may not have thought about, and the haters of this also need to take a look at themselves.

Today we live in a consumer driven economy, where supply and demand is paramount. These titles obviously sell, so why shouldn’t companies release these games? At the end of the day they’re there to make money, and not sit around for the fun of it. If you don’t like it, vote with your wallets, and don’t buy the games, but more often than not, these games are often quite good, even with the small incremental improvements.

I do however feel that that although the yearly iterations can become tiresome, and frustrating, especially at the beginning of 2011 we are looking at one of the best years ever in gaming, and most of what we see are sequels, the yearly iteration has a very important role to play in gaming today. The revenue that these games provide, may push publishers towards releasing more of the same type of game over and over again, but it also gives the developer a massive cash pile that they can invest in high budget new ip’s. If it wasn’t for games like Madden of Fifa, we certainly wouldn’t have seen games like Dead Space, or at least not with the polish and high production values that the game has today, and as a result we may have a watered down version with poor visuals, and gameplay. Making us much poorer for the experience.

So yes, enjoy your rant about publishers running games into the ground, its annoying and we all hate it, but sit down and enjoy LA Noir and tickle those 10 copies of open world sandbox games sitting next to GTA under the chin, because they’ve played their part brilliantly.