To be honest, I’ve been feeling a little weird about the whole “video game” thing.

That’s not to say that I’m shutting down the site, or even *gasp* giving up gaming, it’s just that the industry feels weird now.

I keep all of my legacy consoles. I love a good arcade when I find one. I currently play things for my 3DS, Xbox 360 and Steam, as well as a few iOS games, but damn it all if I can’t figure out this new generation.

It’s like game consoles don’t want to be game consoles anymore. I really started thinking about this after the Xbox One reveal in relation to my own personal tastes in gaming. Granted, I like the idea of carrying on my profile and Gamerscore legacy. I think that’s a natural fit, but there are some things I’m not liking. All of this digital ownership that makes it seem like the User doesn’t “own” anything anymore. The “always on” Kinect somewhat creeps me out, despite assurances that privacy will be the forefront of concerns. I don’t want ads directed at me over random, private conversations. I don’t want intimate moments with family and/or shared or God forbid, shared. I don’t like the idea that all 360 and XBLA games are non-compatible. Yet music and videos are? How does that logic work? And what about my Minecraft worlds, or the fact that I haven’t finished Skyrim? Yes, I can keep my old console, but seriously, not even the XBLA titles?

There’s also the matter of not allowing indie devs to self-publish their own titles. To be candid, some of the best, most original titles this generation were from small studios (or one or two people), and non-multi million dollar budgets.

Playstation has its own share of issues and weird restrictions. And Wii U is suffering the same issue as the Dreamcast did: People are holding off to see what Sony and Microsoft are bringing to the table before committing to any system. The thing is, Dreamcast has some of the most solid, original contest out there for irs brief lifespan. E3 2000 sold me that Sega created the “must have” system, and despite its short shelf life, I still revere that time as one of the best moments in my personal gaming history. One can hope that Nintendo can make 2013 their “must have” year. 3DS is already a solid system. Wii U needs some help. It needs software. Not gimmicks.

I don’t care about TV features. Netflix and YouTube are great features, but it’s all I really need or want. I buy a console to play games, not be an entertainment centerpiece that watches me whenever I’m in my living room. There’s only so much devs can do with graphics. Make them look more realistic? More polygons? What of the ideas behind the games? You can only reinvent sports games or Call of Duty and other FPS titles so much, and most of that is slapping a shinier coat of paint on them.

I wondered what the all-digital age would bring, but Steam handles it sensibly. I buy my new games new, but not everyone has that option. I don’t think punishing the used gaming market is the answer. Like Gamestop or not, I fear it’s going to spell the demise of that chain, and other similar stores. Why buy download codes when you can easily do that from home?

I feel that current video gaming is losing sight of games, and its creativity. Thinking about the arcade games of the 1980’s, programmers turned some of the weirdest subject matter into popular sellers. I don’t really see that anymore. The big companies are making the same things over and over because they know they sell and the budgets are too high to take risks anymore (same as with movies, but that’s another story for another blog). Some of my favorite, long-standing companies have been pulling some pretty major dick moves towards their fans this generation, and it looks to get worse. Some of my favorites since the NES days, I’m starting to not see them as “companies that create video games”, but more “creators of a corporate product to appease stockholders”. My interest has been growing in indie devs. Those that remember what got them excited about video gaming in the first place, and now have an outlet to express those ideas.

I will wait and see until E3. The proof is always in the games, but for the first time, none of the major consoles are exciting me to warrant a “Must Have Day 1” purchase. That’s concerning to me. I hope this doesn’t render me PC exclusive gamer.

Ah, well. I’ll still always have my 3DS and 360….

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Filed under: general gaming