The last time I wrote anything here on The Reticule, was nigh on three months ago when I delivered my Verdict on Rainbow Six: Siege. Even in the weeks before I wrote about Ubisoft’s hardcore shooter, my writing output had been limited. There’s no singular reason that I can put my finger on for why I haven’t written as much as I used it, but part of the reason is because I am a dinosaur. You read that right, I believe that I am something of a dinosaur of the gaming world these days, and by being stuck in the past, I’m losing touch with the current trends.I think choosing an image from Ark: Survival Evolved is a perfect example of what I am talking about. I could have grabbed a picture of DOTA2 the HTC Vie or even YouTube. All would have served to illustrate my point. But Ark has actual dinosaurs in, so it won.
Why am I dinosaur then? It comes down to the changing trends in games people play, how people will (potentially) be playing them in the future, and how people tend to absorb their gaming news and opinion. So many games these days are based in the survivalist genre, or are MOBAs. The survivalist genre arguably came about with Minecraft while MOBAs first appeared as a map and game type for Starcraft and Warcraft III. Neither genre really appeals to me, while it is something like DOTA2 and the ilk which have led to the explosion in the past couple of years of eSports and competitive tournament events. I love sitting down to watch a game of football, or watch Lewis Hamilton dominate in Formula 1, but I have much less interest in watching people playing video games in a competition. I can appreciate the skills they demonstrate, but I don’t feel the same buzz of excitement as a lot of other people do when an event is going on. Just look at Twitter during the recent IEM event in Poland, I don’t know about you, but my feed was full of people bursting with the same sense of excitement as Leicester fans must feel everytime Mahrez and Vardy combine for a last minute winner.
Looking at VR, and the vast amount of press coverage is glowing with praise for the new technology. Yes, people have been upfront about the costs (shocking) and potential for nausea with poorly optimised games, but the general vibe seems to be that VR has the potential to change everything. I’m being a bit hyperbolic here of course, but again, I have little to no desire to fork out £350 (estimated price for Sony’s contraption) to £700 (or thereabouts for the Vie/Oculus) on more kit, and kit which I would have to wear and separate myself entirely from the world around me. That’s without talking about the potential floor space some of these devices will need to make the most out of. I’ll hold my hands up here and say that I’ve never tried an Oculus or similar VR device. Whenever I’ve seen one at EGX or Rezzed, the queues (even for indie games demo’ing with them) have been enough to put me off. If VR really is the future of gaming, I’m afraid that I’ll be left in the shade.
Of course, on the VR front, a lot of people thought mobile gaming would have replaced traditional PC and console gaming by now, but with the PlayStation 4 selling like gangbusters and Steam still leading the charge (both as a storefront and an under-the-TV box), I think I’ll be safe with my traditional gaming formats for a while yet.
Maybe we now come to the heart of the matter – the changing ways in which people digest their gaming news, reviews and opinion. Things are moving so heavily onto YouTube, and really they’ve already moved there, just take a look at YouTube Gaming. Back before I started The Reticule, I was a lowly staff writer at valvetime.net (née halflife2.net) and nobody could have foreseen the rise of video content. Back then, people still read magazines regularly and large websites like Kotaku and Eurogamer were around and were important, but were sitting in harmony with print. These days, it seems like people don’t have five minutes to read something like Jim Rossignol’s review of Half-Life 2 in PC Gamer. I remember bringing that edition (a subscriber copy at the time of course) of PC Gamer into college so me and my friends could read over it and gush about how exciting it was going to be to get our hands on it through something as raw as Steam was at the time. How is something like The Reticule meant to survive against people like PewDiePie and other YouTube hosts?
I don’t know the answer, but I’m continued to carry on like the crocodiles do. I might be a dinosaur of the gaming world these days with attitudes stuck in the past, but I intend to keep doing what I’m doing, and damn the naysayers.
(This blog has meandered here, there and everywhere. Share your thoughts on my random stream of consciousness below!)