How the Success of the FPS Genre is Ruining Gaming


We’ve all heard of a game called Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 2. It’s the only multi-platform game thus far this gen to successfully shatter sales records, selling 11. 86 million units worldwide from October to December 2009.  Modern Warefare 2 has dethroned Take Two’s popular Grand Theft Auto 4 in first day sales and worldwide sales.

No other genre( released multi-platform ) has come close to these kind of numbers. Assassin’s Creed 2 has sold 6 million since November 2009.  As of this month, EA’s Dragon Age: Origins has only managed to sell 3.2 million worldwide. Star Wars: Force Unleashed has just broke the 7m mark since it’s release back in September 2008.  Once popular fighting games like Tekken, Soul Caliber, Virtua Fighter and Street Fighter sales fail to compare. Not Even the highly popular Madden franchise has been able to match or beat the sales of Activision’s latest Call of Duty game.

What does this mean for the rest of the industry?

Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama recently admitted that their aim for the soon to be released FFXIII wasn’t for the title to be a rpg at all. The highly criticised, linear aspects of the game  were intentional so that FFXIII would be more of a FPS than an true rpg.

Perhaps when Capcom’s Keiji Inafune made the argument that rpgs simply don’t sell well enough outside Japan for developers to take the chance, he wasn’t too far from the truth. Outside of Street Fighter, Capcom’s future releases can all fall in the shooter category. 

 As a gamer since the PS1 era, I don’t like the direction I see the industry going. Until someone takes a chance and revolutionize other genres and not morph them into shooters, the future of gaming may be bleak. But that’s just my opinion.


Written by: Sakinah - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by genbatzu on February 24th, 2010 [ 3798 Points ]

    i hate FPS for consoles >.<
    looks like i really need to get my japanese better to find some good games in the future :/

  2. #2 by Eddie on February 24th, 2010 [ 44542 Points ]

    Gran Turismo has hit those sales numbers and exceeded them in the past.

    With said…I love the FPS games as well. I just want to see more RPG’s with some effort put into them. So far this gen we’ve had 2 decent ones.

  3. #3 by JustTheFactsMr on February 24th, 2010

    So you bought Heavy Rain then?

  4. #4 by derrickgott007 on February 24th, 2010 [ 871 Points ]

    FPS games are way better than RPG’s if you ask me. The RPG genre has been watered down way too much with so many J-Rpgs being released with NO new gameplay elements or genre defining moments. I think as technology advances more people will want RPG’s that have a more player controlled action scenes like Oblivion. I personally can’t stand turn based combat.

    Brings more realism into the game. That’s what a RPG is right? a ROLE PLAYING GAME, not a take turns and wait game.
    Obilvion was the best RPG I ever played.

  5. #5 by derrickgott007 on February 24th, 2010 [ 871 Points ]

    And besides, most FPS’s are moving towards the RPG genre with the stats and unlocking due to leveling up. That’s what has me addicted to MW2 and MAG and BFBC2, the ability to progress makes the game way more playable…with goals like unlocking all the guns being almost a game within a game.

  6. #6 by Darrin on February 24th, 2010

    Come on… Ruining gaming? Gaming has never been better for any genre. Sure, the shooter is the main genre and the FPS/TPS interface is the standard of the day, but there has never been more diversity and innovation…

    What is your favorite genre? RPGs? They have never been better.

  7. #7 by Trieloth on February 24th, 2010 [ 3426 Points ]

    Iam a huge turn based RPG fan, and I do enjoy other types of rpgs but you end up Hammering on one or two buttons the whole time (like Star Ocean:LH).
    FPS’s are great. I like the story modes more than online because you are able to shoot more stuff/craetures other than a dood online over and over and over.
    What really sucks is that companys are influenced by people on the internet. As far as I can tell there is way more bitching at companys than praising. Especially with all the fanboy madness going on and there desire to hate.

  8. #8 by Royalty32 on February 24th, 2010

    I wouldnt say tha FPS’s are ruining the gaming world i just think its overwhelming it. Like 60-70% of games are FPS’s. I just think that developers need to focus on something else, but then again they cant becuase if it doesnt have guns or gore then it wont sell. Shame.

  9. #9 by Darrin on February 24th, 2010

    derrick, JRPGs are being released with no new gameplay elements? If you limit your definition of JRPG to strictly what they were ten years ago, then yes…

    But Demon’s Souls, Persona, Yakuza, Monster Hunter, Valkyria Chronicles are all recent JRPGs that are definitely innovative.

  10. #10 by terribledeli on February 24th, 2010 [ 630 Points ]

    Darrin really hit the nail on the head.

    That is all.

    The argument of FPS ruining gaming would only work if every title available was a FPS, or at the least, allowed players to control the game in the same fashion.

    There’s absolutely nothing that is hurting video games right now. No, not even the Wii’s lackluster 3rd party games because those sorry games allow video games to have record breaking numbers year in and year out.

  11. #11 by Mike on February 24th, 2010

    Interesting topic. I spend more time playing online FPS than any other genre but I have also lamented the direction that single player campaigns have gone. BioShock is the single player FPS since Half-Life 2 that really impressed me. 10 – 12 hours in length, great story, and truly memorable characters and environments. Halo 3, the Call of Duty games, and the Killzone 2 are all six hour roller coast rides. COD4 and KZ2 were indeed amazing rides but the replayability is not really there for me, the multiplayer is where those games shined.

    I don’t think it is FPS though. In the west it comes down to shoehorning some kind of multiplayer component into anything because publishers have it in their mind that every game should be $60. Some times this works (Uncharted 2 and GTA IV’s multiplayer really defied my expecations) but often times it does not – BioShock 2, EA’s one month lock in of multiplayer modes, ec.

    Japan is another issue altogether. They just don’t seem to have kept up with modern game design with a few exceptions like Metal Gear and the Team Ico games. Fighting games could have retained their popularity if they hadn’t been half a decade behind with online gaming (there is really no reason Tekken 4, VF4 Evo, and Soul Calibur 2 couldn’t have been online back in the day). Americans moved on after arcades died but many of the publishers still act like it is 1998.

  12. #12 by Kicks on February 24th, 2010 [ 539 Points ]

    I won’t say that FPS games have ruined gaming, but will say that I wish that not every game was based on FPS mechanics. My wife was watching me playing Borderlands the other night and asked me if that was the only type of game I play. She only ever sees games like Army of Two, Borderlands, MW2, BF:BC2 Demo (soon to be retail), and other games like that so it was a fair question.

    I’m hoping once I get to actually play Heavy Rain that her opinion will change, but that’ll only be a short diversion from FPS games.

  13. #13 by Royalty32 on February 24th, 2010

    Heavy Rain is awsome let me just say that. Its different, down to the controls. U will have to get used to it but my god is this game epic. The story is rich, full of twist and turns and graphics are the best to date. Yes better than MGS4 and U2 and the voice acting, while at times a little cheesy but still good. This game will have u in suspense from beginning to end. This is a step in the right direction for gaming period. If they make a Heavy Rain 2 just fix the controls (basically your movement, putting them the the two thumb sticks would be nice) and this will easily be one the greatest series evr in gaming. 10/10 for sure.

  14. #14 by JimmyMagnum on February 24th, 2010 [ 83111 Points ]

    if anything, I think it’s the multiplayer component of games that is ruining single player gaming.

  15. #15 by lordincubus on February 24th, 2010 [ 185 Points ]

    I am 24 years old and I have been playing videogames since the original Nintendo, from games like Super Spike and River city Ransom all the way to Heavy Rain and MW2. The only thing that is influencing the industry is the Gun crazy fan base which is the heart of American gaming. (FYI I am American 100%) All they want are an amazing bunch of shiny toy guns and a person to fire them at. One of my best friends only plays sports games and shooters like Halo, Gears, and MW2 nothing else I mean nothing. I show him amazing games like Assassins creed 2, and Demon Souls, Street Fighter 4 and the God of war 3 (demo). And all he says is turn this $hit off. I am sure there are millions of kids just like him; who are really new at the whole gaming experience and have only seen the bubble of Sports and Shooters. I call these kids the Republican of the gaming industry, their political symbol would be the Xbox live logo. They only stick to what they know and anything that doesn’t follow their ideals is considered wrong. Developers are going to follow the money and these are the people that seem to have it.
    In response to your comment about MW2 having the sales record for most purchases I bet if Blizzard put Star craft two on PS3 and Xbox you would see that record get destroyed really fast. I know kids that are not into videogames at all but they love Star craft and the original war craft games. When I tell them that a new one is on the way they ask when and where to get it. Image if that game were to come back and bring people back into gaming.

  16. #16 by lordincubus on February 24th, 2010 [ 185 Points ]

    Jimmy I agree

  17. #17 by fritoz on February 24th, 2010 [ 165 Points ]

    As long as they keep innovating, like adding in RPG elements ala Borderlands and BioShock, i’m fine with it!

    Also, some games like Fallout 3 and Oblivion let you see both in a 1st and 3rd person perspective..

    i just like all GOOD games, no matter how they are presented perspective wise..

  18. #18 by Trieloth on February 24th, 2010 [ 3426 Points ]

    ^^^Agreed with JimmyMagnum. But as far as RPGs never been better is wrong. The dialog tree’s in the RPG’s (Fallout, Mass Effect, Dragon Age) is a horrible idea. The story gets so screwed up with ‘your own decisions’ that it makes it impossible for me to enjoy the game.

  19. #19 by lordincubus on February 24th, 2010 [ 185 Points ]

    I also think they should create a Steetfighter RPG that is similar to Final Fantasy in that the player travels the globe, but when conflict comes the battle system is just a streetifighter 2 ko match. So RYU would be wondering the globe looking for something and incounter fights. Seems simple and Fun rather then showing a plane fly to brazil and tell me im fighting Blanka for no reason

  20. #20 by Royalty32 on February 24th, 2010

    To me i think borderlands is the most overrated game to ever land on nex gen consoles. It was just terrible. The guns were stupid(they were just remakes with different pwrs, such as fire, poison etc.) The story or what there was made no sense and yes ppl even though they were cel-shaded the graphics looked like a ps2 game.

  21. #21 by Blackstaffer on February 24th, 2010

    Too bad you didn’t like Borderlands, Royalty32. While I thought some of the baddies were a little too freakazoid for my taste (too close to the horror genre), I had a lot of fun with Borderlands. I thought the guns were a lot of fun and the cel-shaded looks definitely did not make it look like a PS2 game. It’s just a different art style, that’s all. I passed on the first two DLC’s because they weren’t what I wanted, but I’ll probably pick up the third.

    Two of my favourite genres is action RPG’s (like Sacred 2) and FPS’s. So Borderlands was a refreshing new game. Though I wish the powers that could be unlocked in the skill tree could have been a lot more varied.

  22. #22 by Blackstaffer on February 24th, 2010

    fleakitten: you put the premise out there that shooters are ruining gaming, but you don’t back it up. One game creator saying they wanted to make a game more linear isn’t enough.

    I suggest that the most popular three games in recent history are MW2, Uncharted 2, and Assassin’s Creed 2. Only one of those is a traditional shooter. (Uncharted 2 has lots of shooting and fighting sure, but I consider it an action game, not a shooter.)

  23. #23 by Fleakitten on February 24th, 2010

    The point I was trying to make was that developers will look at the best selling and most popular games this generation and decide to design future tittles around them.

    They’ll look at COD being the only game on both the PS3 and 360 to make such a profit in a short amount of time and think what can we do to capture that success.

    Sega’s trying it with their guns only rpg Resonance of Fate, Tecmo with Quantum Theory, Kojima has alluded to being interested in making a FPS along with DOA creator Itagaki. SE saying that FFXIII was developed as a FPS ann not an RPG is an prelude to things to come in my opinion.

  24. #24 by Kratos on February 24th, 2010

    I totally agree with you. What I hate more is the way most FPS are being recycled and done just for the sake of sucking the idiotic gamer’s money. I, for one, boycotted MW2 playing it 3 times in my life for no more than an hour a sitting. It was, in my opinion, a way of sucking money out of us. It worked obviously, dethroning GTA4 is no easy task. The only FPS I spent money on and consider worth it are Killzone 2 for its technical feats and decent aim system and the Bioshocks for its story, atmosphere and setting. I expect insults. I dont care.

  25. #25 by Kev on February 24th, 2010

    I’m personally not a fan of FPS and have not been happy with what it’s doing to the gaming world. FPS along with MMOs have pretty much ruined computer gaming for single player gamers and as I see more and more console games heading towards the linear mindlessness of FPS, I have to concede that it is also ruining things for the serious console gamer.

    I always have and still prefer games that require me to think while playing them. When you think about the mindlessness of FPS, you began to realize that FPS are nothing but a glorified form of casual gaming.

  26. #26 by Dirk on February 24th, 2010

    Every few years one type of genre seems to do really well while the others sort of languish in marketing and sales. At some point some other genre of game will become popular and then FPS will languish on the sidelines. Remember when nobody but Polophony Digital could sell a racing game or anyone not using the Quak or Unreal engines make an FPS? So while this article has a point it really doesn’t seem to have much perspective.

  27. #27 by simpleton on February 24th, 2010

    You could make the same argument about the wii and just about all of its games…but alternatives still exist and they’re doing fine

  28. #28 by Anon on February 24th, 2010

    I’m with Darrick, I play all genres of games and all platforms for fun, Though it pains me to admit it FPS is hurting other forms of gaming because of it’s immense populatrity, hopefully as time moves on people will get bored of shooting shit and focus will switch to another genre spawning great games this way with it going around in a circle.

  29. #29 by SpectralN00B on February 24th, 2010

    If you want to see less first person shooters, you have to vote with your dollars.
    Simple.
    The industry is driven by supply and demand, and if MW2 sales are any indication, there’s alot of demand for it; or things like it.
    MW2 is not “the problem”. There’s a wide variety of high quality games that aren’t military shooters. (for the 30 PS3 games I’ve kept in my collection, only 3 are FPS: Killzone2, Bioshock, OrangeBox) So, to say that MW2 is ruining gaming is an ignorant and stupid thing to say.
    how many Facebook games are FPS? Is WoW an FPS? It generates $100 million a month with 6-8 million subscribers world-wide, is THAT ruining gaming as well?
    I think if you should evaluate your argument as to what is being ruined about games and who is really doing the ruining, if anything is being ruined at all.
    Get over it.

  30. #30 by SpectralN00B on February 24th, 2010

    just a quick note. ;)
    What a bout Wii sports Resort, or Wiifit…or the Wii in general!? The audience of gaming is far more vast and varied than maybe we all would like to think, and while MW2 is taking lots of credit, their not the only super-profit steam roller in town.

  31. #31 by Grey on February 24th, 2010

    New game play? genre defining? these are some steep allegations from a genre that still revolves on the fact that that I can shoot things. the only evolution that the FPS genre has gone through is the ability to take all the best parts of other genres and make them their own. The fact is that it has developed similar qualities to a common leach. Most of the “new” characteristics that we see in FPS’ today are variables that have been around in games since the mid 80′s. I would barley consider that revolutionary.
    I’m also firm believer that realism is destroying games. If games were too much like our lives, than you might as well “live your life.” The fact is simple, developers have lost the ability to be unique as every time a good idea comes along its milked till there’s nothing left.
    I agree RPG’s were becoming stale, but is this reason enough to drop the whole genre? what if developers drain FPS’ causing them to go stale; then where do we go from there?
    The fact is in the entertainment business there are many genres; Comedy, romance, action and drama to name a few. With this, until Gaming can take their place as an industry seriously and developed new ideas and a variety of successful genres – as currently there is no innovation or diversity just plagiarism – its doomed to fail. and that’s my 2 cents.

  32. #32 by bluem00se on February 24th, 2010

    I agree completely. I’m incredibly excited for FFXIII, but I know it could have been a better game if Square hadn’t felt pressured by sales numbers to ‘westernize’ their game to appeal to more people. Shooters are great, but there are too damn many of them. Devs seem to be afraid to branch out and do something drastic because it’s safer to just make another shooter. Here’s hoping more devs become more willing to take risks, like Quantic Dream did with Heavy Rain. It definitely paid off. Having just beat it, I can surely say it’s one of the best gaming stories and one of the most unique gaming experiences I’ve ever encountered.

  33. #33 by Grey on February 24th, 2010

    I can’t agree more. It’s like this: imagine owning a store that sold only black tee-shirts (they could be the nicest, highest quality black tee-shirts) however, if someone was looking for a white tee-shirt, your S*** out of luck. That is what these companies are putting themselves through. I have nothing against any games, consoles, or even genres. you need variety in your industry or you lose customers as you cannibalize your own sales, have customers leave with unspent money, and over saturate the marketplace.

  34. #34 by simpleton on February 24th, 2010

    I kinda wanna argue against not being a shooter being a risk…I mean if you think about it actually BEING a shooter is a pretty big risk. Since there are so many of them (good and bad), you have a better chance of getting left by the wayside. Also just because you use a “new” idea for a game doesn’t necessarily mean you’re taking that much of a risk, just do it right and you’ll have people who support you.

  35. #35 by SpectralN00B on February 24th, 2010

    It’s amazing how many people think developers have all the power when it comes to marketing, or branding their publishers IP.
    Of course Square is going to westernize their game to appeal to audiences outside of Japan. Would you remark about a candy company that puts less sugar in their chocolate bars as giving into the demands of health-nuts? or to appeal to people outside of the “sugar-craving fatty” demographic?
    And to say the games industry isn’t innovating is an ignorant remark. Look at the Iphone/Facebook/PC/Wii/PS3/Xbox360/Newgrounds.com and the hundreds of indy developed games and tell me that there’s no innovating or forward thinking happening.
    You need to get outside of your bubbles people.

  36. #36 by Dion on February 24th, 2010

    I don’t think the success of FPS games have ruined the industry. I think it’s the greed of some developers to achieve the success of what FPS games like Modern Warfare 2 achieved.

  37. #37 by JimmyStewart on February 25th, 2010 [ 710 Points ]

    The industry has and will correct itself as need be. There is no need to haul out games to compare with sales figures. When Madden was the industry leader the gaming industry didn’t turn into a series of Madden clones. When GTA was the industry leader the gaming industry didn’t turn into a series of GTA clones. Sure some try, and that over-saturates the market and most of those clones fail. FPS games have been very popular for a VERY long time, especially on the PC. And as PC gamers move over to console, it’s only natural that these games will continue to thrive.
    It really hasn’t done anything to slow the development of other great games. On the contrary lately I’ve seen an abundance of great indie titles making waves thanks to in part to downloads. I’m a gamer from the Atari 2600 days and I remember being devastated when LucasArts stopped making graphic adventure games on the PC. They just weren’t profitable against the Quakes and Unreal Tournaments of the day. However TellTale has stepped in to revive the genre and demonstrate that even in today’s FPS and console driven world it’s still possible to make great games that are successful. The PixelJunk series also spring to mind. They’re one of the best things I’ve played on the PS3 period, and they seem to be thriving.

    I agree with Darrin, simply put gaming has never been better. There’s tons of innovation and variety in all the games/genres I’m buying and playing. In this digital age it’s never been easier to get small low budget games out to the masses. Maybe you should look beyond the biggest sellers and look for the better games. It’s a bit like going to see Avatar and then complaining about how “Hollywood” the movie industry is.

    I should add, I don’t care how many copies MW2 sells… I haven’t played it and I’m probably not going to.

  38. #38 by Eddie on February 25th, 2010 [ 44542 Points ]

    I agree with Darrin that gaming has never been better but completely disagree with the RPG’s being better. Sure as a whole gaming is better.

    There have been 2 AAA RPG’s this gen and one of them sold like crap. Lost Odyssey and FFXIII. Then we have Infinite Undiscovery, Star Ocean 4, The Last Remnant which were all horrible in so many ways.

    Sure Valkyria Chronicles, Dragons Age were good games…but not great games.

    If RPG’s were given the effort that many FPS games were today, then we might see a potential RPG to be excited about other then FFXIII.

    Even reading reviews, FFXIII is a shell of its former self.

  39. #39 by TheRealMaxPower on February 25th, 2010 [ 960 Points ]

    I don’t have a problem finding great games of any genre. Granted I could care less about most RPGs (Oblivion was AWESOME). Action, Horror, Racing, Sports, etc are all better genres now.

    Developers are putting a lot of effort into Sound which makes a huge difference for immersion. Graphics are to the point I have no complaints. The multiple paths/endings is also a nice addition as single player games are interesting enough to do a second play through.

    Many games cross multiple genres anymore. RPGs are a part of every genre now. The true RPGs are going to FPS because it is more fun than a turn based game. I hate turn based games and I am glad they are moving it away from that.

  40. #40 by Joey on February 25th, 2010

    As a gamer since the Atari console……..

    …. Gosh I miss pixels and 8 bit music… :(

  41. #41 by EdEN on February 25th, 2010 [ 136063 Points ]

    An FPS here and there is always good, but yeah I can feel there are waaaaay too many of those right now and it seems it’s the only type of project that gets approved for release…

  42. #42 by kapy on February 25th, 2010

    How about you blame Stephen King because poetry or essays are not selling as well as his books?


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