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Are Gamers A Nation of Whiners?

In the U.S., a prominent politician recently stirred controversy by referring to the country as a “nation of whiners”. There are no major wars or epidemics or catastrophes, there are record levels of peace and prosperity, continued acceleration of every type of technology, comfort, convenience, and overall standard of living, and yet people still complain endlessly about the price of gas and find a million other nitpicks to moan about.

By the same token, have gamers become a similar group of whiners?

Here are the top three moans of 2008:

  • Games are too expensive
  • Innovation is dead. There are too many sequels.
  • Journalism is horrible. Review scores are terminally flawed.

Games have never been cheaper. There is tons of software for free or for $10 and under. And hardware has never done more for less money. You can get a last-gen console and games for next to nothing. And inflation adjusted, current new release games and hardware are cheaper than ever and more feature rich than ever.

Regarding innovation, the industry is experiencing a true renaissance. We are seeing an explosion of game functionality and polish. We are seeing more experimental and novel efforts than ever before. The industry is remaking and polishing every type of classic cult favorite, is building out new genres such as music/rhythm, is fleshing out previously unexplored social aspects of gaming, and has devoted huge efforts to the absolute mastery and perfection of the 3D shooter. And all this is happening at a historically breakneck pace. Compared to other industries like real estate or education, the video games business is rapidly evolving frontier territory.

And journalism? There are more types of journalism catering to a wider spectrum of tastes, more extensive coverage, and better discussion outlets than ever before. It’s also admirable that the games industry generally takes it review scores so seriously and passionately. The movie industry doesn’t put nearly as much attention or care into reviewing and evaluating their work.