Question of the week folks. Has the Internet negatively or positively contributed to games? Everyone may have different thoughts on this subject, take a look at what the different writers here at AirborneGamer think about it.
Kyle — I think that dependent upon which part of gaming you look upon, the Internet has had a negative and a positive contribution in games.
Back in the old days of gaming, we had games that were in depth, hard to play and hard to master. The Internet has effectively destroyed these values in games.
Firstly you have the masses of forums and general documentation online that will tell you every little trick and aspect of any game. This means that you no longer have to “try again” but simply need to search “GameFaqs” for the way to do it easily.
Secondly, due to the Internet being such a large portal for gaming discussion, In the beginning, you would see developers possibly taking little ideas from people that they have seen written on forums, but nothing massive. The game would still be original. However, as it stands, developers now have their own forums that they use to literally take ideas from their users. You could say that this is great, but I have found that games are better when they are made originally by the developer, with no outside influence. Otherwise the games carry too much from other games. Look at the recent “mergence” of online FPS, they are all literally becoming one game!
Thirdly, the internet has brought people to gaming, who in my opinion, shouldn’t be gamers. These are what I would call “casual” gamers. They are by far the biggest contributor to the gaming market. This means that all developers now need to cater for them more than they do for the hardcore crowd. Gone are the days of being stuck on a level for half a day. They made it too easy, so that the skill-less casuals don;t get stuck and stop buying their games! Not to mention the horrible emergence of social gaming… eurgh.
Ok, so the biggest and easiest positive to recognize from this situation is the multiplayer aspect of gaming, that we have gained from having the Internet. Bringing multiplayer into games, where you can play with anyone in the world is just phenomenal. It has made gaming the staple of what it is today. For myself, CoD4 was my first dip into multiplayer gaming, since then (Christmas ’07) I have delved around 100 days worth of gaming into Call of Duty titles alone. Ironically, even though this is my biggest positive, it is also a reason for many negative impacts. (This would include the introduction of casuals (I remember when I started playing COD4, people called me a nerd for playing it so much, just a year later, they were playing more than me!), “social gaming” and a massive dis-regard to single player aspects of games).
Another big positive we have gained from the internet is “patches”. You know, when a game has a bug or is broken in some way. In the old days (N64 days) you would literally have to wait for a new version of the cartridge to come out and buy it again, or put up with the bugs). Nowadays, if there is a bug, developers just whack out an update and its fixed. Some developers even completely change their games (Atom Zombie Smasher for example) by giving them massive updates.
Finally, the last positive I would supply, would be digital distribution… but certainly not all kinds. I’m almost exclusively talking about Steam. If I cant get the game on Steam I would rather wait until I could. Sure I love physical games, but as they are “disposable” in the sense that you can whack them on eBay, I end up not playing them. It’s a strange psychological thing I’m sure but whatever. The way that Steam works is just a massive plus for gaming.
There are so many more positives and negatives than what I have listed here. Ultimately, I feel that the Internet has lost us the originality that games held. They were challenging yet fun, nowadays they are more like interactive movies. But it seems as if this is the price we must pay in order for us to get online multiplayer, digital distribution and on the fly patches.
Adam — I feel very positive that the Internetz has contributed positivitly to gaming. Open Source. I just love that term, and why it does not really make sense in relation to this question, I supose I could just say open. The Internet has opned the door of information, discussion, updates, ideas, images, experiences and value that gamers have never experienced before. Developers get feeback faster and more raw. Gamers get updates and news at the blink of an eye as well.
The Internet has transformed gaming in such a way that it can never go back to what it was before. Sure the floodgates have also been opned in terms of piracy and other mis-deeds done online (leaked games, lame DRM) overall the Internet has given games more value and made them something socially acceptiable. I’m all for it and believe the contribution of the Net has been huge…huge in a good way.
Casper — Its both.
Postive : It allows small time indie companies to promote there games for next to nothing, It allows communities to get together and help each other or encourage mods and other goodies.
Negative: It allows games to be put down before they even come out. Piracy.
JD — I strongly feel it depends on the game. The internet is an amazing thing, allowing us to connect with people all over the world. A lot of games have moved to the internet, and have made multiplayer a primary focus. Strong single player advocates probably do not appreciate the shorter campaigns due to a stronger focus on online gaming. One amazing thing to come from the internet is community. I have a blast playing games with my best friends, and it only makes the game that much more enjoyable.