Gaming has changed a lot over the years, with trends that come and go every so often. Any trend that gains traction tends to stick around for a while, which is either a blessing or a curse depending on the trend.
Right now, the gaming industry is overrun by quite a few awful trends that just won’t go away. Your current favorite game probably has at least one of these worst trends in modern gaming.
1. Microtransactions and DLC
Microtransactions and DLC plague most modern games.
There’s no doubt that this is the worst trend in modern gaming. Abusive monetization in games is responsible for the downfall of AAA games, leading to huge money sinks that aren’t good for consumers—especially in pay-to-win scenarios.
It’s especially easy to fall into the hypnotic loop of purchasing loot boxes. Buying these randomized sets of items gives you the same rush as gambling—if you don’t get something you like in one loot box, why not buy another one to see if you get better items?
In addition to all the paid weapons or skins that games offer, you’ll also get pushed to buy DLC. When you pay $60 for a game, shouldn’t any extra levels be included? Unfortunately, that’s just not how games work these days.
Borderlands 3 has its Season Pass DLC out at $49.99, while the Monster Hunter World: Iceborne DLC costs $39.99. That’s just about the price of a completely new game.
2. Forced Multiplayer
Single-player games and couch co-op games have mostly been abandoned in favor of multiplayer games.
Ideally, games would have both single-player and multiplayer modes. That gives gamers a chance to keep playing the game they love with friends, and also allows them to enjoy an in-depth storyline by themselves.
Now, we’re seeing more multiplayer-only games. These games do away with any storyline or character development, as making an amazing single-player game takes up too much time and resources.
Instead, AAA developers decide to take the easy way out by creating low-effort multiplayer games. There are still some great multiplayer titles out there, but it’s hard to stack up to multiplayer giants like Titanfall.
Multiplayer-only games look even more appealing when it gives gamers incentive to keep playing it. There’s really no reason to buy DLC weapons in a story-driven single-player game, is there?
Developers take advantage of the fact that there’s always the possibility of progression in multiplayer-only games. Not to mention that gamers will feel tempted to buy performance-improving DLC.
3. Unfinished Games
Fallout 76 has become the poster child of unfinished games. Not only is it a multiplayer-only game, but it also comes with plenty of bugs and glitches that are all symptoms of an incomplete game.
Fallout 76 is far from the only game that’s guilty of being unfinished—Jurassic World Evolution and Black Ops 4 were also released prematurely, leaving dedicated fans disappointed.
The list of unfinished games has been growing. With game companies pushing developers to work faster and meet unrealistic deadlines, unfinished games will soon become the norm.
4. Battle Royales
Does anyone else not understand the appeal of battle royales? These games pit you against dozens of other players in a chaotic multiplayer circus.
The popularity of Fortnite, Apex Legends, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground has lead other games to follow suit. Games that weren’t originally battle royales, like Dying Light and H1Z1, have decided to hop on the trend.
It seems that almost every developer hopes to capitalize off of battle royales. This lack of variety is a recipe for battle royale burnout.
5. Prioritizing Graphics Over Story and Gameplay
You can still have an amazing game without the greatest graphics. There’s a reason why people still love retro games—the gameplay is good enough that you can ignore (or learn to appreciate) the simplified graphics.
Now that we have the technology to create hyper-realistic games, top-tier developers are under pressure to create games with extravagant artwork.
A game like Crackdown 3 looks fantastic. And yet, the game is still bland. Crackdown 3 is a dull disappointment that lacks any innovative features.
It doesn’t matter whether you can play a game in 4K, or if the characters look like actual humans staring back at you. Game developers are starting to lose sight of that. As a result, games have just become beautiful, but hollow shells.
6. Nostalgia Exploitation
Game companies have been taking advantage of gamers’ nostalgia. It’s only natural for gamers to want to relive their childhood through gaming.
That’s why Nintendo released its NES and SNES Classic Mini consoles, and PlayStation created the PlayStation Classic.
The nostalgia-leeching doesn’t stop there. The re-release of old games like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Crash Bandicoot, and Spyro only proves that companies want to make easy money off of our memories.
While these remastered games aren’t bad, it just seems like video game companies have been running out of fresh ideas. Instead, they choose to hop on the retro game bandwagon just to recycle old content.
When Will These Gaming Trends End?
The current gaming industry would flourish without these trends. Sadly, once one trend goes out of style, another will inevitably replace it. It’s an endless cycle of annoying trends that gamers just have to deal with.
Along with all of these trends, I’ve noticed one that stands out among indie developers: roguelikes. As these games get more and more popular, I’ve started to realize… I just don’t like them.