Author Topic: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?  (Read 443 times)

Warmsignal

Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« on: November 15, 2022, 02:24:43 pm »
I was really starting to notice this recently as it's technically the holiday season, and yet I don't feel bombarded with advertisements about the hottest must-have games this year. I just noticed that a new Call of Duty game recently came out, and while I've never been a fan, I feel like anticipation for that game was mild at best. It used to be that every GameStop in town did a midnight launch and had lines of people waiting for stuff like that. I feel like that didn't happen.

That sort of coincides with my point about the death of physical media also signifying the death of hype in a certain, tangible type of way. It used to be that people were excited for games, and you'd feel that hype IRL, not just on some social media page, or on a forum like this.... but among people you know and gamers you encounter in the real world. The hype was palpable. Now that physical media is all but gone, it's like you don't perceive that anticipation anymore. In similar fashion to the music industry's transformation, now that physical media is becoming irrelevant, everyone is kind of off in their own bubble as far as what they're watching for and anticipating, and there's no certain subset of upcoming games which dominate the hype-train. Digital distribution is so broad and caters to many, many interests. The publications don't tell you want to get excited for, you just find your own hype. There's no one game that every one you know personally, just HAS to have.

I feel like this shift has really impacted the way a holiday season like this feels, regarding new video games. Although plenty of people care and are into new games, it almost feels like no one does because the hype just isn't there IRL anymore. A COD release came and went, feeling like a breeze this time. Where were all the COD bros in their t-shirts and camo pants, lining up by the hundreds and frothing at the mouth to their hands on the latest and greatest? It's an obsolete notion now. It doesn't need to happen, they just download it when it goes live. Gaming is now more than ever becoming a hobby you do quietly, and out of sight of others. It creates this illusion that the hobby itself is dying out.

With retail presence of video games dwindling, there's little to no physical association of what it is to be a "gamer". It all just sort of occurs on set top box in your room, that you share with virtually no one else. It's no longer the 90's, you aren't going over to your buddy's house and popping in that new game you just rented for some couch co-op. Technology has certainly transformed the social aspects of gaming, and hype is just one of those aspects that has changed in the way that people share (or don't share) about the upcoming games they're most looking forward to, and the ways those games are marketed. With the loss of physical media, an element of hype regarding video games as we've always known it has also perished.

I increasingly feel out of touch going into GameStop and expecting to find physical copies of games I want, only to be disappointed time and again because the corporate game store isn't getting any games on their shelf for me to buy. With my rosy reds, I just keep thinking back 10 years and how different it was. To walk into a game store, overwhelmed with the sheer volume and the bustle of people digging through piles of games and conversing over the good and the bad. Huge holiday sales spanning countless games and accessories, and those must-have titles behind the counter in huge stacks, just waiting to be sold. That entire experience is forever lost, replaced now by... the nebulous nature and anonymity of online. Social media, forum posting... meh.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2022, 02:32:38 pm by Warmsignal »

Bwigdahl

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2022, 03:20:01 pm »
I feel like almost all aspects of gaming are stagnant right now. In both large scale releases and indie games. Either we are retreading gameplay tropes from the 80s/90s with maybe a twist here or there or we are shooting for hyper-realism. I also feel like, for better or worse, we are losing genre. In much the same way as pop music, the idea of distinct genre is damn near non-existent, at least in triple-A releases. There always seems to be some form of open-worldness, cinematic story telling and light rpg elements. There is this feeling of safeness and sameness that permeates through the industry which produces solid, if a bit underwhelming or unexciting, games.

I don't know what or how this changes. VR seems like the logical next step but personally I'm not interested in that. I don't really even know what or if anything could be done to bring back that sense of wonder/discovery that seems not so distant. I think maybe we've just kinda seen it all at this point. I'm ready for someone to prove me wrong though.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2022, 03:24:43 pm by Bwigdahl »

burningdoom

PRO Supporter

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2022, 04:12:57 pm »
COVID, recession, and console/supply shortages have far more to do with it I think. It's hard to get excited about a new game if you can't get a console to play it on, or can't afford to keep up with gaming anymore.

kashell

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2022, 08:16:37 pm »
I was thinking about something similar (en route to GameStop, funnily enough) today. I heard a quote that seems to ring about this situation. I think Martin Short said, "I gave up on being interested in movies when movies gave up on being interested in me." That's how the gaming world is now, more or less.

The physical media decline has been talked about and discussed for years now, but the current state of the industry indeed lacks that special something that it once had. I go into a GameStop and the first thing I see aren't games. No, I see t-shirts and chachkies. For the most part, modern games are too reliant on being online and open-worldy and massive and it's just unfun. The most recent modern purchase is the new Star Ocean - and yet I'm in no hurry to play it. Especially after the demo had all of the unfun issues I described.

This is just a generalization from my observation, of course. And the one thing I take solace in is knowing that there is a ton of inventory from previous generations out there just waiting to be played. The downside is that the barrier of entry to some of these titles is expensive. Still, I'd rather pay a little extra for a game I know I'd like than something brand new that will likely get inundated with DLC, patches, mods, etc.
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dhaabi

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2022, 08:51:21 am »
I think an aspect which you're overlooking is that people do not have to rely on visiting brick-and-mortar stores to receive items they're wanting to still buy physically. In the last five years, I have purchased a new game in-store perhaps only about five times. Even with used games, I regularly choose to instead shop online via secondary markets. With GameStop particularly, their used game selections have not only decreased in inventory but have also considerably dropped in ownership quality within the past decade. While there are certainly people who prefer to exclusively play digitally, I really don't think physical media is greatly being threatened by it—those preferring physical media just don't feel obligated to visit stores which focus on video gaming while also holding onto the games they own if they elect to pursue physical gaming.

The pandemic may have exasperated the issue you're bringing up to a further degree as well. However, like you said, the sheer number of options available for people to play has increased exponentially. While it also relates to an increase in digital gaming, the means for indie developers to easily publish or even self-publish their works has become much easier, which allows for a greater variety in products that increases competition away from mainstream AAA titles. I don't think the extent to marketing AAA titles has decreased—it's more than likely increased, even—it's just how people are receiving advertising has changed. Before, people seeking gaming knowledge were required to find it in-person, whether through visiting a store or reading a magazine, but that isn't how information is shared in modern times. Now, anything in print is outdated. I think there is still hype for games, but it just may not show a physical presence to the degree it once had.

Along the same lines, gaming is not the novelty interest that it once used to be. You are more likely to encounter someone now who plays games in some form than someone who doesn't. Even though we all have our own myriad of interests in gaming, there is no need to make an event out of a highly anticipated game's release with like-minded individuals, as these moments are commonplace now. In the times of midnight releases, the intent was on being able to play the game as soon as possible. Fans can now bypass that hurdle almost completely by pre-ordering digitally and even being able to pre-download some files. However, I don't think this makes up for a significant amount of the user base but probably a similar percentage of people who once attended midnight release events in-store.

telekill

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2022, 10:34:36 am »
Yeah, there are a few gems that release but the amount of what interests me is a trickle. God of War just released and I have no interest in paying $70 for it. Sure, it'll be a solid game, but I just don't care at the $70 mark. Luckily, Witcher 3 PS5 upgrade was announced as releasing next month so that's what I'll be playing.

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2022, 11:48:21 am »
There are a few factors for the hype of modern gmaing beingon a decline:

Games not being complete on release date - I often find these days you hear about so many releases offering a real inferior experience at launch. It seems it is often best to wait 3-6 motnsh now for the games to be patched. I'm not just talking about bugs either, often games have gotten subtantial upgrades to the performance like 4k or 60fps options!

Games released incomplete due to incoming DLC - Another reason I am fed up with the industry is that most games seem to have Season Passes. Now as soon as I hear of a Season Pass offered within a game I wait. I hope there will be a Complete Edition released in time but even if that does happen half of them are jsut the base game on disc with a code (Super pissed at Capcom for doing that to RE Village Gold recently!)

The cost! - Sadly much liek everythign these days games have gone up in price, especially the big Sony exclusives which want £70 for a Standard Edition... My usual price for a brand new game is £40. So there is certainly a disconnect. It would have to be a very big release in order for me to put up with it like the next Final Fantasy - provided it doesn't have a Season Pass either...

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2022, 12:38:38 am »
Sadly, I think I'm more or less done with modern gaming. it has become the antithesis of what I love about video games and what I personally value when it comes to my media. We now live in a world where physical media is all but dead thanks to the internet. I've noticed a disturbing trend in recent years where more and more people regardless of age seem to live their life more in a digital space such a social media, online gaming communities, and other online spaces rather than in the real world. It's especially bad with people under the age of 20 since this has pretty much been their entire lives; at least if you're in your mid-20s or older you clearly remember a time before the internet and social media was everywhere, and everyone wasn't constantly logged into Facebook, Twitter, and Tiktok. I believe where gaming is at is just another extension of this, and getting games that cater more towards an offline experience (local multiplayer, no DLC and micro transactions, no extensive patching, physical releases) is getting harder and harder to find. Luckily retro games seem to provide a refuge from this, but unfortunately the hype behind these older games died years or even decades ago when they had first come out.


The end result, at least for me, is I barely get excited about anything video game related anymore. As a collector and retro gamer I either own or have owned at one point 95% of all games I've ever wanted, and what I still would want is way too expensive to justify purchasing for the most part. As a modern gamer, I hate the forced emphasis on online multiplayer and communities, and the business practices of virtually all AAA studios makes me feel dirty if I buy their games new. And of course, I hate, hate, hate the ongoing march towards a digital only future that I have decided I wont' be a part of. While it pains me to think that this likely will be the last console generation I'll actively be involved in, I feel like the way things have been going for the last several years have prepared me to pull the plug and no longer play modern games in the not so distant future. Sadly, I actually wouldn't be surprised if I reach this point even before this console gen is officially over.


But at least on a personal level, my growing disinterest in video games has resulted in me getting into other hobbies more, some brand new and others ones I've neglected for years. Still, it pains me to see myself feeling so jaded and negatively towards video games. Videos games have been a part of my identity most of my life and they are an integral part of my past and present. It's almost like accepting a really close friend or family member is no longer the person you loved and looked up to once, and is now just a toxic, abusive asshole that is bringing you down with them. I guess I should consider myself fortunate that I got to enjoy video games at their creative zenith, but it's one of those things that I just assumed would never end. Lol, now I'm all depressed about this, but anyways, yeah, the hype is definitely no longer there, at least not the same way it was just a few years ago.

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2022, 09:31:35 pm »
Hype isn't dying at all, I'd say it's bigger than it ever has been, games are doing insane numbers these days.  The lack of interest in physical media is certainly changing how this might be perceived though,  as I've done a handful of midnight launches over the years, but this isn't as important anymore unless you have a real reason to get something physical, like a brand new console.  Why drive the half-hour or more to a store, to maybe stand outside in the cold or rain sometimes, wait for 50+ people in front of you to buy the game you already paid for most likely, when you can just buy it online, pre-load two days before release, and then play it the second it releases all within the comfort of your own home. 

There's definitely a lot of problems with the current gaming landscape that need to be fixed eventually, but I think gaming is still going strong despite a lot of issues related to it, and the greater overarching issues that have been happening globally lately.

telekill

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2022, 10:14:13 am »
Hype isn't dying at all, I'd say it's bigger than it ever has been, games are doing insane numbers these days.  The lack of interest in physical media is certainly changing how this might be perceived though,  as I've done a handful of midnight launches over the years, but this isn't as important anymore unless you have a real reason to get something physical, like a brand new console.  Why drive the half-hour or more to a store, to maybe stand outside in the cold or rain sometimes, wait for 50+ people in front of you to buy the game you already paid for most likely, when you can just buy it online, pre-load two days before release, and then play it the second it releases all within the comfort of your own home. 

There's definitely a lot of problems with the current gaming landscape that need to be fixed eventually, but I think gaming is still going strong despite a lot of issues related to it, and the greater overarching issues that have been happening globally lately.

I think the problem many of us have is that with digital, you don't even own the game after paying, often, the same or even more for the physical copy. You own a license that can be revoked at any time.

burningdoom

PRO Supporter

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2022, 11:52:39 am »
Hype isn't dying at all, I'd say it's bigger than it ever has been, games are doing insane numbers these days.  The lack of interest in physical media is certainly changing how this might be perceived though,  as I've done a handful of midnight launches over the years, but this isn't as important anymore unless you have a real reason to get something physical, like a brand new console.  Why drive the half-hour or more to a store, to maybe stand outside in the cold or rain sometimes, wait for 50+ people in front of you to buy the game you already paid for most likely, when you can just buy it online, pre-load two days before release, and then play it the second it releases all within the comfort of your own home. 

There's definitely a lot of problems with the current gaming landscape that need to be fixed eventually, but I think gaming is still going strong despite a lot of issues related to it, and the greater overarching issues that have been happening globally lately.

I think the problem many of us have is that with digital, you don't even own the game after paying, often, the same or even more for the physical copy. You own a license that can be revoked at any time.

Bingo.

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2022, 12:40:58 pm »
Hype isn't dying at all, I'd say it's bigger than it ever has been, games are doing insane numbers these days.  The lack of interest in physical media is certainly changing how this might be perceived though,  as I've done a handful of midnight launches over the years, but this isn't as important anymore unless you have a real reason to get something physical, like a brand new console.  Why drive the half-hour or more to a store, to maybe stand outside in the cold or rain sometimes, wait for 50+ people in front of you to buy the game you already paid for most likely, when you can just buy it online, pre-load two days before release, and then play it the second it releases all within the comfort of your own home.

This.  I went into a GameStop last week to pick up a random game I had ordered on Clearance.  I thought I was just going to walk right in and out over lunch - except it was the day Ragnarok came out.  The line was nearly out the door.

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2022, 04:54:58 pm »
I think the problem many of us have is that with digital, you don't even own the game after paying, often, the same or even more for the physical copy. You own a license that can be revoked at any time.

Sure, but folks like us are in the minority when it comes to gaming these days.  Digital has its problems, just something you either get use to, like I did with PC gaming, or you just don't game.  But it's also a thing of how people consume their games.  If people want it the second its available, they usually go digital, way less effort and work and it's just right there for you.  If people want physical, they don't mind waiting on it to ship or just going in the next day as Cartagia brought up with folks at Gamestop, so more often than not, you just don't see the crazy hype crowds like you use to.

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2022, 10:07:50 pm »
You know I see these type of posts amongst game enthusiasts and sometimes I wonder if it's me or are just people missing something.

I'm constantly told physical is dead. While no doubt digital is the future and will be the main avenue, there seem to be more physical releases than ever before. Small games that during the 360/PS3 gen would have stayed digital have physical releases.  Pretty much every Japanese game gets at least an Asian physical or a Publisher website exclusive release. Then obviously the limited-run stores are plentiful and it seems to be an idea that keeps more than one company afloat. Also, the disc-based PS5 seems to be the one that sells the most. Switch physical game sales also seem good.

Sure retail stores seem to have less space, but then again Best Buy for me seems to carry more niche games than it ever did. Also, retro game stores seem to exist way more than they did 10 years ago. I just visited Indianapolis and they had like 10 Disc Replays.

The last few years for me have basicly been an endless supply of games to play.

And while maybe the hype is not like what it was. I mean I don't know how you can't feel the hype for God of War when all the youtube channels are talking about it. How could you not feel that Elden Ring was a phenomenon? Did it not seem like everyone had an opinion on Cyberpunk and couldn't stop talking about Keanu?

I mean times change and I also miss the gaming culture and vibes of the early 00s.  Going to midnight releases, and reading magazines that showed me games I'd never heard of. But I was also a kid so I mean everything felt amazing and wonderful back then. But I mean I just went to pick up Pokemon and there were like 4 dudes also in line for it. When VII Remake came out I had to hunt several retial places for a copy of it because they all sold out. Its not all gone.

dhaabi

Re: Is "hype" for games dying off along side of physical media?
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2022, 10:30:30 am »
You know I see these type of posts amongst game enthusiasts and sometimes I wonder if it's me or are just people missing something.

I think your post provides an excellent explanation to how the hype for gaming is more present than ever.

On the topic of physical media dying, we've begun seeing a push toward this state obviously more so after the beginning of the last generation with Xbox One S. However, I still feel we are quite a ways off before this complete change. In the United States alone, reliance in internet connectivity can be abysmal for rural and mountainous regions. Unless this problem is addressed, any gaming pillar such as Microsoft or Sony that makes the complete shift will be alienating a large portion of their consumer audience. This reality does not even address impoverished countries where the quality of internet is poor widespread. In my time researching PlayStation 5 models, it's become obvious that many countries only receive the disc-based systems for many of these new releases despite other territories receiving both disc-based and digital-only versions for this reason.

For many countries, online listings for the disc-based system outnumber the digital-only system more than 2 to 1. That ratio is more heavily skewed to favor the former in some regions such as in Southeast Asia.