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Why do gamers never want anything new? – Reader’s Feature


Some fans prefer the familar (pic: EVIL)

A reader complains that there’s too much emphasis on sequels and minor improvements when it comes to the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

Like everyone, I was surprised to see that Sony’s reveal of the PlayStation 5 controller did actually feature a different design than usual. Although less different than it first appeared once you realised the main changes were merely the colours and the shell-like designs on the grips. But I was impressed, and then immediately surprised and disappointed that the wider response was much more mixed.

Many seem outraged that Sony has dared to change the classic design, as almost immediately fans took to Photoshop in order to show how much ‘better’ it would look if it was all coloured black and looked as much like the old design as possible. A small minority, which I have much more sympathy for, were upset that the design hadn’t gone further and that the analogue sticks were still level with each other, as this is done purely for aesthetic and nostalgic appeal – despite the fact that years of experience suggest the Xbox (and even now Nintendo) approach is better.

It made me think of that weird thing that happens with new consoles and hardware, where the first thing many people try to do is play old games on them. Backwards compatibility is a new, and somewhat more understandable side of this, but for so many the obsession is running emulators and retro games on a new state-of-the-art machine, rather than anything that might actually take proper advantage of it.

It’s a small example but it makes you wonder whether some gamers ever want to see anything new; with many it seems they would rather continually rerun things that have already happened. Of course, this isn’t really a gamer issue at all, you can see it in every kind of media and human nature in general. But I always, naively, assumed that gaming was all about seeing and doing new things and pushing the envelope of what’s possible. But it rarely is.

What are the biggest games of the last few months? Two remakes and a game that’s essentially the same every time it’s released. And what are people most excited about with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X? The prospect of sequels to their favourite franchises. Halo you can understand, because a reboot that’s a substantially different game (which is what it seems to me they’re teasing) would be welcome, but Fable 4? A series that was never any good to begin with but was for some reason given two sequels and twice as many spin-offs? My breath is not baited.

I realise it’s harder to get hyped about new games because there’s nothing tangible there to latch onto. It’s easier to get excited about Horizon Zero Dawn 2 then it is to imagine Sony making a multiplayer exclusive of the same quality as their single-player games. Or maybe a new hard sci-fi game, which they haven’t really done for a while. Or perhaps some attempt at a family game to prove that they can take on Nintendo head-on.

I’d love to see Microsoft do some kind of aerial combat game, which is something we haven’t really had for years now, or something set in a jungle so we can see how much better the next gen consoles are at that sort of thing. Maybe some kind of underwater game, that can try and prove to James Cameron that games are almost on par with movies now in terms of the virtual environments they can create.

My point is that the excitement is never around what new things we can do now – that were impossible, or at least very difficult, before – but merely how we can make things that already exist slightly better. I want to be surprised, more than anything, when it comes to the next gen consoles and no matter how good their graphics are I worry that’s not necessarily going to happen.

By reader Doshi

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

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