In January 2021, John Davison at IGN wrote a great article titled “It’s not a console war, it’s content war” – and he’s spot on!
Following Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision for $68.7B and Sony’s of Bungie for $3.6B – we all wondered what the future of gaming would look like as the consolidation train continued to thrash down the tracks. But the article got me thinking of another content war – between GAMERS & STUDIOS. The timelines to develop new content and experience new content are completely lopsided – developers work for months, and sometimes years, to build something they’re really proud of – just for Willy to get through it within days while he smashes pizza slice after pizza slice and takes to twitter to demand more. Gamers today digest content at an insane pace. A DLC drops – we’re excited, play it, earn all rewards within weeks and say “now what?”.
- Give us variety – I’m not talking about new maps, game types or even weapons. What I’d really like to see is evolving gaming conditions that impact the player. Imagine dropping into a BR map without knowing the weather conditions or time of day until you leap from the helicopter/plane/bus. I know some of you may be reading this and be thinking – doesn’t PUBG do this? Yes, PUBG introduced dynamic weather, but I think we can all agree it doesn’t impact your playing style. Lighting and thunder should clash with my ability to hear footsteps. If you’re outdoors when it’s raining, shouldn’t that affect your ability to hit targets while aiming down scope? Force me to consider the pros & cons on equipping a sniper with an 8x scope when it’s snowing. In my opinion, gaming is most exciting when I don’t know what to expect and I’m forced to pivot. A variety of environmental conditions that change from one lobby to the next or even throughout a match would certainly keep things fresh.
- Player Customization – Give me the ability to make my character MY OWN! Of all my ideas – I think this benefits studios most. Skins have become a way to monetize content that can be created quickly. But the studios are thinking about it in the wrong way – don’t offer me variations of the same character – one dressed as an SAS soldier, a Cowboy or Snoop Dogg. Give me thousands of ways to design a character that lets me both express myself individually & fit my playing style. The options can be truly limitless and financially beneficial for studios. If we were to take it a step further – imagine the ability to determine your level of armor or how much your character can carry at a given time. Want more protection in a firefight? That’ll cost you speed and agility. Want to move more quickly as you flank an opponent – might want to wear a smaller backpack and limit your weight.
- Give me targets – Simply put, what am I grinding for? Destiny did this the right way by making certain weapons more difficult to earn/obtain. I understand there might be weapon balancing concerns amongst the multiplayer community, but we can easily tie this back to character and weapon customization – skins that demonstrate your elite status and achievement. Give me something that I can strive for, something rare, something to work towards outside of improving my KD and Wins. Ranked play recognition is another viable option that many titles are doing well – shout out Apex Legends for truly changing the game. It’s disappointing to see larger studios falling behind in regards to ranked play.