Is online gaming killing part of the entertainment?


Mauricio Salas

Since the launch of the Xbox 360, online gaming has actually taken the front page on consoles. Sony took the same approach. This has brought many good things among them we can name the possibilities of building online communities which, before, were only a thing that PC gamers could do, as well as the ability to extend further the life of a game. But sadly, online gaming has not only brought good things to the console world. It has little by little pushed away features that many gamers love.

I have always enjoyed arcade racing games more than those that aim to achieve a more realistic experience. I loved games like F-Zero and Road Rash, so when in 2004 I played ‘Burnout 3: Takedown’ for the first time I was blown away not just by the graphics and the feeling of speed that you got while driving or the destruction you could bring upon the competitors when you crashed them against a wall, but also the game featured an excellent multiplayer split-screen game feature which allowed you to play in a race against your friend and the CPU on adrenaline-full races to the finish line.

The feature mentioned above carried on to the sequels really well. So when a new entry in the series called ‘Burnout Paradise’ was announced, I got really excited to play it with my mates. My disappointment came when I found out the game did not have split-screen capabilities. The game was still fun and all, but not being able to invite some friends to my house and have a good time playing was annoying.

I later discovered that many racing games had taken the path of not allowing multiple people to play on a single console. Of course,  not all games have taken this approach games like ‘Twisted Metal’ (2013) which still allows you to enjoy a split screen experience with your friends, but years ago it was very rare to have a racing game without that option.

It is similar to the fact that lots of FPS games are featuring a lot of content regarding online play, but the story mode has just become an afterthought. And then we have ‘Titanfall,’ a game that focuses only on multiplayer experience with a supposed “story mode” that were just online matches with a little bit of expository dialog and cutscenes here and there.

If people enjoy a more multiplayer-focused experience, that is ok, but companies that in the past were giving us games with lots of features, now are offering products with less content for the same price tag. We have online gaming now and that is nice, but that does not mean we have to lose a good time playing with friends or family at home, or a good story telling experience over it.

We as consumers should let big companies know; we want to have the most number of features possible for the money we are paying. If big game studios can launch downloadable content like crazy with the only goal of  making you pay more, then they can surely offer complete products with the features we have always known and love. It is just a matter of telling them there is a portion of the public that wants them back in full force.

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