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Goodbye, “tenth”! How the gaming industry has changed over the past 10 years

Epochal events that affected every gamer-even if they didn’t notice them
GameGuru finishes summarizing the results of 2019. And not just one year: in just three days, a new decade will come. A lot has happened between 2010 and 2019 — including in the gaming industry. We decided to remember all the most important things that happened in the last decade in the world of games.

Gamergate and its consequences
More than five years have passed since the biggest video game scandal of the twenty-first century. It began in 2014, when the developer’s ex-boyfriend Zoe Quinn accused her of cheating with a Kotaku journalist. Some gamers saw this situation as a conflict of interest and expressed outrage. Journalists responded with a series of articles accusing players of misogyny and infantile behavior. The discussion of ethical standards in the video game press, the protest against the left-wing rhetoric, and the reaction of mainstream journalists to it have long developed into a full-scale online war with recriminations, insults, threats, and the ubiquitous culture of cancellation. Recently, this war took someone’s life for the first time.

Over the years, it has become increasingly clear how much gamergate foreshadowed the current state of the gaming community. Here you could recall the accusations of Ion Fury developers of homophobia because of an innocent joke, the accusations of chuchel authors of racism because of the design of the main character, or how the Creator of the yet-to-be-released The Last Night was harassed because of a couple of tweets five years ago in which he simply wrote that he prefers egalitarianism to feminism. All this fits perfectly into the framework of the General political Western discourse of recent years, but it does not become less disgusting.

On August 31, Alec Holowka, the developer of the beautiful indie game Night In The Woods, committed suicide. His death was preceded by accusations of sexual abuse by one of the main characters of gamergate — Zoe Quinn (we went full circle) and the subsequent harassment allegations. Given the increasing radicalization of the parties to the conflict, sooner or later, of course, something like this should have happened. But what is especially frightening is that it seems that the death of Alec did not change anything for any of the participants in this conflict. The squad did not notice the loss of a fighter. Which means he’s not likely to be the last victim.

Goodbye, “tenth”! How the gaming industry has changed over the past 10 years
Mobile gaming has killed the market for portable set-top boxes
Portable set-top boxes, as we knew them, are dead. The killer is known to everyone, and his name is mobile gaming. Large companies agree that the average consumer needs only one universal device in their pocket, and today such a device is a smartphone. Moreover, mobile games are specially developed in order to attract a mass audience. More recently, it was different.

In the list of the best-selling consoles of all time, two of the top three lines are occupied by handheld devices. This is not surprising: gamers have always been attracted to the opportunity to play something on the road, at work or at school. A democratic price tag allowed to join the games for those who are not used to spending a lot of money on such entertainment. Pocket consoles have been a part of the gaming industry since time immemorial. And it looks like their story has come to an end. Sony officials do not hide that they do not plan to return to the production of pocket consoles after the failure of the PS Vita. A very successful Switch is still not a full-fledged portable, but a compromise hybrid solution.

Pocket consoles have always been created specifically for games, that’s why they are consoles. Smartphones will never be as convenient for gamers or developers. It was on portable set-top boxes that even large studios made bold experiments —a smaller budget allowed. Often they used the unique features of a particular device: from the gyroscope and microphone to the second screen and connected peripherals. Finally, some games, such as long-running Japanese RPGs or visual novels, are simply more pleasant to enter in a portable format. With the departure of this format, gamers have lost a lot. And as an alternative, they are still offered mostly endless clones of Candy Crush and Clash of Clans. It is sad.

Goodbye, “tenth”! How the gaming industry has changed over the past 10 years
VR devices have not met expectations (yet)
Representatives of the gaming industry have long convinced players that virtual reality technologies will give them games of the future and will become one of the key arguments in the war of consoles. Summing up the results of the decade, we have to admit that this has not happened yet (Microsoft has completely curtailed plans to support VR within the Xbox One). “Bye,” as usual, is the key word.

VR technologies are still too young. The devices themselves lack convenience, availability, and hardware capabilities. And projects for virtual reality still lack scale and sophistication in the first place. Even the most high-profile releases for VR remain either secondary to their older counterparts, crafts like Doom VFR, or bright attractions that are ideal for making an impression, but do not claim to be something big, like Beat Saber.

However, many things may change in the very near future. The announcement of Half-Life: Alyx has become one of the main video game events of recent months, and there is little doubt that Valve will make every effort to ensure its legendary franchise a worthy return. Moreover, this is in its interests, given the presence of its own VR-helmet Valve Index. But it still makes sense to be skeptical about the prospects for virtual reality technologies in the coming years. At least until it becomes clear what plans the next-generation console manufacturers have for VR.

Goodbye, “tenth”! How the gaming industry has changed over the past 10 years
Cool first person shooters are back
Not so long ago, it seemed that the FPS genre in its classic form was buried under a mountain of monotonous, leading the player by the handle military shooters with health regeneration and ubiquitous scripts. For years, these games have tried to repeat the success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare time and time again. Today, you probably won’t even remember their names. Moreover, to the great happiness of FPS fans, recent years have become a real outlet for THEM.

One of the first signs that heralded the revival of the genre was Wolfenstein: The New Order, released in 2014 by the Swedish company MachineGames. A couple of years later, the great and terrible id Software with the new DOOM showed the world: there is still plasma in BFG. These games have demonstrated that the greatness of the genre lies largely in its almost primitive traditions: speed, drive, cruelty, pleasure from shooting, and not in epic cutscenes. It got to the point that 3D Realms releases Ion Fury on the Duke Nukem 3D engine and WRATH. And suddenly these games are quite relevant in 2019. Finally, John Romero himself plunged into the past and filed for the joy of fans a new episode for the original Doom called SIGIL.

However, it’s not just the old people who go into battle. One of the most striking new faces in the genre was a small independent company New Blood, which released the dark DUSK and adrenaline-fueled Amid Evil. No one is particularly well-known Studio Blazing Bit Games combined meat shooter with rogue-like elements and got a great nightmare Reaper. And, another company of nouneymov from Poland issued a very original SUPERHOT on the mountain. Carmack witness: first-person shooters are really back. And it was cool.

Goodbye, “tenth”! How the gaming industry has changed over the past 10 years
Microtransactions and loot boxes have become the standard for AAA games
In General, the topic of unscrupulous attitude of game campaigns to players is much broader than the subtitle of loot boxes and microtransactions. This Chapter could be called “anti-consumer practices”, and then it would fit and downgrades of Ubisoft games, and became a byword sweet little lies by Todd Howard, and much more. But it is modern game monetization schemes that most clearly reflect the General trend.

It’s hard to believe that not so long ago we were talking about how ethical it is to saw a game on DLC. In a world where loot boxes and microtransactions that once seemed to be the lot of free-to-play games have become the standard for AAA projects, such questions look simply ridiculous. The trendsetter in this case, of course, was Electronic Arts with its sets of cards from the FIFA series. The bad example was contagious for 2K Games with its NBA. Sports games, however, are not limited to, and now fans of “Star wars” are forced to face completely killed balance in favor of online casinos in Battlefront 2. The cherry on the cake of ridiculous excuses were the words of EA Vice President Kerry Hopkins, who, speaking at a hearing in the British Parliament, compared the loot boxes with “kinder surprises” and called them ” quite ethical and fun for players.” It would really be fun if it wasn’t so sad.

All the talk about the possible regulation of loot boxes at the level of legislation in fact did not lead to anything. And there is no hint that the situation may change in the foreseeable future. And people who shouted a few years ago that there is nothing wrong with loot boxes, it does not affect the games themselves, and in General, “do not want to buy”, should be very ashamed today.

Goodbye, “tenth”! How the gaming industry has changed over the past 10 years
Remakes and remasters

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