Gaming: The Virtues of Value

    "Boy oh boy, the price of freedom is steep."

    In the midst of growing pains within the gaming industry it is evident how tedious pricing has become. From being offered a multitude of subscription services to those comically large charts of pre-order guidelines. Quite often gamers must carefully measure the value proposition between several types of payment options. This has extended into deals for “next gen” upgrades alongside streaming older titles which may not be for sale independently. An onslaught of remakes and remasters have also become commonplace in the market today. Needless to say, even NFTs are currently an invasive point of contention. While good content is worth paying for, there are uncertainties regarding the future of these practices.

    The Singularity of Remakes

    The Last of Us Part 1 Gaming

    Naughty Dog is no stranger to controversy, especially when it comes to The Last of Us. Several debates have sparked over whether the remake of the original justifies it’s $70 price tag. The new PS5 revision provides accessibility options lacking in previous iterations alongside visual and AI related overhauls. Despite valid improvements, this version of the game will not have the original’s multiplayer component. Perhaps an omission due to the factions aspect of the sequel becoming it’s own game. Although some find the differences indiscernible, others acknowledge the changes made are significant enough to warrant the price. Regardless of whichever side is taken, this could influence the development ideology in other companies.

    What constitutes the inherent value of any experience obviously comes down to personal taste. When people advocate for simply wanting a solid remaster of an original title there’s always a crowd who craves more. There is no better example of this than Square Enix’s effort to remake Final Fantasy VII. Fans were reasonably apprehensive towards the game being split into multiple parts. However, after experiencing the first entry many became more accepting. The company managed to redefine what a “remake” was, although a vocal minority found it absurd nonetheless. While the project is an outlier in the industry, it infers the way in which quality can transform the conversation.

    Price to Performance

    Tom Nook Asking For Money Gaming

    Illustrated here are two different aspects of the spectrum in gaming, completely defined by what people believe is worth paying for. Considering how the price of games has steadily risen despite inflation. This slow increase in prices only engenders other means for publishers to secure revenue during increased development timelines. That timeline has grown further as the gap between creativity and tech close in. Iterating upon previous versions of a title will seem much less dramatic as a result. Essentially if there was a prerogative to remake or remaster older titles it would eventually become unsustainable. The inherent value of a remake will slowly depreciate as developers achieve their intended designs with refined engine architecture.

    Everyone is at liberty to spend as much as they’d like on what they deem is worth their time. There is no shortage of freedoms afforded to those who believe the products they invest in have personal value. Even if those values may appear detrimental to others. The market today allows for minimal investment in content with services like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass. While there are silver linings, caveats still exist such as game preservation. An ordeal prevalent enough to provoke Nintendo into offering N64 titles via their online expansion pack without offering proper ports. This type of service, similar to PlayStation Now, failed to offer a wide variety of titles to play let alone own outright. A dilemma that calls into question if paying for the right to play older games is even worth it.

    Forge Ahead

    Starfield Concept Art Gaming

    Contributing to an industry only half a century old comes with it’s fair share of kinks to iron out. Yet we exist in such an amazing time for videogames. There is not only an abundance of experiences to seek, but several ways to enjoy them. As trends shift it has become easier to outline how the growth of gaming has culminated to where it is today. While some executives will no doubt formulate monetization schemes to capitalize on, there are others who forge ahead. The raw talent of artists, programmers, musicians, and many more ultimately will dictate the trajectory of it all. Of course, the consumer plays the largest role in gaming. Making the best decision with our money is imperative toward the progress of this industry.

    Christian León
    Christian León
    Just a passing eclectic writer seeking to expand their knowledge of the gaming industry. Please play Disco Elysium.

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