When it comes to the future of gaming, I am nervous. I am nervous because by the time it arrives I'm going to be older, hinged down with responsibilities that I don't have now, and pockets that will likely be nowhere near deep enough to afford the almost assuredly expensive systems that will replace those of the current generation.
Not even the systems alone but the games as well. When you have a fixed income, sixty dollars a game becomes quite steep very quickly, and while long-time gamers will be quick to tell you that a number of systems have been proportionally more pricey in the past, it doesn't exactly make your wallet feel any less light.
The price of developing games has gone up across the board. It isn't uncommon anymore for developers to spend as much money developing a single game as they would have on ten games years ago and one can only expect that as the technology behind our favorite hobby becomes more complex, that costs will continue to rise.
What this could mean for us all is perhaps a less diverse experience on the horizon for gaming. After all, if a developer is putting their entire budget behind a single game it would be understandable for them to opt for a more guaranteed money maker instead of something more experimental that could flounder and leave them bankrupt. At the same time it could also mean an increase in the quality of games. After all, if you split your resources you might end up with a few fair titles, but by combining everything you have into a few top-notch efforts, its more than reasonable to expect the games could be better.
On some level, I wish in the future, some of the things that have been driving prices up would halt. For instance, it doesn't take a genius to realize that the reason the Wii is so much less expensive than the PS3 is the fact that it is essentially a revamped Gamecube. Nintendo managed to keep prices down by simply doing some creative with existing technology and while what they've done with the Wii since may be questionable, they've released a number of games that are undeniably as good or even better than the best of what the more advanced competition has to offer.
Perhaps a viable option for the future would be for Sony and Microsoft to take a similar route. After all, games aren't made by graphics alone and the stuff under the hood of the PS3 and Xbox 360 both seem more than substantial for that purpose, amongst others. Maybe the future of consoles would be better if they followed the Nintendo route, with some variations of course. How incredible would it be if the PlayStation 4 were a Wii like console geared toward more core gamers rather than the casual crowd? What if instead of choosing to purely upgrade their technology, the big three let innovation be the face of the future?
Wouldn't that be something? Wouldn't it be nice to not spend an entire paycheck a console? After all, quite a few us don't have our parents to buy our games for us anymore, and things will get worse once we start having children of our own to buy for. The way things are now, it just seems that the current trends are unsustainable. Gamers and game makers alike cannot afford for things to keep going as they are, because as much we all might like to joke about it, one really can only go so long buying video games instead of groceries.