From a Gamer’s Basement

Itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s interesting how things are shaping up in the gaming world. When I look to the future I donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t quite see the bright rainbows and sunny days a lot of so-called experts see these days. Perhaps Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m just being a pessimist, but before you file me away in the bitter gamer category, hear me out on this one. Letâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s consider the average gamers out there. I suppose, for the sake of argument, we can divide this up into two categories. The first category would be those gamers who range from letâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s say the age of 7 or 8 to 16. Since 16 is the age where most teens procure some means of employment I think that makes a very fitting cut off age. Now at the age of 21 I can, of course, remember those days very clearly. At this age you rely on the old standbys to fulfill your gaming needs: Special events, holidays, and birthdays. So this means that your parents, family, or whomever are the ones that feed your gaming hunger. For those of you still in this category, I will admit I am a bit envious. I miss the days when I didnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t have to think up elaborate ways to save up enough money here and there to afford a game I want, let alone a new system. Still, now that we have established this category letâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s leave it for a second, and go to the next one.

The second category of gamers is the one where I, and many gamers in general fall. Weâ┚¬â”žÂ¢re the generation that grew up with video games when they were still in there 8 and 16 bit incarnations. At this point some of us in the range of 16 to whatever may be single, married, students, workers, or whatever. We live on fixed incomes no matter what walk of life we have taken ourselves on. At the age of 16, the real world begins to set in a bit on you. Then depending on whether or not you attend college the real world hits you head on at either 18 or a few years later. Now all those things you took for granted magically begin to become a lot more real. Bills, food, medical issues, or whatever. Money is a finite commodity, and it has to be treated as such. So what am I getting at here, as I describe these two kinds of gamers? On the surface these two groups donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t have all that much in common. There is some overlap, but as to be expected different age groups have different tastes in games. Your average kid may be wild over the Harry Potter games, while your average teenager or adult may be wild over RPGâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s or shooters. However they do have one thing in common, and Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m sure you have all guessed what that is at this point: Both groups fulfill their gaming needs with limited sources of income and resources.

Letâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s face it, if you a kid under 16, itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s probable that your parentâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s arenâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t made of money. So by default youâ┚¬â”žÂ¢re used to getting only those games you really need, and probably only having maybe one or two of the consoles on the market. And if youâ┚¬â”žÂ¢re out there in the world, making your own living then you know all too well how expensive gaming can be. Systems, games, accessories, guides, and everything else all add up very quickly, and when you consider such necessities like rent, food, bills, and whatever else you may have it means that you will not have all that much left over to game with. Itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s nothing to be ashamed of or bitter over, because everyone goes through it. You are forced to decide which game you want, because you canâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t afford both; or what system you want to purchase because two different ones would break your bank account. Itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s simply a process of making choices, depending on how much money you have.

All of this is very relevant for a number of reasons. The first is pure economics. When it is all boiled down what are gaming companies, and indeed the entire gaming industry working for? Making money. Contrary to how we might want it, developers out there are not interested in making the games we want to see unless those games will make them some nice bank. Itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s a very simple concept, universal concept. But, all that may be changing. This whole formula may not be applicable anymore, because the way I see it the gaming industry is truly getting away from this. Sure they probably want to make money, but I donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t think they will. We are once again on the brink of another generation of consoles, and that is exciting if you adhere to the philosophy that bigger is better. Whether you do or not is irrelevant, because the most important part of this next generation of consoles will indeed have little to do with gaming tastes, likes or dislikes.

No matter what category of gamer you fall into, the simple fact is soon gaming may be very unaffordable to the masses. I have seen numbers already thrown out there that the Playstation 3 will be priced at five hundred dollars. That, quite simply, is madness. It is also not unreasonable to project that Microsoftâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s and Nintendoâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s next offering may also be upwards of at least 300 dollars (although I wonder with Nintendo, and how price friendly they have been latelyâ┚¬Â¦so I will hold off on resigning them to the outrageous price pile). And thatâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s just for the system. It may sound stupid to say this, because itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s so obvious, but you canâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t play a system with games. Without games your shiny new PS3 will be nothing more than a nice paperweight, no matter how many unnecessary features it has. What makes me scratch my head the most is that I truly believe these gaming companies believe that we, the consumers whom they depend on, will be able to pay these prices.

The average gamer is not made of money. When it comes down to paying the rent or buying a game related item, we all know which one comes first. So while the experts say that the gaming industry is headed for a great future where the money will continue to roll in, I will continue to take that with a grain of salt. Maybe Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m wrong, but you know, I doubt that. I know I donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t have 500 bucks I can drop just like that. The gaming industry, and the executives that make the rules, need to step outside their cushy lives for a moment and realize that they work for us. And if they want to keep their fortunes in tact, then perhaps they may want to start thinking about the average gamer, and what they can afford. New technology that revolutionizes the gaming industry sure is nice, but if no one can afford it, then what the hell is the point?