The Daily Five: Reasons Why This Was the Worst Gen Ever

June 5, 2013 | By | 17 Comments

There are plenty of reasons to love the current generation of consoles, and earlier this week we gave you five reasons that make it the best ever. With E3 teeming with next-gen promise, it felt like the right time to look back.

For all of those rosy moments and memories, though, there are plenty of things about this console cycle that really sticks in our craw. Stuff that really grinds our gears. Gets our goats, even. As such, it only felt right to reciprocate Monday’s posi vibes and air out our grievances.

DLC Run Amok

Expansion packs were nothing new on the PC front, but bringing the concept console-side has been met with mixed results. It started innocently enough with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’s horse armor, which was ultimately laughed off because it didn’t serve any real purpose anyway.

Eventually some companies would figure the digital landscape out and put out some terrific content that truly expanded on games like Red Dead Redemption and Mass Effect 2. Sometimes, though, we were being sold content that should have been in the full game, such as “epilogue” chapters for 2008’s Prince of Persia and Tomb Raider: Underworld that were, for all intents and purposes, the real endings to their respective games. That says nothing of being charged for access to “DLC” that was already on the disc.

And let’s not forget the “season pass,” where publishers can collect upwards of $50 up front for unreleased DLC — on the day of a game’s release, no less — based on information as vague as “four map packs” or “four new characters” to be revealed later. Madness.

Online Passes

Publishers like to treat online passes as DLC, but they’re short-sighted and thinly-veiled attempts to quell the used games market. They’re nothing more than a gate behind which the online portion of a game resides, opened either with a redeemable one-use code included with new copies or buy paying $10 if you dared to buy the game used.

In the end, online passes are nothing more than lazy stop-gaps that only serve to inconvenience those that buy a game new, and EA’s abandonment of a system that they introduced speaks volumes of its ineffectiveness. Still, we can’t help but shudder at the innovative new ways that publishers are dreaming up to make sure we’re playing their games exactly they way they want us to.

Paying $60 to Beta Test a Game

If there’s one seemingly universal truth that we’ve learned this generation, it’s that retail games don’t need to be finished to find their way onto store shelves anymore. Think about it for a second: when was the last time you bought home a AAA release that didn’t prompt you to download a day-one patch when you booted it up? This goes double for a game with a multiplayer component.

With the propagation of hard drives and broadband internet connections, the consumer paying $60 for a new game has simply become an extension of many a developer’s QA department; look no further than the embarrassing PS3 release for The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim. And if you don’t have your console hooked up online? Tough luck, boyo.

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  • WoWed

    Hey, guess what! Besides online passes, NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE!

    we have more of this to look forward to in the next generation!

    • Optimist

      Die. Damn Pessimist

  • kokglock

    Next generation will be far worse.

  • Cody Taylor

    DLC has been twisted into a scam, online passes are shameful, and developers that release incomplete games planning on just fixing them afterwards are downright lazy.

    Gotta say though it’s amazing how even now people blow the PSN hack out of proportion when they say how long it took them to report it. It took one week. One week for them to make sure that it was indeed a hack, so as not to shut down the service and alert everyone over nothing. Had it been longer sure, I’d have reason to bash them too. But you can easily report your information stolen and have any charges against your card dropped in that short amount of time.

    The article even states that other companies (it targets Microsoft) underplay their own hacks. Who knows how many times others have been hacked and either downplayed it or didn’t report it at all? As a software engineer I can guarantee you the number is quite high. While it is criminal how poor Sony’s defenses are, I for one applaud them for not only reporting the breach, but also taking the time to beef up security and give users not only a free month of PSN+ but also 4 free games, an extra month of Qriocity for existing subscribers, a week free for existing Hulu Plus subscribers, and a year of identity theft protection. The total value for these bonuses easily eclipses $3 billion thanks to how many users PSN had (60 million). Even if only half the 60 million took advantage of these, it’s still over a billion dollars Sony gave away, so Sony more than made up for the hack.

    • John

      Sony did their best, but giving away free games and a promotional period for their PSN+ product didn’t make up for 77 million personally identifiable accounts being compromised, incredibly poor security practices on their end prior to all this going down, and the damage done to developers/gamers when their service was down for 24 days.

      • Cody Taylor

        As I said the amount of time from the breach to Sony notifying everyone was so brief that any account crack could be easily taken care of. So that free month of PS+ and free games more than made up for it to anyone with a brain who knows how to change their passwords and check their statements.

        • John

          Just because anyone with a brain knows how to change their passwords and check their statements doesn’t absolve Sony for bypassing “anyone with a brain” protection of their networks.

          I also don’t think you’re right about the amount of time between the hack itself and Sony’s notification of it. Sony also bungled that portion. See http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/042811-sony-breach-explanation.html for a bit of as-it-happened news. They bungled that portion as well.

          I like Sony, and the PS4 will likely be my platform of choice, but they don’t deserve to be absolved from this debacle.

  • PushBack

    When I get conned into buying a buggy crapfest like Assassin’s Creed 3, I take it back and demand my money back. If the store gives me a hard time, I give them a harder time right back. DO NOT ACCEPT FAULTY MERCHANDISE!

  • Ace

    I highly agree with this list. This truly is the worst gen console of all time.

  • Pani B

    The previous generation and the one prior were the best gaming generations (PSone, 2, N64 Gamecube etc) I still play those games all the time. This generation was generic, copy and paste, simplification of its predecessors

  • Bailey Lawrence

    Maybe instead of condemning developers and publishers, we should see the real problem. The extreme loss of money in the gaming industry. Used games, pirating, trading and loaning… Of course they’re going to submit to DLC and gimmicks.

    • Brandon Atkins

      On old gen consoles, you could trade, loan and buy used and developers were still able to turn a profit. Then the industry blew up and publishers started measuring their digital genitals on visual flair (do they even worry about a story anymore?) and drove production costs through the roof and then decided that it was the consumer’s fault.

      • Bailey Lawrence

        Old gen consoles did that because that’s all they had, tech-wise. They couldn’t produce an always online console or offer digital downloads. That was them maximizing their profit. Now with new tech at their disposal, their profit can go up, advancing the industry. More money = growth.

  • jh

    You forgot to mention all the games sucked.

  • Ronald Thompson

    Good QA is rare, b/c most people are either incapable of being a good QA Engineer, or look down on QA positions and Engineers that work in these spots. As a result, companies either hire cheap QA and get cheap quality – or have no good QA available. The market for QA Engineers is shockingly gaping wide open – and pays extremely well if you’re good at it.

  • Bob Horvath

    RROD anyone?

  • Adam Bell

    I agree with pretty much all the points besides the ‘paid $60 to beta test a game’. There are plenty of games from the past that have plenty of bugs and glitches…I seem to even remember there being one game that you couldn’t beat due to a game breaking glitch (can’t remember the name).

    As for the picture provided though, we all expect Bethesda games, TES specifically, to be buggy upon launch. Most of the time they’re patched out either by Bethesda themselves or by fans.

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