This topic might seem a bit out of place. After all, with the Wii's sales higher than any console ever, and the different ways to play promoted by Nintendo, plus on the other side of Sony and Microsoft, the major revolutions made by games such as LittleBigPlanet and COD4, how could anyone claim gaming is in decline.
However, if we look at the amounts of major franchises failing to beat the quality of their previous releases, others drawing to a close, the closure of many of gaming's most historic companies such as Ensemble and the amount of shovelware on the Wii, you see another side.
On the subject of games from the past few years that failed to beat the quality of their previous games:
- COD5 while with a more "epic" campaign and the Nazi Zombies game mode was good, for serious multiplayer, I still go back too COD4.
- Simcity Societies. This one is a matter of personal taste. I personally dislike it as do many hardcore Simcity players. What is not disputable, is that it is NOT a Simcity game, and should never have been labelled as such. No Maxis, no traditional simcity gameplay, and the emphasis of social feel in the city place it far away from the Simcity series.
- GTA IV. One of gaming's current darlings. Yes, Buckets more features, much better graphics and a well written storyline. Yet, for some reason, it's just not as much fun as San Andreas or Vice City. I can't put my finger on it, but nearly all my friends agree with me.
- Final Fantasy. Now XIII, might turn it around, but the series has been in decline since FFX. X-2 and XI never really took off, and I've yet to find someone who'd pick XII over X.
- Command and Conquer. The series never really got back to where it was after Red Alert 2.
On the other hand, you have some of the gaming main series drawing to a close.
At one point the 360 vs PS3 debate was summed up as Metal Gear Solid vs Halo. Yet both the main series are finished, and I can't see too much hope for the spin-offs without Master Chief and Snake, for games as based around their main characters as these ones.
And if you look at the developers, you see a situation where formerly major companies such as Ensemble are being closed down.
And even the ones that are still around, a lot of them are shadows of their former selves. Look at Rare and Sega. And even the ones that are publicly healthy such as Maxis are unable to match their former creations. Spore is nowhere near it's orignal vision, and the product as delivered can not compare to their older games such as Simcity and the Sims.
The days of the game by a single developer are well over. No new games have been developed by a single developer, other than those who have had previous successes:Will Wright and Hideo Kojima are the only 2 I can think of who made games recently. While a few games are going around with Sid Meiers name on them, most of them are remakes or sequels to his games, not ones he was directly involved in.
Then the various "interesting" gameplay styles for the Wii. While some of them are good, 99.9% of them are complete shovelware. Who needs the 450th minigames compilation?
So what's your opinion on gaming nowadays? Is it at the verge of a bright new dawn, or in a major decline.