The Video Game Ghost of Christmas Future
Let’s cut the small talk this time. You know I’m the Video Game Ghost of Christmas Future, and you know why I’m here. If you’re wanting a refresher on what we’re doing here, you need to check parts 1, 2, and 3. I’m not here to hold your hand and talk you through all of that stuff. I’m also not here as a kind reminder of how much fun video games were and still could be. That part’s over. I’m here for a completely different reason.
Take another look at the image above. Do you recognize me? I sure hope so, because that would save us a bit of time. All of the Video Game Ghosts you’ve met have taken an appropriate form. None are more appropriate than the form I’ve taken to represent your Christmas Future. If you aren’t familiar, then allow me to enlighten you. I made my first and only appearance in the ill-fated Silent Hills PT. And it’s no secret where that project ended up.
If the fate of Silent Hills isn’t enough to frighten you, then allow me to show you what’s coming. You see, Konami isn’t going to be the last company to bow out of making amazing video games. As time continues to pass by, the costs of making games increases. Unfortunately, this isn’t just an issue about money. In fact, it’s not about money at all.
There’s a future where developers have to focus much of their time combating social conflict. Gamers from all walks of life will be condemning them from all angles. Every slight decision in character design, DLC, setting, voice acting, and more will be criticized and flamed. Of course, every attempt to address those complaints will be criticized even more.
More than that, simple choices will be called into question in social justice court. Games about inhuman pink blobs will be called out for not outright stating that the blob identifies as a minority group. AAA developers will have even more of a reason to change very little between franchise sequels. Each conscious change will be seen, highlighted, and universally hated.
Indie development will be forced to handle the brunt of everything. The passionate developers with the most to lose will end up facing backlash that no mortals should face. Remember when Phil Fish canceled Fez 2 because his feelings got hurt? Imagine the state of the industry when developers face actual problems from rabid fans? The indie scene will diminish. If it exists at all, it will be within small circles of like-minded individuals. No longer will games like Braid, Limbo, and the perfect Undertale break into the scene and rock the industry.
So by the end, the last thing you see is an industry devoid of innovation. The same companies shoveling out the same content repeatedly with no end in sight. While this happens, you’ll still complain. You’ll still flame forums and scream about how games are completely horrible now. Each year, the complaining will get worse. In return, the release schedule gets worse as well. The self-destructive cycle will continue indefinitely.
I mean it when I say “by the end.” You won’t stick around very long once this cycle really picks up steam. By that point, it’s over. Gaming stops giving you anything worth your time and concentration. Those weeks spent on the gaming binges of your past will not be enough to keep your interest in the industry. It will simply fade away. Nothing will truly take the place, either. Throughout the rest of your life, there will be an emptiness where video games once stood. They were part of who you are. To abandon gaming will be to abandon a piece of yourself.
Luckily, it’s not too late for you. Your Video Game Christmas Future can be better than this. It won’t get better on its own, though. You have to stand up and make a change. You have to accept that you’ve been bitter. You have to change your point of view of what gaming means to you. You have to start having fun again.
Video games haven’t fully changed. Neither have you. The part of you who still loves video games is in there. But if you keep up your current path, then it will eventually be too late for you and the industry as a whole. You’ve seen the future ahead of you. You’ve been shown how bleak it can be. It doesn’t have to be that way.
It’s not too late. It’s still Christmas Day. Actually, it’s most likely not Christmas Day for you anymore. I understand you’ll most definitely be reading this after the holiday. Regardless, that’s not the point. I may have shown you your Video Game Christmas Future, but the consequences will be around all year. Changing the future starts now. You can’t just make an effort to be more accepting around the holiday season. You have to live that change all year round. There’s no reason you can’t live every day like it’s Christmas.
I implore you to take these messages and learn from them. I hope beyond hope that what we’ve shown you will help you remember what it’s all about. It’s not about bugs and glitches. It’s not about balance issues and first day patches. It’s simply about playing video games and having a blast. Never forget that.