Why Console Video Games Aren't Fun Anymore
Firstly, John Riccitiello is right. I am damned tired of sequels...I'm tired of Madden 200X and Metal Gear Solid X, etc. Yeah, those games were good in their initial inception, and they were good when re-invented for newer technology, but no amount of amazing graphics or "more challenging" gameplay is going to make me be really satisfied with essentially playing the same game again. If I want to do that then I will play the exact same game over again, and it'll probably be Final Fantasy Tactics.
You see what Sony and Microsoft can't get right is that only a small fraction of gamers play for that "next gen" experience. They're middle-aged guys with bank accounts and fratboys who want to impress their friends. Though it is much hyped and much criticized, the average gamer could care less about the differences in graphical capabilities from PS2 to PS3. What your average, classic gamer cares about is having the most fun for their buck...not how real it looks when they beat the crap out of a hooker.
Console video games used to be directed at kids, and while I think the realization that adults play them too was a huge one I don't think it helped gamers. This is because the game makers decided they could start charging whatever the hell they wanted for the their products. $500 for a console...sure, why not? $50-60 per game...go ahead! Our target market has the money to spare! This was a huge mistake.
As anyone with half a brain can see from the sales figures; the company that does the best in moving product is Nintendo. This is because Nintendo has come to terms with the fact that people want FUN video games, not more expensive, flashy ones. And parents sure aren't going to buy the $500 system where you can play the game about killing people over the $120 one where you can play a game about making friends with animals.
Kids and real video game fans are looking for that new experience, that new feeling of freedom and exploration you get when you play a game with a truly novel idea. And, yes, they're looking for Pokemon...but that's another story. In Japan the current crop of "kyouiku" or educational games is flourishing...and guess what? They're all on DS. They're fun quiz games and brain teasers that you can play with the whole family. They're not Halo 3. And none of them cost over $40.