By Kellie Moore
Is that dragon really coming towards you? Should you put down the controller and pick up your phone instead? Will you ever be able to make a mod for your favorite game again, and will you need to start paying for other people’s mods? What are these Amiibos you speak of? And what of poor Konami?
The future of gaming is certainly an interesting one, so much news about it has happened and many things have been announced this year already. The introduction of Nintendo’s newest console, codenamed the “NX,” will bring Nintendo games to a mobile phone like device. Speaking of phones, Samsung last year came out with a virtual reality accessory headset for their phones, called the Gear VR, that will turn them into a sort of Oculus Rift, a similar virtual reality device. Amazing how almost 20 years ago, when Nintendo’s Virtual Boy hit the market, virtual reality was a huge flop. Today, that’s just the tip of the vast mound of possibilities game developers have.
The Oculus Rift began production almost 3 years ago, but has only been released to developers and other select people such as let’s players on YouTube. The consumer version will not be set to release until sometime next year. However, people are opting to get the Gear since it was released sooner and is also cheaper compared to the Rift’s predicted retail price of between $200 and $400. Whether it’s the Gear or the Rift, we can all agree that virtual reality is really cool.
A prominent thing in many PC games is modding, the act of changing or adding to the games mechanics either for fun or comedy or to balance out what the developers refuse to. Many modders target games like Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto, Skyrim, Left 4 Dead, Half Life, and Garry’s Mod, which is a game practically dedicated to mods anyway. Completely different games, such as Cry Of Fear and Nightmare House 2, have even been made by modding other games. But the modding community ran into a bit of trouble earlier this year when game company and developer Valve announced that modders of Skyrim would have a choice of putting a price to their mods. The response, of course, was mostly negative. After the backlash and an incident where a paid fishing mod turned out to be an exact copy of an already free mod, the idea was scrapped.
But this doesn’t mean the idea won’t live to see the light of day. While most of the community greatly opposes the idea, there is rising support for paid mods. Valve announced at the end of April that paid mods will make a comeback, just not to Skyrim. Other developers might take on this idea too. Hopefully, though, they will keep a healthy balance between paid and free mods.
The modding community ran into trouble again near the beginning of May, when another gaming company and developer, Rockstar, announced that they were not going to allow mods on their PC version of Grand Theft Auto V, and that modding the game would actually go against their EULA, or End-user Licence Agreement, a legal document similar to the terms of service on social media. Thankfully, the announcement was taken the wrong way by fans, as Rockstar cleared the air by saying that modding is fine in single player, and that modders and users of mods will only be banned from online play if they make or use mods for the online multiplayer.
Despite all the silver linings, though, gamers are still being let down. In March, a controversy arose insinuating that Hideo Kojima, father of the Metal Gear Series, was having a stand off with Konami and that the newest Metal Gear would not become a reality. Kojima announced though that he will be developing the game. Sadly, another game he was working on, Silent Hills, has been confirmed as cancelled by Konami, and its demo, P.T., has been removed from syndication. Another shocker happened when Konami decided to delist from the New York Stock Exchange, but this is likely to not affect them in anyway. Konami is still running into hot water with fans, though, when they issued a DMCA takedown against Youtuber Super Bunnyhop when he posted a video criticizing the standoff between the company and Kojima and the removal of P.T. following the cancellation of Silent Hills. The video is now back up and watchable, but people are still miffed over it.
But let’s step away from consoles, standoffs, and technical stuff and come back to some of the possibilities developers have that I mentioned earlier. Nintendo’s Amiibos Is one of these possibilities. Amiibos are little statuette things that started as a sort of addon for the fourth installment of Super Smash Brothers and for Mario Kart 8. They have become very popular and very hard to find for collectors thanks to scalpers, people who buy mass quantities of a product and then resell them online for more than the retail price. But the things that Amiibos do are amazing. When you tap them on your WiiU pad or 3DS they unlock features such as custom fighters in Super Smash Bros., racing suits for Mii characters in Mario Kart 8, and special abilities for your character in the newest Mario Party. It’s a wonder if other companies and developers will utilize this for their consoles and games, can you imagine if you could unlock a new car in GTA just by tapping smaller version of that car on your controller?
Love or hate what gaming is today, those ideas will lead to gamers having tons of new things to do, see, and play, in the foreseeable future. But what exactly will change or be added to gaming? We’ll just have to wait and watch. Maybe this year’s E3 conference will give us an insight.