2016: A Year of Glorious Capitalism in the Games Industry

Even Trotsky and Lenin with their blood-red, hammer-and sickle-beating hearts would have bought into the games industry in 2016. If they were alive. And my lazy, anachronistic analogy would actually make sense. Whatever. You’ve made it this far, right? Let me explain.

If the games industry showed us one thing last year (because it’s 2017 now, remember?) it’s that it was Capitalist AF and we all ate it up like happy little consumers. Like a Christmas Day turkey. Gobbled it like Gorbachev. But there’s a few reasons why it now all seems a little bit silly that we did.

In 2016, there were “new” technologies thrust upon us. Specifically from corp gaming leviathans Sony. The PS4 Pro heralded Sony’s foray into PC-graphics-card-like mid-cycle hardware revision, and PSVR was the first time that virtual reality console gaming became available to a mainstream market. “New” being written sarcastically because, well, they’re not exactly new.


Virtual reality gaming has been a thing for a while. Ever since the first video gaming prototypes were being experimented with in the late sixties and early seventies , there has been “virtual reality” gaming. The only real difference being, apart from the vast technological advancement that PSVR employs, is that the instruments that are used to game with today are generic control devices rather than actual physical manifestations of what the game entails e.g. using a light gun rifle in a shooter-based title.

You may be thinking: “well, yeah. That’s what virtual reality gaming is, Tom,” aka using virtual instruments to game. That may be true, but PSVR still demonstrates the use of regurgitating intelectual property and re-hashing old ideas to turn them into money-making devices. Case in point: the PSVR itself even works with last generations’ Move controllers. Don’t get me wrong; I think PSVR is actually pretty great. But still. It’s a profit-forward thinking project from Sony.

What is slightly different with the PS4 Pro is that it genuinely is set up to perform as something new. A more powerful PlayStation that aims to boost framerates, dynamic lighting, texture fidelity and other visual and technical enhancements. But is a Photoshopped version of the original PS4 good enough for what we deserve as fans and consumers? Not really.

By manufacturing a mid-cycle hardware revision like the PS4 Pro, Sony are marketing a product based on its latent functions. If consumers want a high-performing GPU, a machine that can deliver on the promise of higher framerates etc., then Sony should provide us with this by manufacturing a true successor to the PS4.

It’s true that Sony would have felt pressured by other major corporations – some of which are their direct competitors – to release a console like the PS4 Pro. But the Pro is still a machine that Sony tagged with a high price tag nevertheless.

I’m not being too miserable, am I? Tell me I’m not, go on.

2016 was actually fantastic. New console ideas have no doubt made audiences very happy. But they just don’t do much for the genuine and original creativity of the industry.

2017 looks alright though, doesn’t it? Hope so.