9 New Gaming Trends You’ll Never Stop Hating

If you’re a gamer of a certain age, you’ve certainly formed an idea of what video games are supposed to be by now. But, as you know, nothing stays the same for long in the world of technology. The gaming landscape has changed dramatically as one console generation turns into the next. Some of those changes are welcome, like wireless controllers, auto-saving, and the rise of indie games. Others, on the other hand … let’s just say we wish they didn’t exist. Here are some of the new gaming trends you’ll never stop hating.

1. Delays

Four heroes on a journey in Final Fantasy XV

The delay for the Final Fantasy XV release was a major disappointment | Square Enix

Doesn’t it seem like games used to come out when they were supposed to? Nowadays, it’s almost like every game other than Call of Duty gets delayed past its initial launch date. We have famous examples like Duke Nukem Forever, Final Fantasy XV, and The Last Guardian, each of which blew past their deadlines and took years to finally see the light of day. But now game delays are as common as a cold. They can happen to any game in development at any time.

Just a few years ago, spring was a dead zone for game releases, but that’s not the case anymore. Now that half of the games scheduled for fall releases are getting delayed into spring, those months are flooded with big games. Spreading releases throughout the year isn’t a bad thing for gamers, but when the game you’re looking forward to gets kicked a few months out, it’s always a little disappointing.

2. Micro-transactions

Scorpio fighting in a dark forest in Mortal Kombat X.

Mortal Kombat X | NeverRealm Studio

In the olden days of yore, when you bought a game, that purchase signified the end of the transaction. Now, many game makers want to keep the cash rolling in. The way they do that is by offering in-game items for modest amounts of money called micro-transactions. Not all micro-transactions are bad, but it can be frustrating to pay $60 for a game only to have it offer you more stuff for more money.

3. Patches that nerf weapons

A space marine prepares to shoot an enemy in Destiny.

Destiny takes a lot of time and skill to get good at | Bungie

Let’s say you’ve spent dozens of hours honing your skills in a hot new online shooter. You’ve worked at it night after night, etching into muscle memory everything about your favorite weapon: the way it feels, the staccato burst of bullets, and how much the recoil throws off your aim after each trigger pull.

Then along comes a patch that tweaks the gun so much, you have to start all over. It’s the worst, and it’s especially disappointing if you purchased that weapon through a micro-transaction.

4. Publisher accounts

Origin logo

EA Origin is an online gaming platform that requires its own login info | Electronic Arts

Remember when you could pop in a new game and start playing right away? For many games, those good old days are gone, thanks to additional logins games shove in our faces for services like Uplay and EA Origin. Heck, some games have logins of their very own, including Gears of War, Call of Duty, and Halo. Few people even know what these services offer or provide. We just know we forgot our passwords a long time ago.

5. Retailer-exclusive preorder bonuses

Batman and Robin.

You could get a preorder bonus with Batman: Arkham Knight | Warner Bros.

There are tons of reasons not to preorder video games. But because retailers and publishers want to lock in your purchase, they offer glitzy rewards for anyone willing to throw down money before knowing if a game is any good.

Among these rewards are retailer-exclusive preorder bonuses. All too often, Amazon, GameStop, Target, and Best Buy will offer unique in-game rewards, like weapons or other gear. If you want all of those items, you either have to preorder the game multiple times, or wait until the exclusivity window ends and you can get the items individually. Talk about aggravating.

6. No refunds

United States currency shown on a fishing hook

You can’t get refunds on many digital game purchases | iStock.com/-BW-

Digital copies of games may be more convenient than physical copies in many ways, but they’re also much more restrictive. For one thing, you cant sell them when you’re finished. But even more galling is that, as far as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are concerned, all digital game purchases are final. Want a refund? Tough luck.

The only services that allow refunds are PC digital stores like Steam and GOG. Isn’t it time the console makers caught up?

7. Expensive season passes

Concept art for 'Star Wars Battlefront'

The season pass for Star Wars: Battlefront is a big expense | Electronic Arts

Say what you will about downloadable content coming out for games after they launch. What’s getting a little nuts is how much it costs. Buying season passes for many games nowadays costs nearly as much as the games themselves. We all like a good game, but hardly any game is worth $110 upfront, no matter how much additional content it’ll get after launch.

8. Day-one patches

A space ship on a distant planet.

No Man’s Sky has an aggravating day-one patch | Hello Games

As gaming hardware becomes more powerful, the games themselves are getting more complex. That means developers have more work to do to get them ready to ship. Even once a game “goes gold” and is being printed onto discs, there’s almost always more work to do. That work is then transmitted into the game through a day-one patch that you have to download before you can start playing.

It’s so disappointing to put a new game into your console, only to have to wait while it downloads a day-one patch. And with some patches ringing in at several gigabytes, the wait seems like forever.

9. Games that are buggy or broken on PC

'Batman: Arkham Knight'

Batman: Arkham Knight was buggy on PC | Warner Bros.

Console games go through a rigorous certification process to make sure they run well. Whatever process PC games go through must not be up to snuff, because all too often, PC versions of games are buggy or broken. Take Batman: Arkham Knight, a game that came out in such a sorry state that Warner Bros. actually stopped selling it for months. Assassin’s Creed: Unity had similar problems, as did Diablo 3.

I’m sure preparing a game to run on such a wide range of hardware isn’t easy, but here’s a novel idea: How about holding the game until it’s ready?

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed
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