Modern games are getting too long! With every passing year, the boundaries of video gaming are pushed, both in terms of graphical prowess and narrative ambition. Games are growing larger, their worlds more sprawling, and their storylines more intricate. While this evolution is indicative of the industry's technological advances, it also presents a paradox: as games become increasingly vast and time-consuming, the gaming community is beginning to question whether this is really what they want. This concern was particularly evident during the Microsoft Xbox Games Showcase 2023.
Several titles presented at the Xbox Games Showcase 2023 offered staggering estimates of potential gameplay hours. From expansive RPGs to narrative-driven adventures, it became apparent that developers are aiming to provide more content, more exploration, and more depth. However, the question arises - at what cost?
There's no denying that longer games can offer immense value for money, providing gamers with vast new worlds to explore and stories to experience. Yet, the increasing length and breadth of these games can also be overwhelming. Many gamers struggle to find the time to commit to these lengthy adventures amidst the reality of work, family, and other life commitments. The sense of fulfillment from completing a game can be overshadowed by the daunting commitment required to even start.
Take, for instance, Starfield. Promising an incredibly massive campaign that spans well over a hundred hours, this game is an epitome of a time-demanding, expansive adventure. While the game's scope is undoubtedly impressive, it also puts a magnifying glass on the industry's swelling trend of lengthy game experiences.
As more games are boasting playtimes extending well into triple digits, the gamer is faced with a paradoxical dilemma. On one hand, these vast, explorative games offer rich, immersive experiences. On the other hand, they require a significant time investment, potentially limiting the number of different games one can play and enjoy.
The Xbox Games Showcase 2023 underscored this paradox. The industry seems to be favoring expansive, in-depth gaming experiences, potentially at the cost of alienating players who lack the time or inclination for such prolonged play. As game development continues to advance, developers and the wider gaming industry may need to reassess how they balance game length and content depth with accessibility and respect for players' time.