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I just read that the British Advertising Standards Authority is investigating the people behind No Man’s Sky to determine whether or not there’s a “truth in advertising” claim problem. If you’re not up to speed on your eclectic video game news, it turns out that the hype train that preceded “No Man’s Sky” thanks to Sean Murray of Hello Games hasn’t quite lived up to the reality. It’s a strange time.

No Man’s Sky usage is way down already a few weeks after launch.

You Can Blame Batman and Superman

In the 1920s and through the 1950s, comic books were considered “children’s reading” and were treated that way by many. Taken with a grain of salt, it didn’t matter if there were color change issues, continuity problems, and a whole host of other mistakes. They were just something newspaper people threw together to get more sales. In fact, once you realize that the comics business is just a business, it really changes how you look at some of the material that you and I and others looked at as near-religious in our pursuit of it all.

And then one day, we all cared more about it and so we (the readership) got more demanding, and everyone kind of rolled with that and took off and we got “graphic novels” and billions of dollars in superhero movie revenue, and now we can go anywhere and buy Batman tee shirts and whatever.

The Age of the Grumpy Video Game Player

I love video games, but I don’t classify myself as a “hardcore” gamer. I play lots of hours of the games I love, but I haven’t played every video game that’s come along, for instance. That said, I’ve been paying more attention to the business aspects of launches lately.

Ubisoft launches Rainbow 6 Siege and does fairly well. They launch Tom Clancy’s The Division and it starts strong, instantly falters, and gets a lot of backlash. So much so that the company that made the game, Massive, pretty much has to throw a lot of time and development money into fixing the balance of the game.

This wouldn’t have happened in the past. People would purchase the game, like or hate it, and we’d heard later that it was “shovelware:” basically a game so bad that no one bought it and it was taken out to the desert and buried in the sand. ( background)

This guy hates Call of Duty: Ghosts so much he named his online gamer tag that exact sentiment.

We’re Paying for More Engaging Entertainment

I was thinking about my experience with the video game Destiny. I bought the game, and then almost immediately bought the two expansion packs, House of Wolves and The Dark Below.

Around the time that all this was out in the world, people were complaining. The game’s story was a bit of a mess…um, there was no story. There were lots of mechanics that were broken. People were mad.

When I bought, The Taken King, my son actually said, “Wait, you just paid $30 for Bungie to FIX their broken game?” (He was only 9 when he said this to me.) And he was right.

But The Taken King fixed pretty much everything. And the new expansion, The Rise of Iron, is even better still. And I’ve paid probably $150 or so over time for the pleasure of playing this game.

Sounds like a lot, but if you realize that a a movie ticket is about $15 and popcorn and a drink is maybe another $10, and you only get two hours for that $25, or roughly 12.50 an hour for my entertainment. I’ve played hundreds and hundreds of hours for my $150 worth of game, so much that it’s probably under a dollar an hour.

And that’s why we’re starting to hold video games to a higher standard. They’re no longer a simple exchange of money. They’re a primary entertainment outlet (for some of us). They’re a social experience. They’re part of our world. I see this as a trend that will continue. We’ll demand accuracy in advertising. No longer will amazing cut scenes and box art see us through our disappointment. If the game’s not good, people will be loud about it.

And I think that’s a good thing ultimately. You?