I would have to go back about 15 years ago to where any news I found on the upcoming release of a videogame would only be found by way of magazine or hovering above me on release day, being displayed by one of two televisions at my local Babbages or Electronics Boutique. That was it. There weren't any websites, internet forums or TV channels dedicated to videogames and the culture of gaming.
Fast-forward to present day and we are literally blitzed with a continuous flow of unfiltered information that showcases some games months before their scheduled release. A decision can be made on a title's worth weeks before it hits the store shelves. There's no longer a "mystery" about what exactly you will get when you load up your recently purchased game. All determining factors have been presented, and it would be somewhat rare to be surprised by a game's latest feature.
This holds especially true for sports games. Even the developers of such titles have joined the party in releasing monthly blogs leading up to a title's release. They are breaking down core aspects of the game, releasing detailed step by step videos that explain how and what they are doing. Some even carry over flaws in previous versions as a means of showing how their next representation will improve on and remove various issues. On the flip side, the consumer fuels the fire with some receiving certain titles early, and within hours of purchase, that game is being displayed over the internet, via Youtube etc..
This all leaves me with a question I often find myself wrestling with. How beneficial is this constant feed of information that continually updates at such uncontrollable speeds, and floods a place like Operation Sports and other internet sites dedicated to our hobby? Would it be more positive of an experience if we had no early impressions, developer blogs, live streams, pre-release reviews etc.? What if the first time you saw your much anticipated release of an upcoming title was when you put it in the tray yourself?
I'm just as "guilty" as anyone. Sometimes I think I tend to spend more time investigating a title's potential more than I give to actually playing it. These games aren't cheap either. One could argue that our current potential to find anything with a click of a mouse is beneficial in determining if we will make the final purchase. There is balance in all of it, but word of mouth tends to shape our opinion on things. One person's highlighted flaw in an "early impression" could be a flaw I never noticed without them bringing it out to begin with.
We are in different times now. I don't trust the guys at Gamestop like I used to. They know more about how to swindle you into pre-ordering a game than the actual game. And apparently, Gamestop owns and publishes Game Informer, one of the leading gaming magazines on the market, blurring the lines between a quality review and a review that might sway you from buying the game. Bias, anyone?
So, there needs to be a place to get good, reliable information on your next anticipated gaming purchase. However, I would argue that we are now on the other end of the spectrum, where information on an upcoming release can be at times, overwhelming. Couple that with a thriving gaming community that is extremely critical, and you might just find yourself hating a game before you pressed the start button.
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