It’s finally nearing the end of the 2010’s. When 2009 was coming to a close and 2010 was showing signs of optimism and we thought that the next decade would be one of the most exciting for gaming history.
Now as we are approaching the end of 2019, we feel roughed up and exhausted. This has been a difficult decade with turmoil both in society and in the gaming world. We started with so much hope just to end the decade jaded and full of disappointment.
That’s not to say things were all bad. We had some really amazing games come out this past decade as well as the rise of the Indie game. Of course though you didn’t come here to read about what ended the decade on a high note. You want to hear what didn’t do well this decade and what genres could be listed on a “In danger of extinction” notice. So let’s get down to it then shall we?
This is the most significant and probably the most controversial of the endangered genres. Many MMOs are still quite popular. World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy 14, and Elder Scrolls Online all command respectable player numbers, but player bases pale in comparison to how many people were playing MMOs at the beginning of the decade.
Early in the decade we had multiple major MMOs releasing every year from almost every franchise from Hello Kitty to star trek. Since 2015 we have only seen 1 or 2 major MMO releases each year. Developers have been shutting down formerly flagship projects and many longstanding games have been put on life support.
There are a lot of factors that led to the downfall of the MMORPG. Most significantly I believe the rise of MMO-like features in mostly single player games have led to players not feeling the desire to play a MMO to get the social interaction they would crave. Games like Destiny and GTA V have added numerous online features that often attract the same types of players that would attract a MMO player.
This is also hampered by a huge influx of games entering the MMO market in the first half of the decade. Market saturation was at an all time high and consumers simply grew tired of a genre that every single company wanted a share in. This meant premium games like Wildstar and The Old Republic had competition from dozens of free to play MMOs from Korea and China.
What is next for the MMORPG genre? I really don’t see a resurgence coming from any major companies, but with some cool looking indie projects bouncing around. There is some cool potential to be had.
The Rhythm game
The rhythm genre is a genre that almost everyone has played at some point in their gaming history. At the beginning of the decade Rock band and Guitar Hero were both major sellers and some more strange games such as DJ hero were being released to fill rising demand. We also cannot forget the rise of Just dance and the Kinect being at their height during the end of the Xbox 360s lifespan. To add to this, we have also not seen a DDR game come to consoles since 2010.
I think this is a case of changing tastes within the gaming market. Rock band and Guitar Hero were popular because they were very unique for the time and the bundled instruments provided a lot of fun for those that were perfectionists and felt they had to get a perfect score on impossible in every song.
Unfortunately this didn’t appeal to everyone. Rhythm games thrive on being party games, where a controller can be passed around and a group of friends playing as a group. This meant that those expensive PS4 guitars and drum sets eventually were left to collect dust in a closet or corner of a basement rec room.
That’s not to say this genre is completely dead. Rhythm games are still a niche market and still maintain some popularity in Korea and Japan. The genre has changed though, from the casual and fun genre to a very hardcore and difficult genre. Playing rhythm games now can feel like one wants to punish themselves, they can be brutally difficult and cater to the most hardcore of players.
What’s next for the Rhythm game genre? Within the last couple of years, we have seen a slight bump in popularity due to Beat saber and the increase in VR headset accessibility. I think over the next few years we might see more players don the VR headset and I feel rhythm games can find a nice market there, as well as still catering to the niche it still has now.
3D platformers were all the rage in the 90’s and the early 2000’s. With the rise of franchises like Spyro, Jax, and Crash Bandicoot. 3D platformers looked like they would be around for a long time, but, well, they weren’t
I think most of us have fond memories of these game, personally I played spyro a ton when I was growing up. I think though that’s where the genre eventually started dying. We grew up with the genre and developers couldn’t do much new without either upsetting long established fans or making the games too difficult to new audiences.
This genre has been slowly dwindling down for over a decade. When the PS3 was released we saw a lot of new platformers release but few if any were able to capture the same following that they had in the ps1 and ps2 eras.
Of course we have had a few good 3D platformers come out this decade. Both A hat in time, Super Mario odyssey, and Yooka-Laylee were released to mostly glowing reviews. We haven’t seen much else in terms of huge releases.
I do feel 3d platformers kinda got lost in the shuffle that comes with each new console generation. New games and new ideas were coming out at breakneck speed and they simply couldn’t innovate enough to keep gamers interested. I also feel the return of the 2D platformer did a significant number on its 3D counterpart. 2D platformers have seen a huge resurgence over the past decade and gamers have more significant memories of 2D platformers than 3D.
Linear action game
Ahh the linear action game, so many memories of playing Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider. Especially in the 2000’s Linear action games were at their prime. Most major releases were linear action games and gamers ate them all up.
This isn’t really a set genre or really a genre that died out this decade. I feel like evolved would be a much better fit. Almost all of the major linear franchise got rid of the linearity and added open worlds or open ended objectives. Assassins creed being one of the first early examples of a non-linear action game. We have also seen a Tomb Raider reboot that was fairly open world.
Of course linear action games are still made, Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us are both fairly linear experiences, and linear action games will continue to come out for a long time to come. I feel though that the industry had moved on and we will continue to see less and less linear games in general. Consumers have shown a preference for open worlds and that’s what gaming companies intend to give us.
As we close this decade and enter a new one, exciting things are ahead of us, and already gaming in the 2020’s looks to reach new heights with a new console generation and new gaming tech coming into its own. Happy new year and happy gaming!