The gaming industry has had its fair share of ups and downs throughout history, but nothing ruffles gamers’ feathers more than discussing the worst eras they’ve ever lived through. Recently, gamers of all ages met in an online discussion to reveal the least enjoyable phase they’ve ever had to sit through, from dealing with broken consoles to suffering through endless battle passes — and everything in between!
1. The “Releasing Buggy Games” Phase
If the current trend of unfinished games being released for full price bothers you, you’re not alone. Game developers have a rotten habit of relying on first-day patches to deliver what they initially promised to gamers. Unsurprisingly, people aren’t happy. “Huge developers have been releasing extremely buggy and unfinished games more and more often, and players are still buying into them,” laments one gamer. “Massive profits lead those developers to think that what they’re doing is okay, and they continue to do it.”
2. The Microtransaction Phase
Originating in the mid-2010s, the prevailing trend of endless microtransactions — designed to extract as much money as possible from millions of gamers — is arguably immoral. “Everything is microtransactions nowadays,” explains one man. “It’s promises of something new and then re-skins of something old. It’s all about money and less about making a good game. I love a good multiplayer game, but there are none right now, and I haven’t been for years.” Between re-skins and loot boxes, I’m not surprised gamers have turned on microtransactions!
3. The Xbox Red Ring of Death Phase
It’s rare when a manufacturer releases a defective console, but in 2005, that’s what Microsoft did with the Xbox 360. Millions of gamers were greeted with a blinking red light on the front of their Xbox 360s, aptly called the “Red Ring of Death,” a callback to Microsoft’s Windows bug in the ’90s that was coined the “Blue Screen of Death.” However, despite the early setback, the Xbox 360 became one of the most popular consoles, outselling the PlayStation 3 during that specific console cycle.
4. The PlayStation Hack Phase
In the eyes of many gamers, there wasn’t a more frustrating era of gaming than the PlayStation hack phase. If you were a Sony gamer in 2014, you were probably affected by the massive data breach suffered by the PlayStation Network. It compromised many users’ saved game states and raised ethical and privacy concerns for millions of men and women across the globe. Fortunately, Sony has tightened up its security since then.
5. The Day Pass Phase
Time-sucking day passes (cleverly disguised as standard battle passes) are something gamers wish would go away permanently. Nothing takes the fun out of gaming quicker than feeling forced to play every day! “The demand that you play the game every day or miss out on things was the worst,” confesses one gamer. “Anything you must do daily when you don’t feel like it is a chore. They turned gaming into a chore.”
6. The “Everything Extreme” Phase
If you weren’t around in the late ’90s, consider yourself lucky! Seemingly, every game that was released had a decidedly Gen-X “extreme” theme and naming convention. From titles like ESPN Extreme Games to overly graphic and violent games in general, it’s apparent that U.S.-based gamers were going through quite the “extreme” phase in their lives — and developers capitalized on it.
7. The Battle Pass Phase
For years, battle passes have been the bane of gamers worldwide. They’re examples of developer greed; thankfully, one woman puts it all into perspective. “Live service and battle passes are like buying a ticket TO the attraction,” explains one savvy woman. “It’s like the carnival: It’s only going to be in town for a few weeks, so come see it while you can! On the other hand, proper, fully-fleshed-out games ARE the attraction. You buy a game like that and have entertainment for life.”
8. The “Cater to Both Console Generations” Phase
For some bizarre reason, despite the latest generation of consoles having more raw horsepower than ever, game developers still insist on cross-releasing titles on last-gen systems in 2023. This phase is especially enraging to gamers, as the game’s code is tailored to the lowest common denominator instead of optimized to the full strengths of PlayStation 5 and Xbox One Series S.
9. The Roster Updates-Only Phase
As an avid Madden player in the 2010s, I and countless other sports fans were disappointed that each yearly release of the iconic football franchise brought merely a roster update. The game consistently failed to update its graphics and gameplay, making Madden an exercise in frustration for many years! (By all accounts, it hasn’t improved in 2023.)
10. The Motion-Controlled Phase
Thanks to the innovation Nintendo introduced with the Wii console, it seems like every video game developer wanted to incorporate motion controls in the late 2000s! “I argue the whole period with motion control gimmicks for no reason other than to compete with the Nintendo Wii where competition wasn’t necessary,” reveals one man. “The Xbox Kinect is a hallmark of terrible, out-of-touch marketing that the company went all-in on, and it did absolutely nothing to enhance the games it was supposed to be for. It hardly ever worked most of the time, and when it did, it was janky and not fun.” In the end, motion control was a gimmick that failed to capture an audience.
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