The recent release of Halo: Infinite is a stark reminder of what video games were and where they were.
Halo: Infinite is the final sequel to the Halo video game trilogy, following the story of Master Chief. The campaign mode is remarkably straightforward and tells an easy-to-understand story compared to other iterations of the Halo franchise.
The game is free to play, making it an easy download for Halo fans or anyone looking for a new video game. Multiplayer mode allows you to connect with friends around the world and participate in many maps and different game modes.
To me, it was a stark reminder of what video games were and a sign of what video games have become since the original Halo games debuted.
Halo then vs. Halo now – an in-game change
Let’s go back to 2004 with Halo 2. It was the first Halo video game I played, and I decided to do it only because a friend of mine said it was the hot new game. From there it became one of the few games I have ever played. My friends and I would make custom maps with creative play modes and spend hours playing. We were looking for online game modes and playing them ourselves. We’ve spent many hours competing online, fighting for dominance and supremacy in a world without esports, video game competitions, or reward systems.
Flash forward to 2021 and the video game landscape is very different. More and more video games can be played for free. That said, there is a cost in the game. Several popular games now have season-based reward systems, where the more you play, the more rewards you can earn. Many other games have microtransactions, where you can use real money to purchase different cosmetics, characters, and character skins. Fortnite was the leader of this idea, allowing players to purchase new costumes based on actual celebrities, fictional characters, or people that match the current storyline of the game. For $ 20, you can purchase a character skin for customize the appearance of your character.
Halo: Infinite is not afraid of this trend. The game has a new rewards system where you earn points which can be cashed out for rewards. Like Fornite, only some of the rewards are available through a Battle Pass, which you can purchase for $ 8.99. But you can also buy more costumes and characters using real money. Some cost almost $ 18 – just to change the color of your armor. One player estimated that it would cost over $ 1,000 to unlock everything in the game.
This is where the game has gone and where it is now. The games are free, of course, and that’s great for those who don’t want to pay $ 50 to $ 60. But to unlock everything, you have to pay. Playing the game can help – if you earn enough experience points, you can unlock some items, but not all.
As a casual gamer, I can come home, log into Halo, and play a few games with my friends. But when I earn 50 points per game and new levels unlock every 1000 points, it’s hard to get new costumes. Without paying real money, I’m stuck with the normal outfit.
So to really experience everything in a game, I would have to either pay hundreds of dollars or spend hours and hours grinding, something I don’t have time for.
Video games are no longer for you or me. They’re for the big spenders, the longtime crusher
Video games and the difficulty of the modern era
I played NBA 2K20 and NBA 2K21 for much of the pandemic, focusing on MyTeam mode which allows you to create fantastic lineups using digital cards. I started the game and played it for a while. But in recent weeks, it has become too difficult. The game mode has increased the difficulty levels for all the games which can earn you the best rewards.
This is not uncommon for the series. In NBA 2K21, the game released “Gauntlet Challenges” where you had to face each other on the hardest difficulty. In a game, you had to use the lowest rated cards against the highest rated cards to win.
I understand why a video game would want to improve the mechanics of the computer. You want the game to simulate real life circumstances as much as possible. Defenders need to cover the corners so Kevin Durant can’t shoot a wide open 3 point. Big centers like Rudy Gobert should have blocks that make him worthy of the defensive player of the year.
But a video game mode where you can collect player cards and compete against your favorites with a fantastic team shouldn’t be too competitive and too difficult for casual gamers to play. More than anything, you should have a chance to win. You shouldn’t need the best players, the best teams, and the supreme skills of a competitive money-making player to win a game.
I’ve been a fan of NBA 2K for years, since NBA 2K9. In NBA 2K20, I had fun competing with my team. The following year I struggled to achieve victories because every shot was scored. You could score up to 80 or 90 points, but the computer would get about 110. At least you were scoring and losing didn’t feel like you failed.
NBA 2K22 makes you feel like you’ve failed. You can’t get the shots in. The defense is too tight. The rewards system is too hard to crack. Competitors and YouTube players make it easy. For ordinary people, it is almost impossible.
The game is made for competitive play. This is no longer for you. It is made for those who want to make content online or spend hours playing. A normal teenager coming home from school cannot complete these modes at all.
The rise of casual gaming
Casual gambling has exploded across the United States. These are the games you play on your phone like mobile versions of Billiards, Bowling, Solitaire, Baseball, Candy Crush and more.
The Premier League mobile is a new games company looking to bring these games to everyone in one arena. The MPL – Asia’s largest mobile gaming platform with 45 million casual players and a valuation of $ 2.3 billion – seeks to blend casual and competitive gaming, giving casual gamers and competitors a platform – simple shape where they can interact.
The platform involves aspects of the game and the game for a month. It’s available in Utah, but the gaming aspects of the platform can’t be used due to Utah restrictions on gaming.
MPL CEO Sai Srinivas told me that MPL wants to bring casual and competitive gamers together on one platform, allowing them to participate in games for fun or for competitiveness if they so choose.
Some games, he said, are often complex and feature competitive and casual modes. Some offer a natively offline experience that people can play from home without too much fear of difficulty levels. Then again, there are other very complex games that make it more likely to be featured in esports competitions, like League of Legends.
The MPL has its eyes on the organization of competitions and the generation of titles that can be used for esports competitions. But, at the same time, the platform hopes to popularize these more casual games that we play every day.
“We are reaching out to casual and professional players,” Srinivas said.