Video games have evolved through the ever changing technologies in the past two decades. The advances in search algorithms improved the early AI systems, the introduction of 3D, introduction of modular engines, improvement of graphics, methods for gameplay, improvement in UX design, networking and recently, Virtual Reality etc. are some of the canonical examples.

My concern is, nowadays, the technological changes seem less apparent...

Many developers claim that the video game visuals and graphics have reached their epitome, and the game mechanics and genres have stagnated. Is it correct?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your question is very broad - probably on the scope of a research paper, it would improve your chances of a high-quality answer if you focus your question on one particular aspect. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2014 at 10:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ "The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement must end." -- Henry Ellsworth, Commissioner of the US Patent Office, in a satiric aside to an 1843 report to Congress reporting a new record high in the submission of new inventions. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2014 at 10:36

1 Answer 1


Factors contributing to the apparent stagnation in the advancement of video game development.

The uncanny valley: As video game fidelity approaches photo-realistic rendering, humans begin to have an adverse reaction to characters that appear almost perfectly human but have some flaws. This is known as the uncanny valley and is fairly well documented. This is why - although technology can technically render a better image - it often isn't implemented intentionally.

Refinement: Re-factoring of existing modules and increased processor speeds result in the creation of games which - although mechanically similar - are experientially different.

Exploration of genre: Game developers have been expanding the number of genres that development of games can be pursued. The label 'interactive experiences' is being applied to games which don't fall into the usual 'game' definition.

Socio-economic conditions: Investors are less willing to invest in ideas which are not 'proven' - which is why we get repeats of 'blockbusters' particularly in times of economic hardship. Also social and political pressures influence the exploration of certain themes or genres (e.g. The Interview) and as theme and genre heavily influence game mechanics and plot - they often suffer as a result.

Skill drain: Furthering themes of economic downturn and rising cost of education - less developers are pursuing game development and those that do tend to stick to 'safe' ideas for the sake of job security.

For some examples to the contrary - evaluate Indie games.


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