Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year, but there’s still plenty to be thankful for. While the spirit of the American holiday focuses primarily on family and friends, there’s lots to be appreciative of in gaming as well. If you’re reading this site then it’s probably your preferred pastime, and in a year where there’s been plenty of bad within the industry, we figured we’d emphasise some of the good things – all in the spirit of the season, of course.
At a time where almost all of us have been forced to stay at home more than we’d like, video games have provided us with the escapism that we all crave. Whether it’s exploring fictional landscapes like in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or historical ones such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, there’s always somewhere new to discover. If you’ve missed real-world travel, then titles like Train Sim World 2 provide you with the opportunity to visit familiar places, and there’s even Sony’s PSVR headset to add another level to the immersion.
It’s taken the industry a long, long time to put a much-needed focus on accessibility, but games are more inviting to all players than they’ve ever been. There’s still work to be done in this department, of course, but innovations like Microsoft’s Xbox Accessibility controller are a great start. Sony’s also invested a lot in this area, with games like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and The Last of Us: Part II featuring an unprecedented number of settings and toggles to make the titles more playable for more people than ever before.
The games industry has never been as diverse and varied as it is right now. Whether you like tentpole AAA shooters or tiny little life sims from teams of two people, the sheer amount of options available on the PS Store and all other platforms is unprecedented. It doesn’t matter what you enjoy: retro games, racers, online multiplayer, sports, action, or stories – there’s something for almost everyone, and that means the industry is more inviting than it’s ever been. This is a hobby that we can all share and enjoy together.
Lockdowns have meant that real-world contact opportunities have been limited for many of us, but video games have allowed us all to stay in touch. Whether it’s family on the other side of the world or friends from down the road, the online aspects of the PS5, PS4, and all platforms have enabled us to connect, compete, and share a common interest. Crossplay has broken down barriers, and the ability to communicate with even strangers online has kept us all company at a time when social restrictions have taken their toll on mental health.
There’s so much to criticise about the games industry and some of its more nefarious practices like loot boxes and microtransactions, but let’s also remember that pricing is better than it’s ever been. Subscription services like PS Plus and Game Pass mean everyone always has access to new games to play, and the growth of the free-to-play model means you can feasibly dig in to dozens of titles with no upfront cost. Discounts are also very good on the PS Store, meaning it’s possible to play on a budget.
Whatever games you like, lifespans are lengthening. That means, whether your favourite game is something like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or Knockout City, there’s usually something new to unlock and do. Modern gaming can be demanding due to the fear of missing out and the grind that some games are designed around, but let’s not forget that these titles have more content than they’ve ever had, and that means there’s always something to keep us entertained.
What are you thankful for in gaming? Turn off your cynicism and look at some of the positives in the comments section below.