We all heard it, we all are aware of it, yet what makes a kid a ‘cool kid’, what makes a game a ‘cool game’ one would state that this is by public demand, by public indication. Yet what is true indication? What is indication that is not badgered by trolls, by marketing department and their minions? Do you? I certainly don’t. Social media and public opinion are so far apart you can park China between the two views. The views on public request (demand sounded too harsh) and public indication are factors of transparency and as we know social media is many things, transparent is not one of them. And thus we get to the question at the start, what is a ‘cool kid’? You might want to think that this is about kids, but it is not.
This all started months ago and I was reminded of it today. You see, sometimes we just want to relax and play a game, a mindless game, a simple game and that is how my mind wandered back to 1991 and Sierra-on-Line’s ‘Jones in the fast lane’. I will grant you that the game could use an upgrade, a new view, new names perhaps 1-2 additions, but granted the game was close to perfect. The idea that you can just spend some time chilling playing a simple game is to a lot overwhelming. I thought I was alone, but over time I have seen a whole range of people seemingly desiring a game like this. You see, there is nothing wrong with a lot of games, but it is about the chase, about the achievement, about the hunt. I reckon the only exception was Ubisoft when they gave you the tour of AC Origin with the expansion and all the places to visit (like a beer maker). It was not about running, it as about seeing how much there was in that game and it was awesome. But time have shown us a whole range of games that a players like Google (or Amazon) could add to their systems, but they are all so hung up on replicating what the PS4 and Xbox One already have, why?
In this Nintendo is equally a contender, but they have their own setting of these games and they are doing great. Is that not the larger setting? How come Nintendo blew away Microsoft? Because their games were cooler? Higher resolution? No, the games were what the people wanted and that banked them an annual revenue for 2021 of $16.534B, a 37.34% increase from 2020. Did anyone consider that this is due to more than a really good console? And the additional news is that Nintendo generated approximately 42.6 percent of its gaming software revenue via digital unit sales. You still think I am kidding? Streamers have options, but if everyone looks in the same direction, they all miss out. The idea was that one of my IP could secure well over 50 million consoles. One source now stated (one I actually trust) is that I was 50% too low with my estimation, and it was not some version of Jones in the fast lane, but it would be unique to streamers and Amazon has the lead as Google decided not to develop its system with software solutions. I am willing to debate this as a mistake of 50% is rather large, but in my favour, it works in my favour, so screw it.
In all this there is the setting of what do the Cool Kids want, but no one is digging on what decides what a cool kid is, and with the Nintendo revenue they all (Sony included) are looking in the wrong direction. They are all mesmerised by public opinion, all whilst no one verifies the transparency of that danger, especially whilst there is no clarity on what public indicators are. Where those indicators are and how they can be tested on the actual population? These are questions, I have no answers here, merely the fact that it needs to happen before Microsoft does something stupid again and pushes everyone in the wrong direction, like lemmings to an abyss. Which would be a shame and in this I sided with Amazon Luna (for the obvious Google reason) If they alter and expand on what they have they could have it all and as soon as the first evidence comes out proving me right everyone will adjust course to get some of the crumbs of that revenue pie, but if I am correct the one taking the lead will remain in the lead and merely cluster more gamers to their side and I expect that this is merely the beginning.
So lets start again, when did we accept that we needed to have Game X on platform Y because that is what the cool kids want? Consider the definition “Trendsetters, often in reference to hipsters; those worthy of emulation.” How is emulation of a trendsetter based on a 5 year old game a cool kids exercise? Resident Evil 7 (2017), Aragami (2016)? Yes they were good games, but emulation 6 years later? Amazon is as guilty as Google is here and they need to up their game, or change entirely. It is up to them what they do, because Microsoft is casually taking up people hiding behind their Game Pass and when people are in one camp churning them is a lot harder than you think in gaming. Oh, and when you considered to follow some virtual Cool Kid and you learn you are duped, what defence will you rely on? I reckon none at all.
So no matter where you game, as long as it makes you happy that is fine, but I personally believe that gamers are missing out in a few ways and in part it is the lack of broader substance, they all run after another Far Cry, an Elden Ring, or whatever is shouted as ‘the cool game’ and there are plenty that are actually cool, but do you really think that a $109 game is sold less than a year later for $29, because it was supercool, or because it was too buggy for its own good? I let you be the judge of that.