It is time, more than money, which has become the battlefield of gaming today. Publishers across the globe are competing for your hours in their pursuit of cash, demanding spiraling hours of commitment daily, weekly, and monthly. Any one person only has so much time to dedicate to gaming though. At some point, something’s got to give. We’ve got to pick and choose which games are worth our time and identify which look as if they’re in it for the long-term.
As it stands right now, I’m pretty much at the limit of what I can play. The thinking behind this article was Final Fantasy XIV. More specifically, its new Shadowbringers expansion. The Final Fantasy series has been through a rough patch this last decade but FFXIV has stood out as the beacon of light since A Realm Reborn. I’ve always kept an eye on it but stayed well away due to the immense time commitments an MMORPG entails. And then Shadowbringers arrive with off-the-charts reviews. It’s the highest reviewed game of 2019 and a high point in Final Fantasy’s history.
The problem is, actually getting to play the best Final Fantasy in years is a ridiculous time investment. I’ll need to play through the base game plus the story of both of the previous two expansions before I can get to Shadowbringers. I could just pay for a story/level skip and get straight into Shadowbringers but that’s both gross and I feel I’d be doing it a disservice if I skipped all the story beats which lead up to this momentous expansion.
So I started playing. It’s been an okay-ish experience getting a couple of jobs (FFXIV’s classes) up to level 30 this past month, but I also know my progress is just a drop in the ocean compared to what’s left. And I’d be absolutely fine with that if there weren’t also so many other games competing for my attention. I could dedicate the next six months of my gaming to playing Final Fantasy XIV but that’s a tricky prospect when I’m covering games, reviewing them, benching them, and whatever else. I’ve also got my fingers in a whole lot of other pies. I’m horrifically addicted to smashing out Battlefield V’s weekly Tides of War challenges. Try as I might, I can’t kick my Rocket League habit. Me and the squad love a weekend Rainbow Six Siege session. I keep digging back into Apex Legends.
It’s a good problem to have, I guess. When I’m gaming I’m never bored or scratching around for things to play. But I’m also eyeing up the impending arrivals of Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Control, Blair Witch, Man of Medan, and more, and wondering just where the heck I’ll get the time to play these when I’ve already got so much keeping me busy.
The end result though, with all of these ongoing games and services, is that I'm playing fewer games than before. The amount of time I'm spending playing games has stayed much the same, but it's being split over a repeating handful that doesn't allow much time for the shiny new thing.
What are your thoughts on this thorny topic then, do games these ask too much of fans in terms of time commitments and daily challenges? Or is this much ado about nothing? Let us know below!