2020 has already been a big year for video games, with the phenomenon that was Call of Duty: Warzone providing a much welcome tonic to lockdown boredom, and Animal Crossing breaking records on the Nintendo Switch. However, it’s set to get even bigger at the end of the year as we enter the next generation of console gaming with the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

With this in mind, we decided to take a look at video games over the last ten years and all the changes the industry has seen, for better and worse. We surveyed over 2,000 gamers and discovered that less than half (47%) of them believe gaming has improved, while a fifth (21%) believe it has worsened in recent years. The remaining third felt that gaming had pretty much stayed the same.

In terms of improvements, graphics were the clear winner with 85% of respondents selecting this option. This was followed by better overall gameplay (72%) and improved online connectivity (56%).

When asked what hadn’t improved, answers were split between increased integration of real world political or social narratives (54%), more microtransactions (52%) and an increasing number of games being released unfinished (49%).

The gamers we surveyed were asked to provide examples for these changes. Check out a list of the 5 best and worst changes of the decade below, along with the games most commonly associated with them:

The 5 best changes


The 5 best changes

  1. Graphics
  2. General gameplay
  3. Online capabilities
    Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, Destiny 2
  4. Female representation
  5. The scale of games
    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Red Dead Redemption II, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
The 5 worst changes

Pexels/Robery Nagy

The 5 worst changes

  1. Inclusion of political or social narratives
    Borderlands 3, Battlefield V, The Last of Us Part II
  2. Microtransactions
  3. Games being released unfinished
  4. Less content within games
    Call of Duty Black Ops 4, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Battlefield V
  5. Game sizes and update sizes too big
    Call of Duty: Warzone, Red Dead Redemption II, Destiny 2
The best and worst changes to video games in the last 10 years

Pexels/Gustavo Fring

Three PlayStation exclusives, The Last of Us Part II, Uncharted 4 and God of War made the list of best changes, along with one Nintendo exclusive, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but there were no Xbox exclusives.

EA was the most frequently mentioned publisher when it came to listing problems with modern gaming: they had four games mentioned numerous times alongside the worst changes.

The Last of Us Part 2 - SPOILER ALERT!

We also asked gamers who had played The Last of Us Part 2 if they had finished the game yet. A quarter (26%) had finished it, while more than half (56%) said they have stopped playing at the point when the game shifts from playing as Ellie, to her enemy Abby.

Cas Paton, founder and CEO of OnBuy said,

“Video games are already big business and with the new Xbox and PlayStation being released later this year, it’s set to become an even bigger industry - I can’t wait to see what this new generation of gaming has in store.

“The majority of gamers don’t seem to be thrilled about the inclusion of social and political narratives, which could be due to gaming historically being used as a form of escapism. However, it is great to see the increased diversity in games and I hope this is a trend that continues, because as the industry gets bigger and bigger, so will its cultural impact.”