MrGameBoy wrote:Sure, more power can allow for new ideas, but can you name me any that made unique use of it this generation? Because I'm struggling to come up with one.
I'd have to think about it for a while, but I'm sure the list would be a lot shorter than last generation. Games like Pikmin, Katamari Damacy, Spider-Man 2, and many others just wouldn't have been possible in a similar state on the N64/PS1, because those systems couldn't display enough objects on screen, or environments that large with any level of detail. The advancements this generation basically allowed for greater visual fidelity, which is nice, but hasn't produced much that wasn't fundamentally possible on PS2-generation hardware. For instance, the Modern Warfare ports to Wii were pretty much the same games as their HD counterparts, just with lower graphical quality. The technical advancements this generation that had the greatest influence on game design were new control inputs, online functionality, and integrated mass storage, all of which could have worked with previous generation hardware, and were in fact tried last gen, though in a much more limited capacity.
MrGameBoy wrote:I'm gonna blame developers for focusing too much on visual fidelity.
I'm sure that's some of it. We know many developers always want the latest cutting-edge hardware to "realize their artistic vision", but for many years the primary gaming market was comprised largely of people who always demanded the best graphics possible, regardless of cost or other considerations. These days, with more and more new gamers who don't need the latest ultra-realistic tech to be satisfied, and more of the traditional market becoming more satisfied with what's already available, the demands of the market are changing. If the industry doesn't recognize that change and begin to adapt, they'll be in a bad position, with greatly increasing costs involved in appealing to a market that isn't really growing, and may in fact be shrinking.
MrGameBoy wrote:What's wrong with working within limitations?
I'd actually argue that it can be a good thing, as it can work to discourage bloat and inefficiency, and keep game design focused. Personally, I'm more impressed with excellent design optimization than raw technical specs.