Why Graphics Shouldn't Become Realistic

How many times have you and your friends talked about the graphics of a game when deciding to buy it? Now we are getting into the era where graphics are becoming more and more realistic. You have to stop and wonder though, is it really a good thing for games to look real? In my opinion, games shouldn’t get more realistic for a handful of reasons. So, what are the problems between graphics becoming more and more realistic as time goes on? What are the possible risks that can result from a lifelike game?

The Cost

In order to have lifelike graphics, we are looking at building a more powerful machine than the upcoming Xbox One X. The Xbox One X is already going to run gamers about $500 out the gate. A more powerful console capable of handling lifelike graphics would probably hit around the $1200 zone. The most powerful computer still haven’t quite hit the mark of lifelike graphics. High-end computers now are just focusing on having enough power to run VR smoothly. Most of these computers will cost you around $1000 right now. Basically, the systems would be made more for hardcore gamers than just a general crowd. It would be hard for companies to make the profits they currently are.

Not only are we going to have to worry about the price of the hardware but the cooling system as well. More power equals a higher chance of your system overheating. A better cooling system equals even more in money. On top of that, console makers would have to find new ways to draw in the more casual gamers as the price point would be a near-impossible sell for a while. The sheer amount of parts put into a console that could run the level of graphics it would take to look like the real world would destroy any cheap selling point. Not only that but the games made for the system would also cost a whole lot more. This is because production value for the games will be raised as well. It would also be harder four teams to push out games every year as more detail would go into each release.

Losing The Magic

I feel like there are very few genres that would actually benefit from realistic graphics. The racing genre would be one of the only genres that I could see working well with this type of setup. Making realistic cars is definitely something that fans want. The more realistic the racing game the better, especially when it comes to controls. When it comes to other types of game is though I think some of that magic would be lost if it were real. With video games current look, most games still allow for a pretty good level of escapism. When you have a more true-to-life graphics style though, people could feel more like the game is boring or mundane. On top of that, I really don’t want to see what a realistic Pikachu would look like. Nothing against it but I feel that creatures like them should stay in their more cartoonish forms instead of going to a realistic art style.

Next, fantasy games are very well known for their magical settings. Could you possibly imagine how long it would take to make a realistic fantasy game? Games like The Witcher would take so long to make and I feel like some of their artistic stylings could be lost in the trade for more realistic graphics. This means there will be fewer monster fights and more fight with just regular humans. Either that or the sequels to the games would be too spread out for all the work programmers would have to put into each separate monster. Basically, it could be Kingdom Hearts 3 for a lot of game series out there especially ones with smaller teams are lower budgets in the AAA titles.

Harsher Rating Systems

It’s no secret that I’m already against selling M-rated games to minors. I just don’t believe that a seven-year-old should be playing things like Grand Theft Auto. At the same time though it is very easy to tell that Grand Theft Auto is a game for a wide audience but you probably know all of the things I’m talking about when I say it’s not kid appropriate. Could you imagine some of those things being done in a realistic graphics style? I don’t know about you but I don’t want to see realistic sex in my games. Also, could you imagine a realistic-looking strip club in a game and all the social issues that it would cause? We would have to use more realistic models based on real human girl or guys. This could easily make ESRB consider mini-games for adults only due to the realistic nature of sex and violent scenes.

Also, if the game is an adult rating due to their content, it is possible that adults letting children under certain age play the games could feature some backlash. While playing games like Call of Duty may be fun, could you imagine seem realistic wounds on a soldier? Our minds constantly absorb information and depending on who you’re or your mind can react differently to a realistic-looking scenario. I even would wager realistic graphics in violent games could make some people sick that I’ve never had a problem playing something of a violent nature before.

Next, you really have to think about what age a child is able to discern reality from fiction. To a certain extent, even the youngest two children entail cartoons from what’s really going on around them. But what happens when a young child sees a person die graphically in a video game that it hasn’t quite grasped what’s wrong or right. While most parents know what their child can handle this is going to become a problem for children of parents who literally will do anything to distract kids, it’s entirely possible that a child could try to re-enact a sex scene from a game or a violent action thinking there are no real-world consequences. If a parent is not there to guide a child with the video game, it can cause a social situation, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. ESRB already rates games based on what ages they think children should be absorbing material because issues like these that have popped up in the past. I can’t imagine that they would go easy on most of the games put out today if they look any more realistic than they already did.

Virtual Reality

We are currently in an age where virtual reality is on the rise. This means that we can feel that work inside the game and experience a truly unique set up. If we were to put virtual reality and with a realistic game there could be trouble. This is because your brain is naturally programmed to react to the sights and sounds around it. There have been quite a few first-person Samsung games that made players cringe while watching them. If these games were in first person view with realistic graphics and you had a virtual reality headset on, your brain keeps switching to fight or flight mode. Especially in the earlier days of this concept, I feel like it could cause a lot of issues with people mentally and physically. On top of that even if a person remains cold while playing the game it’s a very likely that they could have nightmares more frequently due to their experiences.

In a worst-case scenario, a person with bad anxiety could trick their brain into fake symptoms if they got scared enough. This could cause a placebo effect in these cases and make it nearly impossible for people with certain types of mental disorders to enjoy video games like this. Virtual reality would go from being a fun idea to a complicated process and would probably have a lot more warnings attached to it than just the seizure when we see all of your games today. If this happens then it’s possible that they could cut out an even larger amount of consumers then they would with just high price point. I also feel like a lot of parents would be reluctant to let their kids play video games even if they were rated at this point.

Next, think of how hard it would be to have a headset that can support this type of setup. Virtual reality headset are already pretty pricey and bulky. By pushing these to their max the initial runs of headsets would probably be severely uncomfortable and expensive. On the flip side though these would make great pieces of train equipment or jobs. Already, virtual reality has more realistic graphics and is being used by the military and to train doctors around the world. The upside of this could be more skilled workers being put out of the workforce in college. Ask for the average consumer though I can’t say that realistic graphics ever be with anybody wants them to.

Jessica has been working with the gaming industry for about two years now. She enjoys playing quirky Japanese games and learning about the newest trivia in the industry. When not working with games you may find her chilling with her naked cat Prince Noko... he's pretty cool we guess.