The graphics vs gameplay debate has been raging on in the video game community for years. Some gamers demand lush environments, character models where every muscle twitch is registered with pixel precision and full immersion into a world that looks and feels real. Others are more concerned about the fun factor, and are willing to accept less than perfect graphics if the gameplay is unique and engaging.
Graphical improvements in video games are slowly tapering off. Although new technology comes out every year, the changes are becoming increasingly more subtle. Gamers are simply not as impressed with upgraded graphics as they used to be. In response to this, smaller companies are releasing games that may not look as good as their counterparts from large teams, but are far more creative in the way they handle gameplay. Smartphone technology has accelerated this process, using touch based gestures in favor of standard controllers. This tech has opened up a whole new genre of gaming that casts aside powerful graphics and fancy user interfaces in favor of a crisp, clean look and simple fun. Downloadable console games have also become very popular in recent years. These games are typically short and fun, and favor the more casual audience.
Gamers are returning to what made them want to play games in the first place, fun. While hardcore gamers may still need the very best graphics in order to play a game, most of us are looking for a satisfying, enjoyable experience and that can only be achieved through fantastic gameplay.