"Innovative" has always been an overused buzzword in the video game industry, to the point where the term has lost all meaning. Lately however, gamers have become fond of using innovation – or the lack thereof – as a convenient excuse to condemn series and genres they simply don't like.
Scroll through the comments on a story discussing virtually any popular franchise or sequel, and inevitably someone will cite the absence of innovation as a reason for hating it. Usually, this argument is presented as being incontrovertible, a self-evident assertion of the game's lack of value. As far as pointless Internet arguments go, it's pretty effective and damning – unless you actually stop and think about it for more than five seconds.
Part of the problem is that the word "innovative" is so overused and misunderstood that it has no meaning. In the most basic sense, describing something as innovative simply means that it contains new ideas – something that is true of most games to at least some degree. However, for most people innovative means much more. We consider a game innovative when it does something clever, something we haven't seen before, something groundbreaking. By straying from the dictionary definition, "innovative" already has a nebulous and mystical quality to it – a perfect descriptor for people who want something new but don't know precisely what that new thing should be.
There's nothing wrong with being uninterested in a game series, but we should be honest about our reasons for disliking them. New ideas are being explored in every genre – yes, even in first-person shooters – and iterative refinement is an equally important (albeit less sexy) aspect of the industry. Innovation isn't a problem, and the term is so abused and overused that we should strike it from our vocabulary.
Full editorial at: GameInformer (gameinformer.com)
In this editorial its author Jeff Marchiafava talks exclusively in context of video games, because GameInformer is, of course, a resource primarily devoted to video game culture. But the problem, I think, is much more widespread - the whole damn computer industry overuses this buzzword to a cancerous extent. Companies push out products in the proverbial neverending loop of innovation. Consumers attack them for not actually delivering anything of likes and demand actually innovative solutions. Or, well, damn them for trying - you can't win in this business. Stop, drop and troll. Do any of you even remember what "innovation" means? Or is it exactly as described in the quoted editorial - a perfect descriptor of wanting something but not having a single clue what exactly?