beaverusiv: What do you guys reckon the slowdown is because of?
I used to play an insane amount when I was at Uni, but that was because we would all get together in a small dorm room and play Dungeon Siege or Age of Empires II. Nowadays, my friends that I used to LAN with have moved abroad (pretty much all of them in Aus) so my gaming has been a single player affair. It's not as fun when you don't have anyone to enjoy your hobby with.
My LAN gaming stopped when everyone got so busy with their lives it became impossible to co-ordinate times to play. Since I prefer single-player for most games (and won't play multiplayer online - no interest) it means the sociability element has gone but nevertheless, I still love gaming.
Greatest single cause of the slowdown for me is the lack of good single-player RPG's. RPG's have morphed more into FPS or action and away from immersion into great stories. Coinciding with this is the tendency for game studios to develop games for console then port them to PC. This makes for dumbed-down games with poor controls and graphics that are just so-so.
Games were much better when they were first developed for PC then dumbed down for the console market
Studios also seem to want to focus on instant gratification. Almost gone are the days when a game could almost drive you nuts with its challenges and leave you with an enormous sense of satisfaction as you met the challenge. It's almost as if they don't believe people can strategise, plan, and think things through. I know I'm not the teenage-boy-hack-and-slash-and-get-through-a-game-in-two-hours market.