Looking at my game shelf, I noticed a sight that I swore would never happen. I have a game that’s still wrapped in the plastic. I have had a long standing policy to not purchase a game until I’m finished with the one that I’m currently playing, but somehow this cellophane encased monster found its way into my home. How did this happen? How did I get so behind in my gaming?
To put it simply there are just too many games out there right now.
It would be easy, and convenient, to make the argument that “you don’t have to play every game that comes out.” But think about this previous holiday season. Gamers saw highly anticipated follow-ups to some of the highest rated games of all time; some of them came out with incredible deals that haven’t been duplicated to this day. Would you want to skip Uncharted 2 so that you could play Modern Warfare 2? Or perhaps forgo playing Army of Two: The 40th Day so that you can traverse the stars with Commander Shepard. The obvious answer to these questions is no. So where does that leave us? With a huge backlog of games to play.
In case you hadn't heard of it, MobyGames is a site that tries its best to keep track of all games that are released commercially every year. Today BitMob.com released this graph combining Mobygames and Metacritic's release stats:
It shows that in 2008 there were 2,840 games release across all consoles and handhelds. I’ll let that sink in for a second. Good? Ignoring the fact that a ton of these games are Wii related shovelware this number is really interesting.
Some may be too young to remember what has been referred to as “The Great Gaming Crash of 1983” that almost killed video gaming in North America. This crash was caused by a flooding of gaming consoles and games into an already saturated market. Because there were too many games to get out the door, newly developed game companies started to let quality slip on many, if not all, of their titles. Since these games were not selling, and the store shelves were so over crowded, retailers tried to return the stock to the various companies, who couldn’t afford to refund the money and ultimately folded. While this isn’t likely to happen again, it does make one ponder if today’s companies have learned anything from the past.
As game publishers fight each other for your gaming dollars, releasing more and more games with higher and higher budgets they may be causing an adverse reaction. They’re simply releasing too many games for us all to buy and play them all. This could lead to their games not selling, which then leads to games being returned to the publishers… and so on.
While it might seem like a terrible thing, I for one welcome the oncoming drought many expect us to be headed towards. Looking at the confirmed release calendars for all the major consoles it appears that we’re soon to be reduced to 1-3 games a month until the holiday season. Naturally it would be naive to think this wont change once E3 comes around, but it does leave one optimistic. Maybe then I’ll be able to catch up on Final Fantasy 13, Star Trek Online, get some more time in with Bad Company 2, Alpha Protocol, and maybe finish Resonance of Fate then spend some time in the Borderlands or revisit Rapture.