With research suggesting the gaming industry has finally surpassed the video and music industry overall for the first time, it seems the generation of kids brought up on video games just won’t stop playing, however much that annoys their fathers who still think games are just for kids. But one set of figures that might shock you are that most gamers don’t finish these modern classics. Sacré bleu!
So, not only is the video game industry plagued by the irreparable damage of the ‘Battle Royale’ formula, but we can also now see that most of the work that developers spend literally years on, never gets the credit it deserves; Your time.
But why are we no longer playing games, or at least completing them? I will try my best to tell you, starting by splitting the evidence into three pertinent categories: The Player, The Developer and The Market.
Firstly, one of the biggest issues affecting the way people play games is the younger generation of gamers being fully immersed in multiplayer games, such as Fortnite and Call of Duty etc. The advance in latency and the popularity of eSports has driven a lot of new gamers into the funnel of online competitive gaming. Secondly, we have the gamers who love the single-player campaigns, the ones in it for the story. The console generation of gamers average age is now 25-45 which brings with it a different set of issues. Young adults now find less time to play games than when they were younger, with things like pursuing a career, starting a family and other changes given priority and detracting time that would have previously been given to gaming. I am a self-professed lover of games, but even I find it hard to fit the amount of gaming I was once able to as an adolescent, staying up till 4 am drinking energy drinks, and what little time I have is given to pursuing other ways of making money.
The next biggest issue affecting time dedicated to these expansive single-player journeys is the developers themselves. This leads itself into the first point, the boon in the online multiplayer sector. While there will always be developers that create great single story experiences, Rockstar, Ubisoft, Santa Monica, the list goes on, there is a growing influx of developers getting on the proverbial bandwagon of multiplayer games. The most successful continuous sales are from the likes of Activision’s Call of Duty and we all know of the scourge of nine-year-olds obsessed with Fortnite, but even older gamers, boycotting the cartoonish playstyle are diving into APEX Legends. With the thrill of competitiveness and the beauty of playing with people across the worlds, and again pairing the popularity of eSports more and more new developers are creating content purely for the online fanbase.
The third biggest issue is the market, and how popular the gaming industry has become. Now officially bigger than the video and music industry combined the problem facing the market is the plethora of games that come out across the financial year. Games are coming out too quickly and demand too much of your time to really give them any thought, for instance, only now am I playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider, a game franchise I have followed from the first reboot, and why? Because I had a backlog of games that I wanted to play beforehand, trying to play them in the chronological order they came out in. I had AC Odyssey; Far Cry 5; RDR2; Detroit: Become Human and of course Spider-man; which directly impacted the sales of tomb raider coming out a week before. That’s two incredible AAA games coming out within a week of each other! The cutthroat nature of games now mean they jostle for the spotlight and are forgotten way to quickly. Remember the hype behind Dishonoured and how excited people were for two? Skip forward 3 weeks after release and a game that cost £40 at launch was now being sold on Amazon for £15. This perfectly embodies how harsh and competitive the market of games are, especially when the development costs are far more and therefore demand strong sales.
So where does this leave us?
I am not sure, I feel for the most part I will still give all my time to a game because I feel it deserves it. Because it takes a ruthless amount of work to make these great titles, and the writing is almost always exceptional. But I know that one day I will have children; a good job that I need to dedicate more time to and those things will take precedence, I pray that I still give myself that one day a week where I get home from work, my girlfriend retreating to her room to watch reruns of Gossip Girl and I sit, headphones in and get a good solid 4-5 hours in. I just hope that I and others make it worth while for those developers to keep making the games we love.
For more information on the opinions I put before you go check out the extensive article produced by CNN here.