Tobold's Blog
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Talking about games in an age of oversupply

I got my first computer in 1981, a ZX81. Getting a game for that computer was extremely difficult, there weren't any shops anywhere near that sold them, and the capabilities of the computer to play games was extremely limited. Some games I played after having had to type the program from a print magazine into the computer. Fast forward three decades and I am buried under a flood of more games than I could possibly play. There are over 3,700 games available on Steam alone! It gets even worse on other platforms, there are about 300,000 games on the Apple app store! And those are just the platforms I am most interested in, there are also tons of Android games, console games, portable console games, and to a lesser extent Mac and Linux games.

It's a jungle out there in game land, and it's easy to get lost. One thing I noticed that is now happening to me all the time is that I see a game mentioned favorably on some blog or other site, and I don't even know what platform that game is on. I'm guilty of that myself, for example I talk about Destiny in comparison to other MMORPGs, and I don't state every time that Destiny is only available on consoles, while most of the other MMORPGs I talk about are only available on the PC. Especially with indie games you often can't even see from a screenshot whether that game is running on a PC or some tablet OS.

I bought Card Dungeon today. If I were to write a post about that game (might happen), I would compare it to Card Hunter. And the screenshots look rather similar. But Card Dungeon is an iOS game, buy once for $2.59 and no in-app purchases, while Card Hunter is a PC (Flash) browser game which is Free2Play and which is yet to be ported to the iPad. If you like Card Hunter and read me writing enthusiastically about Card Dungeon, you might be rather disappointed to find out it is an iOS game if you don't happen to own an iPad or iPhone.

To me that happens all the time. I hear great things about games like Bravely Default, and would really like to play them. But then I don't have a Nintendo DS. Do I really want to buy every single game platform there is, so that I can play all games? I have a PS3, a PSP Go and a Gameboy, but no current generation console or handheld console. Buying a console for one or two specific games has a rather high cost per hour of entertainment. Especially if I consider that I don't even have the time to play all the games I already own on the platforms I already own.

In any case I'll make an effort to mention the platform when discussing games in my blog posts. And I hope other bloggers will do so as well.

I am reminded of the Atari console crash:

Flooded market, competing technologies (mobile), developers more interested in cashing in than making great games (i.e. F2P games targeting whales).

There are a few bright spots left but you have to constantly sort out the trash. The only way to make a difference is to vote with your wallet. Something to think about before that next impulse purchase.
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