Tobold's Blog
Friday, November 03, 2023
Game obsolescence

SteamDB tells me that I have 10,000 hours played of Steam games, but 70% of the games in my library are unplayed. While percentages vary, most people have unplayed Steam games as the result of Steam sales FOMO, the fear of missing out on an opportunity during sales. And somewhere in our heads there is this collective polite assumption that one day we will have the time to play this all. But what if a game becomes obsolete before we reach that point?

Cities: Skylines came out in March 2015. I bought it in October 2015 at a 60% off Steam sale, but never played it. I haven't bought the recently released Cities: Skylines II, and it did have a rough release with performance problems. But I could play it via my Game Pass subscription. And from what people tell me, it is a straight up improvement over the first one, and they would never go back to play the original. So the first Cities: Skylines is a game that I bought and will probably never play because of obsolescence.

I haven't looked through those hundreds of unplayed Steam games in my library, but I assume that there are others like Cities: Skylines. Maybe not the exact case of a game being made obsolete by a sequel, but a more general case of genres evolving in terms and both gameplay and graphics, making playing a ten year old game unappealing. Some games are classics and age well, others don't.

Are there games in your Steam library that you think you will never play? What did make them obsolete for you?

P.S. As a side note on Cities: Skylines II, many of the Twitch channels I am following are playing this, but I found those streams hard to watch. If you look at a screen that isn't totally zoomed in, what you see and think about it probably doesn't correspond to what the streamer is currently thinking. You might see the traffic, while the streamer is seeing the same thing and is thinking about water supply. It would take a superhuman effort by the streamer to always completely communicate his train of thought, and why he is doing what he is doing. Games in which the action on the screen is more focused make for a better streaming experience.

Most of my unplayed games on Steam are due to Humble Bundle. I want one or more of the games, and the rest languish in obscurity. I try to stick them into a category if I think I might play them in the future.

Early on, I bought stuff off my wishlist if it went on sale, but I try very hard not to do this now unless I know I'll be playing the game. Sadly, I still fail on really good sales. ;)
There are probably over a hundred games in my steam library that I'm not going to play. Many I had little to no intention to play to begin with, because they were bundled with games that I wanted. But I add them to my library anyway just in case they'll pique my interest in the future (which typically doesn't happen).

Perhaps the biggest factor that makes games "obsolete" for me is time. I buy games that look interesting and/or are on sale. But come playtime I just play what interests me, and often that means playing more of my favorites, instead of playing something new. Sometimes I stress over my backlog, but ultimately it is just entertainment, these unplayed games are not jobs that need to be completed.

I've seen others advise that if we don't plan on playing a game shortly after purchase, then don't buy it. Seems like sound advice to me that I've yet to follow because I love picking up games during steep sales. Even though I'm pretty sure I'm ultimately spending more money by buying more games than I actually play. Gotta build up the collection for retirement though right! (laughs)
I try to leave them on Humble until I think I'm ready to play them, or they are games I know I will try sometime. On the other hand, that sometimes means digging through the old bundles looking for a gem! At least with Steam and Gog you can easily see what you have!

Looking at my Steam library, I think most are ones I will try or have at least tried. I have a lot of small games which hang around because they take so little space.
Some games I got to play later won't install due to them being too old and not working with my OS. I learned my lesson to try games quickly to make sure they work on my system.
My preferred Cities Skyline video are from Biffa (BiffaPlaysCitiesSkylines) that are also good to explain how to play, while showing the real gameplay without too much cut.

Beware that he had early access to Cities Skyline 2, and did not outline the many issues that was found at launch. Even now, he is really apologetic to the many issue and bug found.

But his CS1 videos are really good, relaxing and interesting. I am pretty confident that once he learns his way through CS2, he will become even more interesting.
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