Right now, I am playing Gears 5. I paused playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to play this game because I like the Gears games and everyone was telling me it was a good one.
It meant I wasn’t able to play The Blair Witch Project game that I had installed because I didn’t have time and it also means I need to finish Gears 5 before the 20th Sept because I have Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for Switch. Except I already have to finish South Park: The Fractured But Whole on THAT console because I am so close to the end of that. Of course, I need to finish Link’s Awakening pretty sharpish because I really want to finish AC: Odyssey and I also want to pick up The Witcher 3 on Switch, which will take ages to beat and then we have Death Stranding right around the corner. I’d like to play that Goose game too. I missed Control, Blasphemous and I won’t get to Borderlands 3. Oh, I also have a backlog 100’s deep which, you know, doesn’t factor in to this. Not to mention my retro collection.
I mean, really, I may be able to play 10 hours a week if I’m lucky. This schedule is brutal and I just can’t keep up.
Of course, this is me talking bollocks. It is all self imposed and it is a far cry from when I was a wee nipper and got a new NES game at Birthdays and Christmas only (and considering my birthday is near Christmas, I had a LOT of waiting to do). This is fully self imposed… I mean, really self imposed. I don’t have to buy or play any of these games. I’m lucky to be this spoilt. I could focus on my backlog. The games won’t diminish that much. This is the definition of a first world problem. I am fully buying into the capitalist hype machine. Guilty.
Except it isn’t just that is it? I am a beyond average gamer. Well, not in terms of skills, I suck at most games, but I am an enthusiast. I don’t just buy Fifa or COD every year like many gamers. I play an awful, awful lot of games. I don’t have much time, maybe, but I get through 20-30 games a year of various lengths and genres. Yet each week seems to have a new AAA launch, or a must buy indie or a critical darling. I want to play so much. I just can’t. I’m not alone. I know a lot of people who feel this too. There are some that are of the age and/or have the personal circumstance to play countless hours a week and that is fine but across the gaming spectrum, they are the minority of players. They are the hardcore, yeah, but don’t represent the majority. Essentially, I feel like there are just too many games and maybe, just maybe, the market is oversaturated.
Now the game industry makes a butt load of money and there are some major players, sure, so I’m not saying the sky is falling but the year seems littered with more flops than hits and that doesn’t always mean bad games. It means they released in windows when they had stiff competition. How much of the much maligned Anthem was eaten by EA’s own Apex Legends or The Division 2 that launched just a few weeks apart? Every sports game launches in Sept, cannibalising the other. Indie games used to drop in slow spots but they are getting increasingly rare. Developers are folding left and right. The business is getting vicious. If someone like me, who wants to play as many great games as possible, is turning those games away because too many are launching each week, what does it mean for the sales of those games?
I think that as this continues, we are going to see the market slow down and game releases start to get less and less. We can see that from the E3 presentations for the major publishers. Less titles, less competition, longer revenue streams. When the most games make most of their money in the first week, you need a window with limited competition. Right now, there is no window.
The gaming market is huge. No disagreement on that. There are a diverse group of gamers. No doubt. It can absorb a lot. I get it. However, with so so many games coming out from all windows, there will be casualties. At the moment, it seems to be my free time. Now if you will excuse me, I have to get back to Gears 5 as I have a schedule to keep…