Thoughts of a Zombie Monkey: Games + Time = Argh!

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It’s no secret that the world of gaming is bigger than ever right now, and the last few months has only confirmed that with a string of fantastic, big title games coming one after another, which leads me to ask, are gamers spoilt or is the flow of games and their depth too much?

In the last few months we’ve seen so many great titles such as Batman: Arkham City, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Saints Row: The Third, Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Need for Speed: The Run, WWE ’12, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword released, so there it’s no surprise that many gamers have found themselves feeling overwhelmed, and at the same time very conflicted about what to buy next.

Around June/July I found myself very excited about the huge list of games that were due for release, but in hindsight I actually think that the sheer number of titles has left me struggling to finish everything that I purchased. This is where I did a little research and discovered something very surprising, and that is that a very high rate of gamers rarely finish the games that they purchase.

I recently joined the world of Raptr, a social networking website for gamers which tracks more than 23 million gaming sessions, and was surprised to learn that only 10% of gamers finished the final mission according to it’s statistics. Upon further reading I also found a quote from Keith Fuller, a production contractor for Activision where he said “What I’ve been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube”.

After reading this I was shocked that this made sense to me, as it’s a pretty surprising statistic, but it does make sense. Take Skyrim, for example. I recently purchased this game and despite having put 45 hours into it, I do not feel like I have even skimmed the surface of what it has to offer and I’d still like to play Uncharted 3, Skyward Sword and many other titles. This leads me to believe that with more games coming out the avid gamer just doesn’t have enough hours in the day to play as much as he or she would like, leading to titles being traded in before they have even been finished so that the latest big title can be purchased.

So what does this mean for the future of gaming? Well, I think it’s already starting to show with games like Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, as I expected each of these games to deliver a long and epic campaign, but neither were that long in my personal opinion. So why did they not deliver a long campaign? Well, I think it’s because both Activision and EA know that online multiplayer gaming adds a lot more lifespan to a game as well as offering a quick-hit option. The future looks likely to be shorter single player campaigns with more online multiplayer depth, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 fit into this category, but it would be a shame to see less titles like Skyrim.

With so many big name titles still due for release and a large variety of games already at your disposal, do you think developers should be looking to aim for the multiplayer generation or is there still a market for the solo gamers out there?

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