Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 17, 2012
How many games were published for the original Nintendo Entertainment System? MobyGames lists 1116. And the Super NES? 1043. The Nintendo 64 had only 324, the Game Cube 557, and the Wii an astonishing 1201. So all together for the Nintendo consoles, that’s just under 4,250 games.
The Nintendo handhelds enjoyed hundreds of published titles each – again, according to MobyGames’ list.
The XBox 360, all by itself, has over 1700 titles. That probably does not include the indie games. The three Playstation generations combined have 5,503 games. The Commodore 64, all by itself, tips the scales at over 3,000 games listed.
But how about DOS games, in the bad ol’ days before the mid 90’s? Again, not including the indie titles (and those were relatively scarce back then): Almost 5,500 listed. The Mac has over 3,200. And Windows? A staggering 13,500 games! And that doesn’t include most small, indie games.
GOG.COM has 423 games available – mostly classic games, with a recent influx of several newer games, especially indie titles. These are all compatible with modern Windows operating systems, and while many are lacking in the graphical pizzazz department, they are still (mostly) fun titles ( Master of Orion III being a major exception). If you think they don’t make ’em like they used to, you can always go play them exactly like they used to.
Desura – which is mostly (but not exclusively) indie games, has 620 games currently available. Yeah, that’s almost twice the total games ever released for the Sega Master System.
Steam has 1,667 games for PC currently available, and 268 Mac games. Bear in mind that some of these may be duplicates – deluxe versus standard editions – but this doesn’t include DLC.
Kongregate? “Thousands upon thousands” of free-to-play online games.
Android currently lists almost 40,000 games for that platform.
Newgrounds? Newgrounds has over 60,000 flash / browser games available on their site.
iPhone / iPad? Hellatons. From what I can tell, over 100,000 game titles. Not all are unique, mind you, but… that is not a small number. That is a very big number. When you say, “one in a million,” you are only off by a factor of ten when you are talking iPhone games. With a new one released approximately every hour. I think that’s actually slowed down somewhat…
For a bit of historical perspective, the “glut” that doomed the video game industry on the original Atari 2600 (AKA VCS) in the early 1980s was less than 600 games. It was a different era back then, granted, with a much smaller market than we have now. But still… that’s a lot.
So what all that means is that the “average” indie game released today has a 99.9% chance of completely getting lost in the noise. While this has always been the case, it’s more true than ever that a new game has to stand out – both on its own, and with its marketing – or it is going to be totally and completely drowned out. It’s not enough to make a game that’s simply a really good example of its category. And you absolutely cannot be “average.” If my retro-gaming habit has taught me anything, it’s that there were plenty of excellent games that I totally missed the first time around just because I was too overloaded to pay attention, and they didn’t call enough attention to themselves. And things are much worse now. Game developers are competing against past, present, and even future games.
I really don’t know how the brave, new world of gaming is going to work. I hope I can figure it out, as a developer.
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