_With Tokyo Game Show looming, now seems like a good time to recount an interesting conversation the other day with my friend about E3. It was off the cuff and full of little glib remarks back and forth, but the conclusion I reached can be boiled down right quick: The internet ruined E3 and people on the internet are horrible people [The latter conclusion wasn’t really a realization as much as it was just further confirmation though, to be honest with you.]
_Let’s take a look at my collection of Playstation 2 games. I own about 68 games on the PS2. Not a shabby amount, if I do say so myself. But according to Wikipedia’s list of PS2 games, I only own 3.3% of the entire PS2 library. 68 games…amounts to 3% of all of them ever released. I never thought that a stack of DVD cases that I couldn’t carry all at once could ever seem so tiny. My 360 collection is slightly more “impressive” at a staggering 6.8%, but you get the idea.
_Now, why did I just bust out math on you? Besides math being cool and one not needing a reason to bust it out for no reason, I actually DO have a reason for doing it. You see…while I don’t have a gargantuan video game collection by any means, it’s hardly small. It’s actually semi-substantial. But even my semi-substantial collection is a mere drop in the bucket of the ocean of games that have ever been released. Now, let’s average out those two percentages since I’ve bothered to show them both, and we get a 4.3% ownership of the combined PS2/360 library. This means that, ballpark, out of every 100 games I see, I’m interested in about 4 of them, with a 5th games slightly piquing my interest kind of. In reduced fraction terms, if you show me 25 games, I will probably want to buy one of them. 1 in 25. Now granted, “interested enough to buy” and “interested enough to maybe look further into online in preview videos” are two different things, so let’s say that I only buy 50% of the games that intrigue me. That still means that I only really have any interest in 2 out of every 25 games I see. That’s not a terribly high number, is it?
_Let’s transpose this onto the E3 scene. Back in the days of the SNES and PS1 and N64, E3 was this mythical event that we gamers only ever saw in massive 20+ page blowouts, featuring 50+ game previews, with huge announcements getting one whole page full of a couple paragraphs and probably 5 sweet off-screen screenshots. We’d see pictures of the convention hall on the first page of conventions and think “OMG, a giant Mario statue! That’s the fuckin’ place to be!” And lucky us…we got it all 2 or 3 months after the convention ended thanks to the wonderful speed of the printed word.
_Compare that to now: We get to watch full live streams of company conferences on the internet. We get to watch preview trailers for games the same day they’re released. We get massive articles previewing any remotely major announcement. We get articles on most ANY announcement, no matter how small. We get a fucking TON more information on E3 than we ever used to. And on top of that, websites are nice enough to post tons of pictures of the floor and we found out that the cute asian girl in the Ridge Racer tee wasn’t the only booth babe at the show. Now…on top of all this, transpose my previous numbers on top of E3. “You will only have interest in 2 of every 25 games you see.” That’s not too hard to do, is it? Suddenly, watching 9 hours of Sony conference and only seeing 5 games you’re even remotely interested in doesn’t sound so shocking, does it?
_The problem with E3 now isn’t really the event itself, it’s the fact that coverage for it…is the same as everything else. I mean, if Nintendo made an official announcement in 10 minutes about 128 Marios being resurrected for whatever reason on the WiiU, word would spread on the internet before the end of the day. It wouldn’t matter if it happened during a grand event or not. If Square registered the domain name of zweihander.com tomorrow, Kotaku would probably find out the day after and post about it. In that kind of an atmosphere, if a company had a big announcement, why would it want to make it at the same time as a bunch of other big announcements when it might just get lost in a massive news shuffle? A publisher is probably better off just sending out a press release at some random time of the year and getting a spotlight on themselves for a day. Gamers can and do get just as good of coverage year round for game previews as they do at E3 time, so it’s all the same to us. “E3 is one nonstop preview, and I get previews all the time…so for E3 to be special, everything better be good!” It’d be nice if that happened, but math doesn’t lie! …even if the math would actually differ from person to person, based on their game library. [The math is where the whole “People on the internet are terrible people” came from, BTW. Why anybody expects E3 to be a nonstop barrage of titles they’ll have interest in when most gamers have differing taste is just beyond me]
_Although, I might be wrong. I don’t actually know the inner workings of how any gaming publication works. Maybe there still is something to be said for making announcements at E3 and TGS. But as an average joe with no real insight in how the industry works, I can’t find the difference between an E3 announcement and a random day in July announcement.
_And just because I know you wanted more math and numbers…here’s the % breakdown of my game library compared to the console catalogs! =D [And no, I didn’t bother to exclude the JP exclusive releases in the numbers. That’s like work. Plus, some of the worldwide release numbers are rather interesting…you’ll see when we get there.]
NES – 3.6% [29/800]
SNES -4.9% [39/784]
N64 – 4.9% [19/387]
Gamecube – 2.9% [19/640]
NINTENDO – 4% [106/2611]
_I didn’t include my Wii game totals because I only just got a Wii and have all of 3 games for it, but I can tell you that even when I finish up my Wii collection, that % is gonna be a low one. There are a lot of really neat things going on here. One of them is that only 140 more games came out on the SNES than on the Gamecube, the SNES being when Nintendo had [at the time] all the 3rd party support in the world, and the Gamecube when they weren’t getting jackshit from 3rd partys. [That 140 will get put into perspective when I get to Sony…] And even when they did get a bone thrown their way, it was usually in the form of a jackshitty port on a rather capable system. And god, that N64 total…already knowing the PS1 numbers, that is just horrible…I’ll save this talk for later, but I will mention that as of this writing, there have been 1218 titles released for the Wii [That number should balloon up to at least 1219 by the end of the year!] Yeah, the Wii has had more games on it than Nintendo’s preceding 2 console generations combined.
Genesis/SEGA – 2.6% [24/915]
_I don’t actually own a Dreamcast, only borrowing it, so I’m not counting it. Although that’s kind of sad, only the one SEGA console. This entire section is skewed. If I wasn’t in a near-perma-state of Dreamcast borrowing, I’d probably have bought one myself and if I actually OWNED it, I’d be more inclined to buy games on it. But even if that were the case, the Dreamcast has seen a fate similar to the Genesis in that SEGA has been more than willing to pimp/whore out [is there really a difference in this context?] their classics on every current gen console since going 3rd party. Why bother trying to find any Sonic games on the Genesis when you can find them one any number of Sonic collections from last gen, or download them on any of the current online services, or get them all on the Ultimate Genesis Collection? Same for the Phantasy Star games. Or Gunstar Heroes. Or Streets of Rage. There are a bunch of Genesis games I’d get for the original Genesis console if they weren’t more easily available on current gen hardware. And so many DC games got ported or saw sequels on later hardware, the need to hunt down the original DC discs just isn’t that necessary. I should still actually get my own DC though, just to remember that wonder white dream box proper. It’s crazy that the Genesis actually had more games than the SNES, isn’t it?
PS1 – 2.4% [59/2418]
PS2 – 3.3% [68/2013]
SONY – 2.8% [127/4431]
_Yeah, Sony just did that. And to think people wonder how Sony got such a stranglehold on the market. I mean…they only released nearly 6 times as many games than Nintendo did that generation, or 2000+ more if the single digit in “6 times” wasn’t getting the point across. I mean…holy shit, there were almost as many games released for the PS1 worldwide as Nintendo released on the NES through Gamecube. Sorry, I know “Quality over quantity,” but this kind of mass outbreak of gaming seriously can not be taken lightly. It makes you wonder “What the fuck games did the 64 GET?!” But yeah…remember that 140 difference between the amount of games on the SNES and GC? Chump change in the bucket of Sony games out there. Just amazing…even if you add the Wii titles, Sony has still pumped out more games on their first two consoles than Nintendo has on all 5 of theirs. With that kind of 3rd party support, no wonder they marched out a $600 system and expected people to bend over and take it. At least they didn’t march out a $600 lemon…SPEAKING OF WHICH!
Xbox – 2.2% [22/966]
Xbox 360 – 6.8% [56/812]
MICROSOFT – 4.3% [78/1778]
_You’ll notice that before this gen, I was always a multiple console kind of guy. Not anymore! …though not because I don’t WANT to. It just kind of happened that way, leading to the inflated % of the 360 library I own. I might own a few of those multi-platform titles on the PS3 if I had one…but I didn’t, so it’s moot. Speaking of, PS3 is currently at 699 games, so only trailing the 360 count by about 100. We can now officially lay the “PS3 has no games” line to rest, Lamb of God style. But even still the difference in % is jarring. Even with the original Xbox as my default system of choice for multi-platform titles, it’s still puts up the smallest number on the board [Because I don’t own many games that were multi-platform ;-D They weren’t all that great last gen]. I do own plenty of multi-platform titles on the 360 though, which I think speaks to both the improved quality of 3rd party multi-platform development this gen and speaks to MS using some of their substantial accumulation of money to woo more 3rd parties into putting games on their console where last-gen…nobody really wanted to port anything worthwhile on their system.
TOTAL – 3.4% [335/9735]
_Man…I can say that, of the consoles I own, I own 3.4% of every game ever released. It’s a small percentage, to be sure…but 3.4? You mean for every 100 games released, I’ve bought at least 3 of them? I mean…I’ve been in used game stores. There’s hundreds of shovelware titles out there…3 out of 100 actually seems HIGH. Wow…if I had to guess before, I probably would’ve said 1 or 2%. I was a full percentage point ahead of that!
_So…the moral of the story is “Don’t expect to be catered to 100% of the time” and “Math rulz.” Have a nice day =)