Are you really impacted by software droughts?
It’s a serious question. We like to moan and groan when the release schedule for a particular platform doesn’t look booked. But how many of us actually stop to ask ourselves how many unfinished games we still have sitting at home, let alone how long it would actually take us to complete them?
Sure, if you only own one home console or handheld platform, you’re more likely to have a reason to complain, but if you’re like most people – if you’ll allow me to assume that – and own more than one platform, chances are that your backlog isn’t getting any smaller. And if you’re a PC gamer who has been taking advantage of the frequent sales and deals – let’s just say you have no reason to be reading this.
If you owned a Wii U this year, you were at the lighter end in terms of software variety, but if Nintendo’s official numbers have anything to say, the average Wii U owner bought six games in 2013 (on disc and digital). And again, according to Nintendo’s million sellers list, chances are those six games most of the time were Super Mario 3D World, New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U, Wii Party U, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, and Pikmin 3. Other contenders may have been Lego City Undercover, Rayman Legends, or perhaps some other games.
In the end, you bought six games and maybe some more cheaper indie games. If HowLongToBeat.com has anything to say about it, completing these games would be no small task with some technically not even being beatable. Admittedly, however, buyers didn’t have much of a selection on Wii U this year in terms of exclusives and Nintendo was lucky that the vast majority of their games turned out to be statistically solid experiences, the very best of the next generation home consoles in fact.
Nintendo 3DS’s story was an entirely different one and it should be, when the difference between Nintendo’s two current generation platforms is being best-selling and worst-selling. Such a contrast is why you don’t hear too many people, if any at all, complaining about the 3DS’s library, but we’ll roll with it.
On average, each Nintendo 3DS owner bought a total of five games last year, which is quite impressive when considering 12.9 million units were sold during that year. According to Nintendo’s million sellers list once again, chances are the games were most of the time Pokémon X/Pokémon Y, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. Considering the nature of these five games, as well as other possible contenders, most plates were piled to the roof.
It’s really the same story with every other platform that has gone through a drought period, including the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita. While Sony has neglected to provide any sales numbers for their handheld platform and, while its selection of games was a little more anemic than the Wii U’s, Tearaway, Ys: Memories of Celceta, Killzone: Mercenary, and Soul Sacrifice are already a few exclusives that have proven to be worth owning — and that’s on top of its existing library.
If we couple this with the assumption that most people own more than a single platform, there should be no room for complaining. So why have game droughts gained such notoriety in the first place? Well, as preached by Nintendo of America’s own Reggie Fils-Aime, software sells hardware and if this, indeed, is the truth, certain successful hardware manufacturers cannot afford to have software droughts.
Keeping the year filled has everything to do with building the user base and little to do with keeping the current user base happy. Frankly, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, as well as other software manufacturers, are not obligated to keep you entertained. Sure, while it may be in their best interest to keep you satisfied, if they are planning to stay in the business for the long haul – something Warner Bros. doesn’t seem to understand – in their mind, they already have your money.
Their next objective is to convince more prospects to hand over their cash, a task only achievable by keeping the platform well fed. It just so happens that you, the already persuaded consumer, benefit from this strategy as well. Fortunately for Nintendo, however, the worth of a platform isn’t judged by the breadth of the latest release schedule but rather, by the entire library. Such is why Nintendo is more likely to see a spike in their sales this year, despite what seems to be yet another drought between the months of March and May 2014, whereas last year, they couldn’t.
The number of players who do complain about a system having ‘no games’ or about it ‘collecting dust’ does beg another question. Are we buying into products that we actually had no interest in in the first place, simply because of the brand’s name or because of the hype around the game? Are games from certain publishers getting shorter in length? That doesn’t seem true. Maybe most gaming enthusiasts are as insatiable as Reggie says.
Whatever the reason, if you’re someone with an abundance of games in your library right now — with most of them unfinished — you have one of two issues. Either you’re consistently purchasing the wrong games — or the wrong hardware — because you bought too much into the identities of a corporation and opted to do little of your own research or you’ve been spending too much time around opinions that insist that the software fields of your hardware is bare. The latter can also be applied to those who ‘just know’ the fields are bare, even though they haven’t really done any of their own exploration and analysis.
If that sounds like you, you’re missing out and would most definitely serve to gain from a list showing just how many statistically notable games are currently on a system, as well as from a list of future software. Nintendo Enthusiast is still shifting into the 2014 year, but so far, we’ve already put up a list of 120+ indie games that are coming to the Wii U. To my surprise, there was a considerable amount of people who didn’t even realize some of those games existed.
Be it PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo, what ends up happening when you spend your game time protesting a system’s lineup is that you miss out on the generation. Can someone who spends more of their leisure time grumbling than actually playing games honestly call themselves enthusiasts or are they just interested in the drama?
And if we’re not playing games, how can we possibly know what to complain about? I think it’s time we finish up our leftovers. Let’s not be the person who talks while their plate is piled high with food. Let’s finish our helping and then assess what we’re not satisfied with.