A few weeks back, Blake Snow over at CNN posted an article titled “Why Most People Don’t Finish Video Games”. The article discusses how approximately 10% of players actually get to the end of their games. He cited some reasons behind such a low number being that people are busy, and how wildly popular multiplayer has become in games.
I found this interesting because I know people who absolutely need to see the end of a game and will spend hours speed-running through levels just to say that they’ve beaten it. There are other types of players – like myself – who go out of their ways to achievement hunt through games. Driving around in a vintage car in L.A. Noire to find every movie reel and newspaper, to me, was just as fun as shimming up drain pipes to catch suspects.
Though with these people, are those with tremendous backlogs of games gathering dust on their shelves, promising to one day go back to them when they find the time or energy to do so. These types of people seem to be most common, as pointed out by Snow, due to the fact that there are so many games coming out that it’s hard to find time to play them all, not to mention complete them.
In his article Snow points out that, “the accelerating rate at which new games are released cannibalizes existing games and further distracts the already inundated player”. In the last three decades, video games have grown in popularity exponentially. In a pop culture sense, video games can easily stand beside such mediums as music and movies. Though with that promotion come the comparisons, which is why the 10% completion rate of video games seems like such a negative ratio.
Unlike music and movies, video games are a form of interactive entertainment, with many being quite lengthy. Snow sourced that Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption could take at least 30 hours to complete. A hefty time commitment, as it’s nearly 10 times the length of even the longest movies in theatres. Personally, I find it unfair to penalize players for not being able to finish what they started quickly. Some enjoy taking their time to finish lengthy games, and others gain what they need from the first few hours and stop playing.
Multiplayer games, on the other hand, shouldn’t be seen as a culprit behind this low percentage, as much as a compromise. Throughout Snow’s article he cited M-rated games; therefore I’m assuming he focused on the adult gamer who is often faced with limited free time. Not many adults find themselves with 30 hours to spend playing Cowboy in Red Dead Redemption, though they can probably squeeze in a few half-hours here and there to join a multiplayer match of Black Ops with their friends.
While adults may not have 30 hours to dump, a younger gamer during summer vacation could easily fit that in their schedule. Developers shouldn’t take these statistics as a sign to only make multiplayer games, however they should keep in mind their ever changing audience.