Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hermits of Gaming

There's a lot of interesting statistics floating around about how much of various games people complete on average. Generally these statistics indicate that some infinitesimally small amount of gamers actually get anywhere near the end of games they play. Ergo, developers should make shorter multiplayer focused titles. I'm here to say that whoever is taking this data at face value isn't seeing the big picture.

To start with let me say three words - rental, return, reuse. Gamers don't finish games if they don't have the time. Next hot title coming out soon? If they don't finish by their self-set deadline then that's that, back to GameFly, Gamespot or the game shelf. Chances of them digging that game out again later are also slim since they want to play the latest thing so they don't feel left out of the social scene. Well...that's all fine and dandy but don't forget that this group of gamers and the types of gamers that participate in online surveys, hang out on message boards, and generally  are very highly visible don't represent all gamers.

I'm not going split hairs and say what a casual gamer or hardcore gamer is because such labels aren't terribly useful. Instead let me put it this way; there are a lot of gamers who don't actively participate on gaming websites or give out personal data with regards to their gaming habits. Lets call them hermits. Now the point I really want to make here is that gamers in it for the social experience tend to get the limelight while hermits (people who view gaming as a solo experience) tend to have a much lower degree of representation. So, the methodology of lots of these gaming statistics is seriously flawed because the data gathering methods aren't properly taking into account the psychology of a lot of people who play video games.

How much does this alter the statistical charts? I don't know, but I'm certain that whatever percentage that you read or hear is wrong. Which is a bummer since a lot of people seem to accept them as fact.

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