This Week in Discourse - The Marvelization of Video Games
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The Marvelization of Video Games
Here’s a list of the PC games with the highest active player counts for September 2023:
Now here’s the same list with the date each game was released superimposed:
The average age of the most popular PC games is almost a decade old. Only four of the top ten were even released in the last five years. And it doesn’t get any better if you look further down the list:
The methodology for these lists is always a little bit funky, and sources sometimes disagree - here’s an alternative ranking. But the dominance of older games is a fact wherever you look.
The other thing you’ll notice is that all the original games are older, and almost all of the newer games on the list are sequels or installments in a franchise. Call of Duty and FIFA are technically ‘new games’ on this list, but they’re also infamous for mechanically churning out nearly the same game every year and calling it ‘new’. For games that are not sequels and were released in the last five years, only five of the top twenty quality.
We’ve been hearing for years that the movie industry is being swallowed by Marvel and franchised blockbusters. That’s part of a larger trend where the only movies that studios want to make are huge productions based on pre-existing IP - sequels, toy franchises, superhero sagas, reboots, etc. The original, non-sequel, non-pre-existing IP movie is an endangered species and the same trend has come for video games. Why? I can think of a few reasons:
The never-ending, always updated game
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