The Video Game Explosion
Updated: Sep 1, 2019
Today, I read an article that made my brain shatter. If I’d been driving and reading the article at the same time, I’d probably have accidentally driven off a cliff into a ravine filled with genetically-engineered carnivorous wildebeests. The article stated that there were over 100,000 games published on the Apple iOS App Store.
The iOS App Store launched in July of 2008. In just over four years, it became a warehouse for more games than… well… I expected it had more games than all that had existed on all platforms in all of history previous to it. But just how many games had been published on other platforms?
I decided to find out. I grabbed a list of IGN’s Top 25 video game consoles of all time and the list of best-selling game consoles, and cross-referenced them with data from Wikipedia and Moby Games. For PC and mobile games, I pulled data from across the web, including adrolib.com and 148apps.biz. Here are the results:
*Note that the numbers are not exact. They are roughly accurate. Some sources have conflicting numbers. Some games are double-counted if they had been released in multiple versions on the same platform (demo versions, free versions, Game of the Year editions, etc). However, this data accurately portrays the relative dominance of the various platforms. Click here for the full data set with references.
At over 122,000 titles, there are enough games on the Apple App Store that I could play 10 games per day for all the days that I’ve been alive, and I’d still have some left over. This number eclipses all the console games that have ever been made (about 22,500), and stomps on all other platforms, too. I love that it has become easy for independent developers and studios to launch titles on a platform with such a wide audience. Unfortunately, this ease, mixed with a gold-rush mentality, has made it increasingly challenging to stand out (and led to plenty of shady pay-for-placement practices). Instead of hundreds of failures, there are tens of thousands of failures. Now, more than ever, game developers need to question their designs, and ask themselves if they have an experience that is unique. Otherwise, they will likely find their games sinking amongst the chaff. Or, maybe the world has enough games now. Perhaps it’s time to stop making games altogether and instead take up alpaca farming.