Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: The seventh console generation - why so few physical games?

  1. #1
    Pretzel (Level 4)
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Tampa Bay, Florida
    Posts
    941
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    7
    Thanked in
    7 Posts

    Default The seventh console generation - why so few physical games?

    I have enjoyed collecting physical games for consoles for many years and the number of physical games in the era of the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii were noticeably smaller than in generations both before and after. I do not know why. Anyone else notice the same thing? I Googled the 7th generation and learned a great deal about it, but nothing I read explained definitively why there were so few physical games in that era.

    Let me put this into context. I have over 2,000 PS1 games in my collection, over 2,000 PS2 games, and already over 2,000 PS4 games. But only have 577 PS3 games. Nearly a quarter. Why? I guarantee that it was not due to any lack of effort on my part. There simply were not as many games for me to collect. The other 7th generation consoles were no different. I have 572 Xbox 360 games and 670 Wii games.

    MobyGames claims there are 5,129 video games on PlayStation 3, meaning that the vast, vast majority of the games in the PlayStation 3 library were digital, not physical. The number of physical games I collected for the 7th generation was so low that I thought we had finally entered the age that everyone had predicted - when physical games would disappear. And honestly, as a serious collector I almost breathed a sigh of relief. Well then, my job is finally done I thought. Then came the eight generation and a funny thing happened. Small publishers began producing physical versions of indie games in some self declared "preservation" effort. I thought that maybe my PS4 library was chocked full of these physical indie games, misrepresenting the number of 8th generation physical games. But after checking into my PS4 library, I discovered that only a quarter were indie titles. That would mean that the number of physical retail games on the PS4 has already dwarfed the number of retail game on the PS3 and they are still trickling out. I just picked up PS4 KONOSUBA - God's Blessing on this Wonderful World! Love For These Clothes Of Desire! recently because it wasn't available on the PS5. (thought the anime was hilarious!)

    So what the hell happened in the 7th generation?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Moderator
    Custom rank graphic
    Aussie2B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    9,287
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    35
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    133
    Thanked in
    111 Posts

    Default

    I'm guessing it's a combination of the aforementioned indie boom, with the 7th gen occurring when indies were prevalent but before Limited Run Games and all their copycats came into existence, and that the current gen still hasn't entirely replaced the 8th gen. Exclusives are a smaller percentage of the industry than ever, so practically everything is released on a ton of different platforms. The current gen systems have often been hard to acquire due to limited quantities (whether it's market manipulation or genuine shortages cause by COVID, supply chain issues, etc.) or simply the high cost of them in a poor economy. So a lot of games that, in the past, I would've expected to only be on the current gen systems are coming out on PS4 even these days, further expanding the PS4 library. On that note, we were also in a recession during the 7th gen, so that may have lowered game development then. No sense in flooding the market with games when most people couldn't afford to buy many.

    Just throwing this out there, but if you feel relief at the idea of there being fewer physical games available to buy, then you probably need to dial back your collecting whether physical games keep coming or not.

  3. #3
    Great Puma (Level 12) Steve W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    DFW Metroplex, Texas
    Posts
    4,648
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    67
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    43
    Thanked in
    39 Posts

    Default

    I have to wonder if the hardware played a part in it. In the case of the PS3, it used modified Power PC processors which were unfamiliar to everybody but Macintosh developers. With the PS4 they switched over to AMD x86 processors, lowering the bar for programmers. And I imagine there were better development tools for the PS4 because of that.

  4. #4
    Alex (Level 15) Custom rank graphic
    Gameguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Richmond Hill, Ontario (Canada)
    Posts
    7,923
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    78
    Thanked in
    70 Posts

    Default

    I've never noticed this at all. Do you have any actual production numbers for physical games besides just what you personally collected for your own collection? Have you looked into regional differences between physical releases? Did some countries get more than others for different generations? There's still a lot of unknowns here.

    Even if there's less physical releases for PS3 for different games, it felt like each game had at least 3-5 different versions to purchase. I would avoid buying a physical copy if just a year later a newer version came out with all the added DLC and extra features.

    As of 7 years ago, someone claimed to own 1194 retail released North American Xbox 360 games. That's still more games than the NES had released.
    https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/boards...x-360/74475807

    Personally for myself for the Xbox 360 and PS3, I own less than 10 games for each console. There's just so few games I feel are worth owning for either of those consoles. Maybe I'll add more if I come across certain titles in the future, but still not too many.

  5. #5
    Insert Coin (Level 0)
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
    Location
    A patch of soil where I have to pay taxes even after owning it.
    Posts
    91
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Default

    Android sales......ditto

  6. #6
    Pretzel (Level 4)
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Tampa Bay, Florida
    Posts
    941
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    7
    Thanked in
    7 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    I've never noticed this at all. Do you have any actual production numbers for physical games besides just what you personally collected for your own collection? Have you looked into regional differences between physical releases? Did some countries get more than others for different generations? There's still a lot of unknowns here.
    I don't have access to proprietary sales information. But the information supplied by Wikipedia, MobyGames and GameFAQs corroborated with data from Reddit and YouTube collectors suggests there were 4,104 PS1 games and 4,376 PS2 games. In the 7th generation there were 1,107 North American, 354 Japanese and 191 PAL physical PS3 games. You can choose to believe or not believe these figures, but they do conform to my experience as a collector of those era's. There appears to be a significant drop in physical games during the 7th generation


    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    As of 7 years ago, someone claimed to own 1194 retail released North American Xbox 360 games. That's still more games than the NES had released.
    I don't want to get sideways mixing in NES games. I'm only wondering why there were less physical games in the 7th generation than in the generations before and after.

    So far I've read suggestions that economic factors may have been in play. The 7th generation experienced the Dot-com bubble burst, the Sub-Prime Housing Crisis and the collapse of Wall Street. But physical games seem to have snapped back during the 8th generation which experienced a global pandemic that caused supply-chain disruptions with severe economic impact and yet had more physical games than the previous generation. Nintendo fans claim the Switch has 3,000 physical games already.

    Another suggested that the difficulty programming for the PS3 may have lead to it's decline. But the PS3 and Xbox 3600 shared almost identical libraries in both titles and numbers - so nobody abandoned the PS3. I do remember reading about poorly optimized PS3 games though.

    Not sure what the cryptic android suggestion meant. That developers chose to use their time developing games for cell phones instead of consoles? Maybe. There were plenty of games being released on 7th generation consoles, but they were mostly digital, not physical.

    Maybe I'll never know why my PS3 collection is so small. I've gone over it three times now convinced I could add more games of the type I enjoy collecting and never could.

    Wasn't the 7th generation when the game industry publicly called out the Japanese for making crappy games? Maybe that had something to do with it.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Moderator
    Custom rank graphic
    Aussie2B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    9,287
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    35
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    133
    Thanked in
    111 Posts

    Default

    If the PS3 and 360 have a similar number of releases, could it be that all the physical releases were just more evenly divided across all the platforms then? I'd be curious what the total number of physical releases were for each generation. PS1 and PS2 did get huge amounts (though this was when digital releases weren't even an option), but they also really dominated their generations. In comparison to the PS1's 4104, the N64 got fewer than 400 worldwide. The PS3 didn't have the same kind of stranglehold on the industry that its predecessors had.

  8. #8
    Alex (Level 15) Custom rank graphic
    Gameguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Richmond Hill, Ontario (Canada)
    Posts
    7,923
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    78
    Thanked in
    70 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    I don't have access to proprietary sales information. But the information supplied by Wikipedia, MobyGames and GameFAQs corroborated with data from Reddit and YouTube collectors suggests there were 4,104 PS1 games and 4,376 PS2 games. In the 7th generation there were 1,107 North American, 354 Japanese and 191 PAL physical PS3 games. You can choose to believe or not believe these figures, but they do conform to my experience as a collector of those era's. There appears to be a significant drop in physical games during the 7th generation
    I was hoping some collectors would know how many games were released for each region, as those total lists include all regions grouped together which would include the same games released multiple times. Plus I was curious if certain consoles were more successful in specific regions over others, meaning more releases in specific regions over others. This was the type of info that collectors on Digital Press used to have for other previous consoles, people tended to know how many games were available to collect a complete set for a console, but now nobody seems to know. I couldn't find this info with a quick search online either. Many of these online lists could be incomplete as well, they only have games added through user contributions and there could be less people caring enough to add every obscure foreign title for more recent generations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    I don't want to get sideways mixing in NES games. I'm only wondering why there were less physical games in the 7th generation than in the generations before and after.
    I mentioned NES as it's a previous generation, really the 7th generation still had more releases than various earlier generations, it's not that every previous generation had more physical games than the 7th generation. Unless you meant the immediate previous generation only, though you mentioned PS1 games as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    So far I've read suggestions that economic factors may have been in play. The 7th generation experienced the Dot-com bubble burst, the Sub-Prime Housing Crisis and the collapse of Wall Street. But physical games seem to have snapped back during the 8th generation which experienced a global pandemic that caused supply-chain disruptions with severe economic impact and yet had more physical games than the previous generation. Nintendo fans claim the Switch has 3,000 physical games already.

    Another suggested that the difficulty programming for the PS3 may have lead to it's decline. But the PS3 and Xbox 3600 shared almost identical libraries in both titles and numbers - so nobody abandoned the PS3. I do remember reading about poorly optimized PS3 games though.

    Not sure what the cryptic android suggestion meant. That developers chose to use their time developing games for cell phones instead of consoles? Maybe. There were plenty of games being released on 7th generation consoles, but they were mostly digital, not physical.

    Maybe I'll never know why my PS3 collection is so small. I've gone over it three times now convinced I could add more games of the type I enjoy collecting and never could.

    Wasn't the 7th generation when the game industry publicly called out the Japanese for making crappy games? Maybe that had something to do with it.
    Really if you're going to compare an entire generation, you would need to add up all games for all consoles available for that generation. A main reason for the difference was already mentioned earlier by Aussie2B. The PS1 had so many releases because few people owned an N64 or a Saturn. The PS3 had less releases as more people owned an Xbox 360 or a Wii.

    There's a few other reasons too. With the PS1, games had the advantage of lower development costs combined with lower manufacturing costs compared to previous cartridge based consoles, plenty of titles were released at cheap budget prices. Same with the PS2, though games weren't as cheap compared to PS1 budget releases. The PS3 era introduced the newer standard bloated development costs so there were far fewer budget releases released physically, and the real lower budget titles were just available digitally.

    With the sales of PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles being so close, plenty of developers would focus on making multiple ports of the same game, rather than making multiple games for the same console. There were just less games made by developers during this time period.

    Also, what type of games do you enjoy? Do you enjoy the various Call of Duty games as there's at least 10 of these for the PS3 alone, or the various other COD clones as there were tons of different similar releases that all felt the same to play. I sure didn't but that's what was available for the PS3, which is why I care so little about collecting for this generation.

    Plus online gaming became really popular during this time, fewer people focused on single player games. Most people just all bought and played the same games so they could play online with their friends.

  9. #9
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    St Louis, MO
    Posts
    2,816
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    3
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    16
    Thanked in
    14 Posts

    Default

    I have to admit, I've never looked into this at all. My Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 libraries are all considerably smaller than my PS2 or PS4 libraries, but that has a lot more to do with the tyoe of games I enjoy as opposed to size of the library. I love games, but I can't think of a console that has 1000 or more games that I want to play. Maybe a few hundred. As Aussie said, the limited print companies shipping physicals of indie games definitely ballooned the amount of releases, and for me, who prefers retro games and metroidvanias, the PS4 had been a goldmine of stuff I enjoy compared to the PS3, that has a few really nice games for me, but I don't think there are even 50 physicals on the console I'd have a ton of fun with (given my own tastes).

Similar Threads

  1. The best new IPs of the seventh generation
    By Emperor Megas in forum Modern Gaming
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 01-16-2015, 10:12 PM
  2. Seventh Generation Consoles Price Drop Predicitions
    By treismac in forum Modern Gaming
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 11-11-2013, 10:07 AM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-30-2011, 05:50 PM
  4. Originality in current generation console games
    By Dji in forum Classic Gaming
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 07-14-2005, 12:12 PM
  5. Ffirst generation and last generation games on a console
    By Alex Kidd in forum Classic Gaming
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-17-2003, 06:42 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •