A great article from CNN this week explores an interesting phenomenon, an epidemic of players not finishing the games they buy, that may be indicative of a growing trend in gaming: Many gamers are getting too old to have the time to finish a 40-hour campaign any more.
As the article points out, the average age of American gamers is now thirty-seven. Thirty-seven. Let's hold on to that for a moment and remember the days when people said video games were just for kids. But back on point: This means that a good half, if not more, of the US gaming population is pushing mid-life - the time for kids, demanding jobs, and more commitments than there are hours in the day. These gamers, raised on Atari and the NES, are now in the prime of their busy adulthood. So it would make sense they're having trouble finding the time, no?
Indeed, the CNN article quotes various industry sources who claim that games these days have an average completion rate of somewhere between 10-20% meaning that, on the optimistic end, one in five games purchased is actually finished. Of course, you might question whether it's the quality of the games that depresses these numbers (and that is likely an on-going factor, as anyone who has been fooled into buying a crappy game will attest), but:
...it's not just dull games that go unfinished. Critically acclaimed ones do, too. Take last year's "Red Dead Redemption." You might think Rockstar's gritty Western would be played more than others, given the praise it enjoyed, but you'd be wrong. Only 10% of avid gamers completed the final mission, according to Raptr, which tracks more than 23 million gaming sessions. Let that sink in for a minute: Of every 10 people who started playing the consensus "Game of the Year," only one of them finished it.
What's particularly damning about this fact is that Raptr is for gamers. These aren't just sometime-players picking up a brilliant game and leaving it unfinished - these are people committed enough to gaming to join a community just for gamers.
Furthermore, the game played longest most recently is Call of Duty: Black Ops at 67 hours per player, but the article alleges that's due to multiplayer - not the relatively-short campaign. Interestingly, out of the raft of teenagers yours truly knows who bought Black Ops (or got their parents to buy it for them), not one of them said they got it for the single-player campaign; in fact, few said they bothered trying it at all. So is it just older gamers who don't have the time to finish games, or is there a bigger shift away from narrative-heavy single-player games?
Questions? Comments? Let us know in the comments section.