In September 22, 2014, Steam announced that it has grown to over 100 million active accounts and to a library of over 3700 games. This is old news, but I missed it at that time, and found it out today in a Twitter conversation spawned over a statement I made:
The rate of games released on Steam increases, but as their data shows, so does the number of users. How many games does a market of over 100 million players (probably 125 by now) deserve, or need? To me, 3700 games - or 5000, or 10000 - seems a small number for such a large client base.
And that’s just Steam. 100 million is a BIG number, yet it’s just a fraction of how many people play games around the world today*. And even those are a small fraction of the people who WANT to play games, but have no access yet, or did not yet mustered the courage to try. Or maybe - just maybe! - no one made the games for them.
Have you ever had a conversation similar to this:
"Do you play video games?
No… no, I am too old/ woman/ businessy… for that….
But do you know Candy Crush/ FarmVille/ Solitaire…?
Yes, of course, but I am not into video games… "
Last time I had this conversation, I wondered how much that person was spending in Candy Crush, as I was sure she was spending at least some money for a game.
But we game developers live in a bubble. Have you seen the video This Is Phil Fish? Starting at minute 13:15, the commenter tackles this subject: “The world at large does not know or care who makes video games”. The truth is, most of the people who play games have no idea how games are made, or even what a FPS/ Sandbox/ Rogue-like is (tags taken from the Steam Popular Tags list now). Yet so many game presentations involve heavy gamedev and/ or hardcore gamer terms, and so many projects are pitched as Chocolate and Peanut Butter.
It’s easy to panic if you only see the world from your very narrow window. In the face of hardship - which comes with the desire to create something valuable, and its a good thing! - it’s easy to be negative and mostly see the problems. It’s so easy to freak out reading dozen of post mortems of unsuccessful indie projects on Gamasutra/ Polygon/ Kotaku, but we narrow our own world and restrict our own view in a context that’s really amazingly positive for us nowadays.
We need more games released. We need to understand that playing, having fun is not a niche preference, and that everyone wants to relax, explore, have fun. And we need to learn how to respect and talk to those people who don’t know what an FPS is. The world is ready for us, welcomes us and is eager for our creativity!
*According to a state of the industry report published by Spil Games in 2013, more than 1.2 billion people are playing games worldwide.