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Are FPS Games REALLY Over-Saturating the Market?

3/7/12 8:15pm
tl;dr

 As the Dark Lord likes to delve into dark riddles of gaming, multiple questions pop up--such as are FPS games REALLY over saturating the market?

 MWAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!!!

 

Battlefield 3 Main Theme

 

As a person who likes to explore every single nook and cranny and to leave no stone unturned, I often am presented with dark riddles in gaming that often haunt me with no easy answer to acquire.  I rarely take "because I said so" or "I dunno" as an acceptable answer for an age-old problem.  Plenty of problems and myths pop up in the video game world and I wish to explore them while others just take them for granted--whether they are ultimately true or not.  Therefore I may occassionally have like a "Is this REALLY true?" series of blogs where I delve into a question or idea about gaming that I would like to prove and disprove and then to come to my ultimate decision.  So, basically this is kind of a hybrid of GameTheory and Jirard's Defend It! ideas but with my thoughts put into them.  Don't worry, I shall put my dark, twisted ideas into this as well.

Other questions I have for the future are: 

  • Are video games easier these days than they were in the 90s?
  • Does sailing in Windwaker really take up a lot of play time?
  • Is online gaming truly the way of the future?
  • Is $60 generally what a new game should cost?
  • Is Smash Bros. really a fighting game or a party game?
  • Is *insert controversial game here* a good game?

For instance, I usually watch a multitude of gamer's shows and I read many blogs that express many opinions that others simply regard as fact with little research to back it up. While I highly enjoy watching their material, one thing that slightly bothered me was one Underbelly episode where they said that today's "...market is over-saturated with First Person Shooters nowadays..." with everyone bobbing their heads in agreement with  little reasoning as to WHY.

And that's when I thought WHOA HOLD IT!  

I mean, is this REALLY true?  That's a big statement to make.

I was kind of for this since whenever I think about it, I remember all of those annoying ads of blah FPS games that keep getting advertised to death and that I hear about how the crazy line of the MW3 launch date.  But....I remember all of the good times I had with FPS games and that there are a large amount of other genres out there.

I was a bit flustered when I further thought about this when the vast majority of the Internet simply agrees that FPS games are indeed over-saturating the market like flocks of sheep since they really don't question it and just accept it.  I wouldn't mind this so much if people would back up their reasoning more with evidence or at least to explain WHY!  Perhaps there is solid evidence to back up the idea that they are indeed over-saturated and that I am just overlooking it, but by golly I will detail into both sides so I can but a judgement to this predicament!

First, I shall argue in favor of the question:

 

Oh, and a warning, I tend to contradict myself since I'm trying my best to argue both sides. :P

 

 

In Argument that FPS Games DO Over-Saturate Today's Market:

It's clear that there are far more FPS games than there have ever been in the gaming than in past decades, which explains why these types of games invade the gaming market.    Plenty of successful and popular FPS games dominate today's market.  For instance, in 2011 alone, successful FPS games include Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Killzone 3, Resistance 3, Halo Combat Evolved, and RAGE.  It has gotten to the point that Modern Warfare 3 is the highest selling game of 2011 alone and that Battlefield 3 has rocked the 4th place.  Many websites and programs are dedicated to players to these games by reflecting stats, such as Call of Duty Elite. Heck, there are even a good number of people out there that ONLY consider these types of games to be considered to be a video game such as my second cousin!

These successful franchises churn out multiple games to the point that they have become annual releases.  And for those that saw my list on the top ten franchises that need to bite the dust, Halo and Call of Duty were most certainly up there.  Having annual releases only decreases the amount of time and effort placed into these games, meaning that there will be more FPS games in the market that are not as great as they should be.

While these successful FPS games have hogged a ton of cash in the gaming market, a ridiculous amount of wannabe FPS games that flock all over the market like pack of seagulls (not sure why I chose that animal but whatever).  Many mediocre or sub-par FPS games such as Homefront, Medal of Honor, and Call of Juarez have dominated the market instead of other genres.  This is similar to what happened to when Mario was popular in the early 90s and many, MANY cruddy spinoffs took place to swamp everyone with ads of sub par platformers.  This exact same thing is happening today as multiple people are forced to swallow these games down so that they can feel that "FPS shooters are the next big thing" and that they are going to keep doing that to the point of over-saturating the market.

I did feel that Underbelly was correct in their episode when they stated that FPS games these days just feel "grimy" and that they feel awfully generic.  In a sense, I can relate to this.  Nearly all FPS games these days basically have something to do with the army, have an arcadeish and "passable" single player mode, have forgettable levels, enemies, and characters, and all FPS games just look and play like the exact same thing to the point that it is difficult to tell if a certain FPS game is good or not.  When a genre comes to this, it is clear that there are far too many FPS games in the market.

The one main reason as to why these games are overabundant is that online gaming has taken a bit of a craze and a good number of players today like (or appear to have) to experience many small rewards (such as getting a killstreak in a FPS game) and very few punishments.  FPS online games do tend to have a lure that you are constantly getting better due to the neverending amount of XP you earn in matches.  Due to these reasons and more, game companies are trying to capitalize on the online matches so they create a lousy single player mode to focus more on the online.  Due to more FPS games doing this, more and more of them spread like wildfire and practically feel as if they have the same gameplay consisting of running, gunning, and shooting.  True, there are some FPS online games that may "try" to evoke a sense of strategy to a degree (such as Battlefield 3), but at the core...they still have the same gameplay with little thought process.  Therefore, the market is over-saturated with FPS games due to the large amount of them, their ridiculous popularity, that they all feel generic, and that they do little to inspire new inovations in gameplay other than just creating running and gunning games to get a quick buck.

 

 

In Argument that FPS Games DO NOT Over-Saturate Today's Market

 

To think that FPS games over-saturate the gaming market is a flatout lie.  Over-saturation is defined as "to (overly) unite with the greatest possible amount of a substance" according to dictionary.com.  It does not necessarily mean that the FPS games have to good or bad to make the market saturated.   Saturation only depends on the number of games compared to the market.  With a list from Wikipedia that lists the number of games in 2011, it can be seen that games that can be considered "true" FPS games are relatively low in number compared to the total number of games released in that year.  After all, FPS games are only a very, VERY specialized type of genre.  To be even CONSIDERED to be a FPS game, it must entirely be in first person view and that you must use a gun weapon nearly at all times.  There are tons of other genres out there that are just as popular and numerous as FPS games, and perhaps even moreso such as platformers, puzzle games, RPG, adventure, etc.  Not to mention, that FPS genre is just a subcategory in the Shooter genre.  For instance, there are 3rd Person shooters, shoot em' ups, on-rails shooters, and others.  To say that FPS games is a big category AND that they are too numerous in number is a bold statement that is utterly false.

If I didn't convince you with the ratio of FPS games to other games then maybe you are along the route that "Yeah, but FPS games are so generic and they are way too successful for their own good."  Well, you would be wrong again.  There is a reason why Call of Duty and Battlefield 3 are so successful, and that is because they are actually fun and great games that are worthy of being played.  Action is intense, fast, and each FPS game has their own playing style.  For instance, Call of Duty alone has a superfluous amount of different game modes each with their own playing style, including capture the flag, domination, and (my personal favorite) one in the chamber that evokes different strategies to the point that just running and gunning will only make you lose.  Also, I have played Battlefield 3 and I can see why the online is popular.  It does play differently than Call of Duty since you have to work as a team more often if you wish to capture bases.  This is only touching the scrapings of the iceberg and every different FPS game that is relatively popular such as Resistance 3.

I would also argue that the campaign in some of the FPS games are fun to play as well and that not all single player modes in FPS games are given  a low amount of treatment.  I would argue that Halo has a good campaign and that Duke Nukem Forever (yes, I said it....deal with it) has an entertaining campaign mode as well.  

Yes, there are a few wannabes out there such as Medal of Honor and Homefront, but they are relatively few in number compared to the gaming market and it is clear that these games can be identified as "worse" than successful FPS games.  All in all, I think that the general Internet mass THINKS that FPS games are over-saturated since it spawned a few games that recieved a large amount of cash that some people find that they do not deserve.  But think about it, there has been inflation in the market so in other words those few successful games got about as much worth as other games did in previous decades.  Also, FPS games can acquire a LARGE amount of play time while older games that were such as successful in other genres that can be beaten in an hour.

So, in conclusion, FPS games do not saturate the market as much as people say and if anyone DOES tell you that they are oversaturated, then just smile, look at them in the face, and say "Hey, just because two FPS games make it into the top ten best selling games of 2011 doesn't mean that those other 8 games (and multiple others) deserve some recognition as well."  For further evidence, look at the top ten games of 2011 from the g1s of ScrewAttack.  Notice that Call of Duty isn't even mentioned.  So, it may be a small craze, but over-saturation is not evident in terms of amount of games AND that a few popular FPS games don't over-saturate a market.

 

 

MY JUDGEMENT

Oh wow did I contradict myself there a bit.  It's tough to have a judgement here since there is virtually no way to test or experiment on this question.  In the long run, I do believe that certain FPS games are overhyped, but that's not the same thing as over-saturation since I feel that some FPS games do bring different ideas to the market.  But the main reason why one could think that FPS games do not over-saturate the market is that they are relatively little in number compared to the bulk of all of the other games out there.

So my judgement.....

NO, FPS GAMES DO NOT OVER-SATURATE TODAY'S MARKET.

 

While that's my judgement...what's yours?  The basic idea of this was for you to stop and think whenever someone tells you something to just regard as fact.  The next time you wonder if something regarding games is true, then why not put out reasons for both sides of the arguement and then to come to a conclusion.

While this one may have been an experimental mess of contradictions, at least the next one can be tested...and I'm sure the results for that will be very interesting.

Thanks for reading dark warriors!

My next blog will most likely consist a giant collab with Metaking64 and JETZ.acx on our Top Ten Wii Games.

 

Go check out the Indie Shack while you are at it too, it includes a game that is in this week's TMoFG!

More wicked cool stories and video from around the web. Got tips for us? Tips@ScrewAttack.com

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