Thought Experiment: What If You Only Had 10 Games To Choose From?
In recent days, there have a few blog posts/articles on gaming industry sites that basically boiled down to this: You probably aren't good enough to succeed on your own. Whether it's as an indie developer or content creator or whatever, you face an enormous uphill battle. You might think you're good – and maybe you are – but if you want to succeed and make a living, you have to be great. No, you have to be incredible.
Time is limited, and devs are struggling now that games demand more of it (Gamasutra)
There are too many video games. What now? (Polygon)
It's time we stopped encouraging indies (GamesIndustry)
The state of indie dev and why it will not get easier (blog)
The primary reason for this is because there are a lot of people out there already doing this and, even if only a few percent of them are better than you, that means that enough of them are incredible enough that you probably can't compete. It's similar to something I've said for years regarding the glut of new games out there, that while I think a lot of games are good, there are just more out there that I think are better and my time goes to them. 10 or 15 years ago, when there were fewer options, a good-but-not-amazing game might have captured my interest better. Now, though, it's much easier to find something new when I tire of other offerings.
Gigantic was one game that, for me, suffered from this problem. I thought it looked neat when I first saw videos of it. When I got my hands on it for the first time at PAX South 2015, I absolutely fell in love with it. Then all I had to do was wait for it to launch. So I waited … and I waited … and I waited … and in the meantime, Overwatch was announced and launched, doing most of the same things I loved about Gigantic. I'm probably not the only person who felt the same way, and, well, you see what happened to Gigantic and Motiga.
But what if Overwatch hadn't come out? Would I, and probably others, still have gone to Gigantic? Would it have survived, and maybe thrived? We'll never know. It's a cutthroat world out there, and if you can't bring your best, you'll be relegated to the dustbin of history.
So let's try a fun little thought experiment and remove all but a few and see if what remains would be good enough to keep you (or me) entertained. And, being that this is MMOBomb, I'll limit my experiment to free-to-play games.
I keep a big spreadsheet full of F2P games sorted by their number of Twitter followers. I'm going to make four lists of 10 games each, using every fourth game on my spreadsheet, to see how I would feel if those were my only gaming options. In other words, Group A will have games #1, #5, #9, #13, #17, #21, #25, #29, #33, and #37, in terms of Twitter followers. Group B will be #2, #6, #10, and so on. This way, each group has a roughly even set of games, in terms of popularity.
For the purposes of this experiment, these are the only games you can play, period. No other games, single-player, multi-player, console, PC, smartphone, F2P, B2P, whatever, exist in the world. Let's assume that this would be for a three-month period; playing the same games forever would get old, but three months should be long enough for a game to keep you entertained.
We'll also assume that the games are perfectly fine from a monetization standpoint. Either you have unlimited money or a subscription or the developers removed everything you hate about the cash shop – unrealistic, I know, because with only 10 games in circulation, they could jack prices through the roof. (Then again, you'd have a lot less to spend your money on.) What I'm going for here is whether you'd find the gameplay options in 10 games enough to keep you satisfied.
All right, I think that covers the rules of our meta-game. Let's get to the lists and my take on how I'd make do with such a limited playlist!
Star Wars: The Old Republic
World of Tanks
Blade & Soul
World of Warships
This is the “Wargaming group,” and while I'm not as into World of Tanks as much as I used to be, I still hop into World of Warships often enough. Between the two games, I think I'd get my PvP fix. One of my regulars on my Twitch channel has almost got me to get back into Warframe, and my MMORPG needs would be met with SWTOR, Neverwinter, and Rift. All in all, I think I'd survive nicely with this bunch.
League of Legends
Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online is almost the primary reason I wrote this article. I tried it briefly when it first came out in 2010, got back into it a bit in 2012, after it went F2P, and … well, it's been on that “I liked it and I'll get back to it someday” list ever since. This would be the time. Of this group, Defiance is the only other one I've played any serious amount and would care to get back into, making Group B a bit of a tough sell for me. Still, there's enough to do in STO that I don't think I'd go too insane having to deal with my limited options.
Heroes of the Storm
Team Fortress 2
Path of Exile
The Lord of the Rings Online
Here's a lot of “Games I've played in the past but not sure I really want to get back into.” I'm just about done with Team Fortress 2, Path of Exile, and The Lord of the Rings Online, and War Thunder never really clicked with me. A pair of MOBAs top the list, and I've heard good things about Heroes of the Storm's PvE, so maybe I could give it a shot? Overall, this is probably the weakest list overall for me.
Guild Wars 2
DC Universe Online
On the other hand, this group overflows with options for me. I've played and enjoyed seven of the games on the list, some (Hearthstone, PlanetSide 2, and Guild Wars 2) for hundreds of hours. While I'm not a huge fan of the base Battlerite game, Battlerite Royale was fun, and now that Realm Royale has gone back to its roots, I could see myself jumping in again. I'm even hearing good things about MapleStory 2. This group almost has the same issues as my base situation, with too many games I'd want to play.
Sure, we all have our favorites, and many of them aren't free-to-play – I'd miss my Overwatch and Total Wars if they went away – but it wouldn't be that bleak if they disappeared and you had to make do with some old favorites or try something new that you'd had your eye on. It just goes to show that we live in a time of amazing surplus, games-wise, that we can cast aside this many quality games and still have lots left over to play and enjoy.
I'd like to hear from you and find out what would be your favorite group from the lists above. Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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