Fixating on player counts and “dead games” makes the game worse

Fixating on player counts and “dead games” makes the game worse

There was a time not so long ago when we knew definitively which games sold the most copies. If you wanted to know how many people bought Splinter Cell vs. Kingdom Hearts in the fall of 2002, the numbers were right there (opens in new tab), provided by a market research company called NPD, which gets its sales data directly from retail stores. Mathematical magic!

20 years later we’re still comparing games to each other, but now we live in the age of gaming services, where the biggest games are free to play and sales numbers don’t tell the whole story. We no longer measure the health of a game in millions of dollars, but in how many millions of people play it.

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