While not the most obvious image in the world, we can see a dissimilarity between what gets made (top) and what gets bought (bottom). If the trend of “what we like and what we’ll buy” were easily predictable, the number of sales per game would increase regularly across the genres. Compare the different genres for sales per title for yourself. You can see that Shooters do exceedingly well while Racing, Fighting, Miscellaneous games don’t. But this is a very bland picture. Let’s try another view of it.
You got your Data in my PlayStation. Get it out. Now!
PlayStation has been a bit of a finicky console over the past few generations, hasn’t it? PS has always seemed to have heavy sport sales, but we can see a shift in what gamers want to play among the other genres. Decreasing success since 2001 with Platformers and Racing games from Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter taking the majority of sales in the Platformer category with 5.4 and 3.6 million respectively; Gran Turismo and Simpsons: Road Rage with 14.9 and 5.2 million respectively. While having such huge numbers, why is it that gamers stopped getting interested in these genres? Well, what were the heavy hitters since released in the meantime?
Needless to say, If you release a Gran Turismo game or a Need for Speed game, you’ll be ahead of everybody else. The problem is, unless you are a Need for Speed or a Gran Turismo, it’s hard to be a big seller amongst gamers. Maybe it’s because racing games are niche among the gamers or the ability to create a good racing game requires the need to have a well-worn architecture in place, making games with a long history like GT and Need for Speed gain a leg up on the competition in terms of realism and driving mechanics, but among games trying to compete there are fewer and fewer.