Thinking of what makes a great game on either console or PC (graphics, story, controls, multiplayer etc.) one thing has become overlooked recently for consoles; Replay-ability. Granted businesses want you to purchase more and more games as fast as you can, but what about just enjoying what you have?
Thinking back of the several thousand games I have owned/played on a console in my lifetime, there are only a few that I will gladly play over and over. What makes certain games more appealing to replay? Sure there is the completionist aspect that makes some gamers hunt down that last agility orb, but that isn’t so much of a “one more time” thing as it is just the incessant urge to find EVERYTHING. As an example; I have played to completion Final Fantasy Six/Three about four or five times. It isn’t that I enjoy the story, or even the style of game. It’s the overall “feel” of the game. It’s just fun to me on many different levels.
“Hard Core” console gamers don’t play games for much longer than a couple months and then they are done. Now there are the exceptions, like Halo, and COD but for the most part it’s a “hit it and quit” mentality. There is new DLC coming out in the near future for both Bioshock 2 as well as Alien Vs. Predator. This is surprising to me, seeing as how I haven’t heard anyone talk about either of those, or seen anyone on my friends list playing them in months.
The strangest part to me personally, is that there seems to be a stark difference between console gamers and PC gamers on this issue. It’s hard not to talk about games on the PC and not mention World of Warcraft. Released in 2004, World Of Warcraft is the very definition of a game with longevity. If you would have told most PC users in 2003 that they would be hooked on a game for the next 7+ years they would have laughed at you. As recent as last year WOW had an installed user base of ten million plus. That’s insane. WOW is NOT the only game on PC however that still has users coming back for more, years after release. There are other games out there that still have a rabid fan base of players every day. Games like Counter Strike, Company of Heroes, and Team Fortress 2 still make headlines with new patches, tournaments, and updated content.
Why is there such a difference between PC and Console players in this respect? Do console developers support a game well past it’s prime to get more people coming back for more, or do they just move on and risk a flame war for “abandoning” their fans. This has to constantly be on the minds of developers as a games presence in the market starts to wain. Companies like Rockstar and Bio Ware are just about the only ones out there that support their community well into its twilight years.
My only speculation is that it all boils down to console gamers becoming more centered around an “instant gratification” way of thinking. We play with the shiny new toy until it loses a bit of it’s luster and then we are on to the next new thing. Console players have so much thrown at them so often it’s hard not to get distracted. Perhaps this is why PC gamers attach themselves to a title for the long haul. Granted there is shovel-ware on the PC as well, but not nearly to the degree of consoles. No matter what platform you play on I think game developers need to be a bit more involved in trying to keep us coming back for more in the titles that we already own. Now that we are seeing digital download used more proficiently and efficiently, it just makes sense.