Gamer Responsibility: The Number of Titles You Own

Gamasutra is reporting some numbers from an NPD survey:

  • The average video game collection has 48 titles
  • 11% of all household games have unopened titles
  • 54% trade in their titles when they no longer play them

Of all the data mentioned I find these three the most troubling. I’d like to take three separate occasions and get us to think about them, if only a little.

I did a quick survey of the console games I own, and I check in at 24. Add portable games to the number and I’ve got 35. I’m not too far from the average. Does that make me an average gamer? I spent about 30 minutes of legal pad figuring and sketching what number I may have peaked at. I reached 70+ owned at my best estimate and this would have placed me some time last year. I most attribute this to owning all three major consoles and both handhelds.

Funny, I certainly don’t feel like I’m at my peak of game playing. However, I’m close to my peak of game owning. In some ways I feel like I’ve lately cut back on buying games. Cutting my game titles in half can be easily figured if you trade games in at Gamestop. It gives a good indication of their values. It’s about two and a half games per new titletwo and a half AAA games per AAA title. (Two weeks ago they offered me $65 for 10 games. I sold them all online for $210 profit. That’s for another post.)

I cannot put my finger on it, but something is wrong. Forty-eight games is the average. A lot of people own more. Here is the question that has plagued me since reading the article: How many can you play at a time?

Therefore, why do we own so many?

I honestly don’t know.

In my case, I have no local friends that play video games, I chat with two people online regularly, make three replies a week to posts on a community site, read two other blogs, andfrom my best calculationplay an average of three hours a week. The last game I played online with anyone was Too Human for a total of two hours. Before that It was Burnout Paradise for three weeks. Yet, I still havewhat I considera large library of games.

After chatting with one of those online friends, I believe the largest culprit to blame is the Internet. As gamers, we get our gaming news almost exclusively from the web. Before that, it was magazines. All the recent gaming magazines folding is a result of this. I would have never known about LittleBigPlanet if it wasn’t for the internet. If I just based my “game knowledge” outside the web, I would have known a little bit of info about Halo 3 and Mario Galaxy in the last year alone.

Next is the need to fit in. It’s a little superfluous, however. The need to fit in to what? There is really nothing tangible in online communication that goes into the real world. I actually disagree with this a little, because there are one or two individuals I’d like to meet and my family even knows of their family and vice versa because our interests have bled over into day to day conversation. However, whatever else I do online is mostly private and not shared with those locally around me.

It may also be a street cred issue. Once again, this proves to be superfluous. Street cred for who? Online acquaintances? Does GamerNerdC3P86 care if I have the latest title or not? I don’t think so. I share the latest game with people around me locally and I get looks as if I’ve not grown up.

Looking back at the social element, I probably purchase most of my games based on the recommendations of one or two individuals. It gives me something to talk about. I guess it does fit all the reasons listed above in some ways. The bottom line for this gamer is that I enjoy discussing and reading about gaming than I do playing them.

That’s a big revelation.

On Monday I’ll take a look at the second item from the data: unopened titles.


  1. Well I for one like to collect game boxes 😀 I’m more of a PC gamer too. So my collection of Console games vs PC games are a little uneven 😛 [img][/img] Bottom middle is all my PC games. Top right is all my Console games. I have some more PC games but I ran out of room 😛 (There are more 360 games and less PS2 now. Bit older Pic.)

  2. I actually just threw out several boxes full of game boxes that I’ve collected over the past 10+ years. It was kind of painful but also liberating as I’ve had all of those game boxes cluttering up my basement for at least 2-3 moves and not touched in over 6 years…

    I shudder to think about how many games I actually own, let alone the number I’ve traded in or given away over the years. I take pride in the fact that I have actuallyplayed almost all of them (aside from a few I got for the 360 in early September prior to my system dying) but a lot of the games haven’t had a lot of playtime sunk into them.

    And I do agree that the internet and the community boards in particular play a nasty role in my gaming addiction. Just look at the fact I picked up Fallout 3 this week. A lot of the reason it was such an easy thing to go from ‘I’m waiting until Christmas’ to ‘I want to crack this thing open RIGHT NOW!’ is because I’m listening to podcasts and engaging in conversations about the game and it really is hard to resist when you’re deluged by that kind of chatter about something you’re genuinely interested in.

    I also have the ingrained paranoia that if I don’t get something when it’s relatively new on the shelf, I’ll never find it again. I blame limited runs like Rez and the various Atlus games from back in the day for instilling this behaviour in me. If I knew, like movies and books, that most of the games I see hitting the shelves this week will be easy to find in 6 months to a year, I’d be able to wait. Being a somewhat niche gamer, you never know when Obscure Game Y will suddenly be impossible to find outside of a $100 mark-up on eBay.

  3. @Woolfman – not sure what image you tried to post, but you have to use HTML tags, not forum tags like you used above. I fixed the italics section but I wasn’t sure what image you were trying to post

  4. I just did a quick count — 48 boxes on my shelf, at this moment. Mostly 360 and DS games, but I still have a few Gamecube games I can’t let go. Not sure why.

    For a while, I thought I had to have the latest and greatest because of the blog. Now, I feel less pressure than before, which is nice. But, in the end, that leads back to your original point: It’s the internet, and all my internet friends.

    Thanks a lot, internet.

  5. @ Tony Just delete that post all together 😛

    Well I for one like to collect game boxes 😀 Im more of a PC gamer too. So my collection of Console games vs PC games are a little uneven 😛

  6. I think I have 48 games. In one CD rack.

    I know for a fact that I have one DVD rack from Ikea that has 88 games. And it’s nowhere near the entirety of my collection.

    What kind of scared me was back in the spring when I got my PS3. I traded in about 30 games to help whittle the cost down to a mere $100 cash and when I came home you couldn’t tell that I’d actually traded any games in. THAT is how many games I have.


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