CNN has a great story from freelance writer Blake Snow concerning the nature of playing games and what completion rates are doing to the medium. The consensus from the multiple sources in his piece is that games will become progressively shorter so that completion rates climb.
As it stands now, according to Keith Fuller, “a longtime production contractor for Activision,” there’s a rule of thumb that only 1 out of every 10 gamers actually play their games from start to finish. Here’s Fuller’s quote from the CNN story:
“What I’ve been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube…”
The article goes on to cite places like Raptr, a social media tool that tracks players by usernames and gamertags, have a relatively accurate way to sample completion rates. One game that’s regularly regarded as the best title out in 2010 was Red Dead Redemption. According to Raptr, only 10% of its user base completed the last mission in the game. So, right, 1 out of every 10 players that sat down with Marston in New Austin last year actually saw the deed to completion.
Common sense enters the equation when we consider the fact that shorter games producer higher completion rates. Less time is required to beat a game of 8 hours as opposed to a game of 20 hours. It’s like…math. I’m leaving…
…the problem for those among us that actually enjoy much larger, more epic stories (like the 30+ hour campaign in Red Dead Redemption), companies don’t really want to back properties that sport low completion rates. Jon Lee, VP of Marketing at Raptr, offers this:
“Completion rates are actually on the rise…Many games now have a 40% to 50% completion rate, thanks to 10-hour campaigns instead of the 20-30 hour ones of yesteryear. Of course, that’s good or bad depending on how you look at it. It’s better than before. But it still means that more than half of all game content never gets appreciated.”
How many games have you left incomplete?