Fixing player counts and ‘dead games’ is making gaming worse

There was a time not too long ago that we knew for sure which game sold the most copies. If you wanted to know who bought Splinter Cell vs. Kingdom Hearts in the fall of 2002, the numbers were there. (opens in new tab), provided by a market research company called NPD that obtained its sales data directly from retail stores. Math-Magic!

20 years later we’re still comparing games to each other, but we now live in the age of service games, 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 how many millions of people are playing it.

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