One of the perks of making the “what I played” lists is the ability to look back and see how my gaming habits change over time. I took some data from those posts and visualized it…
First off, it’s clear that the Xbox 360 has cemented itself as my platform of choice for this generation. I don’t play a lot of games on Xbox Live, so I guess I’ve fallen victim to Microsoft’s goal of making the Xbox the “entertainment center” of the living room. I listen to a lot of my music through it, streaming off my PC. I watch most of my movies through the Netflix dashboard app. Even though the PS3 has a Bluray player, I find myself turning on the Xbox when I want to be entertained with no particular game or activity in mind.
The iPhone also appears to have replaced my DS almost entirely. I’m intrigued by the new handhelds Sony and Nintendo are hawking, but I doubt I’d spend as much time with them as I do my phone since my phone is always with me. The ease of access to buying new stuff in the app store goes a long way.
It doesn’t look like my preferred game genres have shifted much when I account for what games were actually released in each year. Strategy saw a bump thanks to two different versions of Plants vs Zombies and StarCraft II. I was surprised to find that an increase in iPhone gaming happened to correlate with a decrease in puzzle games, but that might be a testament to the kind of things developers are releasing for the app store nowadays. The chart aside, I feel like the biggest shift in my gaming preferences deals with open world games such as Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Saboteur. I’m just now getting into those games and catching the completionist bug, so they probably make up the majority of my gaming hours.
I’ve always been an early adopter of new tech in gaming – I owned a Sega Nomad, four GBA-Gamecube cables, and an eReader – so take it with a grain of salt, but 2010 represented a massive shift in the way I acquire games. The bump in digital downloads is inflated by the increase in iPhone gaming, but there was a definite increase in my DLC purchases across all platforms that support it. I’ve grown reluctant to buy games if I can’t toss a CD key into Steam and access it from anywhere. The laptop I purchased over the summer has no DVD drive at all. On my Xbox, I bought a 16 GB flash drive because I finally ran out of space on the stock 20 GB drive it came with. The only two games I played on PS3 this year were digitally downloaded.
I don’t know what all this means yet, and maybe I never will. I just find it interesting to be aware of how I consume the medium I work with.