Somewhat earlier than normal, my yearly MobyTradition. Going strong for 8th years in a row, I present to you the stats graph of entries per game platform!
January 2016 - January 2015 - January 2014 - January 2013 - January 2012 - January 2011 - January 2010 - January 2009
(Click to enlarge)
An explanation: each coloured shape in the graph represents a platform. The horizontal axis is time. The vertical axis represents the number of games released. So the height of a shape on a given point in time indicates the number of games released for that platform that year. The total height of the graph on a given point in time shows the total releases that year.
[All data taken from MobyGames. Of course, the graph is only as complete as our database is - meaning we currently undercount some new digital game platforms like PC/Mac, digital console, and iOS/Android since we don't 'scrape' those databases automatically - and the dropoff in 2015 and 2016 is because we're still entering newer games into the database. Come help us if you can!]
One thing I think is really interesting is how much we've back-filled game releases.
If you look at the graph two years ago, you can see that the peak is 2010 with around 3500 games released. But in this year's graph, 2010 has about 4200 games released and is just part of a steep climb up to the current peak at 2013 with 5600 games released.
This is happening even for much older games. In this two year span, the leftmost peak in 1984 went from fewer than 2000 games released to more than 2500!
It also illustrates what a long way we have to go with current digital releases - we've done great in backfilling older games (esp. physical!) but the glut of new games threatens to overwhelm all, database-wise. This graph claims there were almost 4,500 games released on Steam just in 2016, wow!
(Luckily we're exploring some more semi-automated ways to add these games which should go into force in 2017.)
[Q --start Simon Carless wrote--] This graph claims there were almost 4,500 games released on Steam just in 2016, wow! [/Q --end Simon Carless wrote--] Jim Sterling complained about that on a few occasions, mostly because those are no-quality Steam Greenlight titles nobody should care about (e.g. [insert word] Simulator 2016). About half of Steam's library came out this year, and that's good only in some parallel universe where all indies are good...
The flip side of that, of course, is that in the past, if you made a game that MIGHT be a hit and Valve decided it couldn't be on Steam (subjectively), it would be impossible to make any money with it on PC. So in balance I think having the platform be more open is better - but it makes it much more difficult to find the good stuff.
If you look at the graph as a whole from 1971 to 2013 the 80s-90s are somewhat of a tumor on a otherwise nearly spot on exponential curve.
Also when making this graph I noticed we've added a lot of new platforms this year for which we have no documented games. Mostly interpreters and educational consoles and handhelds!