2019 Half-Year Backlog Update

It is the end of June already as we reach the halfway point of 2019. Which is incredible really, just thinking how quickly the year has passed by. I thought it would be good to look at the progress made with my backlog so far in 2019.

When I last did this in December 2018, I had only been keeping track of things on this website for five months but hadn’t really played that many games. With some renewed focus it is safe to say the first six months of this year have much more successful in playing more of my games.

General update

  • Backlog down from 278 to 266
  • Games played increased from 195 to 237
  • Completed: 11
  • Abandoned: 7
  • Shelved: 5
  • Total games played: 27

14 of the 27 games played are brand new games that I have never played before.

So good news on reducing the backlog and the number of games I’ve played increasing by a fairly substantial margin. Some of this is no doubt cleaning up the numbers on Grouvee though. But it is a great start.

At the end of last year I mentioned wanting to complete or shelve around 15-25 games. I have already met this target which I set myself. In hindsight probably a bit too conservative. However unlike 2018 I have made a much more concerted effort to reduce the number of Live Service games I am playing. That has meant not playing Warframe, World of Warcraft or Path of Exile. Which has helped increase the number of games I have been able to play.

New videogames

There has been an eye watering 91 new games added to my Grouvee profile however the overwhelming majority of these are ‘freebies’ from Twitch Prime, Xbox Games with Gold, PlayStation Plus etc. And therefore not really games I will play.

I have purchased 18 new videogames so far this year. Only one of those is a game purchased on or before launch; The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr. All the remaining are games picked up in sales or at discounted prices. Only 3 games were physical with the remaining all being digital games. Mostly on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. However 2 games were on PC and 1 on 3DS.

The challenge

So there has been some creep upwards with my ‘Play Next‘ category, which are the really high priority games on my backlog that I want to play next. Now up to 66 games, from 60 at the start of the year. This will need to be the focus of my attention as we move into the second-half of the year. Ideally I would like this number to be significantly less as we head towards new hardware into 2020.

Remainder of 2019

Apart from playing some of those games on my ‘Play Next’ category it’s hard to know whether there will be any new games in the last 6 months of the year I’ll want to buy. Certainly there are still games like Red Dead Redemption 2 that are on my Wishlist. And I’m sure there will be other games being released that tempt me. In addition I still haven’t yet picked up a Nintendo Switch and this is something that might change if the rumoured new hardware is released.

So the videogames I would like to play next in my schedule, are:

  • Finish Metro Redux
  • Finish Mass Effect 3
  • Finish Doom (2016)
  • Metro Exodus
  • Tales of Borderlands
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Fallout 4
  • The Last of Us
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Summary

A good first half of the year in terms of the number of games I have played. If I have similar success in the next six months it will make for a stellar year in terms of catching up with my backlog. Good stuff.

My changing buying habits

As this year’s E3 is underway with loads of new videogames being announced I’ve recently thought that during the current generation I rarely buy videogames at release. I’ve written about this before but I wanted to do some further investigation to see if I could actually prove some of this.

Indeed since creating this website I had identified 14 upcoming games that I was most interested about in the 2018 and 2019 release schedules. And of those 9 have since been released. However I have only purchased two of those games; Marvel’s Spiderman and The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr. Crucially only the latter was actually purchased at release.

So I then looked into how many games were purchased by myself before or on the release date over the last four years. I found the following list of games.

  • Far Cry 5 Gold, Mar 2018
  • Monster Hunter World, Jan 2018
  • Destiny 2 Digital Deluxe, Sept 2017
  • Zelda Breath of Wild, Mar 2017
  • Forza Horizon 3 Ultimate Edition, Sept 2016 (2 days after release)
  • Destiny: Rise of Iron, Sept 2016
  • Doom, May 2016
  • Trackmania Turbo, Mar 2016 (6 days after release)
  • The Division Gold, Mar 2016
  • Fallout 4, Nov 2015
  • 6 MMO Expansions – all pre-ordered:
    • The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind (2017)
    • The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset (2018)
    • The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr (2019)
    • WoW: Legion (2016)
    • WoW: Battle for Azeroth (2018)
    • Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire (2017)

Findings

It means I have purchased a total of 10 videogames and 6 MMO expansions over the last 4 years at release.

  • An average of 4 videogames per year.
  • Only one purchased in 2019 (The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr).
  • 4 PC releases were all purchased from a reseller with fairly hefty discounts (GreenManGaming & Humble).
  • Only one purchase was physical (Wii U).

Even new consoles didn’t result in buying new games. With the purchase of an Xbox One X (Feb 2018) and PlayStation 4 Pro (May 2017) I didn’t buy any new games. Either playing my existing library or picking up games in sales. This seem different to previous hardware like my Wii U (2014 – 2017), launch PlayStation 4 (3 games) and original Xbox One (1 game) amongst others.

The last generation for comparison

Now unfortunately I don’t have numbers for the last generation of consoles, or before 2015 as it would take an immense number of hours to compile. However I know that I purchased large numbers of games at release – every Halo, Little Big Planet, All Forza’s, Super Mario Galaxy 1/2, Battlefield Bad Company 2, Battlefield 1943/3 etc. And this list would be massive. Particularly as the number of games I owned on Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 was over 200 at one point. On disc alone. And that is not including formats like Nintendo 3DS or Wii U where I also purchased numerous games as they released.

Indeed during the last generation many more games were cheaper and with much less monetisation. Buying games was the only way to get new games to play. Free-to-play or subscriptions hadn’t really landed yet. Also live services hadn’t happened meaning you tended to play a game and then move on to the next. Therefore I suspect games purchased at launch would probably average 15 to 30 a year. Maybe more.

So therefore it is probably undeniable that over the last few years I am buying less games at release and therefore less at full RRP. A downward trend over previous years before.

Conclusion

Of course some of this slowdown in buying games at release could be more about myself, i.e. getting older or being a parent. Or indeed having a huge backlog of games to play. However there are some clear patterns which definitely fall in line with the wider trends within video gaming.

  • I don’t shop at Retail anymore. Even when I buy physical games they are from online retailers.
  • I’ve fully embraced Digital on all formats.
  • There is a limit to what I will spent on single games. As the price gets lower then I am more inclined to take a punt on a new game. And therefore if I see something approaching or over £100 I’ll likely not bother as I worry about missing out on something with the ‘standard’ version.
  • Although I will spend more on a Live Service. Particularly those that are around for years, such as World of Warcraft or The Elder Scrolls Online.
  • Easier access to more games. With Game Pass, Games with Gold or PlayStation Plus I’ve got loads of games to play.
  • I’m not trading in games and therefore buying less. Something I would do a lot during the last generation. I think this is a major reason for declining retail UK sales figures tracked through GfK Chart Track.
  • I don’t ever pay full price for PC games outside of MMO expansions.
  • Live Services videogames are making me think twice before buying.
  • I have spent money on Free-2-play games. F2p and other business models are clearly disrupting the market.

So there we go. The short of it, is that I can be reasonably certain I am buying less games at release or at full price. However with Games as a Service and Live Services probably spending more but on fewer games.

Although I am certainly still buying more games though. But these are mostly digitally, often with big discounts after they have been out a while. And I don’t think that is a bad purchasing habit. Picking up the games cheaper, after bugs have been ironed out and business models become clearer (i.e. microtransactions introduce a month after release). It also feels a bit less bad if it takes longer to start playing a game. But it means that I may lose interest and desire to buy a game in the long-run. Something I have experienced recently with The Division 2.

Perhaps what is more interesting is whether this is the same for many other people and whether there are significant numbers who are all buying less games, but spending more on those we do play. Unfortunately that is not a question I can answer beyond my own spending habits.

July 2018 Backlog Update

After numerous hours typing away at the keyboard, I have finally managed to log every videogame I own on Grouvee. Yay! Took ages but hopefully worth it. And therefore this post is also my first ever monthly progress update against my backlog.

There are some Nintendo Virtual Console games on Wii and Wii U unaccounted for, but I’m not going to list them as these online services are either gone or probably won’t be around much longer.

So that’s 1035 games in total, of which 275 are on my backlog. I’m currently playing through 7 games and actually have already completed nearly a fifth of all games I own. Time to start playing some games.

Xbox Ultimate Game Sale/PSN Summer Sale – new game pickups

Just because you can clearly never buy enough games to play, I have also purchased the following in the summer sales;

  • Prey – fancy playing this, not worried about Mooncrash DLC atm.
  • Doom/Wolfenstein 2 Bundle – good price for two!
  • Dishonored The Complete Collection – Dishonored 2 is Xbox One X enhanced, and only £1 more than the complete sequel bundle so it includes the original game as well.
  • Everybody’s Golf

I also purchased Fallout 4/Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition digitally in these sales so I can own sell the boxed disc versions.

Ps. Picked up 3-months of GamePass for £7.99, plus a month through MS Rewards, so that’s 4-months taken care of. Seems a good deal. That’s Forza Horizon 4 taken care of at least.