The Exigent Duality
Days Gone By - 09:23 CST, 6/08/24 (Sniper)
This is purely anecdotal, but it does make me wonder: my friends lists on the various gaming ecosystems are waste lands! I recently read that the top games people are playing are almost exclusively several years old-- titles like "Counterstrike", "Minecraft", "Roblox", and "Fortnite" dominate. My friends lists reflect an even worse situation than that.

On Switch, most of my friends haven't even turned the unit on in so long it just shows them as being "offline". One of my friends still plays it, but hasn't bought any new games for it in almost two years-- he just plays the latest Pokemon game online for a zillion hours. I don't have many friends on PSN, but the ones there have essentially stopped playing video games altogether, other than the occasional Minecraft session.

The Xbox ecosystem is the most depressing. Back in the 360 days, my friends list was hopping, everyone was playing all of the cool games coming out like "Oblivion", "Forza Motorsport 2", "Mass Effect", and "Gears of War". They were logged in every day, and in-game. These days? Scrolling through the list, haven't logged in for 46 days, 18 days, 212 days, 97 days... no one on my list even plays anything!

I'm by far the most active person in these ecosystems among my friends. Some of it could just be my circles are getting old, and there is some truth in that. But I also have a number of my kids' friends on the Xbox list, since we share a Minecraft Realm-- and even amongst them they hardly are logged in anymore, and when they are it's not like they are playing games on Game Pass or something: they just play Minecraft, essentially, along with maybe one or two other titles.

This seems like a really bad omen for the video game industry. I watch the latest game-related presentations and streams, and can't help but think almost every game they show is going to fail, and result in a studio closure. I think if they could make consoles interesting again, versus just being budget PCs, and get back to focusing on original, first-order, simpler titles which concentrate on just being fun to play, my friends lists would liven up again. But until then, the overall downward trajectory will probably continue.