Nine Out Of 10 Will Not Finish The Game They Are Playing

Nine Out Of 10 Will Not Finish The Game They Are Playing

Just 10 percent of gamers actually finish a game, an industry veteran told CNN in a recent feature, and his colleagues and other figures back him up. “Ninety percent of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube,” says Keith Fuller.

Raptr, the gaming social network, vouches for that, noting that only 10 percent of those in its service who have played Red Dead Redemption have finished the last mission for one of 2010’s most acclaimed games. Raptr’s John Lee, with a career that included executive jobs at Capcom, THQ and Sega, recalled being told the completion figure was about 20 percent.

CNN goes further into the psychology of completion, games design and the pile of shame, noting that as gamers’ average age gets older, they have less time for massive, 40-hour campaigns. And even if they don’t have a wife and kids, “The amount of digital distractions now is far greater than it’s ever been before,” says Konami’s Jeremy Airey. “People need time to check their Facebook, send a Twitter, be witty on their blog, play with their phone — oh, and that game you made. If they feel as though the end is far away, they’ll simply say, ‘I don’t have time for that’ and stop playing.”

Why Most People Don’t Finish Video Games [CNN]


    • Just thought I should be loud and obnoxious because Trjn isn’t going to be.
      Also because he’s probably on a plane right now.

  • There’s also a large number of CoDKids/Fratboys who never touch the campaign and instead jump into multiplayer despite being 1/3 of the recommended age who couldn’t sit down to watch a loading screen if you promised them a large killstreak.

  • Proud to say that I’ve finished every game I start except for one (provided it can be finished).

    I can simpatize, though, it takes time and I trail one to two years behind the latest-and-greatest. Which has the added benefit that I tend to get my games on the cheap (don’t but them until I’m going to play).

    To make the point: just finished Bioshock 2.

  • I’m of the 10% category. I finish all my games unless it is a decidedly terrible game that I ended up having to cry myself to sleep over the wasted money.

    My friend however, he spends 40 hours looking at textures in the game and complaining about how some blade of grass doesn’t wave in the wind properly, but then fails to ever finish even 1/3rd of the story campaign.

  • I’m kinda part of the 10% category. I mostly never leave a game unfinished, I think it’s a waste of money if you don’t complete the main campaign/story or whatever. However for the really boring and repetitive games, I don’t really bother to finish.

  • I’ve stopped buying games (except must-haves like SSFIV:AE and cheapos like Minecraft and HoN) so I can finish my backlog. Starcraft and Broodwar have been ticked off the list; now working on Quake, Unreal and Warcraft 3.

  • I don’t believe in finishing games that are terrible.

    Case in point; Dragon Age 2. Considering they see completion numbers, I don’t want to add another tally mark to a statistic that some executive who’s never played a game in their life can warp in order to ‘prove’ that the move to dumb down the series was a good move.

    I’ve finished Mass Effect 2 4 times, never finished Far Cry 2, finished Uncharted 2 3 times, never finished Dragon Age 2…

  • Coincidentally, I’ve yet to actually finish Red Dead Redemption. I don’t know why, but when I first played the game, it was awesome… now that I have access to Blackwater, the game feels meh to me.

    Phoenix Wright is now way more interesting, especially with the last “Episode” on Trials and Tribulations.

    • That’s exactly what happened to me. I got really into it, then once I did a few Blackwater missions, I completely lost interest for some reason. I’ll have to try it again one day..

    • When I found out how long it took to unlock West Elizabeth I knew I’d be over the game by then so I found a way to glitch into the area and started doing missions and such there. Made the game seem more fleshed out and balanced.

      • RAAARRRRRR!!! *Breaths* I hear this so often.

        Seriously guys, this game is long, blah blah, I get it… but it has one of the best, most poetic, mature, endings of any video game ever!!!! Do yourself a favour and finish it.

        Just put the blinkers on, ignore all the side quests and flower pickin’, and complete the story (also, you haven’t Really finished the story until you’ve seen the credits roll – hooray for secret epilogues)

  • If the game has a good story like Witcher 2 or Uncharted I will always finish it. Funnily enough a good story usually dictates my purchase, not this single player tacked on COD crap. (which is why I will get Battelfield if it has a sweet SP).

  • I use to finish every game I owned ,even if it was shit. Then I stumbled onto steam sales and its all gone down hill. When I buy games in packs of ten or whatever their is always something else I want to try and so I start games and never get around to finishing them.

    I still finish games on the PS3 though.

  • for Red Dead i got to the part where you go down that raft along the river and that whole part was just shit. i really enjoyed the voice acting but the gameplay wasn’t that great. Same thing for GTA4.

    the last big game i finished was probably mass effect 2 – that was actually engaging and fun.

  • It depends on the game, really. RDR felt pretty long to me, there was a lot to do. Games like MW2, though? Follow a corridor for four hours? You can bet a lot of people finished that.

  • I’m actually starting to get just as much satisfaction from 8-9 hour games as 40+ hour games now, I recently just played enslaved and I thought it was awesome and the way it was broken up into chapters made it a lot easier to play because it allowed me to have certain break up points where i could play for 45 mins finish a chapter then leave it feeling satisfied. New Vegas in contrast I just got sick of because it felt like there was no end in sight and I was just pissing around doing a mission here and there but not really getting anywhere in particular and it was worse for it in my opinion.

    • I’m playing Enslaved at the moment – and its paced VERY WELL, in fact other game designers should study it to see how to structure levels in a game, none of this Halo 3 bullshite where trek round and round a forest/bunker/desert facing off against endless waves of nasties before hitting another cutscene.

      Enslaved (Portal is another game like this) gives you an area and says “get past this” then you’re onto the next bit of the story – I like it a lot.

  • I fall into the older, predominately ‘time poor’ gamer. Though there are a few games I have not finished, it is nothing to do with effort and more to do with generally losing interest. Anything that can immerse me into a decent story will ALWAYS be finished. Content that is just all action set-pieces I will likely set aside after it gets too repetitive. If a game is worthy of my time it will always get finished, and in fact may see me replay many times over.

    Story and a compelling world always gets me, and I love to play in open-worlds too. Those are the games I sink most of my time into. If games are getting finished they must have been pretty vacuous.

  • But this has always been the case and it’s the reason they keep saying oh well this is why we have a 6 hour campaign.

    I’m sorry if your game can’t sustain people to finish it it’s a problem with the game not the length of the game.

    If you have a truly great game people will put countless hours into it.

    I know people who still to this day haven’t finished Oblivion’s story. But they have put in hundred’s if not a 1000 hours into messing around with the multiple characters and in some cases mods that they have played with

    I also don’t follow the logic that everything needs to be over in 6 hours otherwise things like MMO’s and the like wouldn’t exist.

    In a way it’s probably like saying only 10% of people with cars use it for more than 100km a day. So they should only make cars that can achieve that distance.

    And whats more irritating is that 5-10 years ago you could have a 40 hour game with epic stories and well made content. Now they struggle to make a game that last’s 6 hours with a lame story and is full of explosive set pieces

  • there are so many games i havn’t finished, it seems games that are repetitive just don’t go well for me but it also depends on other factors, got half way though Black Ops then started to feel like a the game was a chore to play.

  • I think they’re right about having less time for 40+ hour campaigns as you get older. But I handle that by not buying many of those games anymore, so I still finish everything.

  • I have a massive backlog. Mainly because I always find games on special and purchase them. Mind you I have a backlog with games from NES, Snes, N6a etc. I do go back and finish the ones I can. If I get stuck then I will usually try to use a walk through to complete it.
    Unfortunately, I have barely any time to complete the games I have right now, mainly because manifest is next weekend…

  • See almost every game I’ve played in the last few years I’ve played to completion (or in the case of Mass Effect/ME2 many times over) unless it’s turned out to be really bad.

    Also Ive found most games only hit around the 10 hour mark or less and I’m actually perfectly fine with that. They seemed to be designed much more to give a shorter but more enjoyable experience with story worked in there much more thoroughly. I mean sure longer games can be great but I really don’t care if your game is 20 hours long if 15 of those hours are just filler anyway.

  • Pah! Games are so short nowadays, you can knock most of them over in a single day. *Hi fives the other 10 percenters*

  • I always try to finish my games, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I’m especially bad with finishing open-world games.

    If there is a linear story driving the game, I’m much more likely to finish it (something like Uncharted). But as soon as you let me do whatever I want, I tend to try to do everything at once… then I lose track of things… then I lose interest… Then I start a new game. It’s a vicious cycle. 😛

  • My sister takes this a step further and just consciously chooses not to finish a game RIGHT BEFORE the final boss. >.>
    As far as she’s concerned, she’s finished them. Granted, she mostly plays RPGs.

  • I never finish games either. Well, rarely anyway. Attention span isn’t long enough for the longer games usually. Or I get frustrated/sick of it.

  • Id concur with this statement as they said the digital world is diluted with many a thing nowdays.
    What I was curious about tho is how you define actually finishing a game. Many a MMO nowdays is something you dont technically finish… thoughts?

    • That’s my problem with quite a few games – I want to work through my collection and finish them off, but I’m not sure at what point I’ll be satisfied saying that I’ve ‘finished’ a lot of open world/free form games.

      I guess it’s not something I can really determine beforehand, so I’ll just play until I feel like I’ve done everything there is to do!

  • I’m still working my way through GTAIV and part of it is the lack of checkpoints (which makes it frustrating to retry missions) but also (and I’m sure this stems from a time where games were uber-expensive) there’s a want to make the experience last.

    Plus I have so many games on the go at the moment I never keep one in the tray for very long.

  • Does this include “unfinishable” games?

    I’m talking about tycoon style games, Facebook games, MMORPG’s, those sort of things.

  • “as gamers’ average age gets older, they have less time for massive, 40-hour campaigns”

    Take note game makers! I’m too old and too busy to spend an hour or more looking for a key/cog/magical branch/or whatever. And please let me save the game whenever I want.

  • Most games AREN’T 40-hour campaigns. Certainly these days, games have been getting shorter.

    I have to add that isn’t always bad. Excessive length can ruin the pacing of certain plots, for one. Padding out games to increase campaign length can produce repetitive, annoying levels.

  • I’d like to think I’m of the 10%. I probably used to be, but now I’ve got steam and the sales that come with it, I don’t finish games as much as I used to.

    I did finish RDR though.

  • Sometime you don’t want to finish a game because you love it so much. I dragged the hell out of Fallout New Vegas before I finished it.

    • How many hours? I’m not wanting to finish it either, which is resulting in me attempting to kill every kill-able NPC currently at 86hrs.

  • I’m 20 now and I’ll be one of the few to admit that I don’t finish a large majority of the games I purchase.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big gamer and used to complete all the games I had a few years ago when I had to scrap together my hard earned funds to fork out for the latest title. But now, it doesn’t mean that much to me and my few hours of spare time seems to be absorbed more by social networking, checking the news, reddit etc.

    I’m playing RDR now and just hoping it doesn’t end up in my hall of shame game collection.

  • Make a game that’s fun to the end and we’ll finish it. Make ..things.. like cod, daII, or worse, DNF, and we won’t waste our time.

    It has nothing to do with length, and everything to do with shitty design.

  • Lol, I have so many unfinished games. I buy so many and I start one but I end up moving on to another. I eventually come back and finish the others though.

  • I’ve got over 140 Games on steam, exluding the multiplayer only, I’s say still just over 100+ have not been clocked.

    Not because of distacrtions, mainly because they’re shit haha.

  • I think it’s more that most gamers consider 90% of the games they play unworthy of finishing. For example, you couldn’t pay me to play Borderlands.

  • This makes Milbo a sad Panda. Of course no one should play crap (I’m about to return Red Alert 3 on the xbox after giving it a full 25 minutes of play time) but with a truly awesome game, complete an engaging narrative, you owe it to yourself to finish it.

    In days gone by people didn’t finish games because they got stuck, to the point of frustration. Games are rarely difficult nowadays so that’s no longer a valid excuse.

    And for Pete’s sake, everybody, just finish Red Dead Redemption! Ignore the animal skinning and flower picking and just play the story. The ending is poetically beautiful – a real coming of age moment for video games.

  • This statistic includes phone games and CoD players, so it doesn’t really count, just like those people don’t count as gamers.

  • Seems like me and everyone I know come in the 10% category then. Weird.

    Only reason any of us wouldn’t finish a game we start is because the game had some type of plot-stopping bug in it

  • I always plan to finish the games I get but I rarely have time. I haven’t bought a game in a couple of months and my current back log on games I plan on finishing includes (but is not limited to)
    Lego Pirates of the Carribean
    Lego Batman
    Saints Row 2
    Mario Galaxy 2
    Mario Kart Wii
    Fallout 3
    Majin of the Forgotten Kingdom
    New Super Mario Bros Wii
    CoD: Modern Warfare
    CoD: Modern Warfare 2

    I’m certain there’s more, but it’s quite rare for me to find more than maybe an hour a week to play things.
    Such is life.

  • Don’t know about you all, but the moment I heard that I would loose John Marston, the manliest of men when I finished the game… I stopped the campaign and went off to do my own thing.

    I didn’t want to see this character I fell in love with die…

  • Hey, maybe then reviewers would get to finsih games! Instead of, for example, renaming a Castlevania save file on GBA and then writing a very carefully worded, not very specific review based on other versions of Castlevania.

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