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Ten Years of RPG Trends

InstaTrentInstaTrent OpinionatorRPGamer Staff
edited January 2013 in Latest Updates
A lot can change over the course of ten years. Rather than estimating the trends that have occurred in the RPG landscape, we chose to undertake a study of releases from 2002 to 2012.

Ten Years of RPG Trends
"To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."

Comments

  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited December 2012
    I felt like I was in an economics class while reading what you said Trent. In other words, in one ear, out the other. At least until the conclusion part. Personally, you won't catch me playing games on a mobile device simply because I'm one of those people who feels that they should be used for calling, and nothing else.
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  • Hero Killer IdHero Killer Id Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    Very Interesting. Thanks.

    I would be really interested in seeing this list of 1200 games. Not that I don't believe you I just think it would be a nifty resource to have.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs The Bemused Administrators
    edited December 2012
    Quite interesting, indeed. The move of JRPGs from consoles to handhelds has been apparent for years, but it's good to learn that despite their recent popularity and higher level of promotion, there aren't more western RPGs being released than JRPGs.

    While I hope that the new handhelds (3DS and Vita) will be able to gain back at least most of the prevalence their predecessors had (we're sort of going in that direction with the fair number of RPGs heading to the 3DS), it seems that number of RPGs released on mobile platforms will continue to rise. I don't see myself ever playing games on phones, smart or not, but I also didn't see myself playing the majority of video games on handhelds ten years ago.
    " I think this is why aging makes humans die! "
  • DeadBowDeadBow New Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    Interesting Data you've compiled. I would be interested in knowing how localization trends have changed over time. Maybe the percentage of JRPGs localized vs the total released, on a year by year basis. Could be interesting.
  • riulynriulyn Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    This was really interesting. I knew mobile gaming was on the rise but that was definitely much bigger than I expected.
  • SavorienSavorien Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    Am I missing something, or did you forget to include PC releases?
    Vanillaware’s 2D is, once again, shaming their competitor’s 3D. It’s like, what are you even doing with your extra D, jerks? Maybe we should hold that extra D in reserve for you, like a trust, until you are ready. - Tycho, Penny Arcade
  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    We don't need no stinkin' PC's!
  • DaylightDiesDaylightDies Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    DarkRPGMaster said:
    I felt like I was in an economics class while reading what you said Trent. In other words, in one ear, out the other. At least until the conclusion part. Personally, you won't catch me playing games on a mobile device simply because I'm one of those people who feels that they should be used for calling, and nothing else.
    I agree with you about the mobile device comment. At the same time, it tempts me, because there do seem to be some nice, menu driven RPGs out there for mobile that excite me more than a lot of console releases (Chaos Rings, FF Dimensions) so at some point I think I am going to at least lay down on these two.

    In regards to the article, very well written, statistically driven article.
    Bean Forever
  • Private PrinnyPrivate Prinny Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    Very interesting read, thank you for investing your time into this analysis.

    As an TRPG, SRPG Nerd I am also curious if you would release the raw list where you categorized the games?
    I know that this may not be as pretty as your graphs, but I am still interested how many games in this categories I missed (yeah-yeah... many J-Release only, a lot Mobile Release probably but I still want to know it all)

    I also see the rise of mobile rpg-playing but when I am browsing the games on apple store or on specific blogs I am put off by somethimes TOO low production values....I see a dangerous trend here...installed fan-base big, but low price->to keep profitable sell so-so-polished games (and rpgs), cut corners in QA, proofing, etc ....the amount of totally crappy backyard/garage-programming games reminds me of he day of Atari's decline because of low-quality shovelware...
  • ScarScar Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    I blame FF7. No really.

    I wrote an article about the death of RPGs and I pinpointed that being the rise and fall of the genre as we knew it.

    But that was a great read. I too am one of those people who you won't see play a RPG on his phone. I'm fine with playing games on my portable systems though!
  • AurianAurian Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    I play a bit of mobile on my iPod - I learned that while turn-based games are enjoyable, don't rely on any game where precise controls are required - the on-screen controls feel very awkward and frequently my hands get in the way on that tiny screen. Might be better on the i{ad, but that's not fitting in my pocket. I have given up on and actively avoid any game that is action based after several disappointing purchases where I found them to be unplayable.

    Much rather play a dedicated gaming device that has actual buttons and joysticks built in.
  • SavorienSavorien Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    TG Barighm said:
    We don't need no stinkin' PC's!
    Having an MMORPG category without a PC category seems like a giant oversight lol. And lets not forget the era of PC western RPGs like the Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, Elder Scrolls, and Might & Magic series (as well as the strategy RPG Heroes of Might & Magic series!)

    This data is inconclusive, I declare!
    Vanillaware’s 2D is, once again, shaming their competitor’s 3D. It’s like, what are you even doing with your extra D, jerks? Maybe we should hold that extra D in reserve for you, like a trust, until you are ready. - Tycho, Penny Arcade
  • Sega_FanboiSega_Fanboi New Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    Awesome article. But seriously, PC games are really important. Some of the genre's most important franchises live there.

    Scar - I'd like to see this article of yours. I'm curious as to why you think the genre is *dead*.

    Personally, I prefer the RPG experience on a home console. To this day I have never gotten into mobile gaming. I just can't do it.
    "No matter how much they try to make me, I will never drink the water in THAT well."
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  • Southern GeologistSouthern Geologist New Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    Great article, but I'd also like to see the raw data so I can check out the game releases.
  • NefarioCallNefarioCall Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    Great article.
    If you've got a comprehensive list of all the Japan only RPGs that would be AWESOME...
    so i can sit on my computer for a week and research every last one of them. : D
  • retrodragonretrodragon Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! Really interesting read. The major take away for me, was a reminder that the very best ps2 games came out towards the end of it's cycle. What will really be interesting to see is if the ps3 does the same. Currently, 2012 doesn't look to amazing for rpg's IMO, and with the limited time left on the current gen systems I wonder if we will see a "last hurrah" of rpg's on the current consoles. I really don't do handheld gaming too much, so I hope we can see a console rpg revival.
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  • Glowing HyrenGlowing Hyren Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    Savorien said:
    Am I missing something, or did you forget to include PC releases?
    My thoughts exactly.
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  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    Having an MMORPG category without a PC category seems like a giant oversight lol. And lets not forget the era of PC western RPGs like the Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, Elder Scrolls, and Might & Magic series (as well as the strategy RPG Heroes of Might & Magic series!)

    This data is inconclusive, I declare!
    I was joking. I'm getting tired of the dumb PC master race thing and sometimes I feel like taking a shot at them.
  • coyotecraftcoyotecraft Full Members
    edited December 2012
    I'm hoping the mobile phone trend dies before it becomes a standard. "Mobile" says I'm on the go, therefore don't have time to play games. I gave up my smartphone because I never had time to use the monthly data package I was paying for. And when I'm home I have a TV and computer to keep me entertained. It might be convenient for kids who have nothing to do when they are away from home. Or used as another outlet for families sharing a TV or something.
    RPGs might not be dead, but if they aren't marketed towards me and I never see them then its the same thing.
  • HyphyKezzyHyphyKezzy The Best Full Members
    edited December 2012
    NefarioCall said:
    Great article.
    If you've got a comprehensive list of all the Japan only RPGs that would be AWESOME...
    so i can sit on my computer for a week and research every last one of them. : D
    Funnily enough the question I found left sticking in my head is how many western rpgs made it to Japan. I suspect that wasn't looked at but if it was I'd love to hear about it.
    Reads street English and speaks in collegiate - Ras Kass
  • LOLOttertardLOLOttertard Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    I find the numbers of this study to be a tad fuzzy since some genres can overlap (i.e. Japanese RPGs and Action RPGs).
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited December 2012
    As I recall from staff chat, Trent used a specific set of definitions for each category, so "Japanese RPGs" refers to the menu-driven format of Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, et al. rather than to a nation of origin, which is significantly different from the usual action RPG paradigm. I agree that it might be confusing, but I can't really think of anything good enough and concise enough to use instead.
  • ddsfan2ddsfan2 New Member Full Members
    edited December 2012
    This analysis is very interesting and educational, and backs up a lot of data that I gathered, at least on the frequency of console JRPG releases.

    However, like many others here, although I can't speak for them, I find the controls of mobile devices to be so off putting that I probably won't ever bother with them. I know I've changed my mind before, but considering my backlog of over 100 games, I will probably never buy any smartphone games, even if it is only platform offered. (I have never owned a smartphone, and don't want extra monthly fees on something that I will rarely use) I'm just barely getting used to handhelds, having acquired many PSP releases last year, and a 3DS and Vita this year, along with a number releases for the original DS.

    If I ever venture into smartphone gaming at all, it will be on an iPad, (mostly due to the fact that it has, as these charts indicated, by far the most 3rd party support) although I find Apple's stances on controller support and "other" programming languages to be appalling, both as a user and as a developer.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited January 2013
    Pretty interesting article. I'd also love to see the raw data.
    Scar said:
    I blame FF7. No really.

    I wrote an article about the death of RPGs and I pinpointed that being the rise and fall of the genre as we knew it.
    I'd like to read your article Scar. I long ago came to a similar conclusion that, as great a boost to the jRPG acceptance FF7 was, it was also the biggest cause of the stagnation and inability to move on.. at least for quite some time following its release. I'd be interested to see if you came to some of the same reasoning that I did about it.
  • LegendaryZoltanLegendaryZoltan Releaser of Heavy Metal Full Members
    edited January 2013
    Good article! It reminds me of that recent countdown site that I was hoping would be an awesome console space RPG but turned out to be freaking Star Galaxy for internet browsers. I play exclusively PS3 games right now so all these cell-phone and DS games kind of upset me.

    I don't understand why you guys say that FF7 caused the stagnation of JRPGs. If you mean that it was so good that everybody wanted to copy it, that's the fault of developers not the game. Maybe that's not what you meant at all. Could you point me to your article? I'd like to read it.
  • DravDrav A Serious Man Full Members
    edited January 2013
    It's just two FFVIs duct taped together.
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