We’ve never had it so good

A golden age

Which game are you playing at the moment? Or more accurately, which games? And how many are you waiting to play? The dreaded backlog as it were. 2? 10? 100?

Chances are you’re in the middle of multiple games and your backlog is in double digits. If you subscribe to Game Pass, PlayStation Plus and Switch Online you have instant access to nearly 600 games. If we count PC services and mobile too, the games actually available to you will be in the thousands.

Regardless of your platform of choice, it’ll be a lot.

Across physical, digital and streaming services we’ve never had access to so many games. But not only that, we’ve never had access to so many quality games. Sure, not all of them are bangers, but what choice!

We have movie-rivalling blockbusters, one-person passion projects and literally everything in between. New IPs, sequels, remakes and remasters are all there, but we also have access – legal access – to games from the NES, SNES, Mega Drive, N64, PS1, PS2, Xbox, PS3 and Xbox 360 eras alongside them. I mean Pilotwings 64 launched on Switch this week – what a time to be alive!

The range and variety on offer is staggering.

My three most recently played games are Artful Escape, Tinykin and Death Stranding. A bonkers musical side-scroller with a narrative to rival The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a gloriously old-school 3D platformer with style and charm to spare, and Death Stranding, which… well, I’ve probably written enough about that one already. But what a remarkable thing that the industry can cater for three such wonderfully different games. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

A quick look at the release schedule this week sees Lego Bricktales, A Plague Tale, Gotham Nights, Scorn, Mario + Rabbids and Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3 all sitting comfortably next to each other. And there’s a platform and audience for them all to succeed.

There’s never been a time when all of the big platform holders have enjoyed such success at the same time. But better yet, all three are doing things their own way. Microsoft’s end game is to do away with hardware altogether and have games beamed directly to every single screen you own. They’re betting BIG on subscriptions and cloud streaming, and with a reported revenue of $2.9 billion from Game Pass alone last year, who can blame them?

Sony on the other hand continue to find success by playing things a little more traditionally; focusing on the tentpole, blockbuster titles its studios are so good at with a bit of PlayStation Plus on the side. And Nintendo – as Nintendo does – is blazing its own trail with its underpowered console/handheld hybrid, and is currently winning a console war it isn’t even trying to fight in.

Indeed, its never been easier to access games – any age, any genre, any platform, any device. And the cost of entry has never been lower.

This is a golden age of choice and content. A golden age of gaming.

The hard part is deciding what to play next.

This article is an extract from The Week in Games newsletter.

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