Where have all the middle games gone?

Ryan Winterhalter wrote a great piece last week about the decline of middle-class games. “It seems that players are spending more time playing games, but paradoxically spending that extra time with fewer titles,” he says. “Game makers have never in the forty-year history of the medium had such a massive consumer base to sell to, but players have never been so unwilling to try new experiences.”

Previous research from 1995, he says, predicted this polar trend of the rise of indie and AAA titles at the expense of the middle. When inundated with more choice, he says, consumers aggressively seek out either the best product available or the most-well connected popular games like Call of Duty so they can share their gaming experiences with other people.

Concludes Winterhalter, “While I hold out hope for the medium-sized publishers still standing, games may fall into two, broad categories in the future — small indie titles that take advantage of digital distribution to turn a modest profit, and massive AAA blockbusters of little substance. This dichotomy is already transformed the music and film industries, it will do the same to games.”

What do you think: Is the absence of middle-tier games a bad thing?