Dabe Alan

2012 was a dismal year for new IP on consoles (but there are good reasons why)

2012 was a dismal year for new IP on consoles (but there are good reasons why)

The market is hungry for new games, new experiences, and new worlds. That hunger is being exploited by Konami to promote what seems to be the company’s latest Metal Gear title, but when that story ran an analyst at EEDAR was curious about the state of new IP in 2012. So he ran the numbers.

It turns out we were right about the dearth of new games and series this year. In 2011 there were 299 games released based on new intellectual property. This is counting games for the Wii, DS, 3DS, PS3, Vita, PSP, and Xbox 360. That number jumps up if you count PC or iOS games, but we’re focused on the picture in the larger world of mid-tier to AAA development. So in 2011 we saw almost 300 games not based on existing series, franchises, or IP. That’s not bad at all!

In 2012 there were only 195 titles that weren’t based on existing series or IP, including Wii U releases. That’s a 35% drop from the previous year. If you’ve found yourself thinking that it seems like fewer games that aren’t part of a series have been released this year… well, you’re right.

It’s not all bad news

There are a number of caveats to these numbers, however. We’re at the very last part of a console generation, so many developers are holding their new IP for the upcoming new Microsoft and Sony consoles. These numbers also don’t count PC, iOS, or Android releases, and those markets regularly provide us with new and interesting experiences. On the other hand, those games are rarely shown off during press events at E3 or any other big show.

So new IP isn’t as rare as these numbers make it sound, but what is rare is that new IP is given a big push during a show like the VGAs, which is why The Phantom Pain trailer made such a splash. It was nice to see a new game get a big promotional push, especially in a year when so few games based on new IP were released… until we found out the game was likely part of an existing series.

Still, the reason you feel like we haven’t been seeing many new ideas in the traditional console space this year is that we haven’t been seeing many new ideas in the traditional console space this year. That should hopefully improve in 2013 as the new consoles are released, and PC gamers are going to shrug and ask what the problem is, but 2012 was kind of a dismal year for new IP.