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Most players don't finish games

We like games – and since you’re reading this site, it seems safe to assume that you like games, too. But according to a recent CNN report, most players don’t finish the games they start.

“What I’ve been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube,” says Activision production contractor Keith Fuller.

The rate of completion doesn’t seem to get much better with critically acclaimed titles. According to social networking and achievement tracking service Raptr, only 10 percent of players completed the final mission in Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption.

Above: According to Raptr, only 10 percent of players actually finished the last mission in Red Dead Redemption. This is why we can’t have nice things

The lower rate of completion can be attributed to the rising age of the average gamer, which the Electronic Software Association says is 37. With more responsibilities, it all adds up to less time for gaming. “We're at a stage now that we're trying to find ways to keep mindshare," Konami's Jeremy Airey tells CNN: "When the consumer is not playing our game, their friends aren't either.” Airey says this is why designers tend nowadays to trim out the filler, making games shorter and leaner – and why publishers make sure to keep up a steady stream of DLC from launch day for players who've reached the somewhat arbitrary mark of “finishing the story.”

With the rising costs of producing AAA titles and fewer players willing to sink in the time required to complete epic 40-hour journeys, it seems that the trend for shorter games and more DLC will continue.

Have you found yourself finishing fewer games over the years? Or do you continue to see the titles you’ve bought all the way through till the end?

Aug 23, 2011

70 comments

  • daniel-abare - October 25, 2012 4:23 p.m.

    I allso forgot to mention some games I never complete because i lost my save data for some reason or another
  • daniel-abare - October 25, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    My problem is I keep buying games without completing the ones. Also some of the games I got over the last couple years because they were cheap. For me it just depends on the game some games I beat several times like dead island and fallout 3 an others I but an just atop playing. playing. I know a lot my games I dont beet but I know I beet some of them. I know a couple of times I would had a game just for 1 week an beat the game an that happen to me sevral of times.
  • Syncmaster - August 25, 2011 8:40 p.m.

    the only reason I dont finish a game is if it sucks at some point, bad design or pure boring gameplay. but god damn I hate when a game I invested hours after hours playing give me a crappy rushed ending... a la bioshock
  • ppopopp - August 25, 2011 1:48 p.m.

    I will never choose a shorter game with dlc over a AAA 40-hour epic. My money and respect will go to those that crafted a complete <I>oeuvre</I> over an ultimately revenue stream driven game.
  • grayguwapo - August 24, 2011 8:09 p.m.

    hmmm... I'm also a culprit of unfinished games but that's only 10% of those I have... reason being is that other more interesting games come out, those that I really like... that 10% are just games to pass the time when none of the games I really want are out... but nonetheless, I sill plan to finish them since games I really want won't be out till Q4 or 2012...
  • amesh321 - August 24, 2011 7:17 p.m.

    for me at least, it all comes down to how well the game keeps my interest from start to finish. some games i'll play till some other game takes over, other games i'll play from start to finish just because their alot of fun or kept my interest long enough to the end. the length of the game has nothing to do with it. but if there are levels or content in there solely for filling game time then it just starts to drag and you move on to something else.
  • Donutman - August 24, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    What about harvest moon games? I bet only 0.1% of people actually finish those.
  • terdferguson - August 24, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    I went 100% in Red Dead. It was the first game where I ever wanted to go 100% and had fun doing it. The hardest part was flower picking in Tall Trees.
  • laurenhiya21 - August 24, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    I don't finish games because I'm slow and school keeps me busy :< Doesn't really help that most of my games are pretty long... But latley I've been trying to finish the games that I actually like
  • gamerbeast - August 24, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    I buy a game, play it for a while, buy a new game, and stop playing the old game :(
  • Link's Left Boot - August 24, 2011 7:52 a.m.

    I've probably completed only about half the games I've bought. Mostly the games I don't finish didn't really grab me and motivate me to see it through to the end. Other times another new game comes along and I start playing it instead. Also I don't think it's very fair to claim people who don't finish games aren't gamers. A gamer is simply anyone who loves playing games.
  • mothbanquet - August 24, 2011 7:43 a.m.

    I have over 200 games and it sickens me that I've probably finished less than half of them. I would blame devs and publishers for churning them out faster than I can get through them but the honest truth is I get side tracked when something new and shiny comes out. As I've grown older (and poorer) I've begun, in recent months, to play for achievements. I've never considered myself an achievement whore but there's a satisfaction in knowing that you've gotten the very most out of the game, and you've gotten your money's worth.
  • marginwalker88 - August 24, 2011 6:56 a.m.

    I'm an older gamer that has never gotten into online multiplayer, so the single player campaign is still my choice, and unless I really dislike the game I finish everyone I start sometimes more than once. I actually think I play and finish more games now in my 30's than I did when I was younger and played more often.
  • InfinityPrimo - August 24, 2011 4:19 a.m.

    I have to say as I got older (27) finishing games wasn't so important. Also I have my own money now which means I can buy whatever the heck I want. Which means more games, less time to finish them. When I was younger getting a new game was an EPIC EVENT, now getting a game is like adding to a collection of post WWII stamps (I have them and I just get them because). Its not a waste of money as some would say, its called dividing your time between work, family (if you have one), Social life (for me dance, music, design), and most importantly Females (they are their own genre, yes). So I can relate as time has shown me more important avenues than JUST video games (I still love them though)
  • Craza - August 23, 2011 10:22 p.m.

    The games I usually don't end up finishing are the open-ended RPG's with lots of side quests and the RPG's that are impossible to defeat unless you grind levels for a few hours straight. Oblivion is a huuuuuuge one for me. I feel bad for not finishing it. To be honest, I've only got 1/3 of the way through it before I got so side-tracked with side quests (Har har) that I could never get back to the main quest. THEEEEEN, I lost all my Xbox data and had to start over. I did, but now I just find the game dull. I can't get back into it. Never finished Morrowind, but I got really close. I stopped playing because I was concentrating on my laptop which was having issues. The games that require you level up to a certain level to even have a remote chance of defeating a boss always get to me too. Tales of Symphonia, Last Remnant, a couple of the Final Fantasys, Enchanted Arms, etc. are all games I haven't finished because I would go through the game, get stuck in a dungeon or on a boss, couldn't level up any more, and would have no way to defeat it. The only game I've finished that was like this was Blue Dragon, and that's because I had gotten stuck on a boss that I couldn't beat but had a save from a few hours back to go and level up so I could redo the dungeon. That was a pain, but I didn't have to start ALL over, like I've had to with many others. This is why I LOVED Eternal Sonata (Which I'm playing through again, actually). You could more or less continue on your path without fighting the same monsters over and over again to level up, and still finish the game without getting stuck. I did level up a bit before I had to fight the final boss, but the whole game before had been easy enough that I didn't need to grind for hours. And I really liked that. I wanted to play through the whole game. I mean, if I wanted to grind levels, I would play an MMO. But, just because the game has a lot of meat to it doesn't mean I'm prone to not finishing it. I've played through Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, Windwaker, Sudeki, Saboteur, and many others more than once. The Zelda games alone, I've probably played through dozens of times. It just depends on the game and how much it pisses me off, I guess. LONG POST IS LONG.
  • quincytheodore - August 23, 2011 10:05 p.m.

    Wow, it's such a waste of money, to buy or rent a game without finishing it. I have about 130 games over 3-4 years owning X360, finished more than half of them. Some I didn't, mainly because: - It's fighting, racing game etc - It crashed - It sucked so bad.. (only a handful of these)
  • NanoElite666 - August 23, 2011 9:44 p.m.

    I can happily say that I usually tend to finish most of the games I start. It may take me a while in some cases (for example, I bought Pokemon Diamond towards the end of '08 and only in the past couple of weeks managed to beat the Elite Four for the first time), but leaving games unfinished bugs me and I will try my damnedest to get through them at least once.
  • spencertucksen - August 23, 2011 9:07 p.m.

    I think RDR is a tough example to use. It is a lengthy game, and the REAL final mission is more hidden than anything. So, unless they're talking about the....uhm.....you know, ending, it doesn't surprise me that a lot of people didn't get to finish it.
  • NubberzTheHedgehog - August 23, 2011 8:45 p.m.

    RDR isn't a good game to use for that statistic. I didn't even know about the ACTUAL final mission until one of my friends told me. Since I didn't enjoy RDR that much I am really surprised that I saw it through to the end.
  • joerevs300 - August 23, 2011 8:41 p.m.

    Everyone has different motivations when it comes to games. A lot of it comes down to the core experience. But I can sum up what this is saying like this... - If you're big into accomplishments (Xbox 360) or trophies (PS3), I think you are FAR more likely to see a game through to completion. - If you're someone, however, that has ADHD, little free time on your hands, etc. you're going to start playing a game and maybe get tired of it, buy a NEW game, and then ANOTHER new game comes out, and before long you've got a bunch of games that are 1/3 completed. For example, I have exactly ONE platinum trophy, and that's Blur (Which is a RARE thing, I can assure you). Why did I platinum that game? Well, as someone who was once 39th in the world on the PS3, I figured it simply made sense to platinum to back it up. Some of those took me 50-60 tries to get specific events (namely, "get all primary lights on Hard difficulty"). But when I DID finish it, it was quite the adrenaline rush. And here's another: So many trophies are put out there that simply will be impossible for 99.9% of most gamers. There are ones on Dirt 3 I KNOW I have no chance in hell of getting LOL FFXIII is another example of an incredibly hard platinum. I remember the joys of renting a game for 2 days and trying to "speed run" through and beat them (I tried that with FFVI (FFIII, SNES), and I ALWAYS ******* died at the burning house LOL Those days are simply gone with most games.

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