Forums > News > Survey of the Video Game Reissue Market

user avatar

MobyReed (318) on 7/12/2023 11:04 PM · Reply · Permalink · Report

The Video Game History Foundation published an in-depth study on the video game reissue market, and we're honored they chose the MobyGames database for this important work!

From the study, page 16:

To examine the state of the video game reissue market, we needed a large dataset of historical video games which we could compare against the games currently available on the marketplace. For this study, we decided to use data from MobyGames, a community-run database of video game releases. Out of every game database we examined, MobyGames has the largest and richest corpus to work with for our research question. While any database of games will always be a work in progress, we believe MobyGames has the most active community of volunteers keeping the database as complete as possible.

We considered other databases, such as IGDB.com, an industry-favored video game database that provides game metadata to (and is owned by) the popular game streaming website Twitch. However, we found that these other databases tended to focus on current releases, while MobyGames had more comprehensive information about historical game releases (eg., at the time of designing this study in summer 2022, IGDB had information about approximately 290 games for the Commodore 64, while MobyGames had cataloged over 5000 games for the same platform).

While we recognized concerns about whether a community-driven database could be considered less authoritative than a database managed by the industry itself, we found notable support for MobyGames from within the industry. In particular, the website was recently purchased by Atari SA, the current owners of the Atari brand, specifically for the depth of its metadata for historical games. Atari SA CEO Wade Rosen, who previously served as CEO of Ziggurat Games, a company that specializes in reissuing out-of-commerce video games, has praised MobyGames as “a central repository” for information about historical video games and noted its “sustained and important role in the documentation, celebration and preservation of video games.” This gives us further confidence in MobyGames’ authority as a data source for our research.

Results:

Only 13 percent of classic video games published in the United States are currently in release (n = 1500, ±2.5%, 95% CI). These low numbers are consistent across platform ecosystems and time periods. Troublingly, the reissue rate drops below 3 percent for games released prior to 1985—the foundational era of video games—indicating that the interests of the marketplace may not align with the needs of video game researchers. Our experiences gathering data for this study suggest that these problems will intensify over time due to a low diversity of reissue sources and the long-term volatility of digital game storefronts.

user avatar

hoeksmas (142294) on 7/13/2023 9:13 AM · Reply · Permalink · Report

The maor flaw with that assumption is probably less than half of commercially released pre-1985 games are even on Mobygames. I've added thousands, and I'm not even close to finishing.

user avatar

Kayburt (28257) on 7/13/2023 12:48 PM · Reply · Permalink · Report

It would probably take a collaborative effort to actually finish. It took me many weeks to finish the 3DO. I have quite the mountain of games and systems I’d like to finish. I’m currently diving into the Game Boy iceberg, which I find is in dire need of maintenance (missing specs, missing releases, etc.)

user avatar

hoeksmas (142294) on 7/13/2023 2:49 PM · Reply · Permalink · Report

Very true. Veddar does a fantastic job on the really old stuff, and he's more thorough than me. I only add games I can find a copy of to play. Beyond that, there's just not a ton of contributions to the early days of video gaming. I suspect we'd need to add 10,000 - 20,000 new games to really have a near complete description of all the PC games from the 80s. They're just slow to add because there's no shortcuts for adding these old games.

user avatar

Kayburt (28257) on 7/13/2023 12:44 PM · Reply · Permalink · Report

Wow. This is very prestigious. Hopefully we’ll get to see the fruits of the research. I can see that the end result of such research would result in an intriguing documentary. For instance all the tech specs of every game on a single platform could tell researchers the boundaries of the computer or console’s hardware limitations, were chips and peripherals alone cannot.

We should all keep doing what we’re doing and see just how much gamers, enthusiasts and hobbyists everywhere can get out of MobyGames. It’s an honor to contribute here.