The End of Impulse Game Shopping?
There really is no single definitive answer -- at least not from me. For one, I'm an avid collector and gamer, so from one perspective, there can never be too many games. But that got me thinking, that over the past year or so, I've actually made some significant changes in my purchasing patterns. Overall, there are fewer "bad" games in my collection.
Why is that the case? Are there fewer bad games being published? Certainly not... :)
So it must be a change in my behavior, decision making and valuation of quality. Or something like that.
I do think there are enough gamers with enough disposable income to support more and more game titles, but I think gamers are also becoming much more savvy about investing in games. With so much information available at their finger tips (via sites like BoardGameGeek), consumers are exposed to far less risk than they once were -- you can research a new game, read reviews, download rules and be so much better informed that I think it's easier now to filter through available games and find ones that are more likely to be popular with the buyer. Fewer duds, happier gamers, more money left to spend on other games that interest them.
My purchase behavior has changed substantially over the last few years due to the information available online. While I used to wander into a hobby store and buy games based almost solely on the information on the gamebox, I am far less likely to purchase games on a whim now. Just a few years ago, probably a good 2/3rds of my gaming purchases were based strictly on whim, whereas now I probably only purchase about 10% of my games without doing substantial research, visiting publisher websites, or looking for information on BoardGameGeek.com.
In fact, I'm pretty sure the last 4 games I purchased solely on a whim are among the 4 games I've rated lowest in my collection (rather than just playing another person's copy) over the same time span, starting with War of the Ring (not my cup of tea, as well chronicled in my recent review), GreedQuest (gimmick-driven Steve Jackson game), Kung Fu Fighting (a better version of Munchkin, which may not be saying much) and Marco Polo Expedition (got suckered in seeing it was a Reiner Knizia game).
On the other hand, games I spent time researching, reading reviews for, seeing feedback from fellow geeks, downloading the rules for prior to purchase or otherwise investigating before investing... well, let's just say my success rate has been much, much better.