They have been around for a long time, so there should be an almost incalculable amount of video games out there now. To put things into perspective, the original NES was released in 1983 in Japan and 1985 in the USA, nearly 35 years ago! (If you ever owned an original NES, now is the time you start feeling old.)
Since the original NES, a lot of consoles have been released – originally, it was a head to head between Nintendo, Sega, and Sony, and pretty soon Microsoft jumped in with their Xbox, too.
At this point, we’re on the 8th generation of consoles, so there’s quite a lot of video game titles out by now.
Oh, and so far, we’re not even considering how many games must have been released for the one platform not mentioned yet – the glorious PC!
In fact, it’s probably impossible to count the number of PC games out there, due to the sheer volume and how dispersed the games are. Thousands of games by small developers probably go unknown to most of us, not going beyond their niche audience.
The best attempt at determining how many PC games there are – mainstream, at least – would be to see the Steam store and get a count from there.
Finally, if your definition of “gaming” is broad and you consider mobile games to be “gaming” as well, then there’s the App Store and the Play Store, which have their fair share of games.
Statistics for the App Store were easier to find than for the Play Store. I’m guessing that is because the App Store has more curated apps than the Play Store, so it’s easier to keep track.
Statistics for consoles were the easiest to locate – a simple search on Google for “how many video games are there” and some clicking around got me to a Wikipedia entry on “Lists of Video Games”.
Wikipedia checks and verifies sources quite diligently, especially for high-traffic articles like these, so the articles can be considered pretty reliable.
Each subsequent generation of video games brought forth leaps and bounds in technology, too. The original NES was an 8-bit system, which meant the gameplay and graphics were both fairly simple by today’s standards.
[pullquote]Today’s 8th generation games are massively complex compared to the games back then.[/pullquote] The graphics are obviously better – something that could only be enjoyed on a proper display – but so is the gameplay. There was a time when platform games were the only available games – and that gradually evolved into more complex adventure games, RPG games, until finally, we have the massive open-world games of today like GTA and The Witcher, to name two.
The graphic below is a celebration of video games. From the NES all the way up to the 8th generation consoles, have a look at how many games were produced for each console, what was the best-selling game, and how many copies of that game sold.
Note: consoles are sorted first by manufacturer, then by the number of games produced.
How Many Video Games Have Ever Been Released?
Click Infographic To Enlarge