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Console Releases

 

Looking at consoles, we can see a fairly substantial decline in RPG releases since 2005. If this could be attributed to anything, it would likely be a mix of last generation systems starting to show their age and current generations systems inhibiting the same magnitude of releases with higher development times and costs. That said, there has been a slight upswing in releases for console systems in the two years after 2009.

If we were to cite any noticable trend for the increase in console RPGs since 2009, it would be the increasing frequency of western RPGs. Many of these titles have typically found a home on the PC, but with improving technical specifications, consoles are finally a viable environment for this subgenre. As a result, western RPGs have seen a sharp increase in releases.

Action RPGs, tactical RPGs, dungeon crawlers, and JRPGs continue to dominate console RPG releases, but tactical RPGs and action RPGs have been on the decline since 2008. In examining other platforms, it would appear that tactical RPGs are more often finding their home on portable systems or mobile devices, but it's hard to pinpoint a reason why action RPGs would be experiencing an overall decline.

The PlayStation 2 was clearly the dominant platform on the market until about 2008, when Microsoft finally upped its game and began greenlighting more RPGs for the Xbox 360. From there it becomes hard to judge whether the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 is a better system for RPGamers to own. Technically, the PlayStation 3 has more overall RPG releases and boasts far more exclusive JRPGs and action RPGs than the Xbox 360, but almost a quarter of those RPGs never hit Western shelves. The Xbox 360, on the other hand, has more western RPGs and a robust indie market to draw from. Your allegiance to either system will probably depend on personal taste. The clear loser of the most recent console generation is the Nintendo Wii. While it had a surprisingly strong year for RPG releases in 2009, the Wii has been unable to attract many RPG franchises. It's hard to say whether this is due to the Wii's audience or the console's design itself.

While the console platform is indeed strong, it does suffer from limited releases outside of Japan. Over the past ten years, about 40% of the RPGs released in that region have yet to be released to the West. To put things in perspective, that's just over 190 RPGs.

 

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