Every modern gaming title seems to be in 3-D lately. God of War, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Uncharted, and Resident evil are all hit titles, and all are in 3-D. While there are 2-D titles available only a few qualify as hits. 2-D games certainly seem to be on the decline, but will development stop entirely? 3-D games make up the majority of console game sales. Furthermore, 3-D games have an extra element of realism, thus making 2-D games less appealing. Although the number of 2-D titles is dwindling there is still an audience for 2-D games. As a result 2-D game development will continue.
First of all, 2-D game titles still sell. Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, a compilation of 2-D games on the Sega Genesis, was released for PS3 and XBox 360 in 2009. It contains such classics as Sonic the Hedgehog 1-3, Golden Axe 1-3, and Shinobi. Though clearly not up to modern standards in terms of production value, many of the games in the Ultimate Genesis Collection are still fun. Sonic the Hedgehog provides fast paced 2-D platforming that’s very easy to pick up and play. Golden Axe is a simple side scrolling beat ‘em up that’s easy to learn even if you never played the original. The Ultimate Genesis Collection is currently classified as a platinum release for the XBox system, which means it sold 400,000 units in the first 9 months it was released. These sales numbers are quite impressive considering the age of some of the games and the inferior graphics!
Secondly, modern 2-D game titles are still very successful. Mortal Kombat, a modern fighting game released earlier this year, sold 900,000 units in April 2011(the month it was released). Ed Boon, the creator of Mortal Kombat, confirmed on twitter that sales are actually closer to 1 million units because those numbers don’t take into account the collector’s editions of the game. Additionally, Mortal Kombat has released 3 paid DLC expansion packs to the game with at least 2 more in the works. Another example of a successful modern 2-D fighter is Street Fighter IV. SF IV was released in February of 2009, and sold 849,000 units in February alone. The game has been re-re
leased with enhancements twice since February of ’09 and to date boasts sales of 3.1 million worldwide. As evidenced by Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter IV there is still demand for 2-D based games. Furthermore, a properly developed 2-D game can be a huge success.
Some people might say the 2-D game is a dying breed. There is no point to playing a 2-D game unless it has nostalgia value or is a fighting game. This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a variety of new 2-D game titles available for download via XBox live and the PSN Store. Three previously unreleased 2-D games made the Top 10 list for downloads in the second half of 2010 Dead Nation, Zen Pinball, and Critter Crunch. Super Stardust HD is another DLC title that has had success. It’s sold more than 400,000 units to date. It’s worth noting that DLC games ($5-$15) are cheaper and require less of a time investment than regularly priced games ($20 -60$). The price point definitely helps sales of DLC games, but if the games weren’t good to begin with hundreds of thousands of people wouldn’t play them.
Clearly, there is still a demand for 2-D game titles. Older 2-D games titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Golden Axe have nostalgic value for fans of older systems despite inferior graphics and game quality. Even modern titles such as Street Fighter IV and Mortal Kombat with excellent graphics and game quality have found success with a 2-D format. A variety of 2-D games such as Dead Nation and Critter Crunch have found success on X-Box 360 Live Arcade and the PSN. As evidenced by the sales numbers, there is still a demand for 2-D games. Furthermore, the 2-D game format still provides a strong gaming experience. As a result 2-D game development will continue for modern gaming consoles.
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