Are there are too many video games?

Jeff Vogel wrote an essay on Substack, There Are Too Many Video Games, which argues more or less that there's a lot of important work not getting done, and a lot of not-important work that is getting done, and that this is a problem. As exemplars, he offers that there are 30 games a day being released on Steam, but Seattle is still full of potholes (Vogel, 2022b).

Vogel's argument

Read the essay for the details, but here are a few major points of contention.

It's not just video games

There were many responses along the lines of "no one has ever complained about too many symphonies being written". To be fair, Vogel does include too many songs being written as an example of the problem:

An aside: I am fully aware this phenomenon isn't just video games.

Spotify now gets over 60000 new songs a day. Amazon now has millions of books. My country has over 550 scripted TV shows in production. And then all of the blogs and podcasts and Twitch streams and webcomics and YouTubers and VTubers and on and on and on ...

Yeah, I'm saying there's too many songs. And I know, musicians are the most precious and valuable and significant people there are. I know this because it's what musicians keep telling me. But 60000 a day? Sheesh!

There Are Too Many Video Games - The Bottom Feeder (2022-02-02)

Don't blame capitalism

Don't blame capitalism for these problems. Capitalism is the instrument that made the surpluses that made it possible for you to write art nobody wants in the first place.

There Are Too Many Video Games - The Bottom Feeder (2022-02-02)

Art isn't an inherent good

And don't give me homilies about "All art is valuable." "All creation is precious." "All babies are beautiful." "All our children are above average." None of these things are true.

There Are Too Many Video Games - The Bottom Feeder (2022-02-02)

Some responses

Why not blame capitalism?

If not capitalism as a whole, surely something in the economic system shares a part of the blame? Vogel argues that people should be doing useful things, like filling potholes, but there are not jobs for pothole-fillers. No one is going to do it for free, and no one can legally do that, anyway, so he might as well tell people to get jobs as unicorn herders.

If the economic system isn't allocating value to the things that are actually valuable–that is, if the jobs that we most need done aren't getting done because they don't pay enough, and the jobs that don't need done do get done because they pay 'too much', then that's got to be a problem with the system, right? It's not the individual's fault that they took a (perhaps) high-paying, safe job making video games instead of a starvation wage risking their life doing roadwork. You couldn't ask them to do otherwise. Vogel even acknowledges this fact, but somehow doesn't ascribe the blame to the system–presumably he thinks there's some single individual who made a bad choice a few decades ago, and they just need to get their act together and fix the problem?

Vogel gestures toward the unfairness of the world economy–the 'children of empire' benefiting from the poor living and working conditions of others around the globe–but his solution seems to be that no one should have any leisure, rather than that everyone should have some. We cannot today all be billionaires living in golden palaces–almost certainly no one should be–but the immense gap between the most fortunate and the least is not caused by some kid spending a summer writing a video game instead of doing something 'useful'.

Is it actually not worthwhile to have the art created?

Vogel thinks video games are worthless in and of themselves and time spent playing them is wasted:

Writing a game nobody plays discharges your energy and creates the feeling of achievement, but it's all empty calories and then your car falls into a sinkhole. If your game succeeds, it’s even worse. Your customers are now also expending all of their energy too, playing your game alone in a room.

There Are Too Many Video Games - The Bottom Feeder (2022-02-02)

Is it true? Is all art valueless, frivolous, and ultimately harmful to humanity? Should humans only ever do things of concrete, physical value, like filling potholes? Is there, or should there be, no life of the mind?

It's absurd. Consigning all humanity to a joyless existence in pursuit of productivity is nonsense and a non-answer to the problem. There aren't potholes because people have too little time to fill them, there are potholes because people have too little will to fill them. There is, overall, a huge surplus of time, and if all goes well that surplus should grow. As technology improves, the bare minimum needed for human survival can be provided by a smaller amount of human labor–and luxury can be provided more easily, too.

Are there actually too many video games?

Vogel's whole argument rests on the assertion that 30 games a day is too many, but is it even true? Actually, Vogel initially claimed the number was 300 (2022a). There are a lot of games released on platforms other than Steam, so let's go with that, out of charity to Vogel's argument.

300 games per day is about 110 thousand games per year. Statista (n.d.) indicates that about 3 billion people play video games today. So that's about one game for every 30 thousand gamers, per year.


How many people are involved in making the average game? Or perhaps better: how many people are involved in the making of how many games, each year? I had done some research about team sizes before (Video game team sizes have grown), but it's not quite what I need here.


Global video game users 2027. (n.d.). Statista. Retrieved October 2, 2023, from
Vogel, J. (2022a, January 24). So pointing out the world doesn’t actually need 10000 new indie games a year on Steam will make some people super angry. Note: that’s almost 300 games a day. Suggestion: Think I’m wrong? Prove it by going out and actually trying 1% of those games. (Yeah, I didn’t think so.) [Tweet]. Twitter.
Vogel, J. (2022b, February 2). There Are Too Many Video Games [Substack newsletter]. The Bottom Feeder.