Wednesday, June 3, 2015

GameDB News Roundup 01/2015

This blog post shall be the start to a series of news items which shortly summarize the latest developments in the video game database landscape. As we closely watch a number of projects, it's only logical to collect all the news in one place.

In the last months, three databases reported new contribution milestones regarding the number of games in the databases. MobyGames reached 50K "unique games", the rather new project IGDB reported reaching 10K games, and the Italian project UVL even celebrated 100K games lurking in their database. Now does that mean that MobyGames is five times as successful as the IGDB, and the UVL is twice as successful as MobyGames? Obviously not.

It's not only that the mandatory data for a new "game entry" vary between the databases, where, exemplary, a new MobyGames entry needs a description, a release date, and company credits when going live. It's mostly the definition of what gets a new database entry. For instance, within MobyGames every compilation gets its own entry, while the lot of 100K entries at UVL is more of a game-per-platform thing.

So, the numbers can't be compared, and when we think about Oregami's future numbers, they will be rather low. That's because we will try to hold all the releases of a game together under one database entry, as long as the gameplay stays roughly the same. And while add-ons and compilations will still get their own database entry, too, because they have its own release history, we will be able to clearly distinguish between database entries for games, add-ons, and compilations, and be transparent about it.

In other MobyGames news, they recently removed all their water marks on screen shots and cover scans, inviting the community to freely use the data where appropriate. Kudos for a bold step long overdue! MobyGames also has a new active programmer who is steadily working to fix bugs and modernize the site design, and an active admin who constantly adds platforms missing from the database. expanded their console coverage with these new releases:

The IGDB activated a new advanced search feature for public consumption. The first tests of the new search suggest an implementation well done, which enables the users to search for games using a free set of criteria all over their database, a feature which MobyGames is sorely lacking, for instance. It will be interesting to further play with this new search and discover its strengths and weaknesses.

The UVL also aired an update to the site with the following improvements:
- "Last update" column now available in games search page
- Three new xreferences were added : VGMdb, albums, games
- Fixed links to search Google for SKU, UPC and EAN xrefs.
- Temporarily removed the details about users marking games as own etc.
- Displayed the ratings charts below the collapsabe sections, until ratings, votes and reviews are merged in one proper section
- Improvements to the gallery logic
- New layout for tags column wasting less space (best option should be to move the editing actions to the a proper section in the same page and have two customized layouts )
- The new game info page is now online
VideoGameGeek reworked their image upload policy. The most noticable change is them expanding the screen shot limit to a lot of 24 per game.

The people at obviously pulled the plug on their project, since it's unreachable for several weeks now. This step could be related to the open beta of IGDB, as this project will probably be what VGList aimed to be.

So much for our first foray into the world of video game databases out there, let's see what happens next.

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