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How Long Would It Take To Beat Every Video Game?

"How many hours would it take to play every video game" is one of those questions that pops into your head late at night when you can't sleep. What if you really played every game ever made? How many games are there in the world? 

Believe it or not, without counting mobile games, that number has been approximated: about 40,000 titles. According to a study from GamingShift, there are "33554 games on Steam, 199 games on Uplay, 3125 games on GoG, 1893 games for the PS4, 1760 games for the Xbox One, and 2330 games for the Nintendo Switch." It should be noted that the number has increased since GamingShift's study, but it provides a good baseline.

To figure out this calculation, every video game has been broken down to a basic subcategory: action, adventure, action-adventure, role-playing, simulation, strategy, sports, and puzzles. From there, a specific game from each category has been designated as a control; for example, The Witcher 3 for role-playing games, or Baba Is You for puzzle games. After that, one has to calculate how long it takes to play through the main story of each control title, based on data from HowLongToBeat. So, what number does that lead to?

The controls

Only the main story of each game was considered as a control; for action games, The Last of Us was considered for this calculation; the main story takes about 15.5 hours to beat. For adventure, Monster Hunter: World was picked, which clocked in at 48.5 hours. For action-adventure, it's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which takes about 50 hours. For role-playing games, as mentioned above, The Witcher 3 was chosen, coming in at 51.5 hours. 

For this experiment, the simulation genre's control was F1 2020, which came out to around 20 hours. For sports games, NHL 20 was chosen, which takes 44.5 hours in solo mode. It should be noted that simulators are harder to accurately calculate, as are sports video games, because there often is not much of a main story — so this is a true approximation. 

For strategy games, Fire Emblem: Three Houses was chosen, coming in at 48.5 hours. Last but not least, Baba Is You represents the puzzle genre, which takes about 5 ½ hours to complete.

The math

For these calculations to work, an average of how long it takes to complete one game had to be calculated. So, all the controls were added up, which equaled 284 hours. To get the average, divide 284 by 8 (the number of subcategories) which equals 35.5. So, on average, it takes about 35 ½ hours to complete the main story of one game. Multiply that by the total approximation of how many games there are (35.5 x 40,000) and you get 1,420,000. It would take 1,420,000 hours to complete the main story of every video game.

To put this into perspective, that's 59,167 days, or 162.1 years. It would take roughly two and a half lifetimes to play every video game.

It's important to note that these numbers represent more modern games and big titles, and don't quite account for mobiles gaming or some older platforms. In addition, completionists who enjoy finding every side quest and Easter egg in their games will find that these numbers may inflate a bit. However, with the numbers here, it's safe to theorize that playing all of those games would take at least an extra lifetime or two.