PS5 Says No to Game Shows – Apparently

by Palabar

Game shows, of the network TV type, might not seem like the most popular entertainment option in America but anybody who grew up on a diet of The Price is Right and Jeopardy! could tell you something different.

According to figures from Nielsen, the long-standing champion of daytime television has found new growth, courtesy of 18-34-year-old viewers on streaming platforms.

The Price Is Right

This latter point would seem to indicate a shift away from the older viewers that have traditionally consumed game show content. Millennial and Gen Z excitement about TV quizzes have its limits. For one, game shows are no longer making it across the digital divide to PlayStation hardware. PushSquare mentions that just one game show title – THQ Nordic’s Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? – appears in the PS5’s catalog.

While that’s unlikely to bother most gamers, who have another Resident Evil to play through this year (the PS5’s fifth), the lack of game show games does seem to represent the death of a trend. The era of the first Wii console design (2006-2014) arguably saw the peak of the genre, with releases such as The Price Is Right (2008) earning a devoted fanbase despite critics’ dismay.

Since then, things have petered out – or have they? The reality is a bit more complicated. Game show titles are rarer than hen’s teeth on the PS5 (there are just five on the PS4 too) but there are plenty of examples sequestered in other places. The obvious place to look is on the App Store and the Play Store, which is where players will find Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, and Family Feud, in addition to British phenomenon The Chase.

Computer Generation

Game shows are arguably much more suited to the mobile environment than more static hardware, as each contestant gets a console to play the game with, namely, their smartphone. Having said that, outside the iPhones and Androids of this world, there’s a feeling that game shows are reverting to more traditional modes of playing, which further muddies the trajectory of the humble quiz.

The Wheel of Fortune-like game Crazy Time seeks to reintroduce the live, human presenter to the game show experience by dispensing with computer generation and similar quirks that tend to give console experiences a shelf-life. MrQ’s Crazy Time guide notes that the game, which won an innovation prize at the 2020 SBC Awards, tasks the player with placing wagers on a 54-segment wheel.

Crazy Time is superficially similar to roulette, in that contestants must guess where the wheel will come to a stop. As such, it can be played with popular casino strategies such as Martingale (double-up bets on a loss). What separates Crazy Time from other wheel games is the quartet of bonus games available. These range from a pachinko minigame to a simple coin flip.

Due to game shows’ apparent movement away from console hardware, it’s unlikely that any of these newer experiences will ever make their way to the PS4 or PS5. Still, with the streaming platform Twitch also allowing presenters to play game shows with their fans, the genre remains accessible even if it ends up being removed from consoles and TV altogether.

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