This gaming generation has seen its fair share of amazing games. Whether it was Overwatch, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, or Bloodborne, only three years in the generation has already proven itself to be something special. However, many consumers have noticed that there appear to be fewer well-received games than during previous generations. There is some truth to this.
As presented by Finder, 20 years of Metacritic history shows a recent downtrend in total number of games reviewed at 90 or higher. While in 2009 the industry saw a total of 20 games reviewed at 90 or higher, in 2016 that number was only 8.
The graph indicates that something happened around the 2012 to 2013 timeframe, shortly before the debut of the PS4 and Xbox One. Although it can be argued that 2012 was an underwhelming year, and a new console generation always tends to start out slow, it's now been several years without more than 11 games rated 90 or higher.
Many consumers blame this on reviewers, who are said to be more critical of games than they used to be. Although this is debatable, there are actually more games releasing every year than ever before. If anything, there should be more games being reviewed at 90 or higher, not fewer.
The best year on record was 2001, which is when Grand Theft Auto 3, Halo: Combat Evolved, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Max Payne, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gears Solid 2, and more than a dozen other games battled for game of the year. The worst year on record was 2015, followed by 2014 and 2016.