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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Gamasutra - The Megatrends of Game Design, Part 4

Default Gamasutra - The Megatrends of Game Design, Part 4

December 27th, 2008, 22:02
Gamasutra has been doing a series of feature articles by Pascal Luban (Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory) on the most important trends in game design as he sees them, and this one has a variety of observations, from which I'm singling out his views on the aging of the gaming population and how it will affect the games that people want to play. As an older gamer myself I don't agree with all of this, but it does paint an interesting picture:
Megatrend VIII - The aging of players

As economists well know, the consequences of the evolution of demographics are silent, but tremendously powerful. The aging of the gaming population is one such example. This aging is, of course, purely statistical; there will always be as many young gamers as ever, but today's younger players will age just like the rest… and will keep on playing.

The good news is that the gaming population will keep on growing; however, it will have an increasing number of "old" players (i.e. those above 35 years of age).

How are these players different from their younger counterparts?

As slow as this evolution is, it is unavoidable. It will create a new category of players, or at least new needs. We do not approach gaming in the same way if we are 20, 35 or 50 years old. What can we expect?

* Older gamers will increasingly hold a greater interest in themes that are presently uncommon or poorly developed, such as economic or political simulations.
* These players will be less likely to invest themselves in complex games, primarily due to lack of time.
* They will assign a greater importance to game-generated emotions and moral dilemmas.
* It will become increasingly difficult to establish suspension of disbelief for such players. Mature gamers will have a harder time becoming immersed in less believable plots or universes.
* These consumers will not be covered by the traditional video gaming press.
* Lastly, they will possess greater purchasing power for impulse buying.

What can we expect in regards to game design?

To satisfy this new class of player, publishers will either have to adapt their existing products, or will be compelled to develop games specifically for this new target audience.

* Less fantastical characters and situations
Video game characters often possess a marked lack of believability. Yet, it is quite possible to give real depth to game characters, including those of action games. Metal Gear Solid 3 is a good example of this.

The use of real screenplay writers, at least as consultants, should become a more widespread practice. Let us not forget that a professional screenplay writer also knows how to write good dialogue, an important component in the final quality of the work.
More information.

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December 27th, 2008, 22:02
Ah, one of the very, very, very few sites 3that actually seem to acknowledge that there's a thing like "ageing gamers" !

Now, what they have to see as well is that this "niche" quite demands some appropriate content, too. No more dumbed-down gaming !

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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December 28th, 2008, 00:05
Point one and point two seem to be at odds with eachother.
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December 28th, 2008, 12:04
Oh, not really. I think the problem isn't the complexity of a game but more the stupidity of some design decisions which make the game complex and difficult to control.

e.g.: Civ4 is a fairly complex game, yet I can play a huge map for days, stop playing for a month an start playing the same map again. And after looking at a few charts I actually know what my current situation is and how I could proceed with my game strategy. All it took was a 10 minute look at a few charts and on the map.
And that means that the Civ4 designers actually have a good user interface and an understanding of what is important or not.
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December 28th, 2008, 17:46
Yes, I agree with this article 100%.

As for points one and two, it is sort of a contradiction based on the way it was worded, but still appropriate. I, for example, love space simulators, but there are none on the market worth the investment right now. X3 is probably the most beautiful example, but it's so complex I simply don't have the time or desire to learn it. - It's easy for older, or busier, gamers to feel overwhelmed by the endless possiblities and controls in many games.

IMO The Witcher was the best game for older gamers to come around in a long long time. If you think about it, it fulfilled nearly every one of the criteria this journalist outlines - Deeper, more believable plot that had mature political overtones. The combat was simple to learn and accessible to older *slower* players, etc..

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December 29th, 2008, 08:45
I want to agree, but reading at what age a gamer becomes old i must disagree.

I am not old, i just don't play crappy games. Why don't leave it with that!

35+ … thats not becomming of age its being a rich teenager!
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December 29th, 2008, 16:02
The storyline and depth of Metal Gear Solid 3 was great. It was really a mature game as far as how the story goes, especially for those who enjoy history.

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December 29th, 2008, 19:17
Originally Posted by mute View Post
35+ … thats not becomming of age its being a rich teenager!
I'm 39 myself. No joke.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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