Fast Food Gaming

Posted on Thu 12 January 2012 in video games

The following paragraphs are quoted from an interview that gamesradar did with Michel Ancel and Gabrielle Shrager (Rayman):

GR: What, if anything, do you think is wrong with the games industry right now? Or right, for that matter?

MA: It’s very hard to emit an opinion on what’s good and wrong, because everything is going so fast. Maybe too fast. Maybe that’s the main thing, is that people are jumping from one thing to another, and the bad thing that could happen to videogames would be to have games that you buy for one dollar, but you just play part of it and you move to another one, another one, another one, and you never really go deep in one game. And this could be a bad thing, the fast food of the games. And then, as old gamers, we could say, “Oh, in our time, we were waiting for a game! A game was something important, but now we have tons of games, and the price cut makes them like fast food.” Maybe this could be a bad thing. At the same time, it’s a way to enter the videogame world easily, because you can play a game for free or one dollar. So maybe the entrance is easy, but then the game must be longer, or the wait as we make the game must be different. So we have to deal with this new way of making games.

It is critical to establish the fact that the fast food consumption of video games is probably already happening. I can recall having several games on my STEAM account, which I’ve bought (not necessarily as part of a bundle) and have never ever played. Truth be told, I don’t even know if I ever get around to playing them. The problem is that there is only so much time one can spend with games and there are far more games being produced and published than one person himself can play in a immersed way. I find myself being drawn to books and movies and social activities too and that has to be subtracted from the leisure time there is for video games.

There is also the thing with time-management that becomes more and more mainstream oriented. Instapaper and Readitlater have started the trend. The inclusion of a Reading list in Safari and Mobile Safari has only accelerated the need for time managing solutions. I’ve seen Krystian from gamedesignreviews.com creating a backlog for older games in his posession and updating it.

Video games have to compete with many different leisure time activities. The more time consuming (and I don’t use that in a negative way) a game is the harder it will have to gain mainstream acceptance, that is what the “experts” want you to believe. I can only suggest looking at the epic adventure that Skyrim is and its impact during the launch week. A slight hint: It didn’t struggle to amass extremely long playtime.