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Mattkancode

Player engagement and the effects on genres and gameplay.

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As the Next-Gen aproaches, we have a lot to look forward to with new design concepts. The rise of companion devices is directly effecting so many new IPs. Whether it be The division or Destiny or old dogs such as Battlefield or even Metal Gear Solid, we are seeing very many new concepts being brought into play to allow for a more stimulative experience. This is shadowed all through the industry by even more ambitious new tech used to stimulate us in new ways. The Occulus Rift will allow for us to view out favorite first person games in a truly firsthand experience. We now have a generation of gaming that truly is attempting to capture a player in new ways only thought to be a dream in the past. This can always be brought down to the simple science of, "we adapt to stay alive". This is true to an extent. But at the root of it all, it is to keep the demographinc engaged. We must keep people involved and interested actively. The key word here is 'active'. Whereas 20 years ago, 16 bit platformers could keep a player actively engaged for hours on end with nothing more than the simple 'jump and move right' mechanic, we now see people actually lose all interest and essentially zone out in games as complicated as Call if Duty or Skyrim and even mineceaft. We see people develop this conscious experience into a subconscious, repetitive interaction. The engagement leaves us over time and we eventually play games on second nature. Sure this is an inevitability with all games if you play long enough but the margin is decreasing rapidly as we progress over the years. Where once we could replay super Mario over and over and be actively engaged in even the most simple gameplay, we now get tired of the latest FPS and can play it with zero active engagement in a mere few hours. So regardless of the cause of this swap, whether it be tech growth and dependency on stimulation on a constant level (i.e. smartphones, mobile platforms, social networking) or just our interest in gaming on the decline, it is an inevitable truth that we, as gamers, require more involvement and stimulation in our games. So as we move forward we see things fall apart. Simulation music games, platformers, puzzle games, fighting games and even turn based RPGs. So how do we keep people interested in these older modes of gaming? How do we keep the stimulation alive? Puzzle games have found a great home in mobile gaming. Effectively keeping them relevant and quite successful. Music games didn't really make it out without some injury and fighting games hold their cult following and remain standing, but on shaky ground. But where does this put turn based RPGs? A classic in gaming. A narritive and once thought to be enthralling experience that kept players involved through story and semi-strategic combat. With less interest in narritive and the turn based idea, it is understandable why they would be on the decline. No arguments on why. We have already established the why. Lack of engagement leads to disinterest over time and in a genre that is based on investment of fifty to sixty hours, time is not a resourse players are willing to spend. "Why would I spend fifty-five hours playing this just to finish the story when i can play the new Call of Duty and finish a game in ten minutes with all the satisfaction of wiping the floor with my opponent?" And we can do this without even thinking. We can simply let our reflexes do the talking and reap the benefits. So how can we bring new light to a dim idea? How can we revive a dying breed? And if there is a way, is it even worth the effort? We have seen so much innovation in new directions but there are only so many directions you can go. Eventually we will need to turn around and use ideas that we may have thought were laid to rest to achieve innovation. Ideas that we may have thought have no place in gaming today on a mainstream level. So perhaps we should look at some of our works and strive to utilize these ideas while they are on a decline because who knows, maybe five years from now the demographic will return and those of us who invested will have an advantage on the competition

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I can has paragraph breaks? ^_^;

 

But, not-tactical turn-based RPGs have been a dead horse for at least 5 years, only FF and Pokemon are still beating it with any success.  On the other hand, I know several people who have over 200 hours logged on Skyrim, some over 300; I don't see them losing interest or zoning out.  If someone took Skyrim's engine and just switched out all the story-related content people would be just as happy to put another 200+ hours in.

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Sorry about the construction of the post. Was more of a late night thought than an organized set of points so on that note I apologize.

But in regards to what you're saying, skyrim sold well and continues to do. But the demographic is diminishing. And i play skyrim as well and i fond myself completely losing interest in active control at very many points. I subconsiously play while i think about work and school and whatnot. I can play for hours and hours but interest is low. And although we may have.friends who can remain engaged, this does not represent the majority. We can not use persona preference or experience when dealing.with design aspects. This is not a business of persons, but people as a whole. That is why we innovate and change. And it wont be long before the elder scrolls will begin to perish as all things do eventually. But where do we go from there? I hope that is a better.conveyance of some of my points. Also TBRPGs are on a decline but that's where the innovation kicks in. Change and adaption to remain relevant.

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perhaps players are less engaged, because game are less engaging?

 

your point about tastes maturing is good. jump and shoot might have been enough for some folks, and probably will be forever for some folks. but once the novelty wore off, those looking for a bit more were no longer interested.  as a hard code sim fan, i won't touch a jump and shoot - to me its just a child's toy or plaything. to that end, once the novelty of fps wore off, its was simply a 3d jump and shoot (even oblivion), and once again, therefore not engaging (except perhaps to a five year old - no offense anyone!). unless a fps title offers significant other gameplay such as story or deep simulation, disenfranchisement is the inevitable outcome for all but the least sophisticated players.

 

its all the inevitable result of games going mass market.  to appeal to a broader market, like any product, a game must be dummied down to the lowest common denominator of appeal, usually violence and sex in the case of games.  so in the quest to maximize sales, games tend to evolve into games that only cater to the "whatever dude! i just want to shoot stuff!" crowd and no one else.  have you never heard the quote:  "mass market crap for the mindless masses!"  ?    that's what games are becoming / have become - especially commercial titles.

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You make some great points here! And i guess i agree with you. Maybe its just our growth as a people. Maybe thus is why we are seeing a new Indie revolution.

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