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Social Networks The Internet Games

The New Reality of Gaming 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-the-schools dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Video games used to be about fighting aliens and rescuing princesses, writes Rohin Dharmakumar in Forbes, but the most popular games today have you tilling your farm, hiring waiting staff and devising menus for your restaurant or taking your pets out for walks while maintaining cordial relations with the neighbors. 'Reality, it would seem, is the new escapism.' Video games of the pre-social network era were mostly played by boys or young men but 'now the core audience of social network games are girls and young women,' says Alok Kejriwal, founder and CEO of games2win, an online gaming company. The tipping point in the US came in 2008 when women outnumbered men on the Internet. Combined with millions of parents and grandparents who're new to the Internet, the traditional face of the gamer is changing from that of a 25-year-old male to a band stretching from 16 to 40 years comprising men and women in almost equal numbers, says Sebastien de Halleux, one of the co-founders of Playfish, who predicts that someone is going to create a social game very shortly that pulls in a billion dollars a year. Gaming for this new set of players is less about breathtaking graphics, pulsating sound or edge-of-the-seat action and more about strengthening existing real world relations through frequent casual gaming. 'Think of these games as a sandbox where everybody has the same tools, yet everyone achieves different results,' says de Halleux."
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The New Reality of Gaming

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  • by oWj9*7!7dsggh7 (1952478) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @02:39AM (#34470514)
    You know, as a form of challenging relaxation, only coding and writing prose really satisfy me. I used to watch people playing Doom in the computer lab for hours and maybe days, but I could never get into it. Sim City was worse. Even among the geekish, I guess I'll never really fit in.
  • the real truth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @03:06AM (#34470652)
    I think people like me seriously got way too good at doing anything video game related as far as old school ones go. I'm a Mario Kart and pod racing diety, can shoot anything with anything you put in my virtual hands, and will be optimized at any RTS game in minutes. People just got far too good at tradition video games so they had to make them more open ended and "complicated" while actually making the actions simpler.
    That and the fact that most "gamers" now aren't gamers. Not many people originally were so they dumbed it down to bring in people who wouldn't have classified themselves as video game enthusiasts before. Now they outnumber hardcore gamers so it looks like tastes have changed while in reality it's the audience that changed.
  • by Razalhague (1497249) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @04:27AM (#34470974) Homepage
    I find myself extremely reluctant to pay any additional fees if I've already paid for the base game.
  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @06:03AM (#34471288)

    Maybe you just haven't tried the right computer games. I admit to being addicted first to Wolfenstein 3D and then Doom when they were released, but they were very simplistic games and the graphics sucked. They were much better than the first computer games I played on my friends PDP11 though: Super Star Trek, Spacewar, and Colossal Cave. You didn't even like computer games as a child? I loved them, and they made me want to write some of my own. Even if you are highly intelligent there are some very challenging (pc) games out there. I guess the problem with any of them is that you don't really end up achieving anything by playing them. In that sense writing code or just writing is more satisfying. You end up with something to show for your efforts.

  • Re:money money money (Score:2, Interesting)

    by buruonbrails (1247370) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @09:38AM (#34472482) Homepage
    The funny thing is, most "social games" developers prefer playing FPS, strategies or RPGs themselves, but design their social games as dumbed down as possible, so that they're accessible by the stupid masses. Why? Cause that's where the money is.
    I didn't believe the statistics until I developed a couple of social games as a side projects. The most profitable players are mid-aged women. This holds true even for games where the vast majority (over 80%) of active players are male. It's not uncommon for a mid-aged woman to spend ridiculous amounts of money on a social game, so that she can click the shiny buttons all week long. I still don't know the reason of this phenomenon. Maybe, they have a lot of free time and rich husbands...
  • Re:Divided by genre (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Idiomatick (976696) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:06AM (#34473548)
    Yeah... WOTLK reached a level of ease that a group of semi-concious troglodytes could beat almost every fight in the game.

    Cata can't and won't fix it. The problem is that the game has been too easy for too long. It started OK. Buuut now the player base is a bunch of idiots that are terrible at video games. If they restore the difficulty to like... some reasonable level they'll lose too many players.

    This is a problem plaguing the whole industry. The pool of players has grown, the vast majority of the growth in the terrible player sector. The breadth of players is far to wide to throw everyone into the same difficulty game and expecting it to work out. It will be impossibly hard for some and mind numbingly easy for others. They need some form of adjustable difficulty. Maybe hard mode servers (D2 had hardcore). It is a problem that many companies aren't bothering to solve.

    Sidenote: I hate it when people refer to people that suck as 'casuals'. I play infrequently, making me a casual. But I don't suck. My cousin plays frequently and is terrible. Political correctness is no substitute for technical correctness. If you are going to use a term don't conflate it with something else.

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