Friday, 4 August 2006

Analyze This: Will 'Casual' Games Dominate the Future of the Industry?

In this feature of Gamasutra, the editor asked a question and seeked the answers from three game industry analysts. While it is from a game industry perspective, it indirectly confirms some of the observations I made in Why Most Off the Shelf Commerical Games Will Not Work in Education? And What Is The Alternative?

1. The current breed of high production, high immersive games appeal to the "young male" and not necessarily to a boarder community. Hence using commercial game as a vehicle to get the attention of the next generation can only capture "that much" of the target. Simpler, "casual" games have their value in game industry and by extension, educators should not overlook the potential of "simple games" such as those by Thiagi.

2. As the game industry diversifies to create more "casual" games, I hope some of the lessons learnt by the game developers may be transferable to educational games - again, I refute the notation that we can use commercial games directly in education settings. I am suggesting that we can learnt from them and adopt/adapt the techniques for our purposes.

3. Serious games are still very expensive to produce. Games with less than 1 million dollars are considered "casual" games. Education project with a budget of 1 million dollars (in almost any currency) will be BIG project. Education just cannot afford to spend money to develop serious games for educational use. As I explained in my essay, direct adoption of commercial games is not satisfactory too. We need to tackle the problem with more imagination and creativity!

4. David Cole (the third analysts responded to the question) pointed out one of the factor of the success of PSONE and PS2 is the diversity of the game titles available on these platform. Educators should also take the lesson that there is no one game suit all situation.

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