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Fun vs. Casual At EA 29

Posted by Zonk
from the not-just-for-grannies dept.
Game Tycoon has up an interview with Todd Kerpelman, the Creative Director for EA's Pogo Games. Pogo specializes in the market of 'casual games,' and the site quizzes him on what it takes to make simple games fun. From the article: "If you want to focus more on casual games, I think it's a common trap for game designers (myself included) to come up with some idea that's innovative or clever, and we end up being so impressed by our cleverness, that we often overlook the fact that there's a simpler (and probably more fun) solution out there. So maybe the issue isn't that there's "fun" stuff that doesn't make for popular games, but there's 'clever' stuff that we often mistake for 'fun.'"
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Fun vs. Casual At EA

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  • And if you don't make a fun game, you get fed to Albert the Alligator.
    • > And if you don't make a fun game, you get fed to Albert the Alligator.

      Yeah. Now Pitfall... there was a great example of a game that was both simple and fun! (Now what about the, umm... pogo stick that appeared in Pitfall: The Lost Expedition? It must work, because Edge of Reality hasn't been borged by EA yet :)

  • Kill EA (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Kill it good! :-)
  • And then (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Konster (252488) on Monday July 10, 2006 @07:06PM (#15694529)
    First, you make fun games, then EA buys you, works your company into the ground until all the best talent leaves, then takes whatever is left and sells the same thing year after year after year with only minor revisions. Then the suits sit around in slack-jawed befuddlement at why the numbers are down, and business is dropping.

    It's not like PC gaming is a new thing; it's been around long enough for companies to have a pretty firm grasp on what makes a game fun. And yet, the suits sit around in slack-jawed befuddlement at why the numbers are down, and business is dropping.
    • Re:And then (Score:4, Funny)

      by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday July 10, 2006 @07:11PM (#15694551) Journal
      " ... Then the suits sit around in slack-jawed befuddlement at why the numbers are down, and business is dropping."

      Well the problem is simple. The fact is the programmers dont work hard enough and we need to increase productivity by firing people and have 1 programmer do the work of 2. That will make us so much money and solve the problem.
    • I think one of the big trends in business right now is to cut costs. A lot of management doesn't realize that cutting costs does not mean that a project is going to do better. In fact, it has the opposite effect, especially in game development. Almost all companies that make good games (Blizzard, Square for the most part, and others that I'm not remember at the moment) don't rush them out the door and refuse to set dates for release. However, there isn't any one way to guarantee that a game will be good
    • That's why I'm buying Spore, but not Spore 2, or should I say Spore 2008.
  • My fear (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Monday July 10, 2006 @07:56PM (#15694788) Homepage
    I used to be a hardcore gamer but now, after leaving college and entering the work force I have been forced to become a casual gamer due to lack of time.

    That is fine, there is an increasing number of games being made for people like me.

    HOWEVER! My big fear is that companies like EA will look at these two markets...the hardcore and the casual and say "hmmm, the hardcore gamers will pay outrageous monthly subscription fees and pay for addons and the casual gamers are adverse to it because the value for their time spent playing said purchased products will be far less than that of gamers who have more time to spend playing and therefore getting their dollars worth"

    At this point, the suits will perform a dark ritual that will summon a demon who will command them to find a way to rape the casual gamers and milk them for all they're worth, such as by charging a higher monthly fee for an "accelerated account" that will be capped at the number of hours you can play it per month, but will allow you to advance in the game faster (such as by getting more XP per kill). I'm actually surprised nobody has thought of that model yet. But yeah, my big fear is that EA will say "casual gamers won't buy as much as hardcore gamers, but maybe we can charge them more for less".

    • such as by charging a higher monthly fee for an "accelerated account" that will be capped at the number of hours you can play it per month, but will allow you to advance in the game faster (such as by getting more XP per kill). I'm actually surprised nobody has thought of that model yet.
      You need to patent this idea immediatly so that EA/SONY/{{insert joyless game corporation here}} can never do this to us, or make them pay severely if they do.
      • Re:My fear (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
        If only you were legally allowed to patent business models...oh wait.

        I'm actually curious though, can anybody poke some holes in the "accelerated account" I describe in my grandparent post? I'm curious if that kind of thing would actually work or if it has serious issues. If it wouldn't work then thats one less thing to worry about.

        • well,

          capped playtime might not be very good in an mmo model. It could discourage the player from playing sometimes which could lead to them quiting.

          would players be able to switch from one model to another?

          I think players would use the accelerated account to level up in less playtime(waste less of your life grinding) then switch to the cheaper model that doesn't have capped playtime and play the "fun parts" of the game. The community might not like this.

          The hardcore player might get many of these more expen
        • Well, from a purely WoW perspective, hitting level 60 isn't really the goal of the game, it's the phat loots that you get from making endless high level raids.

          Which is why I cancelled my account.

          So levelling up faster just gets you to the end game faster which just lets you... um... Yeah, I don't know what the point is after that.

          I'm probably too jaded on MMOs to be much use to you. Right now, they all seem to embody the worst elements of capitalism both in their billing model and their gameplay.
        • Actually, you can already see a bit of this business model in modern online games in what I like to call a "pay for perks" business model. In this model you don't pay just to play the game, but you do pay for enhancements ("perks") in the game.

          A great example of this for a U.S. game is Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates [puzzlepirates.com]. In addition to the subscription-based servers, you can join servers that are free to play. However, some activities and in-game items cost "doubloons", which are a currency that can only bought usin
    • by Behrooz (302401) on Monday July 10, 2006 @10:05PM (#15695394)
      Ebay = accelerated accounts. It's already happened, but the MMO game makers are either a little slow to get on the bandwagon or terrified of the PR nightmare of market forces kicking the crap out of gameplay.

      Personally, I think any game where players want to skip ahead that badly has serious design issues to begin with. I can't believe that anyone plays the current generation of MMO games, because they are all straight-up retarded.

      If P.T. Barnum had lived long enough to see the internet, he'd have had to change 'There's a sucker born every minute' to 'There's a retard born every minute'. Then he'd have married Lowtax and proceeded to make WoW, but with lots of circus animals instead of orcs.

      • I have spoken to many people who have made these games, and even they admit they just aren't fun yet.

        You have the powerful model, the Everquest model, which caught on here and made someone a lot of money. Now every toothbrush salesman who has 40 million to throw at an MMO wants an Everyquest model game. So they want swordfighting, they want adventure, they want light questing, and they want a bajillion hours of content, updated in 6-month expansion packs. And with World of Warcraft, they want auction hou
      • Personally, I think any game where players want to skip ahead that badly has serious design issues to begin with.

        That's like saying that any game with god mode in it has serious design issues. Just because someone wants to get ahead doesn't necessarily mean the game is unfun or boring, but rather that people like to get ahead. This feeling tends to be more acute in online games ("MMORPGs") because you're competing against other people and some people just can't stand being the second banana. Not to say t
      • Personally, I think any game where players want to skip ahead that badly has serious design issues to begin with.

        I agree, wholeheartedly. I used to play Diablo II a lot, and almost NOBODY actually played the games. There were, out of the 27 quests, maybe 15 that were completed a lot; some players chose to run through the game completing far fewer quests than this. Everyone asked for a "rush" to the next difficulty, and then to the next, and then to the last boss in the last difficulty, at which point

    • At this point, the suits will perform a dark ritual that will summon a demon who will command them to find a way to rape the casual gamers and milk them for all they're worth, such as by charging a higher monthly fee for an "accelerated account" that will be capped at the number of hours you can play it per month, but will allow you to advance in the game faster (such as by getting more XP per kill).

      You know, I hate you for even dreaming this up, let alone voicing it. You know SOE will find and exploit i

    • Then adults like us buy a Wii which nintendo will be marketing towards casual and hardcore gamers alike. I hate consoles compared to pc's because the games are not as customizable and the controls are not as good. Net play is another reason.

      But nintendo actually makes some fun and fine games like Zelda and mariokart. I think I will keep the pc for FPS's though for obvious reasons.
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