Thursday, January 4

Episodic gaming will NOT draw in more game players on the PC

Rick Sanchez over at Gamasutra has an interesting article up on why episodic games on the PC are a good thing. I agree with a lot he says, but he does try to make the argument at the end that it will open up the audience for PC gaming. And that the Wii is just a fad.

I'm not sure how making episodic makes it more open to broader market. The reason YouTube is filled with videos of dads and moms and grandmothers playing the Wii is because the learning curve is small. PC games, episodic or not, are just harder to figure out. Not for those us here or those reading Gamasutra, but for my mom? Yes, it is. Even loading, installing, saving, blah blah, is all just that bit more difficult. If you can't get them to even turn it on, how can you get them to play?

And making it episodic certainly doesn't change that. That is all about game play. Saying "Oh, but all of these people now have access to it because they own PC's and they are now accustomed to buying music from iTunes means they'll down load games"... I don't see the connection. Well, that is not true. I can imagine there will be more break out games on PCs, but along the lines of Bookworm Adventures. Small games that appeal to an audience that just want walk into the game section at Best Buy. Heck, is unlikely to even walk into a Best Buy.

The appeal of the Wii is easy of entry (stop snickering) and family. That is where they are going to draw all of these untapped players.

And as too longevity or the fact the fact that it is of 0.5 of next gen... "moms" don't care. The rest of the world doesn't care. They never have. Maybe the Wii will tun into a gateway console for some folks. Maybe they'll be introduced to gaming via the Wii and then their eyes will wander over to other systems and some will say "Wow! That Halo 3 of FF13 or Crysis sure looks neat..." But it won't be a lot. Because these are people who aren't going to rent Predator or some anime film.

Longevity: There are two systems that the Wii should be compared with as to this. The first is the Gameboy. It lasted because of Tetris and games of that sort. And it lasted forever. Sure it was upgraded along the way, but not hugely until the DS. And many other more advanced portables failed in that time. Because most people (by most people I again mean out of the WORLD, not out of "gamers") don't give a rats ass about tons of features or the best graphics. They want something they understand and can pick up and just play.

The other system: a deck of cards. Or Monopoly. Or any boardgame. Those haven't gone away. People still plat them and with the resolution on then are great, their frame rates are very very slow.

(Sidenote: Sanchez is the vice president of content at GameTap so this may explain his blind spot.)