How you would like to see the video game industry change?

I was messing around with Quora and answered the question in the title and thought I’d post it here as a different version of my previous post.

There are two ways that I wish the games industry from change, one from the perspective of an older consumer and another from the perspective of a frustrated developer.

As a consumer, I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to play less and less games.  I simply don’t have 20 hours to invest playing a single game if the experience at the twentieth hour doesn’t change dramatically from the experience of the first hour.  I still find myself completely enthralled by games like Mario Galaxy because they present perpetual cycles of clearly redefining the ruleset of the gameplay.  However, many new games that I purchase and try out define a single gameplay mechanic and simply add 20 hours of content to justify my $60 investment.  Even worse, because of the risk aversion brought on by high development costs, some games provide 20 hours of content without even introducing one single new game mechanic.

As much as I’d hope every game studio could create masterpieces like Mario Galaxy, I think it’s more realistic to hope that the economics will make sense for game developers to find a way to create an experience that matches the strength of the mechanics behind it.  Much like popcorn action films are usually an hour and a half while epics like Lord of the Rings span over eleven hours, I would hope that video game creators could find ways to find the right means and amount of expression for gameplay mechanics of various depths.

This leads directly into the change I’d like to see as a developer.  I am greatly encouraged by the massive growth of gaming lately through party games, mobile games, and social games.  My hope is that as all of these different platforms, interaction methods, and distribution channels allow for a much wider range of games to be viable to develop, but furthermore for the momentum of these types of advancements to accelerate.  I think we’re only at the infancy of the potential for games as a medium and I think it’s about time we see it starting to mature.  I hope that in my career as a game developer I’ll go from “making games for gamers” to “making games for people.”

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