The gaming landscape is changing faster than ever, and now with Augmented Reality I think we will see some new formats and ideas in gaming and hopefully some old ideas will resurface. Ricardo recently set up a linux box emulating N64, SNES, Nintendo, Sega Genesis and more. As we watch our kids play (and play ourselves; who could resist the nostalgia?) we see how the relationship between game developer and customer has changed. For example, one of the first things we noticed is game developers used to like their users. You know, assume they are clever players and not just ‘marks’ for scamming. Easter Eggs are hidden for free all over those old games. You can earn upgrades and score achievements just by playing. Even games where you must wait for things to happen like Sim Earth there is no ‘buy more diamonds’ to speed up. And what we thought was so cool, Sim Ant even refers to itself as a ‘software toy’ rather than game or simulation. A toy. Exactly what we at Surje are creating in Augmented Reality for our users. A thing to play with, entertain you, be creative with. We are somewhat sickened at the thought of ‘tricking’ our users money by charging money to unlock features, speed up progress or buy new skins. Those seem like things that should come with the game. And as Ricardo knows, I especially oppose using these tricks in children’s games. We would love to assume our users are nice, clever people who love games and especially love our games (well, users, I am SURE you ARE nice, clever people – now let’s see our ratings go up lol).
The perspective that users have toward game developers also has changed. For example, would you drop a loonie in the guitar case of a busker? Give your kid 1.99 for a pack of gum? But, would you pay 99 cents for an app? Maybe after trying the free version. Maybe gamers don’t trust developers anymore, after downloading so many ad-filled games that do nothing more than let you buy more skins to dress up characters you must also buy more of. Users expect games for cheap or free. Kids know how to dismiss ads without blinking, and watch videos of clans battling just to get another diamond for their next ‘fix’ of having an achievement unlocked.
Another major change is the user market. As a woman in tech I have noticed a this trend. Even though women were the first programmers, I think early gamers were mostly men. Now, I would speculate that a similar number of men and women have smart phones. On International Women’s Day Ricardo challenged me to write an article. I procrastnated this but have been thinking about it. A quick google search of what women have on their phones led me to articles reporting that women use apps to track their period and birth control, curate their wardrobe, learn new languages and other things but where are the games? I know that women love our word puzzles like Cryptoquip, but what about other stuff? Is it all Candy Crush (make sure to try JewelSlide)? Do people like buying diamonds and skins? I definitely need to think about this and research the market more.
What do you think about the changing gamescape out there? What apps do you have? What apps do you pay for?