The Long Tail
I just finished the book The Long Tail about how markets are shifting from focusing solely on hits to including the niches that might not sell huge volumes. The interesting thing about this theory is that it means that a lot of people are spending money on products that they wouldn’t have bought a few years ago just because they were not available. The same thing is happening in games, the Wii is “expanding the marketplace” by including people who aren’t hard core gamers. But expanding is really the wrong word, Nintendo is including people who enjoy games but haven’t enjoyed the past few years of hard core focus in games.
So what will this lead our industry to? Will we follow the long tail and Wii in including all types of gaming niches? Of course not.
Developers seem much to inclined to play their own products. Todays casual games developers are actually not focusing on casual gaming. But rather hard core gaming with casual games. Think of Tetris, it’s a puzzle game that you play alone and can’t win or loose, and as such a casual experience. But most casual games I’ve seen on Facebook or mobile platforms recently have used this form of casual mechanic.. But rewarded hard core grinding…
So in effect, we’re shooting ourselves in our collective developers foot with our own fanboyism.
I want to see games focused on people who play sometimes, for a few minutes, maybe. Don’t tell me there is not a market for this type of game, there is. It just might not be worth a $200.000.000 development cycle.