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Do Gamers Want Simpler Games?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the i'd-say-no-but-i-used-to-love-frogger dept.

Games 462

A recent GamePro article sums up a lesson that developers and publishers have been slowly learning over the last few years: gamers don't want as much from games as they say they do. Quoting: "Conventional gaming wisdom thus far has been 'bigger, better, MORE!' It's something affirmed by the vocal minority on forums, and by the vast majority of critics that praise games for ambition and scale. The problem is, in reality its almost completely wrong. ... How do we know this? Because an increasing number of games incorporate telemetry systems that track our every action. They measure the time we play, they watch where we get stuck, and they broadcast our behavior back to the people that make the games so they can tune the experience accordingly. Every studio I've spoken to that does this, to a fault, says that many of the games they've released are far too big and far too hard for most players' behavior. As a general rule, less than five percent of a game's audience plays a title through to completion. I've had several studios tell me that their general observation is that 'more than 90 percent' of a game's audience will play it for 'just four or five hours.'"

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As if quantity of content is its only measure... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095044)

Maybe they should focus on replayability instead of throwing in lots and lots of mindless trash. You can have lots of stuff in your game and make it worth playing, or you can have lots of redundant shit that no one cares about.

Re:As if quantity of content is its only measure.. (1)

riT-k0MA (1653217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095196)

When the word "Replayability" is brought up, I think of Oblivion. What a brilliant game that was (with a plethora of mods running).

What I do not want to see is another Titan Quest. The mindless, repeating grinding really gets to me.

Re:As if quantity of content is its only measure.. (3, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095346)

I think of the exact opposite. I don't like sandbox games at all. If I'm playing a game with a storyline and a quest, I want the gameplay to be tight, focused on the storyline, and with minimum to no distractions or side quests. I play those games for the story, I don't want to wander around lost or go off and do other things- I want the story, and I want a well written plotline engaging and long enough to be worth the game with nothing else tacked on.

When I think replayability, I think Civ. Strategic gameplay instead of tactical and each game plays very different just by altering the starting conditions.

Re:As if quantity of content is its only measure.. (3, Insightful)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095476)

Yah umm, screw oblivion.

The first time I tried to kill the council of mages (or whatever they are called) and failed (they are invincible!) I dropped the game and gave up.

Open world my arse.

Oblivion is far too SIMPLE. Combat is simple, the storyline is linear and simple, and the promised "multiple paths" are only in terms of limited scripted events. Ooh I can be an evil bad ass if I do what the brotherhood of assassins (or again, whatever they are called, its been awhile) says I do. SCREW THAT. What if I want to jack all of them up? Oh can't do that, not in the script.


Wouldn't that be pointless? (5, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095368)

If the overwhelming majority of gamers don't finish the game in the first place, how would replayability help? The problem is that people give up anyway, not that they don't start it once more.

If anything, this seems to confirm what I've been saying all along: Forget about replayability, just make it worth playing once. To even think about playing it again, you have to find it worth playing the first time. If people get to the end scene with a sensation of "man, I wish it had at least 5 more hours", they'll tend to replay it anyway. If they gave up in boredom or frustration before even getting to the first contagonist, they won't.

And it seems to me like ultimately too much focus on reserving stuff for the replay is self-defeating. You have the time and budget to put X quests / locations / dialogue lines / etc in the game. If you show the user only a quarter of those on the first run, because essentially for some he's not the right class, for some he took the wrong choice (e.g., in Fallout 3 it's possible to never even discover a quest hub by as little as skipping one side-quest and succeeding on a persuasion check on another), for some he didn't explore enough to find the secret quest giver locations, for some he explored too much (FO3 again, you could skip two thirds of the main quest by just going exploring and stumbling upon the "wrong" location), and some is bonus stuff to be unlocked, essentially what that user sees on the first run is a quarter of the fun. If that puts it below the fun threshold to play it the first time, there'll be no replay to find that extra stuff either.

Re:Wouldn't that be pointless? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095742)

If the overwhelming majority of gamers don't finish the game in the first place, how would replayability help?

Make a shorter and simpler game, that can be played many times and still be entertaining. Then more people can finish it, and those who want to spend more time playing can also do so.

Is the game play actually net new? (2, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095048)

As much as I love RPG games, I am somewhat turned off when I hear that it has a playtime that runs over 60 hours. That's because some of the longer RPGs tend to have nothing "new" other than a whole lot of random encounters and grinding. I didn't mind it as much when I was younger, but now I don't have time or desire to play that long. I'd much rather play a shorter game with some options for replay (so that I can finish and continue should I desire), such as the games with a New+ option after completing the main story line.

The gamer demographic is changing - I'm sure the hardcore want difficult games. Me, I'd like to have fun when I can, without the overwhelming idea that I need to devote my life to the gameplay.

Re:Is the game play actually net new? (3, Interesting)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095086)

Agreed. I simply don't have the time to finish a 60 hour game anymore. I'd rather have a good and intense 5 hour game than a long, stretched out 60 hour game. However, I'd also like to see games get slightly cheaper. I think episodic gaming is one way of achieving this. I think I'd sooner buy a game in 4 parts that are 5 hours long each than one big game of 20 hours because I know I won't invest the time to finish it. By the time I'm halfway through a 20 hour game, there's two other games that caught my attention.

Re:Is the game play actually net new? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095264)

Personally the moment I find myself grinding just to continue with the main plot (as opposed to grinding for some particular little side goal) I stop playing the game since I know I've just hit the point where the devs ran out of good ideas.

Some games lend themselves better to being long.
Oblivion I've sunk a lot of time into and I still have a lot of game left and I'm fine with that since it's a sort of "no pressure" game.(though the leveling system sucks and pushes you to grind)

Re:Is the game play actually net new? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095300)

the leveling system sucks and pushes you to grind

I wouldn't say I've felt this. I'm level 17 and haven't really done any grinding so far, I just keep getting reminders to go sleep every so often when I'm not expecting it :P I've just been doing side missions and wandering around exploring (which does necessitate killing a few mobs just to stay alive of course), and very occasionally doing some story missions - I only have a couple of pieces of the Crusader's Relics and 3 Oblivion gates under my belt. At the weekend I discovered my copy of the game has the Shivering Isles in it, didn't realise the PS3 version had it built in - it only cost £12 new as well! Great game :)

Re:Is the game play actually net new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095336)

didn't realise the PS3 version had it built in - it only cost £12 new as well! Great game :)

There are two PS3 versions, the one labelled as "game of the year edition" has the expansions built in. You seem to have that one :-)

Re:Is the game play actually net new? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095738)

Yep I got the Platinum GOTY edition. I had assumed that the expansion was available on the store and that I'd buy it later, but it seems you can't even get it on the store.

Wow, I've just checked the price and it's only £10 on Amazon these days.. that's less than you'd expect an expansion pack to cost anyway so worth it even for people who bought the original . That's got to be the best value for money on a new game, ever.

I think you gave your own answer there (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095390)

I think you gave your own answer there. The problem isn't with the number of hours per se, but basically with making a 10 hour game and padding it to 60 with 50 hours of dumb repetitive filler or with boss fights that you need to try 20 times to get to the next chunk of actual story.

Not all games are automatically that way just because they're 60 hours long. There are a rare few which can stay reasonably interesting. Unfortunately, a lot do just pad it so they can write a big number on the box.

Most absolutely not. (5, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095460)

I do not want less complex games.

Games don't need to be dumber, the average age of a gamer is over 25, we aren't morons so stop treating us like them.

I like a bit of complexity and puzzle solving in my game, I absolutely hate the hand holding and linear corridors of recent games.

Complex does not mean harder or longer it means that it is meant to provide a player with a challenge and after that challenge was defeated a feeling of accomplishment

Anything that could force the player to make hard decisions or challenge them slightly has been removed. Like an inventory system where you had limited space, so you actually have to make difficult choices about what to carry (S.T.A.L.K.E.R. did this to some extent). Near unlimited ammo and and regenerating health have become the Deus Ex Machina of gaming, killing decent game design. At no point do you have to take it easy and plan your moves due to low health, in HL1 if you wasted your rockets you'd find the game difficult if not impossible at some points. Now days, even in HL2 there is an infinite "box-o-rockets" where you engage anything that needs them. Now that's just for game-play, now let me get started on story.

Here's the story line for the next Gears of Duty game.

You are a red meat easting, muscle bound, flag waving all American hero (even if you've got a foreign accent but I'll get to that bit later) needless to say, you are 100% good and pure. Your enemy are the evil Nazi, zombie terrorists who want to blow up the White House with a dirty bomb (sound familiar) so they are unambiguously evil in every fashion. You will fight through a mixture of the standard tile sets (urban, jungle snow, desert) which are quite linear (any illusion of openness is optical) whilst never running out of ammo or health until you get to an unimpressive anti-climax where someone hands you a gun and you kill the ultimate Hitler Zombie Alien with one shot in a cinematic perspective. Further more, simply adding a foreign accent to this archetype does not instantly make them foreign. I cringe when I hear the British soldiers in COD as they are just Yanks with cockney accents. I'm sorry but this just doesn't cut it and why I'm glad they've never tried to use Australian characters (Bioshock again, Australia Day is 26/01 (DD/MM) not 01/26 (MM/DD) no Aussie would ever write dates in a yank format)

Personally I'm sick of it. It's like the publishers don't want me to see anything that could accidentally kick my brain into gear. I remember System Shock 2, you had a love-hate thing with Shodan, the ideas of the many were seductive, you could associate with the logs of the dead crew (Bioshock was a really, really poor copy of SS2's story with the intrigue taken out). Deus Ex where you weren't sure who was on who's side. I've been waiting 10 years for another game that could get my attention and imagination so completely as DX and SS2.

So yes, give me complexity, a deep involving story and some actual challenging game play. Also ramping up the enemies hit points to make things harder is cheap (Bioshock), design better AI.

Standard Disclaimer: this is for PC games and consoles pretending to be PC's. Casual games are a different kettle of fish all together.

Wait, what? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095054)

They measure the time we play, they watch where we get stuck, and they broadcast our behavior back to the people that make the games

Whew. At least it's not the government doing this.

Then make games that are fun for more than 4 hours (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095056)


No, seriously. I'm one of those players that usually play(ed) games to completion. And maybe it's that I'm getting older, thus not longer feeling compelled to "beat" a game, but I haven't felt the urge to actually "complete" a game recently. At some point it becomes repetitive, requiring the same steps to be repeated over and over and over, and it's usually that point where I decide that it's just not worth it.

Re:Then make games that are fun for more than 4 ho (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095174)

I've noticed that most of the games I've completed and recently enjoyed are pretty short (Mirrors Edge, Modern Warfare 2) at least in the single player modes which is the only one I use. The reviews often say "this game is great but too short" but I found the length pretty good. The advantage of having a 5-7 hour game is that the experience is often really solid and even cinematic for the whole time.

The exception is Mass Effect 1/2 which are maybe 40 hours and I played them over a period of a couple of months. Fortunately the Mass Effect games are both well balanced and quite easy, so I never really got stuck, and the story is very deep (for a game) so there's something driving you onwards. Many other games though I stopped playing after about 5-7 hours of gameplay because I just lost interest or I reached a point that was way too hard: GTA4 and Command&Conquer are two examples of that.

So I suppose what I'm saying is, I probably am the sort of gamer the article describes.

Re:Then make games that are fun for more than 4 ho (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095408)

Mirrors Edge I can agree with, but you enjoyed the single player on MW2? Sheesh.. the multiplayer is definitely fun, but I found the single player way too linear, scripted and contrived feeling for the most part. I used to play a lot of FPSes on PC so I'm not impressed by a lot of the offerings these days.

If you enjoyed the MW2 single player then I really recommend getting the original Battlefield: Bad Company (not BC2, it was almost as bad as MW2), it has a less linear feeling (though of course it's still very linear), and has a great sense of humour.

GTA IV I enjoyed but for the damn "friends" texting you all the time to get you to do stuff. Even when you put your phone on silent mode you still get thumbs down from them every so often in the corner. I'm the type of person that likes to overachieve in games so I can't stand that kinda thing.. in GTA games I've always spent a lot of time just roaming the city and having fun, but I don't like the idea that doing that means that when I want to get back to the story I'll have to start going out on mandates and dates with my friends and gfs just to get all the bonuses back. I find it difficult enough to remember to do stuff with my friends in real life without having to keep up with virtual friends too :/ I didn't even complete the game, it's the first GTA that I didn't bother with all the way through, and then play for a few weeks/months more just having fun with the vehicles and exploring for hidden packages etc.

MGS4 is another game I've stopped playing after a couple of weekends even though I was enjoying it.. it's not so much the length of the game that puts me off, as the length of individual missions. It's not the sort of thing I feel that I can just save halfway through a mission (I can't even remember if you can do this or if you do whether it'll mean you have to re-do portions of the game), so I felt that if I were to play it again I'd need to devote something like a 4 hour session to it..

Re:Then make games that are fun for more than 4 ho (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095590)

Sure, it was great fun. I just finished it last week actually. Yes, completely linear and contrived, but that's OK - there's enough scope for some minimal strategy and skill, whilst still being scripted enough to give you the cinematic Bond feel. The snowmobile mission in particular was awesome. But if MW2 had been 5x as long, I'd probably not have been able to finish it - too intense for too long, and besides they'd have run out of ideas.

Re:Then make games that are fun for more than 4 ho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095520)

Mass Effect? 40 hours? Easy? Deep? What the fuck are you smoking?!

Re:Then make games that are fun for more than 4 ho (1)

eeCyaJ (881578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095610)

It can be a 40 hour playthrough, at least, depending on whether you go after every little side mission (and... organise your weapons / armour). 'Easy' depends on the difficulty you set and how you play your games usually. The story's pretty entertaining and the depth of the lore in the game could make it seem deep, I suppose.

Re:Then make games that are fun for more than 4 ho (4, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095654)

There are many classic games that are fun for more than 4 hours, and are repetitive: pacman, tetris, that card game that comes with Windows...

That doesn't mean that gamers want easier games (4, Interesting)

blankinthefill (665181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095062)

I play many games, and I finish almost none of them. Most games I don't play more than 4-5 hours before I'm done with them for awhile, just like the summary says. But I usually come back to them later, and play about the same amount a few months down the road, and then again a few months down the road. I don't buy a game expecting to finish it, I buy the game to have fun. And I probably WOULDN'T buy the game if all the extra game play wasn't in it. I LIKE huge long complex games. I like difficulty (to a certain extent of course :) ). I don't want games to lose that... even though I might not play it all the way through. And for the games that I DO play all the way through, it makes the sense of accomplishment all that much better. Knowing that I've got a stack of 10 or 15 games lying around that I can go and play through for that rush when I'm bored some day with nothing else to do is great! I can't believe I'm the only one that feels like this too.

Re:That doesn't mean that gamers want easier games (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095410)

Agreed. And besides, the "replay" value is greater then you haven't actually seen a game through to the end. And losing interest half way down a 60 hour game isn't necessarily criticism, I just don't have the attention span of a turtle.

For instance, I loved Oblivion and played it through to the end quite quickly. Despite having lots of fond memories, and considering it the greatest gaming experience ever, I can't bring myself to spend that much time on it again though - mostly cause I feel I've seen it all and it doesn't make sense to go through it all again.

On the other hand, I didn't make it through Fallout 3 yet. I've played the first half (or so, don't know really) several times, and then I just get distracted by other stuff and forget about it. It still has more appeal for a new installation though - I'm well able to enjoy the content I already know quite well, cause I know there's some new stuff lurking at the end.

Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095084)

Great more dumb games but this time even dumber for the american idol watching masses

Lovely. (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095088)

Sounds like somebody is tired of paying developers to make 40 hour games, and has decided to select the evidence they want to promote the idea of 3-5 hour games being the new standard.

I DO want more of a game I like. I don't tend to buy games that promise sub-10 hour gameplay.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Lovely. (4, Interesting)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095190)

Suppose the 40 hour games cost 40$ a piece and the 10 hour game costs 10$ a piece.

Would you then be willing to buy the 10$ game?

Re:Lovely. (4, Insightful)

Ross D Anderson (1020653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095246)

Yeah but that's never going to happen. We all know the 10 hour games will still cost $40 a piece and the 40 hour games will cost $100

Re:Lovely. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095444)

I got Oblivion on PS3 (including the expansion pack) for £12.. it has literally hundreds of hours of gameplay (I've done ~33 hours so far on a warrior, my character is at level 17/25, I've done hardly any story mission, and I would really like to go back and play the game again as a mage and then maybe a thief or something). If you can be patient then you can get really good deals.

Half-Life 2 episodic content usually costs less than half of a full game, and you can get plenty of cheap-ish games off of the various consoles' online stores.. I don't think we're going to see the big games getting much more expensive, but we are seeing a lot of smaller games or older emulated games at cheaper prices.

Re:Lovely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095462)

Because everyone is going to buy a 10-hour game for $40.

If iPhone apps were that expensive, the iPhone would be just another failed phone.

If this article is any sort of hint, it's that games must appeal to a wider audience. The average person when told about a game, goes "huh?" They don't have the time for games, the interest, or the available money. Many see games as something beneath them, that activity "losers" do to distract themselves from achieving any sort of potential. And this perception must change if video games are to become commonly accepted - by making them less expensive, less difficult, shorter to play, lowering the barrier to entry (FarmVille), and more.

Re:Lovely. (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095484)

Where are my 500+ hours games like starcraft and counter strike ?

Re:Lovely. (1)

Chrisje (471362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095580)

I think I've logged 1500 hours of GTA: San Andreas. Then I think I've played the original CoD (PC) for 300+ hours, and I think I've logged 1000+ hours of Day of Defeat (Half-life and Half-life2 engines) out there. I love those games. Frankly, this is also why I tend to play The Godfather: Blackhand edition on the Wii over and over again. They're simply fun, even if they are predictable. Star Craft was excellent. I think I wasted 200 hours on that sucker too, but counter strike is just irritating compared to Day of Defeat. I don't like waiting if I get killed.

Anyway, it's a good point. 5-7 hours? 40 hours? Where are the games that will cause an addiction that will simply keep you coming back over a period of years? To illustrate that, I've recently been thinking about re-invigorating some PC's in the basement so I can have yet another round of GTA San Andreas. I miss that world.

Re:Lovely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095688)

Eh if you want to throw around big numbers just take any MMO. If i sum up all my hours in WOW I'll probably get over 9000 (literally).

Re:Lovely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095618)

Multiplayer can't count for that sort of thing, otherwise the numbers become absurd. Besides, multiplayer games people spend hundreds or thousands of hours on are really just playing the same content over and over again in different ways - there are only a few hours of game, stretched by replaying it in different ways thanks to the human element.

Right (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095536)

How is the weather on your planet?

Because games have becoming shorter and shorter. Have they become cheaper?

Re:Lovely. (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095684)

I'd buy four of them. Then I can swap between all of them, spend all of the time I would have on the $40 game, and I might actually complete them all as I wouldn't get bored of repetitive gameplay.

Oh hey! Looks like I've found a new business model for... Wait a minute, isn't this what Indie games are doing?

Re:Lovely. (1)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095234)

I DO want more of a game I like. I don't tend to buy games that promise sub-10 hour gameplay.

I don't like really long games anymore. I did when I was young and had the time, but I don't anymore. I'm sure it's possible to play the game a few hours a day and progress though it that way, but it'll take a rather long time to finish and if it's something like an RPG, you'll get bored with your character soon enough and be begging for it to finish soon so you can try a new playthrough.

Grinding through a really long game can be a chore unless it's *always* interesting, and very few games are these days. Eventually you'll want to just get it over with, and a really long game might mean you give up without ever finishing it, and move onto something new and fresh.

Disclaimer: this is obviously my opinion. I'm not saying everyone dislikes longer games and am not pushing for shorter games at all. However, really long games have a habit of killing re-playability as you'll be reluctant to trawl through a really long game twice. The exception to that is if you only have a small handful of games and enjoy getting the most of what you have, which is something I can attest to.

Re:Lovely. (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095440)

you'll get bored with your character soon enough and be begging for it to finish soon so you can try a new playthrough

I guess this is the point where I usually realize that I'm playing to have fun. If I suspect I'll have more fun making a new character, I'll just do that, rather than feel forced to see the game through to the end.

Re:Lovely. (1)

angryphase (766302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095500)

You seem to have missed the point that perhaps you are a part of the minority 'completionist' statistic they are banding around.

I love finishing games (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095104)

Unless a game is terrible, I'm one of those 5% that will alway try and finish. I *love* it, pure and simple. I love the satisfaction of finishing something, the sense of completionism. Mind you it can get painful when you have titles like Assassin's Creed (the original) and you end up repeating the same tasks over and over again.

Re:I love finishing games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095516)

How do they define "finish"?
When I start a game I (almost) always play it to the end of the storyline and I consider it completed.
There may be something else left to do, like collect 100% of certain items or discovering secret areas, but that usually requires spending many hours navigating through already visited areas or doing very repetitive activities so I almost never do it.

Maybe console gamers.. (4, Insightful)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095116)

I'm not here to bash on console gamers, hell, I'm a console gamer myself too but I see a trend of (ported) PC games being oversimplified because the console audience is not buying into the "RTS with binding 10.000 keys to individual units" theme. This totally ruins some games and it's not only RTS where this applies. It applies to basically every new PC game comming out that is being ported from a console version.
Even menu's are stripped down so you can barely change any settings, I've ran into games where you couldn't even change the mouse y-ass to inverted or change advanced graphics settings.
Shooters where you don't switch to grenades but just hit the nade key and limited choices of "items" available in RPGs.

Don't even get me started about advanced game manipulation through consoles and/or modding.

Re:Maybe console gamers.. (5, Interesting)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095352)

Staple case: Deus Ex: Invisible Wars. Dumbed down to make it more fit to port to consoles: no more skills, unique ammo for all weapons, etc. Not a bad game, great storry and all, but compared to the first one its gameplay seems... bland.

Demon's Souls was hard (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095124)

... but for an experienced gamer, pretty much everything else out there really can't challenge me.

Demon's Souls has the taste of difficulty you might remember from early 90s titles.

Re:Demon's Souls was hard (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095210)

Like Battletoads?

Re:Demon's Souls was hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095406)

Once you learn how to fight effectively Demon's Souls is not SO hard.
I feel it's (almost) never unfair to the player and when you die it's because you've been careless.
That's why I think it's a great game :-)

Not that I mind longer games but... (4, Interesting)

cybereal (621599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095134)

I have a lot of responsibilities as well as interests besides gaming. It has been over 10 years since I could, say, spend a whole weekend diving through a Final Fantasy title. I love the epic game style, 60 hour game? yes please. But please, let me play it in 120 30 minute increments and feel good about it. Even if you can only break it down to as small as 2 hours, that is a healthy compromise. I'm a big, big fan of the idea of serialized/episodic games, especially if I know it will eventually reach a conclusion. It's not about getting the game sooner or whatever, it's about having smaller less intimidating nuggets of joy that each have their own temporary conclusion between instances like a good multi-novel sci-fi series. On top of that, if after a few episodes I find it's awful? I am sick of it? I can save my cash not buying the rest.

Unfortunately I have no idea how long I'll want to stick around for the story in a game these days. I am afraid to start into an arc that's going to strongly draw me in for more than an hour or so, and all too often I opt for a bite-size chunk of far less satisfying gaming because I'm sure I have the time. Even if, ironically, I end up doing that for over 2 hours.

Even if a game is sold all at once, I'd really appreciate if a developer wrote the story in well defined chunks and actually told me the estimated time to completion of the upcoming chunk before I started it so I could plan my time. Just like I plan time to watch movies or tv shows, and I can always find out the times for those.

Trade Secret? (1)

trydk (930014) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095146)

I would have thought the studios would consider this a "trade secret" ;-)

On a more serious note: I hope the studios will not reduce their games to cater only for the 90% as most gamers love the possibilities in a game and would probably not buy a "limited" game. (Just like I love a good tool, despite using it only once or twice.)

I'd rather have games without annoyances (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095148)

whatever the game may be, I'd like the games to NOT be annoying.

Though replay-ability and story are crucial, so is not being annoying or restrictive (not just limited to being too "console-y").

for instance, lately, Zynga's games have been annoying...trying to peddle their "wares" so much that it just got to the point that I don't want to play their games.
And also the same goes for the PC version of Assassin's Creed 2. In certain missions, the camera angles are locked so you have to learn re-adapt the controls as it won't move as it will on the screen. (and I'm not including the intro logo videos which you can't skip...legitimately)

Some games, I still play...even though they have been out for years.
Valve for one allows you to skip the intro logo vids, it is customizable, communities exist and it lacks major annoyances.

in that sense, Mass Effect 2 falls into that annoyance category when compared to it's predecessor. For one, it wasn't as "upgradable"/customizable as the first; shields sucked monkey testicles, and it forked too much compared to the first.

Re:I'd rather have games without annoyances (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095334)

in that sense, Mass Effect 2 falls into that annoyance category when compared to it's predecessor. For one, it wasn't as "upgradable"/customizable as the first; shields sucked monkey testicles, and it forked too much compared to the first.

What do you mean with "it forked too much"? And I think ME2 is an excellent game and a lot of aspects are really a lot better than the first one. Sure there are things that could have been better, but as a whole, it's a lot more cinematic and less static. It's of course difficult to create a sequel to a game as awesome as ME1, but I really think they've done a good job.

Re:I'd rather have games without annoyances (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095596)

Sorry, I was trying to be polite: ME2 pales in comparison.

And by "forked," it gave you "choices" but it all lead to "sh*t"

Some of your crew will die if you can't keep them loyal. I believe the minimum is one crew, no matter how you play, will die.

Plus the weapons were weak though being able to upgrade the ship's weapons was cool...but since they don't have "space" battles (aside from the cut scenes/scripted stuff) was pointless.

Re:I'd rather have games without annoyances (1)

eeCyaJ (881578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095660)

With regards to the spoiler. Incorrect. There's even an achievement based around it.

where has all the good ol games gone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095168)

5 hrs game play for the average user that if your into it finish in 3 hrs or less and pay $100 for the right to play that game, i dont buy games i can finish in 1 good night. Playing them through again is uh well extremely boring as things are always in the same place and even on higher difficulties it is still roughly the same set of strategies required to finish the game hence it gets boring and boring fast. I want games longer and harder where are the 20-40 hr fps games with the ever increasing monster (difficulty / spawns) vs dimishing ammo.

Where are more games like the good ol days.

All there doing is giving them selves an excuse to rip the customer off even more then what they already do. bah

A little from column A, a little from column B (5, Interesting)

ReneeJade (1649107) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095170)

Um, can't we have both?
Sometimes I enjoy the simplicity (flavored with a little subtle complexity) of Plants vs. Zombies. Sometimes I feel like an epic, convoluted, RTS campaign. Surely there is a market for more complex games and less complex ones. But a long and complex game calls for an investment of time; they have to make it worth it.

I wonder about the data these ideas are based on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095172)

If they are only playing four or five hours one couldn't necessarily conclude that the games should be shorter if it's equivocal with the players simply not liking the game enough to continue after putting in that time. Most have better things to do, or better games to play. One could also question the period being measured. I have not finished games from 2008 but I do plan to finish some of them eventually. I finished a few of those games this year after they sat unplayed for quite a while.

They are crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095176)

90% of the games are utter crap.

Show me someone who hasn't finished mass effect 1.

Re:They are crap (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095544)

Show me someone who hasn't finished mass effect 1.

Finish it? I never even started it... :)

What if their games suck (5, Insightful)

mvar (1386987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095184)

Have they thought about it? In the past you could play games like "Baldur's Gate" with 200+ hours of gameplay and not get bored and even go through it again a couple of times.

Re:What if their games suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095240)

+1 Insightful! I still play it (along with Planescape Torment and BG2) from time to time!

It depends on what makes the gameplay longer. (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095188)

Most longer games tend to artificially extend gameplay by long transports and repetitive tasks. The few that has longer gameplay by really introducing new tasks are really good and worth the time.

I wouldnt want a bad movie be extented over three hours either. If the game suck after a short while, maybe it really isnt that good?

Any EA executives wet dream must be to chop good games up into countless expansions so it can be sold over and over.

Do Moviegoers Want More Romantic Comedies? (2, Insightful)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095202)

Generalizing gamers in this way is like generalizing moviegoers. People who play video games are an increasingly diverse group. The phrase "Every gamer wants $X" is either deceit or wishful thinking. Game publishers would love to have their customers bundled into a neat and easily-marketable demographic. However, as many /. arguments over what makes a great game can attest, every person who plays a video games has a different expectation of what the experience should provide.

Re:Do Moviegoers Want More Romantic Comedies? (1)

MeesterCat (926256) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095276)

I was going to make the same point.

Simply using the term 'Games' or 'Gamers' in this context is far too narrow. Oversimplify RPGs, or Civilisation, or the Football Manager games and you remove the game.

Simple answer: No. (3, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095204)

They want more efficient games. With “efficient” meaning: More fun for less time. Or: If they are shorter and don’t require as much getting into, they should just as much be more intense.

Your question falls to the classical “KISS” fallacy. Simplicity is a oversimplification of the original goal (efficiency). And, being oversimplified, it’s worse, not better, than that goal.
Did you ever use software that was “so easy”, that you weren’t able to use it anymore? (At least not without disabling most of your brain.) I get that a lot nowadays. :/

So you also misunderstood what gamers actually want: To have a just as great experience without investing a lot of time in it. The “just as great” is the key here. Because 1 hour of some level of greatness is only a fraction of 40 hours of that same greatness. You know what I’m trying to say.

Also, even a beginner game designer knows, that if there is no challenge, there is no fun, and there also is no game. So simple is by definition not an ideal in game design.
But efficiency... or rather emergence is very much. :)

Make the UI (or rather the whole game) emergent, and the experience great. That’s it. :)

Re:Simple answer: No. (2, Insightful)

ReneeJade (1649107) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095224)

Yes, I agree. I watched my housemate play Mario Kart on Wii and wonder at how he didn't get bored. Then one day I got drunk enough to try it for myself and discovered that is is nowhere near as simple as it appears. The challenges are subtle. You don't get "stuck" on Mario Kart, but you need more than good hand-eye co-ordination to be great at it. That's why it remains fun, even after hours, without appearing to be complex.

Re:Simple answer: No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095480)

This. Exactly.

Take Windows XP versus Windows Vista or 7 as a classic example.

They wanted to make the Control Panel more accessible to less tech-savvy users, so they started simplifying and conglomerating the options until it no longer represented an index of possible choices - ie. Network Settings, Mouse Settings, Microphone Settings, etc - instead they turned it into a tree format where there are only ever 2-3 options at any given intersection, so you open Control Panel thinking "I want to change my Network Settings, I am looking for something involving the 'Network' and 'Settings'." And instead of being presented with a long and eye-burning list of every setting menu in the system, you are presented with three options which are completely oversimplified to the point of being utterly meaningless. You open Control Panel and you are asked to choose between "Heffalumps, Woozels, or Orange Juice", and not knowing what is what but wanting to find something to do with Network Settings you click 'Orange Juice' only to be presented with more meaningless text like "I see you would like some Orange Juice, would you prefer Toothpaste, Cheques, or Mints with your Orange Juice" and the right answer for Network Settings is that you want Mints with your Orange Juice.

Microsoft tried to make the Control Panel more accessible and more efficient, and instead made it so simplified it lost the meaning of the terms and now requires that I look up online how to open panels and follow the button presses like some archaic ritual at an alien console not understood but by the past reactions to button sequences attempted.

Re:Simple answer: No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095566)

Simple. You open the Control Panel, enter "Network" into the search box, and it will display all relevant options. You almost never need to navigate the Control panel if you know what you want to do. And if you don't know what exactly you need, the categories might help you more than just listing every possible option.

Article excerpt (1)

archont (1215492) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095206)

Younger gamers demand something more sophisticated, while older gamers don't have the time or energy to play through something built around a punitive system for a bazillion hours.

Well doesn't that smell of BS. I thought it was the other way around. Younger gamers tend to go for the mass-produced crap with low difficulty, low barrier of entry and immediate gratification. It's usually the older, more seasoned players who can appreciate a game for it's depth (of mechanics or storyline) and enjoy it despite having a steep curve.

Ever wondered why Runescape's audience consists mostly of 12 year olds, while Eve Online tends to attract older people? Who the hell wrote this bullshit article?

Break em up into episodes (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095212)

Make your 40 hour long game if you must... but break them up into 8 episodes of 5 hours each. Make each one "self contained" as much as is practical, even if that means you need to put a "previously.." at the beginning of eps 2 to 8.

And, here's the brilliant part: Charge $15 per episode. Many customers will bork at buying a $120 game, but plenty will happily do that over weeks/months.

Re:Break em up into episodes (2, Interesting)

illaqueate (416118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095244)

quite a few of the 40+ hours games are open world games that aren't organized linearly. the story missions are sometimes only one part of the game, the others being free form action, mini games, side missions, upgrading/customizing, etc. One could typically "finish" the game in a shorter span by following story missions only, however that's not what many find fun about that type of game.

Re:Break em up into episodes (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095268)

That's exactly what they're doing with Half-Life. I wish they'd release an episode more often though.

Although I have absolutely no problems with games that contain 40 to 60 hours of gameplay in the single player campaign, and I'm not a hardcore gamer nor a kid.

Re:Break em up into episodes (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095418)

Yeah, release the episodes all at the same time. People can't gouge themselves if you ration them.

Re:Break em up into episodes (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095720)

I've completely lost interest in Half Life. It was one year (June 2006 - October 2007) between Episode 1 and Episode 2 of HL2. It's been three years since Episode 2, and the story has lost its appeal.

The next Half Life game i'll buy will be Black Mesa [] , a third party port of the original Half Life to the Source engine. Episode 3? I might read a synopsis on Wikipedia and go "Oh, so that's what happened..." and then forget about it again.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095216)

I would be happy and say that this means we might see a small comeback of 'real' arcade-style games, instead of XBLA retro cash-ins, but I would be giving both gamers and developers too much credit.

Lets try the basics (0, Offtopic)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095218)

Resolutions that work on todays pc lcd, home media setups.
A smarter AI, we have cores and more cores, RAM and broadband - make it work for the end user.
3d sound fit for a blu ray media room, not some space saving lossy best effort.
Tools to create new worlds and art with. For the fans with Macs, Windows or Linux and time to dream.
The game may only support Windows but let other OS users help, then dual boot to play.
Server options for local low ping hosts or ISP support ect.
Less DRM drama for people who paid for the game.
Get the basics in and then build world size and detail beyond a ps3 or xbox 720p smaller world size 'limits'.
Dont send legal teams after your fans. If they are not profiting from physical media sales ect, let them enjoy and add to the game community.

No (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095252)

They measure the time we play, they watch where we get stuck, and they broadcast our behavior back to the people that make the games so they can tune the experience accordingly.

That's not broadcasting.

Online games changed things a lot (1)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095316)

Back in the good old days of the Commodore 64, I loved those long single player games, like the Ultima series, Bard's Tale, the AD&D stuff like pool of radiance or whatever. You had the "quick and fun" stuff you could play together with friends who came over to your place (shooters etc.), and when you were alone, you could pop in the Ultima 3 or 4 disk and cartograph out the latest dungeon all night long. I spent weeks on those RPG, exchanging maps of dungeons, location of npc and other info with my friends at school. But now when I have REALLY time to play at the computer, I log on to my MMORPG and play there. When I just have a little bit of time to play a single player game, I want one which I can start, play for five minutes and then quit again. Yes, I enjoyed the Baldur's Gate series a lot, but that was before I started playing MMORPG. These days, I would not start a game like that anymore, because playing online with friends definitely beats playing alone for hours. So for me it's not that I want "simpler" games because long games are too difficult etc., the problem is more that when I really have time to play, I want to spend that time playing with online friends and not alone.

Movies (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095344)

When I want something simple and short I can watch a movie.

Games on the other hand are supposed to be challenging and entertaining for a lot longer than a movie.

In fact, I find that a lot of modern games are too simple and straightforward (especially on consoles) - maybe game producers are adding the wrong type of complexity (i.e. visual eye-candy) instead of concentrating on game mechanics (or maybe they're just targetting the unsophisticated and not very smart audience of young teenagers?)

Then again I'm a long-time gamer (more than 20 years now) so I've "seen it all and done it all" and have become harder to impress with fancy graphics if the game mechanics are shallow.

maybe 90% of gamers are casual gamers (1)

mentil (1748130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095356)

What I really think is going on is that the huge number of casual gamers are convinced into buying some 'great game' by a friend who's a hardcore gamer, and then realizing a few hours in that they prefer Bejeweled over Halo.
Also, think about the traits that a modern AAA game has: fast-paced, cinematic, action-heavy, gives you a handful of ways to approach a problem (even if those ways are only superficially different). This tends to lead to two approaches: heavily scripted games with numerous weapons, and open-world games with a handful of mission types.

Heavily-scripted games tend to have you run through the environments at a quick pace and never go back, making environment modeling/texturing costs sky-high. Making one of these games last much more than 8 hours would be financially unfeasible.
Once an open world is modeled and the mission types are done, an infinite number of missions can take place there, limited only by voice acting costs and disc space. However, developers realize that doing the same mission type over and over gets boring. In my opinion, they 'realize' this too many hours after the point where the player is already bored.

So, 4-5 hours of play means that the player has already seen 80% of what the game has to offer. This doesn't apply to strategy games or RPGs, which have high replayability or play time respectively. Stopping 5 hours into a 40 hours RPG is against the point, if you care about the story.

hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095364)

I've had several studios tell me that their general observation is that 'more than 90 percent' of a games audience will play it for 'just four or five hours.'"

oh, you mean the wiitards?

Content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095370)

Maybe if the games were actually worthwhile, people would play them longer than 5 hours...

If you give people worthwhile content, story, character development and so on, I'd suspect they'd play it longer. We've had very little games lately with anything remotely similar.

Don't get me wrong, I like a brainless FPS every now & then as much as the next guy, but I'm craving really meaningful games, like Fallout 1, Arcanum and so on. It's been too long since we've seen similar games. In the meanwhile the industry just pumps out more of the same rebranded shit.

The best games are easy to learn, hard to master. (1)

incognito84 (903401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095374)

I just finished a multiplayer session with a game called "Warband: Mount&Blade." One of the things I really like about this game is that you can learn everything you need to know about the game in fewer than 30 minutes, however it takes quite a bit of time to become effective in the game.

If you think about it, most of the insanely popular multiplayer games, spare MMOs are like this. Even the MMO realm, one which I'm really not familiar with, there has been somewhat of a push towards a "keep it simple, stupid" philosophy.

Slashdot needs to get better headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095388)

Gamers want simpler games?

I suppose if you define gamer as anyone that ever picks up a game or casually engages themselves in games then maybe. But I'd describe a 'Gamer' as that 5% that generally does finish the games they purchase.

I don't describe someone who plays tennis 4 hours a week as a tennis player; instead I'd call them someone who plays tennis, and it is amazing to me that someone describe a person that plays games 4 hours a week as a 'gamer'.

Of course there is money to be made in dumbing down a product so that the barrier to entry is lower and the gratification gained through playing it is maximized for casual players, but that's how it works with everything. We can see the same effect on numbers through the box office, media, politics, nielsen ratings etc etc etc. Profit is often gained by appealing to the less educated/experienced/skilled in any market (as there are less of those in any market), the more people you can get to purchase your product/believe in your rhetoric/watch the same stories over and over the better a business will do in the short run. But in the long run we see effects that reduce the industry and bureaucracy to the lowest common denominator, which ends up hindering the progression/creativity/design of the field in general.

Gamer's nor game designers won't benefit from a change like this. Just like students and educators/storytellers didn't benefit from reality tv or the sitcom, and just like philosophers and politicians and society didn't benefit from controlling political bases and polarizing rhetoric.

What? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095398)

If you only play a game for 4-5 hours, it's because the game was crap or cheap (i.e. indie, not budget titles) in my opinion. Games should be capable of giving a *LOT* more value for money (in terms of hours entertainment per £/$/Euro) than your average DVD. Any "good" game of mine gets much, much more gameplay than that. It very much depends on the genre, too, and whether you count multiplayer (everyone playing multiplayer on a single-player capable game suggests your AI / missions aren't challenging / interesting / long enough).

My "Altitude" account is sitting at nearly 50 hours gameplay, and that cost me about $10. That's what you have to compete with. And that's only because I've been making myself put it down and sacrificing my normal Counterstrike time. I've had it for about a month or so and racked up 10 times the "ideal length" of a single-player game in that time, just playing casually. I just bought Master of Magic / Orion again from - it's about my fourth time of owning it and I still put in more than 4-5 hours just to *TEST* that the version didn't crash or do anything stupid. Some of my other recent purchases got 4-5 hours just to test if the game is something I'd enjoy. I expect small indie games to last anything from 2-5 hours (and usually they do *much* better than that), but a "full-price" game should keep me intrigued for much, much, much longer than that.

I can barely even name a full-price single-player game in the last few years that has kept me interested for that amount of time, let alone feel justified enough to stump up the cash for it while it's still new. Half-life 2, I suppose - I was still enjoying that right until the end with only minor bouts of boredom when I got lost once or twice, or had to do repetitive load/save/try to survive this time around. Half-life kept me interested for that amount of time too, and I put in many hours on GTA Vice City & San Andreas (single player). Hell, even the original GTA I burned dozens of hours playing through (and never quite "completed" it). Company of Heroes saw a good few hours until it just got stupidly difficult / boring with vastly unfair missions and although I could probably beat it, it was boring by that point - I'd played for 21.8 hrs according to the Steam stats. Crayon Physics, Gish, World of Goo, hell even Peggle has clocked up dozens and dozens of hours on my Steam account.

Back in the "old" days, I only ever "completed" a single Spectrum game - Nonterraqueous. That was it. And that took the concerted efforts of myself, my brother and father mapping the damn thing on the largest piece of graph paper you've ever seen in your life. We were good at playing it even before we started and it still took longer than 4-5 hours just to do a *single* run through of a silly, old, addictive game. I owned about 250 Spectrum games, probably less than 70% could be "completed" and I completed *1*. It doesn't mean we didn't put in *thousands* of hours into that system though, and that never really had multiplayer at all (Match Day 2, Ace II, Batty, things like that wiled away a few hours or so playing 2-player).

Age of Empires II? God, I was playing that forever. Settlers, the same. And lots of other "big title" games that I got when they became cheaper. 4-5 hours is nothing to a real gamer. It's nothing to my cousins and kids in the school I work at - they have all completed most of their games and are bored with them by the time they are a week old. But apparently we're constrained in gameplay because of the % of players that never complete a game, or just buy it so they can tell their mates they have it first.

That's pretty much covered every major genre but still they are all indie games or old games that are renowned as "classics". The stuff that's churned out now, with its community-metric-based gameplay gets dull after an hour or so because "that's what the majority want" - unless it has decent multiplayer. I can't see any of the games that are out now becoming "classics" that, 20 years from now, our kids will desperately be trying to run again in an emulator. The problem is not incorrect metrics, it's poor conclusions from those metrics - if people get bored of their £60 game within four hours (the length of two, maybe three really good movies), they will switch off. And stop buying. And spend the other 100's of hours of their casual gameplay time sitting on something like Peggle or some DOSBox-based ancient game that they've been playing for the last 10 years on and off.

My *mother* put in HUNDREDS of hours into each Mario game released in the last 20 years. Just because your metrics say "4-5 hours" is the average doesn't mean that you should *DESIGN* to that... if you do, then your games will probably sell worse (and then people will play them for 2-3 hours, and then your metrics will show that and you'll design to that, etc. until we barely load the game up before we're bored). I like to know that a lot of even my old games have things I haven't seen and when I replay them, which might be a day, week, month, year, decade later, that I can make progress. If I didn't think there was much content, I wouldn't buy the game, or would drastically reduce the price I want to pay for it. I consider 4-5 hours for £10 to be a not unreasonable expectation, based on all the games I've owned.

I actually commented somewhere, might have been here, might have been The Register, about how I laugh when a game says things like "5 whole arenas" and similar stupid things - I can remember when games had dozens, even hundreds of "levels" and took days to complete, if you could keep the computer running that long. Everything went backwards when people saw 3D and thought it was essential to just have some, because the asset size ballooned, as did the system requirements, as did the cost of producing it. I'd rather play a FPS with good gameplay, good storyline, intriguing levels / physics, etc. than one that includes HDR or other "pretty" crap. Hell, I'd still rather play it if the only graphic option was 640x480.

Don't design your games to what customers *tell* you they want and watch your sales drop. Metrics are all very useful - if you have a PROPER knowledge of statistics and the reasons behind each collected piece of data. 30 minutes is about the most I can possibly suffer on a really bad game, but the good games will get hundreds of hours of gameplay out of me. Don't just average that out and assume you have to make a game in that range.

Clearly... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095402)

... they are drawing the wrong conclusions.

When I was younger I was capable of binge gaming but now that I'm older I have a lot more restraint and I've played so many games that the game has to be astoundingly good for me to keep at it. The problem is that game companies have stopped making really compelling experiences and have focused too much on graphics and not the harder aspect - gameplay.

I'm certain the large audience that doesn't finish their games _will_ eventually if and when they get around to it, I really doubt they would be pleased when they eventually do get around to it and the find out the rest of the game sucks that would reflect well on their next purchase.

I really think gamers tend to space their gaming out more as adults it might take adults years to finish single player games for instance but multiplayer they will play more often.

The truth is game companies have been cutting corners left right and center they need to focus on compelling gameplay, after all that has happened over the last decade I think game developers themselves _don't really understand_ what it is that made their games great, we see umpteen million clones and we see huge entitlement complex's from developers when their game (according to them) "fails" even when it sells a decent amount (over a million).

I really think developers have to take a seriously hard look at themselves - they are the problem, not the gamers themselves.

Shorter isn't necessarily that much cheaper (1)

samael (12612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095414)

The problem is that the expensive part of the game is usually the engine+art assets. Once you have those, the level design is usually the cheap bit. Making a 5 hour game is still cheaper than a 40 hour game, but not by as much as you'd think...

Piracy (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095436)

How many people who are running it for just 4 or 5 hours a single time are running a legitimate copy?

Could these numbers point to pirates that wouldn't have bought your game anyway?

Re:Piracy (1)

shird (566377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095656)

This is a good point - many people treat a pirated version as a 'demo' they only give 4-5 hrs before moving onto something else until they find something worth dedicating their time.

Completion .... (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095472)

why should a game have a completion. why it should have an ending. and why the hell do we have to see them ?

games used to be played for the entertainment they induced WHILE they were being played. they werent some struggle that we would get rewarded in the end. really, WHAT can you do possibly to reward a player, after forcing him/her to go through a lot of arduous 'challenges' over 30-50 hours average in a game ? have him/her laid ?

increasingly after the mid 90s, games were made to give 'challenges'. some screwed up corporate engineering wisdom that is probably centered around usa (they are very obsessed with 'challenge' and 'success' as a culture) made games more and more synonymous with the words 'challenge' and 'success'. and, the value of the game started to be evaluated around how much 'play time' it offered. culmination of this has been world of warcraft. endles cycle off challenges and successes. an ultimate success (boss) in the end, refreshing every 6-12 months.

games became stuff that subjected the player to arduous work towards interim or ultimate objectives. the enjoyment was considered as progressing through those objectives. the fun while doing that, was discarded and made synonymous with the progression and struggle. also, 'better' graphics, 'cooler' sounds came with the package as additions, with technology. it was thought this was the way.

then wii came. it bitchslapped the exceedingly corporatized and industrialized gaming sector. simple, concentrating on actual continuous play fun rather than progression and objectives, it brought fun back into the games. 5 year olds as well as 80 year olds started gaming, along with the hardcore gamer who was supposed to be toiling his/her life away during progression/challenge runs in between objectives. entire game industry was stupefied, and instantly they started to imitate left and right. even world of warcraft was softened, the grind lessened and game was made more fluid, along with added 'fun' elements which you could experience during the gameplay, instead of interim objectives. all the games and platforms took their share from the new wave. even mass effect 2 was simplified (maybe unnecessarily and maybe too far). the simplicity and actual playtime fun of games were brought back from the indie game circle they have been pushed to.

was it too hard to understand that, people who worked or studied during their weekday time, would not like to repeat the same thing again, in a game, which they were supposedly to have fun ? if you ask me, it doesnt take 2 brain cells. but, it happened. im tying it to the exceedingly vocal minority that is present in gaming crowd on the net, ie 'achievement deranged' crowd, along with the increasingly corporate engineer nature of gaming companies.

games need to be designed with a childish mind, not a corporate engineer mind. for, games are not going to be sold to vendors, or marketed to government officials or corporate bigwigs in order to strike juicy deals. games are going to be sold to the man in the street for entertainment. its about human nature. its about human nature that comes into being while wearing pajamas at 20.00 in the still of one's own living room. you cant understand it in a corporate environment with a corporate mind.

well, anyway, here we are now; wii bitchslapped the industry, and they all jumped in the bandwagon. we will see how many of them will succeed in understanding.

Re:Completion .... (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095564)

why should a game have a completion. why it should have an ending. and why the hell do we have to see them ?

Because some games tell a story.

Re:Completion .... (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095658)

I've been playing World of Warcraft for quite some time but I actually quit for a while when The Burning Crusade first came out because I just wasn't ready for another round of grind-a-thon just so I could get to the more fun parts, I did pick it up again after the recent "casualization" of the game, in my opinion they still have a bit to go before it becomes fun to level new characters when you already have a couple of characters at the level cap, it's bearable if it's on the same server since you can have your main character "donate" a couple of thousand gold to the new character (or let some guild mate tag along to make leveling faster and easier) but on a brand new server you're still stuck grinding away for countless hours (it doesn't exactly feel shorter when you've already battled your way through "ganklethorn vale" three times and find yourself there for the fourth time).

I suppose what I feel is missing from World of Warcraft is some kind of mechanism that lets you level alt characters faster, at least through levels 1-30 since these are very much "get to know the game and the world" levels, once you've been through it a couple of times there isn't much sense in spending many long hours trudging through that (I still the player should have to play through them, just not as slowly as someone who's created his/her first character). And yes, I am aware of heirloom items but they don't really give that much of a boost, maybe 5-10% faster leveling at best.

I suspect any actions like this on Blizzard's part are likely to provoke a violent reaction from the "teenage hardcore raider" segment of players though, they complain about anything and everything but they seem to especially dislike any changes to the game that detracts from their "leetness" (despite the fact that getting good all blue + purple gear doesn't really require any kind of extraordinary skill, you can just substitute some gameplay basics and lots of time).

fuck no.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095478)

i want all quake players united! but not in fucking QL they have castrated MG which makes it almost impossible for noobs to learn to aim properly...

but we don't really need other/new games... except you are a casual gamer who consumes all kind of crap..

I want game prices to go down (1)

luke_z3 (1000836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095492)

I don't want games simplified or made more complex just because some developer(s) want a large user base. I want prices to not be fixed at some number just because it's what people are willing to spend.

I have no problem paying $60 for a *good* game, but I'd buy more games if they were cheaper upon release (I probably average 3 or 4 new console games a year).

I'm on the fence about in-game ads. As long as they don't get in my way of playing and enjoying the game, I'm mostly OK with it. The issue I have is that I don't want to still have to pay the same amount as a game without ads. I know I'd rather pay less if I saw some Mountain Dew ads on a virtual billboard or heard them on the radio of a car I'm stealing in GTA. Perhaps the next Assassin's Creed could have the merchants and townsfolk talk about how great their new pair of running shoes are - and maybe I'll have the pleasure of breaking their legs and killing them as an interrogation mission.

I don't want simpler games; just shorter ones. (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095528)

My problem isn't the complexity of a game--I can and do enjoy very complex games. But I simply won't realistically put more than 20 hours into a game, and more realistically, 10-15 max. My favorite--and finished--games have all been short and relatively intense, like Riddick or Portal, or Call of Duty MW2's campaign. I'll go longer if the game has fresh humor all the way through; I even finished the remake of Bard's Tale, which was otherwise a total grind. It was just so damned funny that it made it worth it. Ditto the Penny Arcade games.

The one exception, for me, is an exceptionally fun multiplayer game. That I'll play for 50+ hours, at least over time. But it's not quite the same experience, at least usually.

I still buy most A-list games, because I enjoy the time I do put in. But I wish I could get some of that thrill of resolution in more of them. As it is, it's like watching 1/3 of a movie--fine if it's a really good movie, but still kind of unsatisfying.

Re:I don't want simpler games; just shorter ones. (1)

shird (566377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095682)

Bad company 2, modern warefare and portal are some of the best games I've played. The main reason being I was able to complete them in a reasonable time without the feeling of having wasted my life.

I recommended BC2 to someone recently. I used the argument that I actually bothered to finish it as evidence the game was worth playing.

I don't play multiplayer games at all, I am too old and couldn't be bothered wasting my time only to lose. Spending hours on a game only to lose or without any sense of achievement is pretty depressing.

I just want one huge cut scene! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095548)

You could even change the medium from PCs and consoles to something like TV. Or maybe have large, public TVs with rows of seats and reasonably priced food and beverages to enjoy while watching.

That is SURE to improve the quality of the entertainment!

What games? What statistics? (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095584)

A movie has a running length of 120 minutes, but everybody leaves at 115 minutes when the credits start rolling. Conclusion: People want movies to be shorter.

Eh, no. They just don't want to sit through 5 minutes of credits.

People watch commercial TV. Conclusion: People want to watch ads every 5 minutes and overlayed on the program.

Eh no. That is just what people have to put up with.

Statistics and user figures are very easy to misinterpret. Would you take the vcr action recordings of someone watching a porn movie and apply them on how to make a regular movie?

So why apply the actions of a console beat-em-up to a RPG?

There are some games that are big for the sake of being big. Some beat-em-up is coming out, that was reviewed as having even more characters as before. So if I don't play all of their piss-poor story lines, I haven't finished the game? What if a path through an RPG doesn't appeal to me? I never bother with the evil path. Does that mean I am recorded as only playing through half of the game? I enjoyed F1 games in the past, but only with one did I do a complete realistic season (Grand Prix Legends). What if I don't do the game on nightmare mode or for that matter easy mode? What if I cheat to go straight to nightmare mode (another reason consoles suck donkey balls, locked difficulties)?

Yes of course there are people who look at an RPG and complain it takes 60 hours. So? Then that game is not for them. Because if you shorten it to 5 hours you ruin it for all your customers who love a 60 hour game.

Here is a simple sales man trick. Concentrate on selling to people who are buying. People who are not buying will always find another reason not to. But people who are buying, need only 1 to become part of them.

Easier Learning Curves Not Oversimplified Games (1)

oakwine (1709682) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095598)

This analysis is wrong. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Complexity, game length, and difficulty are not the problems. Good tutorials, a learning stage in the game, and consistent smooth increase of difficulty are what are often missing. The best game reward that will keep players coming back for more is the growing realization that "hey, I'm getting good at this!" They cannot have that reward unless there is something to get good at! Look at the most successful game franchises, consistent money makers for the developers and publishers over the years. Go ye and do likewise and ye shall be rich and famous. The "vocal minority on the forums" is of concern. All of us have seen games become focused on a tiny minority of the players. All too many games. There may be 5% of the players involved in PvP, but the entire game gets rebalanced for PvP, the ordinary casual PvE players and new players completely forgotten. Completely forgotten until sales evaporate and the casual players pack it in and leave; and by then it is often too late to ever restore the player base. All of us can fill pages with examples and anecdotes of the downfall and demise of this or that game.

Diversity not simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095652)

I don't want more "simpler" games.

I want to see some diversity - games these days seem so skewed towards 14 year old male teenagers when the real demographics are far wider reaching.

We HAVE simpler games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32095674)

I have a folder full of ROM images of arcade games from the past 40 years on my computer, and can play Galaga and Robotron 2084 to my heart's content.

I see people crouched over their smartphones all the time with their thumbs a-twitch, playing simple games they are addicted to.

I think gaming companies are asking themselves, what gets them better profits, years of development on long, complex games that might interest a small group of high-level players, or whomp out some simple, fun games that can get a large market hooked. I am betting churning out the smaller games is a better market right now.

Real reason of TFA: Greed and DLC (1)

redscare2k4 (1178243) | more than 4 years ago | (#32095750)

So these so-called "game designers" from TFA see that people don't bother finishing the games.

So... do they say "hey, maybe our games suck bigtime!" or "hey! maybe we should make games that are not repetitive ad-nauseam and become dull after 5hours" or hey "our games are so predictable that gamers see the end of the history miles away"??

No!! They say "it's obvious that gamers want shorter, simpler games". Yeah right

But then, deeper in TFA, we start to see the real reasons:
"it seems that games will become increasingly modular in order to accommodate different tastes. Currently, Microsoft's development guidelines tell developers and publishers that the optimum time to release DLC is "within the first 30 days" of a game's release"

They want to milk the cow more!! They want you to pay $60bucks for a shitty, incomplete game, and then pay some more for some lame excuse of DLC that should have been included in the game from the 1st time.

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