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The New Reality of Gaming

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-blame-the-schools dept.

Social Networks 122

Hugh Pickens writes "Video games used to be about fighting aliens and rescuing princesses, writes Rohin Dharmakumar in Forbes, but the most popular games today have you tilling your farm, hiring waiting staff and devising menus for your restaurant or taking your pets out for walks while maintaining cordial relations with the neighbors. 'Reality, it would seem, is the new escapism.' Video games of the pre-social network era were mostly played by boys or young men but 'now the core audience of social network games are girls and young women,' says Alok Kejriwal, founder and CEO of games2win, an online gaming company. The tipping point in the US came in 2008 when women outnumbered men on the Internet. Combined with millions of parents and grandparents who're new to the Internet, the traditional face of the gamer is changing from that of a 25-year-old male to a band stretching from 16 to 40 years comprising men and women in almost equal numbers, says Sebastien de Halleux, one of the co-founders of Playfish, who predicts that someone is going to create a social game very shortly that pulls in a billion dollars a year. Gaming for this new set of players is less about breathtaking graphics, pulsating sound or edge-of-the-seat action and more about strengthening existing real world relations through frequent casual gaming. 'Think of these games as a sandbox where everybody has the same tools, yet everyone achieves different results,' says de Halleux."

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122 comments

Not 'gaming' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470456)

Clueless idiots. Just a replacement for other activities. Solitaire anyone?

Re:Not 'gaming' (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470924)

Solitaire is a game too!

Games = Play (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470506)

Games such as the Sims, WOW, Eve Online, CoD etc all provide a level of social interaction and a simplistic view of real life. Everything from live action, social interaction, and economic activity are all there to play with. Basically, it's just another form of playground and lemon-aid stand to toy with. Given the demographics, why is this so hard to understand?

Re:Games = Play (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470604)

It's not, but saying you're the new lemonade stand is not as enticing to potential investors. It's got to be the next dimension or a new paradigm. That's when the venture capital starts to flow.

Re:Games = Play (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470638)

Your post says a lot without saying anything at all. What is your point?

Re:Games = Play (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471840)

Your post says a lot without saying anything at all. What is your point?

So does the article. What do you expect from Forbes India? It's Forbes. Low-calorie pap, no real insights for anyone actually in the business, and an attempt to create a new meaning for the term svg - "sponsored virtual goods". as in "OMG IF I FILL IN ENOUGH SURVEYS I CAN GET TEH NEW VIRTUAL SHOES FOR FREE WOOT!"

Riiiight. Idiots.

Why yes, I did RTFA. Unfortunately. Waste of time.

One Word (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471182)

Minecraft

Re:One Word (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471990)

I was just thinking about that. Imagine MMO minecraft with sufficiently large servers, a nicer chat system, and some kind of tie-in to an existing social network.

Re:One Word (1)

totalg33k (970475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472330)

That sounds like Second Life.

Re:One Word (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476380)

...with less flying penises, though.

Really, it would be a lot like Second Life but with more terrain modification for a normal user and somewhat less scripting / arbitrary upload of data.

Almost like what Atriarch claims to be working towards but with less RPG elements.

Re:Games = Play (5, Insightful)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473680)

To expand on "Games = Play" I have to suggest also that "Games != Work". I mean, please- "the most popular games today have you tilling your farm, hiring waiting staff" is something that should NEVER appear in the same sentence as "reality."

FarmVille isn't backbreaking, only amazingly repetitive when you consider the player numbers. Your crops are guaranteed to sell, don't spoil unless you let them expire, and don't even a drop of rain. It's pure fantasy. SimFarm back in 1993 was much more a fun and realistic game. Zynga should have called it " FarmVille: SimFarm's Inbred Country Cousin" [wikipedia.org]

Likewise for "hiring wait staff", which I assume never come in late or drop a single dish and work at 100% efficiency shift-long day in and out. Nor will they ever have a bad day and give you attitude or call out of work ten minutes after their shift starts. Again, it's not stressful the way work would be and should never be compared.

Sure, being a farmer who can flood an infinite-demand market with chocolate milk that comes out of a cow pre-pasteurized, homogenized and packaged would be a less stressful job than yours. Unfortunately nobody has that kind of job.

Re:Games = Play (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475680)

I think the allure of everyday games is that they offer a world with more control and less permanent consequences. I mean, if your SIM house burns down, you just build another one or restore from save. No biggie.

Something wrong with me, maybe (3, Interesting)

oWj9*7!7dsggh7 (1952478) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470514)

You know, as a form of challenging relaxation, only coding and writing prose really satisfy me. I used to watch people playing Doom in the computer lab for hours and maybe days, but I could never get into it. Sim City was worse. Even among the geekish, I guess I'll never really fit in.

Re:Something wrong with me, maybe (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470666)

How do you feel about nethack?

Re:Something wrong with me, maybe (3, Interesting)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471288)

Maybe you just haven't tried the right computer games. I admit to being addicted first to Wolfenstein 3D and then Doom when they were released, but they were very simplistic games and the graphics sucked. They were much better than the first computer games I played on my friends PDP11 though: Super Star Trek, Spacewar, and Colossal Cave. You didn't even like computer games as a child? I loved them, and they made me want to write some of my own. Even if you are highly intelligent there are some very challenging (pc) games out there. I guess the problem with any of them is that you don't really end up achieving anything by playing them. In that sense writing code or just writing is more satisfying. You end up with something to show for your efforts.

Re:Something wrong with me, maybe (1)

oWj9*7!7dsggh7 (1952478) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471724)

I guess the problem with any of them is that you don't really end up achieving anything by playing them. In that sense writing code or just writing is more satisfying. You end up with something to show for your efforts.

Yes, that's one part of it - I hate the sensation of time spent without something going on. Listening to Beethoven or exercising doesn't give me that feeling, but playing computer games (when I was too young to understand myself) always did.

However, what I really like about writing code or prose is the sensation that time outside of my mind is going more slowly than time inside. I struggle with some piece of construction for what seems like days; then I look up and only an hour has passed on the clock. The physical world has been traveling near the speed of light - my mind, however, has had the advantage of much more time, untrackably. That's the opposite of what happens with a game, where two hours can disappear in the world and I have the sensation that only a few minutes have passed.

Programming and writing are the only things I know of that make me feel, truly, I've made a sort of gain in my struggle to stay ahead of time. Sort of like your signature says: "Reality, to be commanded, must be destroyed," though maybe you meant it in a different sense.

Re:Something wrong with me, maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473400)

maybe you should go tell someone to get off your lawn or turn the music down.....

Sim Simulator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470520)

I think I just had that billion dollar game idea... you play a person on facebook, collecting friends and doing other statistic whore activities. Plus bonus feature, all the normal facebook games are playable as minigames within the facebook sim game!

Re:Sim Simulator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470556)

"Who're" you calling a whore?

Sandbox (5, Insightful)

wgaryhas (872268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470528)

'Think of these games as a sandbox where everybody has the same tools, yet everyone achieves different results,' says de Halleux."

Sounds like a perfect description of Minecraft.

Re:Sandbox (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470614)

You know, I've been trying to understand this in myself recently.

I once had a raging WoWCrack addiction (but, let's face it.. if you've been there from close to the beginning, each new expansion seems more stale than the one before). Since finding Minecraft, my OCD definitely seems to favour the game with the crappy graphics.

I'm grappling with the surprising find that I seem to enjoy creation games over destruction games. Perhaps Diablo III will shed more light on this puzzling find.

Re:Sandbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470768)

A better programmer would have Minecraft-in-Facebook running by now.

Re:Sandbox (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471480)

Sounds like a perfect description of Minecraft.

I read it originally as "Sounds like a perfect description of Microsoft" and was laughing for a few seconds... till I realized my mistake. Oh well.

Re:Sandbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472342)

I was thinking the EXACT same thing. :D

Free to play=one fewer revenue streams. (1)

cenobyte40k (831687) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470548)

While it's not hard to see social games making huge amounts of money via a number of schemes, it's hard to see how in the near term they would turn out profits even close to the pay to play gaming market given that they have all the monetary avenues of the 'social' game but got the players to pay for the game as a start. It seems more likely that Massive Multi-player will become more social, more reachable and those games will easy away at the social games over time.

Re:Free to play=one fewer revenue streams. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470564)

F2P is actually quite profitable since it's easier to sink people in.
"oh well it's free, I can just stop when I want"
"ok I'm spending only ten dollars here and there, after all it's free."

It all adds up.

Not how I see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474484)

Your idea has some merit, but I prefer to believe that people are willing to pay for stuff which they think has value (assuming, of course, they have the ability to do so). Even in the case that they can get the same stuff for free.

This is especially the case if they feel that paying is important for making it more likely that the free game continues to exist.

Re:Free to play=one fewer revenue streams. (2, Interesting)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470974)

I find myself extremely reluctant to pay any additional fees if I've already paid for the base game.

Re:Free to play=one fewer revenue streams. (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472136)

Then you are one of the users who only benefit them in increasing the social value of the game to it's playerbase. I know I did pretty much what he was talking about with DDO, though I only bought "permanent" things, like access to races/classes.

seems a little bit simplistic (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470592)

Perhaps gender has something to do with it, but it seems likely to be more complex than this narrative of, "well most gamers used to be boys, who love dragons and shooting things, but now most gamers are girls who love cooking food and growing crops". (Actually, isn't farming a traditionally male occupation, anyway?)

The biggest confounding factor is that the technology setting is completely different. It's not very easy to put Doom inside Facebook in a way that makes any sense or gets people coming back. Facebook lends itself to games that need a little bit of interaction here and there, several times a day perhaps, but easily interruptible. People also seem to like it when stuff happens when they aren't playing, because it keeps them coming back to see what's changed. That style of gameplay naturally lends itself to "some mostly mundane stuff in the real world" types of games. You plant some crops, and over a few hours they grow, and you come back periodically. Your restaurant gets some customers coming in and out. You move your tow truck around to find cars who parked too long. That sort of thing.

Re:seems a little bit simplistic (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470762)

The biggest confounding factor is that the technology setting is completely different. It's not very easy to put Doom inside Facebook in a way that makes any sense or gets people coming back.

Not that Doom is anything but one game in one genre of games.
 

Re:seems a little bit simplistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472084)

Woman are sitting at home looking after the baby. Likewise, 10% of the most western countries are unemployed. They have little to do. Instead of watching endless soaps, they're "socializing" in FB, playing these ghastly games. PS3, 360 and PC titles are still selling well, because it's mostly males doing what they always do, work then play.

It's got nothing to do with technology, but different demographics. Game players traditionally use controlling devices, crapville games require the odd click to say you're still active, no skill, no tactics, just click "yes, I'm here".

Divided by genre (5, Insightful)

Palmsie (1550787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470594)

Sure more females are using the Internet and now with Facebook, every game seems like something novel when in fact it isn't. Simply because new gamers are entering the population doesn't mean they ARE the population. We see paradigm struggles even today with more veteran gamers. Blizzard is pushing for a more difficult version of WoW with their new expansion and you have games like Super Meat boy introducing extreme levels of difficulty into gameplay that goes well beyond the mentality of catering to the casuals. More casual gamers are merely being exposed to games. We saw people play Farmville because they didn't know what video game grinding was, so it seemed new and exciting, or games like Bejeweled or Angry Birds. These are old ideas, repackaged in new mediums. If anything, games like Minecraft and Meat Boy are a breath of fresh air with sandbox games and/or extreme difficulty games becoming more popular. While it may be true that casual games are gaining momentum, I wouldn't bet on that shifting the entirety of gaming. Rest a sure, we haven't seen the last of video games that blow up aliens or cherish WWII heroism. Another point to keep in mind is that casual players may not have the same retention or activity rate as more hardcore gamers, which is more important when you have games that introduce micro transactions rather than subs.

Re:Divided by genre (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471534)

Blizz is doing what? Surprises me since I am not buying Cata due to them simplifying and homogenizing the classes and making the game too easy. Not to mention they broke PvP class balance. Now I am just playing XP-off BGs with my lowbies and farming on my mains. Figure once I level my alts, other than my XP-locked PvP toons, I might buy Cata. But until then, I am not.

Re:Divided by genre (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472302)

I'm not sure how making it so that you aren't absolutely required to bring class X to your raid or else you are now at a severe handicap is making the game too easy? They mostly evened out the tanking and healing tools available, and are trying to get most DPS specs performing similarly, specifically so you don't have "I'm sorry, but druids aren't allowed to tank anymore because they don't have $TANKING_TOOL_X, and $TANKING_TOOL_Y that is unique to druids isn't important this tier".

They're bringing back the idea that you can't simply grab everything and AE down in instances.
Even freaking solo quest mobs are dangerous.

They also certainly didn't simplify any of *my* specs. One picked up a second nuke. Another is up to 18 DPS buttons and 15 things to watch (this is not an exaggeration either -- though it's a mix of buffs, debuffs, and cooldowns). The third spec went from 5 buttons and a very predictable rotation to 4 cast time nukes (one used on CD, one used every 30s for a debuff, one used every 15-castingtime-traveltime seconds for a buff [any later and you lose DPS, any earlier and you hit the ICD on the buff]], and one used as filler), three instant nukes (one used on CD for it's high damage and buff, one on CD below 20%, one during movement), three DoTs, and a random proc, in addition to three different consistent procs (which are the reasons for using their respective nukes mentioned above). Also, a "big DPS cooldown".

They made my DPS *dramatically* more complicated, I dunno about yours. It should be obvious what class I am and which spec is which, though.

Supposedly PvP balance will be much better at 85, since base mana will shoot up dramatically compared to the amount of int we gain, which should put Arcane in check if no one else. It'll certainly nerf casters across the board. Spell costs will roughly triple, mana will roughly double, HP will supposedly triple.

Re:Divided by genre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34475886)

Truly, truly frightening.

Re:Divided by genre (2, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473548)

Yeah... WOTLK reached a level of ease that a group of semi-concious troglodytes could beat almost every fight in the game.

Cata can't and won't fix it. The problem is that the game has been too easy for too long. It started OK. Buuut now the player base is a bunch of idiots that are terrible at video games. If they restore the difficulty to like... some reasonable level they'll lose too many players.

This is a problem plaguing the whole industry. The pool of players has grown, the vast majority of the growth in the terrible player sector. The breadth of players is far to wide to throw everyone into the same difficulty game and expecting it to work out. It will be impossibly hard for some and mind numbingly easy for others. They need some form of adjustable difficulty. Maybe hard mode servers (D2 had hardcore). It is a problem that many companies aren't bothering to solve.

Sidenote: I hate it when people refer to people that suck as 'casuals'. I play infrequently, making me a casual. But I don't suck. My cousin plays frequently and is terrible. Political correctness is no substitute for technical correctness. If you are going to use a term don't conflate it with something else.

Re:Divided by genre (2)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474886)

In short, casual gaming means more and different people may be playing, but it shouldn't override, dilute, or replace the hardcore games. They should be able to co-exist, side by side, appealing to different audiences.

(And I have a confession to make--I love a good FPS, RPG, or racing game as much as the next guy {well, girl}, but I love me some Angry Birds. Addictive!)

uhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470642)

there are no girls on the internet

Re:uhh (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471434)

there are no girls on the internet

Are you counting the FBI agents pretending to be girls?

Re:uhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34475422)

there are no girls on the internet

Are you counting the FBI agents pretending to be girls?

Don't forget about the FBI agents who ARE girls! There must be at least a couple of them, nowadays.

the real truth (4, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470652)

I think people like me seriously got way too good at doing anything video game related as far as old school ones go. I'm a Mario Kart and pod racing diety, can shoot anything with anything you put in my virtual hands, and will be optimized at any RTS game in minutes. People just got far too good at tradition video games so they had to make them more open ended and "complicated" while actually making the actions simpler.
That and the fact that most "gamers" now aren't gamers. Not many people originally were so they dumbed it down to bring in people who wouldn't have classified themselves as video game enthusiasts before. Now they outnumber hardcore gamers so it looks like tastes have changed while in reality it's the audience that changed.

Re:the real truth (2)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471348)

Ah, but how are you at classic games like Star Trek [wikipedia.org]? You seem to regard the only point of playing a computer game to be beating the game. How about playing a computer game that is actually fun to play? In that case it doesn't matter how good you are at playing the game.

money money money (2)

Nineteen-Delta (1892866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470660)

-And this time next year, Rodney, -we'll be millionaires!

Re:money money money (2, Interesting)

buruonbrails (1247370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472482)

The funny thing is, most "social games" developers prefer playing FPS, strategies or RPGs themselves, but design their social games as dumbed down as possible, so that they're accessible by the stupid masses. Why? Cause that's where the money is.
I didn't believe the statistics until I developed a couple of social games as a side projects. The most profitable players are mid-aged women. This holds true even for games where the vast majority (over 80%) of active players are male. It's not uncommon for a mid-aged woman to spend ridiculous amounts of money on a social game, so that she can click the shiny buttons all week long. I still don't know the reason of this phenomenon. Maybe, they have a lot of free time and rich husbands...

playing games != gaming (2)

brillow (917507) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470726)

Likewise, someone who plays games it not a "gamer." Just like not everyone who swims is a swimmer, sings is a singer, etc. If everyone who played games WAS a gamer, then the first gaming revolution was with solitaire. Just look at all those gamers there in those cubicals! Me? I'm a gamer. I play it all, solitaire, minesweeper, little farmville, I even go low-tech with some sudoku ever now and then. I am all 'bout that!

Re:playing games != gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470984)

You must be a hardcore gamer. We normal people stick to kick-the-can.

I play it all, solitaire, minesweeper, little farmville, I even go low-tech with some sudoku

Re:playing games != gaming (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471280)

Seriously? You're going to treat "gamer" as some badge of honor now? Gamers play games, it's not that hard a club to break into.

And a lot of the people dicking around on Farmville spend more time doing it than they do at their jobs; yeah, they're "gamers". Hell, I spent more than a few Friday nights in high school with a two-liter of Mountain Dew and Caesar III, I don't see how this is fundamentally different (disclaimer: I haven't actually played Farmville at any point, maybe it is).

Re:playing games != gaming (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472388)

The difference is that Farmville is basically the grindy parts of an MMO without any of the other parts?

I only play one web game myself, and even I acknowledge it can get grindy, but it really seems to hit the sweet spot for me: Billy vs SNAKEMAN (http://www.animecubed.com/billy/?76006).

Re:playing games != gaming (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472820)

The difference is that Farmville is basically the grindy parts of an MMO without any of the other parts?

There are MMOs that have non-grindy parts?

Re:playing games != gaming (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476322)

I would argue that new content the first time or two through isn't really grindy, especially if it's novel and there are enough equally valid options to offer a real choice in what to do. I actually think that's the route Blizz is trying to go with raiding, or at least provide the illusion of by having shorter raids in more diverse environments as opposed to something with a dozen-ish bosses that must be done in some nearly linear order.

Mario Kart doesn't feel like your "grinding races", but it probably would if all the tracks were in Bowser's Castle.

Re:playing games != gaming (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472906)

Gamers play games, it's not that hard a club to break into.

If you define the word that way, sure, doesn't change the fact that there are completly different kinds of gamers.

Farmville is to regular games basically what teleshoping is to blockbuster movies, both put pictures on the screen, yet completly different.

Re:playing games != gaming (1)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477026)

playing games != gaming

Of course.

Gamers are people who play table-top RPGs face-to-face with real people.

No! HELL NO! (0)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470738)

Take your reality based @#$% and !@#$ off. DO NOT WANT. If you want to market to girls who want to play reality tv style games, go for it, but leave my games alone. I want to learn to fly like a fighter pilot on a realistic sim. I want to rescue the princess. I want to slog my way up a beach in a WWII where I kill nobody the only consequence if I fail is restarting the level. You take your Sims and Farmville and Pet simulator and @#$@ off.

Re:No! HELL NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470838)

True. True.

Re:No! HELL NO! (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471120)

Take your reality based @#$% and !@#$ off. DO NOT WANT. If you want to market to girls who want to play reality tv style games, go for it, but leave my games alone. I want to learn to fly like a fighter pilot on a realistic sim. I want to rescue the princess. I want to slog my way up a beach in a WWII where I kill nobody the only consequence if I fail is restarting the level. You take your Sims and Farmville and Pet simulator and @#$@ off.

Objectively there is no greater or lesser value in playing fighter pilots compared to playing at looking after a pet or a farm.

Re:No! HELL NO! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471718)

Objectively there is no greater or lesser value in playing fighter pilots compared to playing at looking after a pet or a farm.

Objectively you can't compare 2 whole genres for a vague term like "value". You could potentially compare specific simulators or games with specific criteria. None of which is what I was talking about. I just don't want the games I love to be tossed aside as yesterday's garbage, when I get plenty of pleasure out of them today.

Re:No! HELL NO! (2)

Peeteriz (821290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473338)

Well, the situation is that you are in the minority and always will be - the general population has now been introduced to networked gaming through facebook; and they and their wallets outnumber 'true gamers' 100-to-1, so they will get priority attention and developer resources, and you will get the remains or @#$@ off (or develop it yourself, 'by gamers for gamers' style).

Re:No! HELL NO! (1)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476868)

Take your reality based @#$% and !@#$ off. DO NOT WANT. If you want to market to girls who want to play reality tv style games, go for it, but leave my games alone. I want to learn to fly like a fighter pilot on a realistic sim. I want to rescue the princess. I want to slog my way up a beach in a WWII where I kill nobody the only consequence if I fail is restarting the level. You take your Sims and Farmville and Pet simulator and @#$@ off.

Saying that Farmville is actually like managing a farm is like saying Minesweeper is actually like disposal of high explosives. Being a fighter pilot in a realistic sim is more reality based pointed out by your useage of the word "realistic". There is a term for other people's fun that you hold in contempt simply because you don't like it, it's called 'badwrongfun'.

Gamers??? (1, Insightful)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470784)

Um having a facebook account and dinking around on farmville doesn't make you a gamer. It makes you a facebooker with too much time on your hands.

Re:Gamers??? (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470966)

It also makes the owners of Facebook and Farmville very, very rich, so I don't think they care very much if their wide demographic fits your particular definition of "gamer".

Re:Gamers??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472018)

OK? So because they're rich they're right? Please. That's a poor argument.

Re:Gamers??? (3, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472056)

Sitting in front of a TV and mashing buttons doesn't make you a gamer either, pal. Grab some friends and an Axis and Allies board and play a real game.

Gameplay? (1)

MareLooke (1003332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470978)

And gaming for this "old" set of gamers is more and more about replaying the old stuff they still have in the closet, since the newer games with "breathtaking graphics" etc seem to be lacking this thing that used to be hugely important "when I was young" (I'm not old by any means, not even close), you know "gameplay". Mainstream game mechanics get simpler and simpler, resulting in less and less challenge and less and less replayability.

And that's not even mentioning how we're being treated as cash cows and morons by the gaming industry and game reviewers alike, getting less and less for the same money (but hey, it looks yummy!)

Re:Gameplay? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473266)

There are still many games that aren't made for the Wii/Facebook crowd, they're just a small minority. The Stalker series definitely doesn't have simple gameplay, there's no player hand-holding, and the first game had a top-notch storyline, Mirror's Edge has complex gameplay, the Just Cause series are regular sandbox/3rd person action games that definitely aren't dumbed-down, DMC4 and Prototype are some recent 3rd person action games which also have RPG elements, (Prototype has good replayability, and DMC4 has way more than enough challenge for anyone), Crysis is a decent FPS that's different enough that it doesn't feel like an uninspired, shiny'd-up version of Doom or Halo, even if it does have a Hollywood tripe storyline, HL2 is a good FPS series with a strong focus on the storyline, Portal is possibly the first FPP (First Person Puzzle)...

Almost all the popular PC games are made for "old-school" gamers.

Re:Gameplay? (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475428)

I won't put on airs: the gameplay mechanics in the run 'n' gun action games of my childhood aren't brainmelting. Success in games like the NES Mega Man titles, Contra, and Gunstar Heroes wasn't predicated on all that much besides fast reflexes and pattern recognition. They aren't high art, but what I'd love to see is a game with that spirit of gameplay that was fall-down funny, or - dare I suggest it? - had a story line worth pursuing, with dialogue choices and some forking plot points that led you in different directions, and to different endings. If it's not emotionally engaging, at least make the plot intrigues byzantine and surreal.

Or at least take more modern games off of rails and put secrets in them again. My kingdom for a modern action-centric FPS that has some hallways and paths which don't serve a purpose or function immediately related to the plot and goings-on at hand.

Not gonna last (2)

Bitcloud21 (1492275) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471052)

Casual games are designed to waste the people's life and money away not to be amazingly enjoyable. They're a grind that at first give a sense of accomplishment. I've played some before and after a few months, I looked back and went "wow that was a waste of time and my life." I'm not saying there won't always be new people to suck in or that some people will never realize how life sucking casual games are, but right now they are peaking. They have hit a fresh market of users that do not realize how much this is taking time away from other things they could enjoy or need to do. It is not some limitless cash cow like some people think. Sooner or later the market will stabilize and social games will simply be another genre of gaming, albeit a poorly respected genre amongst people who play any other kind of video games.

Wheres the fun (3, Insightful)

Tripp-phpBB (1912354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471068)

Funny, I was just discussing this with a friend recently. I used to game a lot when I was younger and got out of it for quite sometime other then playing a few PC games. I recently got a PS3 and although the graphics and everything else in new games is awesome, I felt like I was missing something. What I noticed was games seem and feel too real these days. To an extent, that's what we've always strive for it to make games more real and exciting but have we passed a point? I love Call of Duty but at the same time I feel like too much is going on and at some point I just wanna shoot some sh*t and be happy. Games are supposed to let you zone out and have fun and I feel as if this is hard sometimes when you make games with physics resembling real life. I want to take a turn down a street at 90 MPH without braking or hitting a wall.

Re:Wheres the fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472618)

The Burnout series are the games your looking for :)

I also thought the advent game genre was dead (far from it btw). 100+ games later I am having a BLAST. You can buy a lot of games at 5-15 dollars each :) All PC btw. Hit your local walmart and find the 'bargin bin' section. You will see at least 5 decent advent games there.

Oh give plants vs zombies a try. Nice simple tower defense game. Good for a few hours. Oh and Braid, seriously good platform jumper with an interesting game mechanic.

I think the 'indie' publishers are doing something 'by mistake'. But it is a good mistake. They do not drag the game out in the middle and make you grind just so the game takes an extra 3-4 hours to finish. They do not have the budget to put junk like that in.

Re:Wheres the fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473058)

go play burnout paradise!
that game was the reason i bought a ps3 and i never regretted it. best arcade racer in a long time =]

the *real* real truth (2)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471124)

Housewives and little girls play World of Warcraft. Subscribers: over 12 million. 90% of the ones signed up as female are male, but about half the players are female. Did I just blow your mind?

Also, Cataclysm dropped 1 hour ago.

FOR THE HORDE!!!

Re:the *real* real truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471986)

Farmville has daily players of 30 million. Did i blow your mind?

Re:the *real* real truth (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472486)

Call me back when Farmville manages to get both $15 a month and $50 every 2 years from its users (plus $25 a pop for race change, faction change, and server transfer, which some users make pretty liberal use of in my experience). Or maybe I just don't understand how lucrative ad revenue can be.

Re:the *real* real truth (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476028)

Zynga currently dwarfs EA in revenue and almost half of that is just Farmville. If the goal is to make money, they're doing something right.

Men are more aware of reality? (2)

Issity (1625919) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471154)

Does it mean men are more aware of reality?
We don't play farm or walk your dog games, because we know that we can just do all this things in the real life. Having virtual farm is pointless if you can have a real one. And more important - what fun is doing chores?!
Fighting the aliens is something completely different. Video games are the only way to do this. And it's real fun :)

Re:Men are more aware of reality? (2)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474308)

Having virtual farm is pointless if you can have a real one.

So I guess you don't play military shooters either because you could join the real army? Just because you could do something in real life, doesn't mean it is practical or worth the effort. Let alone the fact that most games portraying "real-world" activities have as much to do with the real world as an alien shooter.

And more important - what fun is doing chores?!

This [wikipedia.org], this [escapistmagazine.com] and this [rice.edu] link explain quite well why the chores of FarmVille are "fun".

that's still not reality (1)

The Bubble (827153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471540)

'Reality, it would seem, is the new escapism.'

Games like those described may seem to be about reality on the surface, but they're actually more about escapism than ever before. What players are escaping from is chaos: a world where the rules are unknown, or at least imperfectly understood. In comparison, games have relatively simple, consistent rules to master, and a mastery over those rules gives the player a feeling of power and, by extension, the impression that the game world is "more fair." This is accentuated in a game that takes place in a realistic setting, as it encourages the player to draw direct comparisons between his success in the game world and his success in the real world.

Poor memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471600)

These sorts of games have been around since at least back in the NES days in the 1980's. I don't know if anyone talked about them or wrote about them, but some people must have bought them, otherwise the game makers wouldn't have kept making them.

Farmville is not even the first blockbuster farming game. Harvest Moon was a huge hit both commercially and critically back in the mid-1990's.

For who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471672)

The new reality of casual gaming maybe. Although plenty of sites hosting a variety of flash games might disagree.

Personally, I didn't know what the hell the summary was talking about (Harvest Moon?) until I hit the word "social". A Facebook game is only a game in the loosest sense of the word.

When times get tough. . . (2)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471710)

Stupid, fluffy escapism gets big.

"Fred and Ginger" for ninety minutes beats focusing on the gnawing hunger in your gut.

'Think of these games as a sandbox where everybody has the same tools, yet everyone achieves different results,'

You mean like Life? And isn't there a money component to these games as well? Like, if you have cash, you can leapfrog the third world?

The only difference is that the dangers are imaginary and the rewards are fake. But the energy wasted is quite real.

-FL

Re:When times get tough. . . (2)

IronSight (1925612) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472016)

I used to be into gaming much more than I am now, but I think it was depression. I started figuring, if these online achievments give me a small self worth boost, imagine getting a real life achievement completed. You know... goals. So I set a goal to learn python, downloaded some ebooks, read the online python manuals, coded an applet for my usb modem with pygtk, stuck it on google code and a couple hunded other people downloaded it aswell. IMMD. Right now though my goals are stuff like, "Give my sons a really good christmas", "Keep control of my temper", "get a raise", stuff like that. Maybe other people will be enlightend aswell. I doubt it, but maybe. I mean, I could see video games teaching far less usefull things in people's lives than watering plants or running a cafe, like say, getting headshots and killing zombies. But video games aren't really meant to be teaching tools unless specifically made for that genre. Though I do know, a zombie apocalypse would not last for long with all our experts now. And I kinda feel sorry for any alien bastards that come to a visit.

Who're? (4, Funny)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472066)

[...] grandparents who're new to the Internet,[...]

Seriously, "who're"? That must be the worst abbreviation ever. :P

The market has grown, not changed. (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472428)

The female and casual market is an addition to the games market, not a replacement. No one is going to throw away their Xbox 360 in favor of Farmville.

Re:The market has grown, not changed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473228)

And similarly, "the traditional face of the gamer is changing from that of a 25-year-old male" because the 25-year-old males of 10 years ago are now 35-year-old males, and while most of them won't have as much time available to play as 10 years ago a lot of them are still gamers.

Princess Rescue Games Still Exist (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472576)

The "princess rescue" type games still exist. I'm currently playing Kirby's Epic Yarn. The basic story is that Kirby is sucked into a "yarn-world" thanks to a magical, yarn-based bad guy with plans of taking over Kirby's world. Kirby and the entire world around him look like they're just threads, buttons and fabric. The gameplay is fantastic and not realistic at all. I can't remember the last time I was confronted by someone so I grabbed them, pulled at a loose thread and watched them rip apart into untie into pieces of string.

The simulator-type games might be rising in popularity with some people, but they aren't the only games being made. Nor are they a completely new form of gaming: SimCity, ring a bell?

Re:Princess Rescue Games Still Exist (2)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474504)

Nor are they a completely new form of gaming: SimCity, ring a bell?

While SimCity and FarmVille have some similarities on the surface, they really don't have all that in common once you dig a little deeper. FarmVille basically has no simulation driving the world, instead it has an extremely simple set of mechanics: click once to plant a crop, return a few real-world hours later to farm it, if you don't return in time, the crop will weather and you have to restart the planting process. This means you basically need zero skill other then regularly checking the gameworld for updates. FarmVille is in that respect much closer to a Tamagotchi then to SimCity. On top of that the social aspect of FarmVille basically boils down to a window popping up after every little accomplishment that asks you if you want to spam your friends.

Evolution (2)

Software Geek (1097883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475144)

A few years back I read almost exactly the same article, but about deer hunting games.
Where once gaming had been dominated by wizards and space aliens, games about deer hunting for the redneck market had come out of nowhere to be the top seller. There were just so many more rednecks than computer geeks. And the rednecks, being new to gaming, were happy to play games with extremely low production values.

This is the same thing, but with girls instead of rednecks, and social networking instead of deer hunting.

It is all a natural transition from games by computer geeks for computer geeks to games by computer geeks for anyone with disposable income.

Selling Women short (1)

d0nster (989432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475646)

I disagree with the idea that people don't care about graphics, plot, etc. My wife started playing games with things like The Sims, but she has grown as a gamer and now plays things like Mass Effect, Fallout 3, and Starcraft 2. She loves the graphics almost as much as the story line. That's not to say casual games like Plants vs. Zombies aren't enjoyable, but for the longest time my wife believed the blockbuster games would be too hard to play and just watched me. The VATS system in Fallout 3 made it much easier for her, and has broken down her casual game barrier.

By the way, yes, my wife is awesome!

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