In my youth I dabbled with dark arts. I thought experimenting wouldn’t hurt, so I tried a little, but little became a lot. My addiction took up all my spare time and heavily impacted my social life. I became alienated by friends and had a hard time talking to people close to me.
That’s how I spent six years studying economics.
The first day of SIME, the European tech/startup conference, was a vivid circus of great speakers with great production values. This time in Stockholm.
Sime is a special sort of conference because it is focused on marketing entrepreneurship and creating a forum for entrepreneurs and investors. While similar conferences might slog through technical details while zombie hordes of coffee ingesting listeners try to stay awake, SIME is more about showmanship. Almost every session is 20 minutes or less, even for the big players, and our host, Ola Ahlvarsson, is always on stage pushing things along.
Tracking is the basis for everything online these days. We track what content gets the most clicks to make sure we create better content. We track the ads we run to make sure our ads are targeted to the right people and that they convert well. We use tracking in all aspects of our lives to make better decisions and take the right action. But it’s not working, is it. No matter how long you stare at those numbers they don’t give you a golden bullet. So what’s wrong with this theory? Everything.
I just finished the book The Long Tail about how markets are shifting from focusing solely on hits to including the niches that might not sell huge volumes.
The interesting thing about this theory is that it means that a lot of people are spending money on products that they wouldn’t have bought a few years ago just because they were not available. The same thing is happening in games, the Wii is “expanding the marketplace” by including people who aren’t hard core gamers. But expanding is really the wrong word, Nintendo is including people who enjoy games but haven’t enjoyed the past few years of hard core focus in games.
So what will this lead our industry to? Will we follow the long tail and Wii in including all types of gaming niches? Of course not.
Developers seem much to inclined to play their own products. Todays casual games developers are actually not focusing on casual gaming. But rather hard core gaming with casual games.
Think of Tetris, it’s a puzzle game that you play alone and can’t win or loose, and as such a casual experience. But most casual games I’ve seen on Facebook or mobile platforms recently have used this form of casual mechanic.. But rewarded hard core grinding…
So in effect, we’re shooting ourselves in our collective developers foot with our own fanboyism.
I want to see games focused on people who play sometimes, for a few minutes, maybe. Don’t tell me there is not a market for this type of game, there is. It just might not be worth a $200.000.000 development cycle.