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How to Get Gamers to Play Online

A Wired article talks about How to Get Gamers to Play Online.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

8 Comments on How to Get Gamers to Play Online

  1. Before I read the article, the first thought I had was that there is a perception problem that MMOGs have. Which they mention in passing by saying online games have a ‘nerd/geek’ perception to them. This is true. The current games, well most of them, certainly appeal to the hard-core gamers and are set in fantasy/SF (mostly fantasy, but that’s another rant) worlds. You can see how the general public wouldn’t be too interested in playing.

    However, I think the perception problem goes deeper than just seeing online games as for geeks online. I think it extends to games in general. And here I’m talking not just video games, but board games as well. Video games are certainly viewed as being a predominantly young, male pasttime and require massive amounts of time to truly enjoy the games. Secondly, board games themselves are looked down on by most Americans. And by board games I don’t mean the family type games like Boggle, or Sorry, or Life or any of the ‘traditional’ games we play. I’m speaking of the games that take a little to a lot more thought to play. Games like Carcassone, Puerto Rico, Civilization, the list goes on. Now, some of these games require massive amounts of time to play and require a lot of strategic thinking. You can see how the general public would definately not be interested in them, to their detriment I might add. But, many games, Carassone being one, require less than an hour to play, are massively enjoyable and don’t require a lot of strategic thinking. Its too bad that most people see games, not as a fun way to pass time with friends and family, but only as objects that are only to be played during certain time frames, ie- party game or family games.

    Games need to be perceived in a better light and not as a ‘waste of time’ before, I believe, the online gaming world will grow. Certainly the huge quantities of Xboxes, PS2s and GameCubes will go a long way to helping change perceptions, escpecially as more people with those consoles go online. These people will grow up playing games and will be more willing to try them later in adult life. Also, games in general need to be perceived as more than just quick diversions, but as an entertainment option that is just as enjoyable as going to a movie and certainly better than just about anything on TV. They can be a fun, cheap way to spend an evening with friends. Especially when you pass your friend the ‘Civil War’ card in Civilization and watch his country destroy iteself! That rules.

    Actually, I believe this post and the one just below about crappy SF movies from great SF books, share some of the same perceptions by the general public. In fact, I think there is a long discussion to be had about SF/games place in society, well, US society anyway, and how the public reacts to it.

  2. I knew this would genrate some interesting comments (as would the crappy sf movies post). Good feedback! I’m now waiting for other hardcore gamers to respond…

  3. My opinion is that for these games to move out of the “geek crowd” involves several things: 1. The games cannot require the highest end hardware with the latest graphics card to play. 2. The game must not revolve around combat.

    3. The environement may not be fantasy nor SF – and it cannot be put in a genre that is seen as being niche (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc).

    SWG did a pretty good job with number 2 but lost out on 1 and 3. EQ blew it on all three counts. The Sims was referenced in the article since it really does work on all three levels.

    Also, if you need to make it so you can really get to know some of those folks. Furthermore, you really need work to reduce the jerk-quotient that is systemic with some of these games….

    I am sure I will think of more…

  4. Nice job of getting your name on the same page as “Star Wars”, fanboy. 🙂

  5. Why are you so bitter? Did I somehow steal your thunder??? Assclown….

  6. I can’t believe there aren’t online sports games where you can play a baseball game with 9 on 9 or a football game with a live player at each position (or hockey or basketball.) That’s not exactly massive (well, I suppose the time between games could be) but would no doubt appeal to a lot more gamers than the current crop of games.

    The Sims Online had an opportunity here, but apparently missed the mark – although I’m not sure why because I would never play such a mainstream game :).

    Other ideas (that I really shouldn’t post here for free, but what the heck) would be an old west game. Yes it involves fighting, but it would appeal to kids an a lot more people than the current sci-fi/fantasy games. How about a game based on you being in a classic board game like LIFE or Monopoly? I don’t mean like we have today, but how about being in 3D in the game as the pieces?

    A lot of the current games are based on the principle that time = success. So the more time you spend on it the moe success you have. The model there has to change though so that you can have success in a way that doesn’t mean time played. Puzzle games might lend itself to that, not sure.

  7. Scott,

    You’re wish is my command:

    Ultimate Baseball.

    I’m not sure what the status is of this game. It says to sign up for the beta.

    I think I will…

  8. Here is another online board game that is realy struggling to get more players. It’s quite similar to Monopoly.

    Online Monopoly

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