Tuesday, September 30, 2008
WHO ARE WE DESIGNING FOR?
10 years ago designs just needed to be good to be successful. There wasn’t much discussion about what was the intended market you were aiming to. All were hardcore gamers and that’s it.
Lately this has become a major concern for designers. It’s not only that you need to be aware if you’re designing for hardcore or casual gamers, but you also need to have in mind where the players of your game live.
Most North-americans seem to value fast-paced action games. Japanese/Korean gamers seem to love really difficult games, and Europe… Well, each country is different. Germans & central Europe still love RTS, and Eastern Europe value fantasy/magic games more than other areas. Spain is claimed to be keen on casual titles more than anything else.
However, if you ask a producer ‘Ey, what type of audience target are we aiming to?’ they inevitably look at you as they were spotting a Martian. When requested to define if the title is aiming to a hardcore/casual audience, they always answer ‘Both!’ and they seem really happy. Keep in mind that, for their eyes, they’ve just double the revenue of the game with that decision. Even though designing a game for both is almost impossible. But that’s your problem, not theirs.
As I see it, some day the industry will grow old enough to be able to define exactly the target it’s aiming to with each product. I’ve heard that some EA and Ubi products follow strict marketing guidelines. Like all other industries do. That means it’s an adult business.