Nolan Bushnell, the father of the video game industry, had a simple premise:
All the best games are easy to learn and difficult to master. They should reward the first quarter and the hundredth.
With that vision in mind, he founded Atari (not his first company, mind you) and proceeded to change the way we think about gaming.
What did they release?
Simple. Elegant. The game, a digital version of table tennis designed (like in real life) for two players gives you the same type of action and suspense. There’s crowd noises of cheers and boos.
As this machine was designed to be placed in a public location, there’s room for other people to stand around you and watch and root for you – either of you, to win, adding to the sound of the digital crowd.
The game, every line of code, every inch of the cabinet, was designed to keep you playing.
And that combination of hardware and software is what created the Video Game business we know today.
Atari also created the first home video game consoles (hardware) and the games (software) to play on them. It should come as no surprise that the simple games that they created are some of the longest running still-played games in existence.
Breakout (a type of horizontal, one-player Pong) was installed on the earliest cell-phones, and is still a popular game today. PacMan (by NAMCO) is one of the most popular and recognizable games of all time, and there have been more versions released over the years for different consoles, cabinets – even transcending games and breaking into television and movies.
So, you may be saying at this point: “This is all well and good for things that have been around for 40+ years – players tastes have changed, hardware and software have caught up to them and they want more.”
Actually, that’s not entirely true. But I’ll get back to that in a moment.
There’s two things at work here:
What makes a good video game, and what makes a viable video game business.
As Mr. Bushnell said, good video games can be broken down into these basic elements:
- easy to play
- difficult to master
- constantly rewarding
By this rationale, you should have a game that follows this type of pattern:
- intuitive design – you shouldn’t need an instruction manual just to get started
- layered complexity – there should be different ways to play every scene, things that are hidden that will enhance and delight play but aren’t required for the overall event.
- feedback – frequently offer sound, popups, points, etc to keep people interested
Now, lets say you design this amazing game. It’s the best game in the entire world – how will you get people to play it?
Here is where the video game business aspect comes in.
Nolan Bushnell was a genius. He created games that required his hardware to run them. Not only were the games amazing and addictive, but you had to buy his hardware to play them.
This can only work as long as you have the talent and money to keep up, though – what happened in Atari’s case was Sega and Nintendo came and dominated the market with their hardware and games (followed by Sony and Microsoft, and they’ll be followed by whomever comes after them.)
(That’s ok, though – he’s still a genius. He just went off and created Chuck’E’Cheese, and a zillion other things.)
So what was I saying about people wanting “more” in their games? That’s not true at all. The most popular games today are ones that are played on cell phones – they are easy, hard to master, and infinitely rewarding. They require nowhere near the capabilities available in graphics you can get with consoles or computers.
The future of the video game business as I see it is in designers, music production and storyboard designers. There is ample room for custom design houses like Blizzard and PlayDots that are excellent at user experience, play testing and keeping people engaged – that’s where the game industry has always been, and that’s where I see it going for years to come.
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/What-does-it-take-to-build-an-attractive-business-in-the-video-gaming-space-that-endures-for-many-years-EA-and-Activision-are-probably-going-to-continue-to-succeed-but-there-are-tons-of-companies-that-couldn “t-keep-up-with-a-platform-shift
Originally Posted On: 2016-03-01