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Big studio game developers are consistently missing the mark when it comes to designing around the player’s experience, especially in social/multiplayer settings

Gamingtodaynews1g - Big studio game developers are consistently missing the mark when it comes to designing around the player's experience, especially in social/multiplayer settings

Not sure how else to say it, and I'm sure people have complained about this before.

In fact I think the worst recent offenders, namely MOBAs and Overwatch, have spurred on the industry to pursue other types of games which can still be very social but less toxic. They seem to even design games' very premise around the end user's experience which I think is great and a sign that the real golden age of gaming is yet to come. The explosion of indie made games is the real driver behind this because these devs will ask "what kind of game experience would people like to share with one another" and answer that question like human beings. The success of "Among Us" is heartening and I hope more similar titles wind up emulating that success in the future.

That said, I'm still disappointed in the big studios who consistently miss the mark.

It's been 4 years since release and I'm still kind of shocked at the lack of real control on the part of the player over their own social experience in-game for Overwatch. They act more on reports, but that hardly helps make a dent in the day to day experience which has been turning off older gamers, some minorities, women especially, and others. You hear about it all the time on social media and reddit. And Blizzard has taken many steps. And all of them have amounted to zilch, often creating as many problems as they solve. And this is the company that was the gaming equivalent of Apple.

What is it about big studios that makes multiplayer game design so difficult for them? Is it just a natural consequence of having too many cooks in the kitchen and designing by committee for the lowest common denominator and profit?


It's like the Hollywood curse. All the production value that AAA studios can put into the blockbusters almost necessitates that the gameplay aspect or social aspect is going to be crap. You can't have that kind of production value behind lightning-in-a-bottle game coming from some guy in his garage.

In Hollywood, this was the case until Disney/Marvel figured out a good approach in terms of matching up talented writers/directors/actors with the right projects and throwing money at them and coming out with consistently acclaimed blockbusters. Some studios try to empower their talent to design good games without "studio interference", but that's not really worked too well either. Is it also the case that their talent is just not as talented as they thought? Maybe game design as an industry isn't as mature an art as filmmaking (obviously) and it's just showing. It's hard to pick out genuinely talented designers and not just lucky people who were in the right place at the right time.

On the other hand, social app design is an art that's been turned into a science by some big players (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Netflix, etc) and they're making tons of money off of it. If they can manipulate people in their real lives so well surely some of that genius can solve the problem of making fun social/multiplayer games on a consistent basis. At least one would think so.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Just wish we could match the industry's best minds with their biggest wallets. The gaming industry has grown huge but it always feels like it's only just at the cusp of maturity and never quite makes that jump.

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