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Industry must "stand together" on social games issues

Fri 04 Mar 2011 9:06am GMT / 4:06am EST / 1:06am PST

Brenda Brathwaite believes that 'great games' are possible on social network platforms

Industry veteran Brenda Brathwaite has issued a call to action during GDC's annual rant panel, with the co-founder of social game developer Loot Drop looking for unity among developers during the expansion of the social gaming market.

Brathwaite recounted previous scandals in videogames, from Satanic influences in Wizardry (to which she was a key contributor) to the Mass Effect "Sex-Box" scandal.

To each example she reminded listeners that, particularly at GDC itself, developers had remained united in combating the various controversies. "We stood together, you and me, because we loved games," was her constant mantra.

"And then we came to Facebook," she said. "I know that things are upsetting to you, and I can assure you that they are also upsetting to me. I have seen the strip miners make their entry into games.

"I have seen them exploit technology and new platforms. Not for the purpose of crafting beautiful creative works but for the purpose of taking the audience for all they can get. They are not one of us, nor are they from us. Rather they are from another space.

"These people do not care about gameplay, they do not care about games, they do not care about players. They do not care about fun.

"The game developers on this stage are not like those people. They do not come from their world. Like you we want good play, we want compelling experiences we want casual and we want hardcore.

"We are absolutely not the ones making what some of you call 'evil games'. We are the first wave - the marines storming the beach to take our culture and our medium back. As you look upon these games you will see on the very same horizon a great space of possibility. I hope that you will someday be the occupying force."

The speech follows Wednesday's keynote by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, in which he expressed concerns about the rise in mobile and social network games and their potential effect on the high value segment of the industry.

A full transcript of Braithwaite's session is provided by GamesIndustry.biz, with other key contributions due to be published shortly.

8 Comments

Ben Furneaux Designer, Turbulenz Limited

116 55 0.5
Agreed.

One of our core principles within Turbulenz is "We believe in quality".

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Kris Wilkins Senior Tester, Lionhead Studios

1 0 0.0
Then why are big developers/publishers trying to cut into the social market if all they want to do is create beautiful games? The gamers who have been purchasing PC and Console titles for the past 10/15 years deserve more respect than developers seeing these con artists making a bucket load on face book and then switching to that medium. Everyone seems to be talking about accessibility, and the casual market... quite frankly.. screw casual gamers, the social market and accessibility. If your developer goes down this route you are selling out the very people who have supported you all of these years.

Keep bringing the new mechanics, keep upping the difficulty, keep pushing the envelope with the artistic side of things.. and for gods sake don't employ the *Free to play, pay to excel* business model.

The markets are two completely different sets of consumers. Stop worrying about the impact of social games on facebook, where part time mums, and school kids, bored workers and generally, people who don't play console games congregate to break up their day!

It will have no impact on the AAA console/PC market if you continue to look after the people, which, when they pick up a control pad, don't freak out because it has more than 4 buttons! Do you really think the gamer who destroys on CoD/Mass Effect/Battlefield or whatever your title may be, is even going to consider purchasing in game tokens for real money to upgrade a building on a flash browser game? NO.. whatever your view of social gamoing is, ignore it and concentrate on the industry that matters, the one that has time and time again built beautiful, gripping and exciting titles that people will remember for years.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Burton Posey Game Developer

5 0 0.0
Brenda, it's like you've read the words etched on my soul! Making Facebook games that treat players like real people is one of the cornerstone's of my approach to games right now. Thank you for saying this publicly. I too, have felt like some sort of soldier with this cause. Despite countless recruiter calls to make a "strip mining operation" I cannot morally bring myself to be part of this because it treats so-called "players" as more of something that is sub-human in nature, akin to the energy harvesting fields in the Matrix (might have made that analogy here on this site before, apologies if I'm repeating myself).

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Adem Demirdag Online Gaming Editor

5 0 0.0
I agree with Kris Wilkins
`` Keep bringing the new mechanics, keep upping the difficulty, keep pushing the envelope with the artistic side of things.. and for gods sake don't employ the *Free to play, pay to excel* business model. ``
Definitely. Don`t mistake hardcore or regular gamers with casual gamers. We are still playing AAA games, and will PAY, maybe will PAY until we stop playing games or die, for the games that push the limit.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Peter Law Freelance Game Designer and Unity Developer, Enigma 23

43 3 0.1
Seems a bit short sighted to completely ignore a new way to reach gamers/ potential new gamers. Facebook could be used for tie-ins to full titles (to create awareness - extra marketing), or as a launch format for things like Quake Live/ Battlefield Play4free - how many more people could you reach and get playing if it could be launched via Facebook and was automatically posting to players walls?

Fable 2 (?) had that card game on XBLA, which gave you money in the full game when you transferred your save - what if that was also available on Facebook? The game would be played by many many more people, and it's just possible that it could help to convert a few social/ facebook "casual" gamers into "proper" game buying "casual" players.

How you can say the 2 markets are completely separate is beyond me too. I would consider myself a hardcore gamer, as are many of my friends, and those who aren't hardcore gamers - are gamers. I/ we play games on the PC/ consoles AND Facebook. I don't think/ want devs to change focus away from where their bread and butter is, but perhaps think of additional ways to use Facebook to enhance the story/ gaming interaction/ awareness of a product like the two examples above.

Ignoring social and casual completely is not going to drive the gaming industry forward at all - but hold it back.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Burton Posey Game Developer

5 0 0.0
Peter, I'm not entirely sure if you're responding to someone else or Brenda's comments, but I don't think that she's opposed to gaming on Facebook at all. From what I read, she just isn't a big fan of the way that it is being executed.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Peter Law Freelance Game Designer and Unity Developer, Enigma 23

43 3 0.1
Was in reply to Kris who said:
whatever your view of social gamoing is, ignore it and concentrate on the industry that matters

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Falko Böcker Business Dev. Manager, Remote Control Productions GmbH

6 1 0.2
I can't really agree. For me it has that "Oh no, somebody makes a lot of money with something we should be good at, they are the devil" feel. It's like the video game industry was pointing fingers at the movie industry, laughing because they were the ones making money now, with the movie industry never really able to transfer their business to games. Now, there are alle the Zynga's in the world making a huge amount of money, pointing and laughing, while traditional game developers struggling and producing fail after fail on Facebook. But guess what: Movies are still around!

Maybe most Facebook games dont have the same quality as other games, but that's not what the people there are looking for. Hell, even I as a gamer, like short, mindless "grinding"-style experiences on Facebook, while I get my high-quality gaming experiences somewhere else.

Or see it like this: There is a very good restaurant and a McDonalds in my street. While the food is definetely better and healthier in the restaurant, McDonalds makes more money with the people looking for the quick, greesy burger experience. Still, it's not really an option for the restaurant to start selling cheap burgers.

And I don't get the "Don't use micro-transactions if you are a gamer"-comments. Quality of Free2Play games is rising up right now, easily exceeding a lot of subscription titles in quality and user base. This is the model, where you actually pay as much as you want. If you like and value a game you pay alot, while you keep your money if you don't want to dedicate yourself completely to that title. For most players, that meens actually paying alot less, than in the usual 60$+15$month. deal you get elsewhere.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

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