Achievement points are only the first step - Wardell
Stardock CEO pushes the opportunity for games to integrate less generic player reward systems
Stardock CEO Brad Wardell believes that while achievement point systems in games, or on game platforms have been successful, there's still a lot more to come.
Speaking at a demonstration of the company's new Impulse Reactor platform, which allows developers of PC games to integrate a host of functions into their games - such as reward systems and multiplayer skill matching - he explained that developers should feel more able to explore alternatives to just points.
"In order for the user to enjoy the extra-game capabilities to really take off it needs to become more integrated with the game," he told GamesIndustry.biz. "Achievements just happen to be the easiest thing - but we can go so much further than that. You might play a shooter - play long enough and you could get extra weapons, and different games should have the flexibility to reward or encourage their players in different ways.
"But that can be expensive to do, so what we're hoping to do with Impulse Reactor is that because the client is integrated into the game, it's not some external client we're calling, or importing source code, we can incorporate DLC and all kinds of interesting virtual storage features that the developer can make use of.
"As a result it allows the developers, and their creativity and knowledge of their own game, to come up with less generic methods of rewarding. The reason why achievements are popular is because they're generic, and so easy to implement. The solution to that is to provide developers with the tools to make less generic reward systems."
He rejected the point that one of the reasons that achievement points have been successful, in the likes of World of Warcraft, or on the Xbox Live platform, is because they allow people to compare themselves to others more easily.
"I think that if each game is a little different... In Starcraft II, rankings obviously matter, but if I'm playing a roleplaying game, just because somebody has gone around and completed all the 'rats-in-the-basement' quests, that doesn't mean he deserves a better ranking than me," he said.
"Every developer probably has their own idea on how to reward their players - and as developers who are trying provide platforms to the market, I think it's our job to make sure they can think of unique ways to reward their customers and make them glad they purchased that game."
The full interview with Brad Wardell, in which he outlines more of the plans for Impulse Reactor, as well as explaining the origins of his book deal with Random House, is available now.