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Journey dev sees "huge market" for new game genres

"Right now the game industry is still at a very young phase. There is a lot of space for people to go deeper on emotion," says Jenova Chen

Thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen looks at the industry through a different lens than most. For Chen, emotion drives everything, and frankly, the games business could do a better job in creating more titles that offer up an emotional experience.

In a new interview with our sister site the [a]list daily, Chen noted that there's plenty of opportunity, creatively and financially, for those who will seek out new game ideas to bring emotion to players.

"I like to look at business through emotion. Right now the game industry is still at a very young phase. There is a lot of space for people to go deeper on emotion. We actually went quite deep on the feeling of action and adventure. The feeling of killing someone used to be some pixel changed color, now it's some guy's guts are falling out. A lot of other emotions can go a lot deeper, and that will result in each genre becoming more and more sophisticated," he said.

"Emotion can go wider. The new emotion that was not possible in the past should be possible in the future. What is the equivalent in a video game of a romantic film? A documentary? A drama? What is a family video game? There are family games, but they are mostly for the kids. What is the equivalent of a Pixar film in the video game industry, where adults and kids can have fun together? They don't exist right now. They are all blue ocean, and they are huge markets."

Chen sees a big upside to pursuing more games with emotion partly because he expects these as yet undiscovered genres to attract a larger female audience. Too much of the industry is still focused on the 18-34 male demographic. Thanks to the rise of casual and mobile, a lot of women are already playing games and they're hungry for new types of content.

"Compared to the console game industry of yesterday, the difference is a bunch of people who never would have played any games are now one click away from games. Now the question is have you designed a game for them? What about the girls? I'm not trying to be sexist, but usually young females like to play things that have a lot of emotions and relationships. That probably explains why there isn't a lot of female gamers that play console games. Candy Crush is more appealing to women because it's social," Chen observed.

Read more of Chen's opinions on the industry and what's next for Thatgamecompany over at the [a]list daily.

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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.