The title of this post actually arises from an online letter that eventually led to an e-mail exchange between two game designers about the future of game pricing in an increasingly Free to Play (F2P) video game market. It is a fantastic read and I strongly recommend that people take a look at the original letter and, the resulting exchange.
The exchange also prompts one to examine the issue of video games as time sinks. While there have numerous articles about video game addiction and, will undoubtedly be continued but there are relatively few articles that actually focous upon how gamers view this sort of narrative.
The current dilemma with gaming is that creating twenty to forty hour games are no longer feasible are shoe string budgets. The cost of game design have soared alongside most entertainment commodities. Activision for example has reportedly intending to spend $500 million on developing and marketing Destiny; it is fair to say that this is a make or break for Bungie. The question that gamers need to ask is that prolonging game play really worth the exorbitant costs? Or does it just become grinding?
Activision for example has reportedly intending to spend $500 million on developing and marketing Destiny; it is fair to say that this is a make or break for Bungie. The question that gamers need to ask is that prolonging game play really worth the exorbitant costs? Or does it just become grinding?
Grinding has become and, is a key component of online games. Any online shooter requires you grinding, some MMO’s seemingly actively encouraging grinding such E.V.E Online, W.O.W. SWTOR avoids grinding in its main storyline relatively well by trying to create a compelling and interweaving storyline, this attempt to blend storyline with multiplayer is interesting if a bit convoluted. Grinding is not just confined to just multiplayer games though.
DA 2 in some ways is an ideal example of single player grinding. In the game during the side quests you would slaughter hordes upon hordes of men, monsters, etc. to retrieve a set number of items. There was little to no change in the story line nor did the setting alter in any sort of way that can be considered meaningful (if at all). So what ends up happening is that the value of the game is not valued based upon its design mechanics or its story line but by the amount of minutes it consumes in mundane activity which can replicated in every other game.
What this all comes down to is the notion that games need to be prolonged for the sake of meeting an ambiguous time sheet.
The adage of video game design seems to be that if practice makes perfect, grinding is the perfect game.
Let us hope that changes soon for the better.