Goichi Suda (nickname Suda 51) the CEO of Grashopper Manufacture, has done an interesting interview for Gamesindustry.biz. In it he says: “Well, there are a lot of core gamers, and a lot of lighter users playing on platforms such as the DS – but there’s nothing in-between. I think it’s going to be very important for games to be created for that middle audience, and that will help bring the market back on-track.” And he is right.
As an industry we either show too much respect for our heritage bringing out core games for core gamers. Or we flip to the opposite extreme bringing out often condescending casual fodder for any random person that happens along. We need to take a lesson from other IP entertainment such as films and books. They make much of their money by being firmly in the middle ground. By bringing quality narrative, content and production values to large audiences. By doing this they can often be challenging yet still be commercially successful with large audiences. Schindler’s List and Ghandi are two of just many examples of this.
Of course there are games which encapsulate core standards yet which have spilled over into mass markets to become cultural icons. Halo, Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty are prime examples of this. Which prove not only that we can do it but also that when we do it makes us lots of money.