Game 2.0: From a Player’s Perspective.

April 12, 2009

Inspired by this post from Nina Simon:

What does the ultimate “game 2.0” look like? How will it balance creative acts with other forms of player participation?

As someone who does play video games, this question interests me.  I attempt answer this, not as a designer of games, not as a creator of games, but as a (not hardcore) player of games.

What would a successful game 2.0 look like from the perspective of a player?

  • It would allow for  satisfying play activity on all levels of participation.
  • As more players use the game, the player experience should improve.
  • The user generated content won’t just be creatures or levels, but actual ways of playing a game.

Satisfying play activity for all types participants:

Games are inherently active. While it’s possible to just watch a game, play is really the key verb. In my vision of an ultimate game 2.0, a ‘creator’ player would have the option to create and share new content if they wish to do so, but there would also be enough structure already existing within the platform so that a ‘joiner’ or ‘spectator’ player could start up the game and play with either developer-provided or player-provided content, without having to delve into other mechanics.

Experience improves as the player-base grows:

This is simple. The more players who play the game, the better the experience should generally be.  This can be user generated content within the game, but this also extends to resources and information provided by players outside of the game. I can already think of several MMORPGs (Massive Multi-player Online Role-Playing Games, for the unfamiliar) that have fan created forums and wikis dedicated to talking about the game and sharing experiences and strategies.

User-generated content will include activities:

Games are ultimately about action.  The game is not the level, but the process of getting through the level. The game is not finishing the quest, but the process of doing the quest. The game is not winning the chess match, but the series of moves on the way to winning. I think any game 2.0 needs to allow users not just to generate nouns such as creatures, levels, or quests, but verbs as well.  In my ultimate game 2.0, creator-players would be allowed to use the gaming platform to create their own games and sets of rules, which other players could then adopt and modify for their own purposes.

Thinking about it, Spore doesn’t sound like a Game 2.0 to me. It certainly uses web 2.0 technologies to allow users to connect to each other and share creations, but the actions themselves are dictated by the company. How freely are players allowed to use the tools to develop their own games and activities?


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