Friday, February 10, 2012

The Average Gamer?

From time to time, someone release a research about statistics on the average gamer. Like this one here, from The Average Gamer site (insert Inception joke here). It make an attempt to picture who gamers are and their habits and tastes. Those data is supposed to be very useful to game development, as it can help developers to make a game who will reach the widest number of people possible. But those statistics have a problem, if you don't know how to use them.

The average gamer does not exist. If you pick those researches and just try to create a Frankenstein monster out of it, you will be left with a fictional creature who don't, in fact, exist. That happens because those researches does not take in account that the 60% of gamers who said they like shooters are not the same 60% who said they like boobs (fictional numbers). See, the overlapping numbers here could be as low as 20% (40% who said they don't like boobs plus 40% who said they don't like shooters).

We have plenty of games who just ask what are the top 5 things gamers like and put it on the games, forgetting that those numbers don't always overlap. And we are left with games that will always have at least one element one in particular may dislike. This 'recipe of success' that many business try to use is not always well received neither well executed.

TV is a great example of this behavior. Every single time a show innovate even by a little, every one try to do it. Take House MD as an example. His success spawned several investigative show with a super genius star with trouble to make relationships with everyone. Games follow the pattern.

Modern military shooters are a very common genre right now. Why? Because one game was incredible successful in the first attempt everyone try to copy the recipe. But by believing that there is such recipe, a great number of gamers, who may not like the formula, is left in the cold without games they may like.

We have a saying in Brazil about the one person who try to please everyone ended up pleasing nobody. The same thing goes to gamers. Any game attempting to be that perfect game for everyone usually fail by not being able to find either a identity or its place. There is no magical formula, no receipt. Developers and publishers should not attempt to create the perfect game. They must do the best game they can and them try to convince us that their game is worth it.

Because it is impossible to please everyone.

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