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Think Big. Move Fast.

After reading Raph’s presentation at GDC Prime, I’ve been thinking more about Games 2.0, and in particular how to bring games to people who wouldn’t typically identify themselves as gamers. As I’ve noted before, I think asynchronous multiplayer games may be one way to address this much larger market.

I’ve since stumbled across a couple of relevant posts that address the issue. A couple of years ago at Lost Garden, Dan asked a friend who loved board games why she doesn’t play video games. She gave two reasons:

1. Mastering the learning curve: Most video games require learning complex reaction-based skills in order to player competitively. The required investment in these skills creates a large entry barrier.
2. Lack of social elements: Board games are social and therefore time well spent. Many video games have very limited social interaction and are therefore worthless

Also a couple of years ago, over at Gamasutra, Rich Carlson notes:

Which would you rather play, a computer game that takes forty hours to complete or one that lasts just a few minutes? Don’t be too quick to answer. The former asks for a serious time commitment. The latter says come and go as you please. One is a ball and chain. The other is a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Well, it’s not exactly that bad but considering all of the things you have to do today, which type of game do you really have time for?

Also, isn’t it peculiar that when you complete a complex or lengthy game you rarely want to replay it, yet short games are often endlessly replayable? After you finish a long RPG or story game, the box goes back on the shelf to gather dust and remain unremembered until the next garage sale. A short game, if it’s good, usually doesn’t suffer that fate. It stays on your hard drive for years.

Both of these posts speak to the opportunity for aysnchronous multiplayer games:

1) Short interactions
2) Played with friends (social aspect)
3) With short learning curves

As I’ve mentioned before, Scrabulous and Attack! are great examples of this, although both solve the learning curve problem by relying on well known board games as their basis. Warbook and Triumph are attacking the problem with new games but with less of a “played with friends” angle (most “turns” are against strangers).

Where do readers see the most innovation is this area?