Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thanks, Coach

Here's two cents more about the development of rookie players:

In traditional games and sports - say Basketball - the concept of a coach has always existed because the games themselves can't educate the players. In the absence of feedback from the system, developing players need outside eyes to shine a light on their shortcomings.

But video games don't need to suffer from this limitation. They can show the player how they messed up; how another player beat them; and even help them shed the "scrub" mindset that David Sirlin talks about. I heard that EA (I think?) is going to start pushing the online presentation of games - the internet version of Starcraft on TV in South Korea (not sure that it will attract the groupies, though...) People who don't own game X will be able to download a free client to watch X being played, and even take the role of commentators using voice-overs and telestrators to talk about the games...

Feedback loops like this are a fantastic development for games. In the same way that today's FPS players would thrash the guys who were good at Wolfenstein, by 2017 the hardcore players are going to be so much more than they are now. Standing on the shoulders of giants, they'll have much stronger skillsets; their society will have had games in the mainstream from childhood; and communication/evaluation among players and analysts will be so streamlined.

So have you spent much time thinking about how your games can facilitate - even coach - the transition from prey to predator?

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