In this week’s edition of Netease Games’ great feature series “Dispute!” (see previous stories here and here), the portal asks whether games are getting easier. Usually, the Chinese gaming community can’t agree on much of anything, but this question produced as close to a unanimous verdict as I’ve seen on the site. More than 60 percent of Chinese gamers said games were getting easier, and just 8.4 percent felt that games were getting harder:
In fact, even the experts agreed on this one, with a Chinese games magazine editor arguing that games were getting easier while his opponent agreed, but argued that it wasn’t that dramatic a change. In the comments section, gamers talked about the shift towards social/casual games and how it has affected the industry and the perception of what games should be. “Who Am I”, a 27-year old gamer complained:
…Modern games don’t require any technical skills. Everyone like cutting fruit and throwing birds, and you don’t need to use your brain or [know how to] operate [a computer]. Whether you play well or poorly, the result is the same.
Of course, older gamers complaining about the dumbing-down of games is an international phenomenon; all of this will sound quite familiar to many in the Western gaming community. And just like in the West, China also has a younger cohort of players who don’t care so much about whether games are hard or not. As one 16 year old gamer called “Yang Yang” wrote,
As long as it’s interesting to me, I can play a game no matter how hard it is, and if it starts off boring I will stop playing. So the question isn’t whether or not the games are hard, it’s whether they appeal to you.
As the broadband internet becomes more and more commonplace, China’s games industry is also increasingly focused on massively multiplayer online games where the value of the experience comes more from the social interaction online than it does from the technical challenge. Many of China’s most popular games now are multiplayer affairs where the developer has little control over the degree of difficulty the player experiences; it depends on your team members’ skills (and the enemies’ skills in PvP games). Perhaps this is why nearly 22 percent of gamers chose “It depends” in the poll above; games may be getting technically easier, but that doesn’t always mean they’re actually simpler to play.
(via Netease Games)
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