I generally don’t like to talk about anything other than my games on this blog. For the most part I am far too opinionated on matters outside of my cosy little world of crafting simple games that I’m sure I’d end up in some libel case or something. But a few stats that I read this morning intruiged me. So much so that a few thoughts came to me that are probably worth sharing to invite discussion.
World of Warcraft has always been something of a benchmark for me in terms of the numbers of people playing it. As a MMORPG with upwards of 12million subscribers (how this breaks down in to active players I don’t know) I have always seen it as an unrivaled phoenomenon in terms of online gaming.
But Facebook more than trumps it.
500 million users with half of them active every day. (October 2010)
That is staggering.
Little wonder then that John Romero (he of DOOM and Quake) should choose Facebook as the platform for his latest release Ravenwood Fair.
Just this morning I read that Ravenwood Fair’s userbase (within a week or two of launch) had shot up to 2 million.
These are incredible figures.
So what does the future hold for hardcore game designers ?
I’m fairly sure that John has other projects bubbling away but to be able to develop something against Facebook’s architecture and see that kind of take up in such a short space of time must be attractive to every game development biz guy out there. Certainly the designers.
You have far reduced operating costs, minimal marketing fees (what’s better than word of mouth or the odd “Like” on your Facebook page ?) and the added bonus of an instant audience/market to the tune of several million people.
What it surely means is that game designers can sit back and spend most of their time doing what they do best – designing entertainment for the masses.
So what can we expect in the near future ?
What bracket of gaming are we talking about here ?
Is it relevent to the wider gaming scene ?
Will the so-called “hardcore” gaming crowd ever embrace a social network for the means of delivery for its favourite games ?
I’m already thrilled by the potential of HTML5 being adopted by all major browsers. The bedroom game designer’s revolution is upon us and gathering momentum. Good old fashioned individual creativity that spawned some of the finest games of my youth (Jet Set Willy, Mercenary, Chuckie Egg etc) can once again hold its head up high and find an audience of millions.
The now common scenario of publishers throttling true creativity through financial limitations and reluctance to spend cash on untried and untested ideas can be overthrown by genuinely creative people who don’t care for or require a budget of millions to produce simple games.
I am now encouraged to investigate further exactly what Facebook can offer as a platform.
Even if I don’t totally adopt it I can rest assured that there is enough of a culture of casual gaming amongst its userbase to be able to successfully market a game hosted elsewhere.
Wonderful times ahead for casual game designers.