The future of the Irish games industry has been called into question in recent weeks. Big Fish Games, a major game developer in Cork, closed up shop back in August after a failed attempt at 'cloud gaming.' With the Irish games industry just beginning to take root, some experts wonder how the closure will impact the industry and what steps the industry can take to grow.
Adopting the Facebook Model
Some experts have begun to examine the success of the Swedish games industry to pick up clues on how to help Irish developers. Reporters from the New York Times contacted Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment and spoke with several of their developers regarding Swedish trends. DICE has been responsible for the successful "Battlefield" series of games and is currently working on "Battlefield 4."
Developers told the New York Times that a primary factor behind Swedish games success lies in what could almost be viewed as a Facebook or mobile model for games. This means that games move away from storylines and focus more on simplistic game play.
A couple of great examples of this concept are the games "Angry Birds" and "Candy Crush." Both games are popular on mobile and Facebook and can be played in short snippets. "Angry Birds" is among the most popular games of all-time and "Candy Crush" was easily the most popular game of 2013.
With that said, narrative games still have a place in the industry. "Star Stable" is a wildly popular horse game that utilizes the MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) platform. This games style is not dead, but it is a platform that is losing ground.
Giving Gamers What They Want
Another trend shift revealed by DICE employees was the movement away from realism-based games. The recent failure of "Medal of Honor" was a great example of this trend. "Medal of Honor" was developed by former Special Operations veterans that consulted with over 2 dozen commandos.
While the game was incredibly realistic, it failed to register with players and failed horribly on the market. The developers of "Battlefield 4" are taking a different approach. A couple of their developers collect military items, including uniforms. Essentially, if the item looks cool, it goes in the game.
This seems to not only be a trend with developers, but also with end-users. Players are wanting games that give them a grandiose and satisfying experience more than they are looking for realism. Each new game needs to be bigger and better with more features. As such, developers are focusing on giving gamers what they want, which is not realism.
The gaming community is beginning to reflect society as a whole. They don't have the time to spend in long games unless there is a big payoff. With trends shifting towards mobile and snippet-style games developers have to adapt or watch profits tumble.