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Archive for November 4th, 2008

Catering to CoWs

Defining your target audience is a core concern for game design. Understanding different audiences is a key to that decision. The bitter feuds we see in MMOs between “casual” and “hardcore” attests to the difficulty of catering to every possible audience. You just can’t make everyone happy, and chasing high approval ratings rapidly runs into diminishing returns. (I’ll pass on the political punditry there.)

Blizzard has espoused the Donut Theory of capturing a hardcore base, and actively recruiting casual players, in hope of making them hardcore.  Blizzard’s design focus is on those hardcore players, and the casual entry experience.  (At least, that’s what it seems like, considering the high level of polish in the starting areas and the continued focus on endgame “ten more levels and more raids” expansion mentality.)  The midgame suffers, but I’ve waxed long and winded about that elsewhere.  So far, that focus has worked to rope several million players into Blizzard’s coffers.

What of a new MMO, though?  How does one find a target audience, and what is the best way to go about doing so?  Who do you cater to if you want financial success?

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Decision 2008

OK, I joked about Pokemon last time I wrote about the election, but this is an even tougher choice:

Cthulhu 2008

Cthulhu 2008

Lavos 2008

Lavos 2008

…I think I’m going to go with Lavos. I’m still waiting for a Chrono Trigger sequel, and I just can’t see Cthulhu interested in giving me that. Well, that, and the Lavos campaign doesn’t settle for JPEG compression. Sloppy work, squidhead. When it’s all about image, JPEG logo design just doesn’t cut it.

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