Veteran designer Pascal Luban (Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
) continues his Gamasutra series
on the "megatrends" of the gaming industry, taking on accessibility and games as a teaching tool in this installment
To quickly draw in and keep player's interest, developers have been focusing more and more on designing easy to grasp titles in recent years. Still, new needs for immediate accessibility are emerging, such as the development of more approachable multiplayer modes.
Unlike single-player modes, which typically allow players to master a game's challenges at their own pace, online multiplayer modes often pit novices against players who have had dozens of hours of practice:
"Thus we have a rude awakening for the player, who will have to accept the humiliation of accumulating multiple defeats in order to learn effective strategies for this game mode.
The problem of accessibility is thus no longer merely an issue of mastering the controls or knowing the game, but understanding all the aspects of the game at once.
The development of multiplayer gaming will create new accessibility challenges, as we will have to accommodate for a growing number of novice players."
Developers also need to accommodate the habits of new (or returning) gamers who don't have as much leisure time to play games as their younger counterparts:
"In parallel to the growing number of casual gamers, there is an increase in those 'traditional gamers' that now find themselves with a family or a full time job and therefore have to cut back on the gaming.
This category of player with less leisure time will demand games offering immediate playability and that are playable in smaller gaming sessions.
This need to develop games that are accessible, yet not lacking in depth, largely explains the near-disappearance of flight simulators -- despite the doubtlessly large number of fans that they have accumulated."
You can read the full feature
, which includes other emerging needs in immediate accessibility, their consequences in game design, and the rise of gaming as a teaching tool (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).