Yesterday we had a kick-off of what we call “dondersteendag”. We plan to do special stuff for our clients and relations on Thursday. It’s a quick thought up word joke; as in our company name ‘Dondersteen Media’ associates with “donderdag” the Dutch word for Thursday.. Together with CMBO, knowledge organization for digital media, Syntens, subsidiary of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands and the MA Factory, the Amsterdam Media Academy, we could off a free-of-charge game workshop.
Ward Geene from Dondersteen Media has two big passions in life. One of them is gaming. He has probably gamed “all of his life” (since he happens to be in his fine young twenties, that is quit normal behavior as we will see in this article). Besides working for Dondersteen Media he also writes for Power Unlimited, the biggest game-title in the Netherlands. For our kick-off of Dondersteendag he gave this presentation about video-games, discussing:
- Who is the gamer?
- What is a game (which is actually quit a profound philosophical question..)
- Why are games important from a crossmedia-transmedia perspective?
- And what can other entertainment industry learn from the great successes that games have in the digital entertainment field?
It was quit a special day. So many beautiful people have supported us. First of all, the people from CMBO, Syntens and the MA Factory. They made it possible for the workshop to be free of charge. But I want to most specially mention my friend Steven Kruijswijk (@kruithoph on twitter) who made our day by taking care of the live U-stream we could broadcast from the presentation, so that people could hook in through the web!
You can watch the embedded stream (it’s regular web quality
Since it is Dutch let me also give you a recap of the presentation in text here.
First there is a bias towards ‘the gamer’. For starters according to TNS-NIPO who did research in 2006, 73% of the Dutch game. That is a very large figure, because it incorporates casual as well as hardcore gamers. The bias of “the gamer” is towards male, aged 19 to 35, hardcore gamers. What you see from the figures is that people in their teens and twenties practically ALL game. When they grow older, they spend less time on games and it gets up in time again at around 50 years. But considering this 10-20 generation has really grown up with games, compared to the 30-to-50 aged group, who did not, one could conclude that time spent on gaming when the younger group gets older will probably not get less. Since gaming is more a part of their natural entertainment habits.
Game philosophers are still debating what exactly is a game? In the opinion of Ward a game is about the present, about the NOW. Since if there is no player, there is no game and the game unfolds in the here and now. Gaming is a process, more than a linear route. The process of going through the game can be different every time. What you do as you game is you learn, by continuously exploring the “what if..” Gaming takes a lot of time. There may be other and more efficient ways to deliver a message.
Games and crossmedia-transmedia:
Looking from a crossmedia-transmedia perspective, what is interesting is that games are able to ‘move people’. If you want your public or community to move towards a next ‘step” you need to reward them for their actions. That is basically a very important design implication. Furthermore the game communities that are being developed right now by Microsoft and Sony for example give you a profile that you can share with other gamers, going beyond single play gaming. The gamers’ profile however is bound to the platform, making a lock-in for next generations, since you do not want to loose your build up achievements. Disadvantage is you cannot play a game together cross-platform. Microsoft as well as Sony anticipates on a probable opening up of their walled gardens by supplying very rewarding community features.