Chapter 3: Problems

Last time it was shown that game is the only widely recognized interactive medium, which is in stark contrast to the abundance of non-interactive mediums. This situation has many implications; here’s a list starting with the heavy hitter.

Saturated market
The market for digital games is huge as it includes everything interactive. How do you make money in a market which sells everything and is extremely saturated? How do you distinguish your project?

Non-interactive mediums have their own markets. This way it is easier for developers to get recognition, for customers to find what they are interested in, and for financers to support promising projects and developers.

The good news is that for digital media distributors having more mediums is a positive. There’s money to be made here! A less saturated market for interactive fiction, for instance, would bring in more interest and consumers (people who aren’t into games) for the medium boosting sales.

Game as a category means very little

If game is the catch all term for all interactive media then it has no specific meaning. If you look close enough you will even find games that have no interactivity (kinematic novels). If someone claims to be a novelist you immediately have a grasp on what they do. When someone claims to be a game developer, what do you know about them? Nothing, they might be a (kinematic) novelist too!

Interactive media design is difficult for the wrong reasons

How do you design something that has an extremely vague definition? Luck and cloning both work, reason not so much. To design something you need to be able to think about it. You cannot think about something if you don’t have specific words for it.

Non-constructive criticism and arguments
When a developer does publish a non-traditional interactive work they will get criticized by the public (and critics even) for having little to no gameplay. There isn’t a way around this as all well known digital distribution channels are centered around games, that is, the developer had no option but to market their product as a game.

These are the main reasons. For me as a developer the saturated market issue is the biggest hurdle.

Next up: we’ll start categorising!

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