What makes a good game? What are the elements of a good game? The opinions on this topic vary. This article takes an overview of what key people in the gaming industry think makes a good game.
Greg Richardson has been appointed chief executive officer of 2K Games parent company Take-Two Interactive Software effective August 3, 2011, replacing Ben Feder who served as interim CEO since Strauss Zelnick resigned from his post September 1, 2010. Feder will continue to serve as chairman of the board for both companies.
“We have some core tenets of game design at 2K. First, the game has to be innovative and it has to be fun… Second, they have to be visually appealing.” – Venturebeat
Michael Griffiths was appointed CEO Activision Blizzard effective December 2, 2007.
A good game is one that keeps our consumers engaged for days, weeks, months … even years after they’ve purchased it! We know that if we can deliver this type of experience – through smart game design and marketing support – then the revenues will follow.
Electronic Arts (EA)
The job of a good game designer is to give the player high quality tools that she can use in order to tell her own story.
Mark Pincus joined Zynga in June 2008 as chairman and chief product officer and became CEO in December 2008 when he bought out co-founder Kevin Leflar’s controlling interest in the company after an internal dispute over how to best run the business.
“The Internet is enabling the largest wave of social innovation in history, and Zynga is at the forefront. We believe that games are one of the most engaging and compelling applications on the Web, and we’re focused on building a company that inspires creative game makers to delight consumers through massively scalable games.” Pincus said.
“At Zynga, I will focus on building teams, fostering culture and setting our strategy.” Riccitiello said. He added: “Prior to this appointment, I had dinner with Mark (Pincus) last week in San Francisco where he articulated an exciting vision for Zynga’s future; teaming up with Mark and the talented leadership team at Zynga will be an incredible opportunity for me personally, and I believe it will be great for our investors, employees and players.”
“I am privileged to work with one of the most impressive management teams in game industry history,” Riccitiello said. “Now is the time to double down on digital publishing innovation — Zynga, with its focus on developing highly engaging social games that are played by millions of people around the world every day, is well positioned to lead this growth.”
Pincus also wrote an article about Mr. Riccitiello’s appointment as CEO where he states:
“Mark brings deep expertise in creating entertainment that appeals to broad audiences. He has a passion for games and has held leadership roles at Electronic Arts where he most recently served as CEO responsible for brands like SimCity, Madden NFL, Bejeweled, Battlefield, Rock Band and The Sims. Mark’s vision is to build the next-generation game network for players across multiple platforms. He will help us realize our goals of becoming Zynga’s next great growth story.” – Techcrunch
“Given my experience both on Zynga’s Board of Directors since its founding five years ago and as one of its earliest investors, I can think of no one better than Mark to lead this company into its next chapter,” said Pincus. “I have great admiration for the vision, execution and leadership Mark has demonstrated throughout his career. I very much appreciate John’s contributions to the board over the last two years, including in his role as Chairman of Zynga’s Audit Committee.”
“The definition of a good game is ultimately subjective.” – Netticasino
A good game is one that sells, while Pincus stated a good game is one where the player can use tools provided by the developer to shape their own experience with said tools. Both CEOs work for companies in a similar industry and have a good understanding of what makes a good game from how they market their games and who they hire to make them.
Games can be judged – objectively or subjectively – based on several criteria: graphics and sound, gameplay and story, replayability and difficulty, even how much they cost to buy or how long they last before the player finishes them. If it’s fun, it’s good. Right?
Not so fast. How many times have you finished a game that wasn’t very difficult but still managed to keep you entertained throughout the experience? Or you bought a game that should have been great, but wasn’t? The truth is, not all games are good – and not all games are fun.
What makes a bad game? That depends on who you ask, but there’s one thing every developer has in common: a desire to make a good game first and foremost. No matter how seasoned you are as a developer or what tools you use to create your work, mistakes happen. Most can be fixed during development through feedback from the team at large, fellow developers, and/or publishers – although some fall apart before they’re even completed.
Bad things can also happen during production. Morale tanks; budgets overrun due to lack of oversight; promises made upper management go unfulfilled. It’s no surprise that sometimes projects just don’t work out.
When it’s simple, these problems can be fixed with minimal effort; when it comes to larger issues, however, the developer may find itself forced to make tough decisions. Do they finish the game and release something subpar? Cut features to stay on schedule? Or delay the game (which means losing deadlines, missing sales windows, and upsetting employees)? These are tough choices – but many developers have had to make them. Some companies will pick up the pieces and move on; some will dissolve entirely.
Bad games usually stemmed from outside problems such as budget issues or lack of time or resources, which isn’t always so easy to fix. So how do you define what makes a good game? Is it fun? High production value? High replayability? Or something else altogether? – What’s your opinion?